Friday, 31 March 2017

Introverts: You will understand these - Part 1

This was interesting on Instagram.

The 21 things that only introverts will understand. I'll spend a few days going through them and maybe explaining them to you from my experience. The passages in bold are from the Instagram post:

1. When people interpret your quietness as you being stuck up, standoffish, or rude. It's not that you think you're better than other people; you really do care deeply about others. It's just that you often don't know what to say.

Ahhhh, sound familiar? Dear Extroverted people. Yes, we literally have nothing to say. We don't have that ability to keep on moving our jaws for hours on end talking about absolutely nothing. This doesn't make me rude, it just makes me different from you and do you know what, that is OK. It is OK to be different from you because that is what makes the world an interesting place.

I'm not sitting there judging you. (well, maybe a little bit) What am I doing is just sitting there enjoying the atmosphere in a relaxed manner. I am showing my enjoyment by continuing sitting there. I don't have to stand up and shake my body to the loud sounds of the DJ to enjoy myself. I can sit there, drink a beer and enjoy the scenery around me and if I feel like it I will talk to someone or not. I'm enjoying myself.

2. When your friend invites you to a party/event and you have no desire to go. You'd rather stay home and recharge your introvert batteries, watching Netflix, reading, gaming, or just relaxing. But you don't want to hurt your friend's feelings, so you make up an excuse like, "I'm not feeling well."

This is OK. It is your prerogative to go or not. What is not OK however is two things:

     1. Your extroverted friend guilting you into going because they want someone to go with so as not to feel uncomfortable for the first five minutes of the event.

     2. You, as the introvert saying that you will go and then five minutes before deciding that you don't want to go and you bail on your friend. That is not very cool at all and I'm sorry I have no sympathy for you. If you don't want to go, say no but don't make up some bullshit excuse.

3. When you order takeout online instead of calling because you literally can't talk to one more person today.


 I think the internet was built for introverted people. In fact, I'm pretty sure Al Gore said once that he invented the internet. I'm sure he must love his 'invention.'

The only thing that they could do better about home delivery would be like milk bottles from years ago. You left the money out in the letterbox and the milk person came by and left the milk. Surely we could do that with pizza too.

There are some problems that I am sure all introverted people have experienced. Don't worry if you have experienced these because you are not alone, I assure you.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Using up energy singing karaoke

Dutch courage. According to the dictionary on my computer, it means the strength or confidence gained from drinking alcohol. I'm not too proud to say that I have used Dutch courage at various stages in my life to get over some nervousness at meeting new people or just to make being in a room with a lot of people more palatable. (Well, that is what I thought at that time anyway.)

The other day I was out with a few people celebrating the end of our season and we went to karaoke. I haven't been to karaoke for a long time and I felt out of practice but it was fun and I have learnt through experience that you should always pick songs that everyone knows and likes because if you only pick songs that you know it can be a very long three to five minutes. (Unfortunately I forgot that rule a couple of times.)

(For those of you who don't read Japanese, that bottle is something we got for free from the karaoke bar, it's called 'Karaoke voice drink.' Not sure if it is meant to make your voice better or stop you from getting a hangover. Unfortunately it did neither.)

What I noticed the other night was that the people around me were on a real high. Of course I thought that they were all drunk and because I had arrived late I thought that they had imbibed an obscene amount of beer.

A couple of people may have done that but I'm pretty sure they were just high on life and why is that? They were in a group and they were feeding of the energy that being in group does for some people. For me it was tiring and when most of the people were carrying on to the next place after the karaoke finished I knew that I had to go home as I was running on fumes at that stage. My energy was running low and I said my good nights.

That is the secret for people that may be introverted but still like going out on the town from time to time. By all means, get out there. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Drink heaps. But know when your energy stocks are getting low and when you have to leave and just leave. Don't come out with a big long explanation, just say that you going because the more you stand around the more that the group will convince you to stay and if your energy is low it will turn into hell. Trust me on this, I know this from experience.

Do go out and have fun. Don't over do it. Do leave when you want to. Don't let people talk you from going home. Be strong. After about five minutes they will have forgotten that you were there anyway.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Cherry Blossoms: A sign of a new beginning


It's spring time here in Japan and that means only one thing, hanami or we would say in English, cherry blossom viewing. 

