Friday, November 21, 2008

Knowing Which Buttons To Push And Doing So Wisely.

In the repeat series of the “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, there has been an ongoing push, much against the mother’s will, by both her son and husband to get a dog, However the neighbour’s dog had pups and at the right age to find new homes for them, both the son and father went over “Just to admire them”. After a long time over there, the mother goes over to bring them home. When she gets there, the Neighbour plops a Pup in her arms and says, “ He’s a runt, you see… We couldn’t sell him and I’d hate to put him down.” "The poor little thing has been rejected. He’d need warmth and love to survive!”
Then she turns to the husband and whispers, “ Give me another shot at her mother instincts and you’ve got a dog.”
And that is how they got their first dog, which they happily had for years. All because their neighbour knew them well enough to know which buttons to push, and how long for and when. So whilst this approach should not be used on all and sundry, it does show what can be achieved when one uses the right approach and reaches out to a person’s real feelings.
Today I would like us to look at the reverse side and think of all the good things we have missed out on, all because we did not take into account the other person’s inner feelings.
So today when you are trying to promote or sell an idea or even an object, do take into account the long term effect and don’t reject the personal feelings of the person you are dealing with, in your haste to ‘sell” something, again whether it is an object or an idea.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In defence of all average singers. 17/11/08

A lot has been made in the Papers lately, on how one recording artist with sales of around 1,000,00 albums thinks another Singer with sales of around 40, 000,000 albums, is not a good singer.
Someone else replied that Kylie Minogue, despite all her success, was not a singer but an entertainer and would not have been successful had she not been on “Neighbours” and left OZ for Britain to build on that success.
Be that as it may, what many people forget, is that in the Entertainment Business, it is not always the best that succeed, but those who are versatile and adapt their limited talents to the market at Hand, and hang on in there in the good times and bad, and then proceed to make the most of the opportunities presented to them, which is what Kylie did constantly.
On a recent TV documentary about Australia’s original “Rock & Roller” Johnny O’Keefe, it was also claimed that he was not a great singer either, yet where would the Music scene in Oz be, without Him. Similar claims have been made about the singing abilities of Johnny Cash and even Elvis Presley on the International scene.
So my advice to all the Kylies and Kyle wantabees out there, and you do if the cap fits, is don’t worry if your singing voice meets the approval of Cate Cebrano or not. But go out there and entertain and make the most of your opportunities and also of your so called “liability” of not being as good as a minor celeb thinks you should be, and “knock them dead!”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Would you obtain your hardware from Mitre11?

Apparently, in these tougher economical times, more and more people, and particularly in the Bush, are obtaining a lot of very useful things, and even more useful raw source material, from Mitre 11 these days.
Now, perhaps you, like me, and although you may have heard of Bunnings and even Mitre 10 Hardware stores before, you have not heard of Mitre 11 until now? Well if so, don’t worry too much. It is just a rebranding/naming of an old, old previous Supplier: The Local Tip.
Yes! What once used to be called “scavenging”, now it has the trendier name off “ Recycling”. I don’t know about where you are, but here it is technically illegal. Not that that stops anyone though, especially where street Hard Rubbish Collections are concerned.
In our shire, we used to have twice annual Hard Rubbish collections where people would put unwanted “stuff” out on their front nature strip twice a year on a designated day and sometime in that week (or the next), a truck would come along and pick it all up and remove it all for recycling at their plant. That was the perfect fit in theory.
However two things happened to make it a lot less than perfect in practice: People often started putting stuff out a month or more before the pick up date and professional scavengers used to drive around the collection area before the pick up, ‘stealing' the best stuff and scattering everything else to get at the good stuff underneath.
Well as I said our Shire/Municipality used to do that too, but have now come up with a new system to try and beat the professional scavengers and the ugly eyesore of scattered rubbish sitting on nature strips for weeks, if not months. With this system you can still get two pickups a year, but you are supposed to ring them first and arrange a pick-up date and then and only then, on the weekend before that date, put your junk out the Front with a lovely big Pink sticker that says “BOOKED” on it.
However, so far two people have used this system in our court, and it still hasn’t stopped the scavengers, and in one case the rubbish was still there a week later.
However the point of this blog is to again point out that often we waste a lot of valuable and precious commodities, all because something no longer has value to us, although still valuable to someone else, but not profitable for us to personally sell or recycle, so we just throw it out, rather than trying to find someone who really wants or can use it.
Sometimes I have visited someone and seen something really great and learnt that it came from a tip, or nature strip recycling attempt, In other words it was junk until this person reclaimed it and restored or reshaped it into something more valuable again.
At times like that, one wonders at the amount of good things constantly thrown out, simply because the person who has it, no longer wants it and can find no other way to get rid of it.
So today before you discard anything as rubbish, please make sure that it is rubbish and not something that can be reclaimed or restored or even sold at an “Opportunity Shop” and not only be used again, but able to make some funds for a worthy Cause. Thus you not only get rid of your unwanted things and help someone else, you also help our environment in conserving valuable resources and reduce the need for massive Land Fill Projects.
What say you now? How much of your own junk could you yourself reclaim with a little thought and effort and help both your own pocket and the environment in general? Over to you for now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Unrealistic restrictions.

