The trouble with whining

A friend was lamenting that he was sick of whining. And I could understand why – he had inflicted his whining on me too!

Whining doesn’t get us very far itself but it can be a phase that we need to go through until you figure out what you want and start working on how. While you’re whining, you’re not focusing on what you want; when you can get clear, set some targets and at least start moving – even if only with baby steps. And once you’re moving towards where you want to be, the world is a very different place.

Like a rocking chair: Fun for a while without getting you anywhere.

The trick is to break ourselves out of the cycle of whining and complaining. We’ve got lots of good reasons to whine too – life isn’t fair. Yet whining doesn’t make things better. Whining gives us a sense of connection with ourselves and with others when we whine to others – a feeling of self pity is at least a feeling of connection.

Sooner or later, the solution is to stop it. And when you do, remember that there’s a great intention behind that behaviour – that you want things to be better and you want to connect with others. Rather than chastising yourself for having whined in the first place, what would happen if you focused on the positive intent of the behaviour and started connecting positively and working towards what you want?

Get rid of the people that bother you

There have been a few people who have really annoyed me.

Sometimes they’re stupid. Sometimes they’re continually asking for me to help them but failing to understand the concept of reciprocity. Sometimes they’re just obliviously obnoxious.

Yet I’m finding that these people disappear when I bother to really listen to them. Sometimes they disappear because they find other people to annoy and so stop bothering me. Sometimes they disappear when I confront the part of them which is annoying and I realize that it wasn’t them at all.

It’s like these people show up to teach us lessons. And, once the lesson is learned, those teachers move on.

Now I don’t know if that’s really true – that there’s some cosmic conspiracy to help us grow and transcend – but I know that I’m happier when I think like that… to honour these annoying, frustrating, pains-in-the-butt as my teachers.

Though maybe like that teacher that taught you a lot but whose class you were glad you had finished.

To know it for the first time…

TS Elliot would have us believe that the goal of journeying is to arrive at the place from which we started, and to know it for the first time. Tonight, I delivered the first speech in the Toastmasters Competent Communicator series at CAT. It is a manual that I have never before completed – when I completed my previous Ice Breaker in early 1997, it was known as the Competent Toastmaster manual. And it was a challenging experience.

Challenging because in front of a small and distinguished audience of experienced speakers, I was to present a self introduction. A self-introduction that was to be engaging and interesting – despite many of the audience already knowing me very well. A self-introduction that was to be thought provoking and stimulating – despite the erudition and extreme intelligence of my listeners. And a self-introduction that was to be judged not as it was back in 1997 – when provided that I spoke at all, I would be congratulated and encouraged – but rather judged as a DTM and champion speaker.

Yet we are all making that first speech.

Every night, at every meeting, we each stand up to speak that first word.

And every time we speak, we all face those same challenges as we did that very first time.

Sometimes the butterflies are flying in formation. Sometimes the fear is transmuted into exhilaration. But sometimes we can mess it up.

I spoke on my personal passion, genius training. My brother spoke very well on a very similar topic just a few weeks before – he’s writing a book on the topic even! But as this was my Ice Breaker, I also needed to introduce myself.

Previously, I have talked about how you are naked as a speaker. How when you take the stage, you take the responsibility to honour the trust that each member of the audience has placed in you by giving you their attention and time… and how when you do, you are exposed there. If your clothes don’t look right or your voice doesn’t sound right or your hair doesn’t sit right – it’s there for all to see, hear and feel.

And you can either embrace that spotlight of attention or wish it away.

But the credit always belongs to those who are in the arena

Communication is not that difficult… REALLY!!!

When I was in primary school I knew that I was going to enjoy public speaking. Debating was my first love though my attention shifted towards public speaking and training. Right now I’m involved with three Toastmasters Clubs here in Shanghai – to me, it still offers the best value speaking training in the world today. Yet I am still staggered at how people who call themselves leaders can possess such embarrassing communication skills. Continue reading “Communication is not that difficult… REALLY!!!” »

What do you really want?

May I a small house, and a large garden have.
And a few Friends, and many Books, both true,
Both wise, and both delightful too.

The Secret is making it to Oprah. It’s an amazing thought that in the next 24 hours, Oprah will be helping to transform this story/ documentary of one woman’s experience with focus and manifestation into an even more powerful international success. But it leaves a very challenge part of the story unsaid: What do you really want?

Although the heart must be made to conceive before the eye will be permitted to discover, I find that one of the greatest challenges that we face is to let go of our self-imposed blindness. “What would you do if anything was possible?” is a question that I have asked at many of my seminars and workshops (as well as in personal coaching and consultation sessions), and the recurring theme in responses is that very few people really know what is possible.

Great spirits certainly do encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds, yet the greatest challenge for a great mind is to make the leap to being a great spirit. For a great spirit to be unleashed, you must believe in yourself. Whether it is a (delusional?) sense of narcissim, an inflated sense of self-importance, or perhaps just the irrational spontaneous adoption of a belief in personal purpose and direction, for someone with talent to apply that talent in the disciplined and focused manner necessary to accomplish anything great or to develop any great skills perhaps demands something of a state of mental or emotional imbalance.
So where do we begin? 

That, to me, is the primary advantage that superior educational institutions afford over ‘ordinary’ ones. Great institutions, employers and places tend to attract those with talent and ability, and in doing so give the individuals the exposure to ideas and people that can expand their minds in otherwise inconceivable ways. While I believe that the truths of ‘genius’ are still somewhat waiting to be discovered by each of us, travel, education and exposure to new ideas is one of the surest ways of expanding your mind…
If you really just want the small house and large garden, are the things that you’re doing along the way really helping?