When I first learned the word hanami, it sounded like the most boring thing in the world. Looking at flowers?!?!?!? No thank you. But when I came to Japan I found out what it was all about.

Hanami is all about celebrating that fresh start. The winter is coming to an end, the flowers are blooming again. It is becoming warmer and warmer and summer is on it's way. 

Nature has decided that it will change for the coming summer and it does it in a spectacular way with the bright colours of pink and white and others.

This is nice for nature and it is nice for us as well but we don't have to wait for spring to make a change. We can make a change at any minute of the day or night. We have the decision making ability to decide what we want and the good thing is that you can do it right now.

Sometimes I walk around during the course of my day andI realise that I don't have to be in a bad mood. I don't have to be annoyed at the idiot at the train station. I can just laugh it off.

There is that old saying that if you had $86,400 in your bank account and someone stole $10 from it would you spend the rest of the day trying to find that person so you can give them a real bashing. No of course not. But someone pissed you off for 10 seconds and you spend the rest of the day thinking about. The remaining 86,390 seconds of that day you are thinking about it. What you should do is make the decision that life is too short to worry about those kinds of trivialities and you are going to get back to focusing on your goals and objectives. 

Enjoy the spring and remember you can get back on track whenever you want, so why not now? I'm going to.

The Daily RBL Video Blog - Hanami

Here is the next video from The Daily RBL. Today we talk about cherry blossom viewing in Japan and the beauty it brings with it.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Various ways to regain momentum

Momentum is an interesting thing. You can build it up quickly to where you become unstoppable but you can also lose it very quickly.

What do you do when you find yourself losing momentum?

1. Go back to your goals. Remember why you wake up early in the morning and go to bed late at night.

2. Hit the gym. Just doing something as simple as working out for one hour will get you that energy back that you have lost.

3. Drink lots of water. You might spend a lot of time in the loo (toilet) especially in the winter but you will find that even drinking 500mls of cold water will left your spirits ten fold.

4. Watch what you eat. Try to plan each day so that you are not running around eating not so healthy food. Also, cut down your sugar content. I tell you from experience that that sugar content is probably slowing you down more than anything else.

5. Don't worry about perfectionism. Don't worry that it is not exactly what you think it is going to be. The fact that you have got something out there means that you can improve on it at a later date. If you just sit there and procrastinate then you are going to have all sorts of problems.

6. Take a day off where you don't do anything remotely related to what you are trying to achieve. You sit back and do something completely different to what you usually do. Go for a hike (tramp for New Zealand readers) or play tennis or do something that you don't do often.

There you go. There are 6 ideas that you can use if you get into a problem with your momentum.

I think that the most important thing is to realise that you have lost momentum and to acknowledge it and to not beat yourself up about it too much. You got to realise that it happens to the best of them and the best thing is to get back on the horse as quickly as possible.

Monday, 27 March 2017

How to present to different people

It is said that the reason Al Gore made a movie about climate change is that he couldn't get through to the other powers that be. These guys and girls (although I read this morning that I shouldn't use that word) are not interested in looking at graphs and tables and charts. They turn off very quickly.

So what did Al Gore do? He made a movie and then the powers that be sat up and listened.


Because the presentation was exciting. It was a movie. Who doesn't like a movie, right? The congressmen couldn't get excited about some grainy photos with a few cracks in the earth's surface. you have to do something out of the box and something interesting.

Shark Tank is an American television series based on the Japanese series, Money Tigers. Basically wannabe entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to investors and if the investors are interested they make the entrepreneurs an offer and then some negotiation is done and they come up with a deal or not.

What I was really interested in Shark Tank was that the entrepreneurs had obviously practiced their pitches, which is great but it almost came across as a stage performance as opposed to a business presentation.

Is this usual or is it just for the television cameras? I'm not sure. It could be a bit of both, especially in the United States of America.

I could see that in this program the pitch has to be exciting and compelling like the Al Gore movie. If it isn't the sharks are going to get bored easily and unless the numbers work very well, the entrepreneurs are going to be sent packing very quickly.