Another thought inspired by the “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has the mother dressing her two young children and herself for the wet weather, with the children getting the full works: Gumboots, waterproof Coat and even umbrellas! After their walk, before going back inside, her young son asks, “ Mom? Can I play out-side in the rain by myself for a while?’ To which His mother says, “Sure Honey.” Then ads "Don’t go getting wet!” All this, leaving her son with a look of stunned amazement on his face.
Sounds funny, but I wonder how many of us leave others with a look of stunned amazement on their faces with our own unrealistic restrictions and expectations?
So today I would like us all to, not so much look at ourselves, but to at least “Listen“ to ourselves and really hear what we are really saying and whether it really is realistic and achievable and helpful to others? Or whether we simply confuse, and even amaze them but sadly not in a good way. So today before you set restrictions to those under your control, whether your own children, someone else’s children, or work mates, please think about what you say and make sure it is realistic please? For their sake as much as your own!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are You A Curmudgeon?

Was reading an article in the Paper recently, where it called a former Prime Minister of Australia, an “old curmudgeon”. Now according to an on-line dictionary, a curmudgeon is an ill or bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person, full of resentment and stubborn notions.
Now, any one with a little more than a base Knowledge of the former Prime Minister, would say that that description pretty well sums up Paul Keating to a tee. But what of you? Does it also sum up you, or even me, too? Yes are we too, more often than not, bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous and full of resentment and stubborn notions as seen by others, even if we ourselves tend to think we are the only intelligent people around?
I guess what I am asking today is, do you really see yourself as others really see you? Or are you a curmudgeon without even knowing it? Over to you for now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Do you resile?

Victoria’s current police Commission has announced her pending resignation; and in the tributes and comments about her reign as Chief Commissioner, I came across the following comment on page 26 of the Nov.6 edition of the Herald Sun Newspaper, by Robert Aldine: He wrote “She wasn’t perfect, but she was having a real go. She didn’t resile from the tough decisions, nor was she easily distracted.”
Now, till then at least, I thought I thought I knew what “resile” meant, particularly as it is the root or base, for the word “resilient”, but that base meaning and the meaning of resilient didn’t quite fit with the sense of the above comment, so I checked “resile” up on the Internet and found that “resile” is one of those words that have two, almost opposite meanings and if used/ or understood, in the wrong sense, the Writer could have been though of as saying, the soon to be ex Police Commissioner did not, “spring back; rebound; resume the original form or position, as an elastic body.” Which is one meaning of the word resile.
The other, which the writer meant (I believe), was that she did not, “shrink back; or recoil.” So now having resiled, or bounced back from my partial knowledge of the meaning of the word ‘resile, I wonder, what about you when you resile? Do you spring back, rebound, & resume your original position? Or do you shrink back and recoil ‘ from the tough decisions.
Yes when you face the problems, hindrances and brick walls of life, do you let them turn you aside, or do you bounce right back at them and not let them defeat you unnecessarily?
Sure there will be obstacles and walls that no matter how much you resile, you will never overcome them; and you need to be able to recognize them when they come! However, a lot of the time we let little obstacles overcome us, when with a little more thought and effort on our part, we can overcome them and triumph. Again perhaps not always as easily as we would like, but often they can usually be overcome, if we don’t get into the habit of becoming a resiler in the negative since, one that shrinks back but by being a resiler in the positive sense, one who springs back and continues on strongly.
So as I close today, I again ask, “How do you resile today? Negatively or positively?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Another Way To Look At Recessions.

The letter of the day, written by Colin Wheeler, in the Herald Sun’s “Your Say” page on November 6, had a different take on Recessions.
According to Colin, “Recessions are society’s cyclical flushing of the non-essentials of life. They bring us back to reality. First to go are beauty parlours, fast food outlets, pet accessories, personal trainers, cable television, punting, credit card salespeople, 24hour news, fashion, gadgets and non essential air travel.”
Colin also lists a heap more extraneous things that, in his opinion will go in a credit squeeze, before ending with, “ Society will get back to basics for half a generation – until the inevitable rise again of wasteful pampering.”
Now while I humbly think Colin is guilty of Hyperbole and even of overstating his case a tad, he does have a valid point in that there are a lot of things in our lives now, that are largely just ”wasteful pampering” and things that we really could survive quite comfortably without, even to using the funds spent on these things for more beneficial purposes.
So today, even if you are not really being squeezed by the current financial crisis, do have a look at the things you spend your income on and see what is just ”wasteful pampering” and what is really essential and beneficial to your life.
After all would one really need a personal trainer, if one ate the proper foods and not to excess, in the first place? So again, where are you wasting your finances to the detriment of the more beneficial and helpful and even your own health? Again, what say you?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blake Shinn On Being in front too early.

In Horse racing occasionally you will see or hear of a horse who led the race from the beginning to end, but more often than not, the front runners, run out of puff before too long and end towards the rear of the Field. This was seen in the 2008 Melbourne Cup where the three hot fancied Irish runners, led very early and set a very fast pace but then faded quickly before finishing by occupying 3 of the last 4 places in a field of 21 starters.
So generally, Jockeys don’t like to find themselves at the front too early, but sometimes it happens, whether they like it or not. The other day, Jockey Blake Shinn unexpectedly found his horse well in the lead and was extremely worried that His horse had peaked to early, but as the horse was traveling easy and as he felt the horse still could find a couple of lengths if he had to, he maintained his race game. Sure, his ride was nearly run down in the finish and only won by the narrowest of margins in the race’s 148-year history, but he still won.
Why? Because he didn’t give up or panic and try and dictate things mid-race but maintained the race he found himself in. Sure it was not what had been planned, hoped or even expected, but he kept going and won because of it, (and a whole heap of luck too.)
Yes, he was worried, but didn’t panic. In the after race interviews he was asked how he felt about winning and he repeatedly said, “relieved”, because He knew that he had found himself at the front too early but there was little he could do then about that then, and as the horse was traveling easy and as he felt the horse still could find a couple of lengths if he had to, he maintained his race game, and history shows Blake Shinn to be the Winning Jockey of the 2008 Melbourne Cup at the age of 21.
Often we will find similar situations to Blake in our own lives and race-plans. Sometimes, whether through bad planning, or just pure circumstance, we will find ourselves in situations we don’t really want to be in and we can be tempted to pull our horse up or try and change tactics mid-race, when in fact all we should be doing is continuing on and making the best we can of a bad situation. Sure, unlike Blake in this situation, we won’t always win the Melbourne Cup on our first try. But we will have more successes than failures, if we make the most of what life serves up in every race, rather than if we only try when conditions suit us.
So, how is your horse running today and are you making the most of what each race throws at you? Or are you still waiting for perfect conditions to even begin your ride?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Melbourne Cups King.

Well the Melbourne Cup has been won and lost for another year and life can return to normal again till next year. Before this year’s race, there was a big Brough-hah over the number of Foreign or overseas horses in it, with some wanting the number restricted to around five foreigners per race, to give the Aussie horses a better chance to win their own race. {Completely forgetting that before the other Foreign Horses were allowed to enter Australia, Kiwi Horses were often the winners, & with some even wanting to ban horses from there* too. (*New Zealand/Kiwi land!)}
Anyway, before this race, the Media was full of the prospects of these foreign horses and particularly three from an Irish Trainer’s stable. There was hardly any mention of the other horses, except that one writer, Ron Reed, in the Melbourne Herald Sun on the morning of the race, headlined his article, ”Ignore Bart at your peril”. He then went on to say such things as, “The cup is at the mercy of the invaders. Bookies and punters alike agree. Only history might have a different take on it.” And, “Respect the History.” He then went on to detail the history of the past 50 years since Bart Cummings as trainer, sent out his first runner in the race, way back in 1958.
Ron Reed then went on to play up the winning chances of Bart’s first runner, but also said this about Bart’s other runner in the Race, Viewed. “Viewed, the Brisbane cup winner, is not out of calculations either, and in fact the more you look at the field the more the Bart influence comes into play.” Well the race has run and History shows that Bart Cummings, 10 days short of his 81st Birthday, trained his twelfth Melbourne cup Winner with “Viewed” in 2008.
When asked for the secret of His success, Bart replied rather deadpan along the lines of, well you have the best staff and the best horses, feed them the best food and look after them right and the rest takes care of itself.
All this goes to show that to win you have to be genuinely in the race, and not give up mentally just because there are supposedly better horses from elsewhere in it too.
It means that you have to have confidence in yourself and your own horses, even if the rest of the world doesn’t.
It means that sometimes sheer class will win but at others, local knowledge and experience will also show out over the more showy prospects.
And it shows that taking care of the small details, like good staff, good horses a good food and Good conditions, help take care of the big things like winning the big races too.
So what can you learn from the "Bart Cummings” factor?
Things like, not letting your age stop you from trying one more time if you have the goods.
Like not resting on your laurels and saying eleven is enough. But going for number 12 anyway.
Like both giving and using the best.
Like using your experience, expertise and local knowledge.
So in closing, what do you need to adopt from Bart’s attitude and put into your own life experiences? Over to you for now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

First Tuesday In November.

Well here we are at that time of year that has been rolling around for 133 years now on the first Tuesday in November, even though it actually began in 1861. And even though the Cup itself was not presented until 1916.
Yes, that’s right! I am talking about the Horse Race that stops a nation, (even our Parliament stops for 3 minutes every year,) and the Horse race that we in Melbourne at least, get a public Holiday for: even if some only get half a day for it.
Of course, “The Melbourne Cup” is not the only significant event happening today either. Some people in the world are even having an election today! Yes that is right; today is the day that New Zealand get to elect their Leader/Prime Minister, for the next term of their Parliament!
Oh and of course the US of A is also having an election too, aren’t they?
However, not counting America, there will be more interest in Australia and even in New Zealand in the Melbourne Cup Winner, (especially if it is from New Zealand,) than in the New Zealand Elections themselves.
Sad isn’t it, that a country so close and so tied in with Australia, can be having such an important event and yet for most people, it has been lost in the brough-hah of the Melbourne Cup and US Elections? But how often do we do similar in our own daily lives and let the showy but unimportant things deflect and side track us from the less showy but more significant things in our lives?
So today, on this first Tuesday of November, despite your personal distractions, 9whether horse races or elections,) please don’t forget to look around and see all the other things happening on this significant day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How prepared are we for the task at hand?

Recently read in an –mail that Abraham Lincoln was quoted as having said, "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe." Considering that as a young man Lincoln had split rails with an axe, I would say He knew the value of what he was saying and he knew the value of staying sharp. The article then went onto say that, “ Wisdom always prompted him to prepare - whether he was getting ready to cut wood, study law on his own to pass the bar, or lead the nation.”
Now I am not going to claim that I too was an expert axe man in my younger days, but I have used enough axes to appreciate the value of a sharp one and to appreciate Abe’s word’s of wisdom here. And of course as the above article indicates, this applies to mental ability and plans as well as just physical axes, doesn’t it?
So today as you plan to go about your normal every day business, just how much time have you spent in the sharpening of your “axes”?