What is the point of today's post?

You have to know your audience. You have to know how they take information. If the person you are talking to has great attention to detail then you are going to have to have all of the details. You are going to have to have all of the answers.

If you are presenting to someone who likes the high energy, exciting pitch, then you know what you have to do. It can't be boring.

Before you do your pitch try to find something about your prospective client/customer. This will make it easy for both you and the prospects as well because they are getting the information in a way that suits them.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Not feeling like it is no excuse.

It's just after 11pm on Sunday night and do you know what, I have forgotten the number one rule.

Do you know what that is?

Successful people do what unsuccessful people don't want to do whether they feel like it or not.

I haven't felt like doing anything today. It has been cold, it has been raining. It's been miserable. I can barely walk and I wasn't going to write anything today. I just didn't feel like it.

This is the biggest mistake.

Even though you don't feel like going to the gym. You get up and you get your backside to the gym.

Even if you don't to write your blog for that day. You get your computer out and you start writing.

I forgot this rule today and I have basically wasted a day. That's not good on my part.

Remember, not feeling like it is not an excuse.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Don't assume that they can't.

I am writing this blog post here. It is quite a nice place to concentrate and you can really knuckle down and do some good work.

We are on the 37th floor here and on a clear day it certainly has a very nice view. You can even see Mount Fuji.

On the first floor of this building is a small supermarket in which I go to regularly to buy some drinks or snacks to consume while working. It has everything I want but there is one problem and it is at the checkout.

At the checkout you have the option whether or not you need a plastic bag to carry your shopping in. Half the time I am asked if I need the bag and the other half I'm not asked. Why am I not asked and everyone else is asked? This does annoy me from time to time.

The other day I was in a convenience store and the procedure in Japan and most countries in fact is that you take your stuff to the counter. The shop staff say hello, then tell you the price and then thank you for coming. It's all really simple, right?

Well, this one particular day the shop clerk didn't say anything. I'm standing there like a bloody idiot waiting for him to tell me the price and I get nothing. He pointed at the price on the register and I'm thinking this isn't how he has been trained to do this transaction.

Anyway the moral of this story is don't you decide if the other person can do something or not. In the above two cases, the shop clerks had both decided that i couldn't speak Japanese. As far as I am concerned that isn't their decision to make. I say, just do your job properly and the customer will tell you if they can understand or not.

In China, when I was at a convenience store, the only thing I understood was "ni hao" which is Chinese for hello and the price. I was treated like a normal customer and I am sure if he had asked me a question I would have told him.

That's fine, surely? Or am I losing something here culturally? Maybe I am.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Embrace who you are

A few years ago, actually more than 15 years ago, I was sitting in my apartment on a cold Sunday afternoon when my phone rang. These were the days (that makes me sound ancient) that we still had something called a landline phone. (For younger readers, I'll put a picture of one below so you know what I am talking about.)

Anyway, the phone rang and it was a friend of mine who was living in the neighbouring city. I think he was a little bit bored and wanted a chat or go for a beer or something similar.

At the time I was watching the movie Annie.

Now, let me give you a little bit of background, I grew up enjoying musicals. I still do. My grandmother says that she used to play The Sound of Music soundtrack while I was sitting in my cot as a baby. Maybe that is why I am high on the hill.

My friend called me at the time Annie was singing Tomorrow, which I believe is the most famous song from the movie.

He immediately recognised the song as I hadn't muted the television and he started laughing.

"Are you watching Annie?" he said in his strong American accent.

I immediately recognised what he was thinking. He was going to make fun of me for watching this kind of movie.

I said, "No. I was just flicking through the channels when you called." I told a big Pork pie. (A Pork pie is Cockney for lie)

When I think about it, why did I have to lie to him? Why did I have to hide the fact that yes, I quite enjoy watching these kinds of movies?

Well, that answer to this is I don't know. I suppose at the time I must have thought that it is not a manly thing to like these kinds of movies so I told a lie.

Telling a lie, not watching musicals would have to be least manly thing you can do, so I wasn't very proud of myself.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the alpha male. In the animal kingdom, it is the biggest, loudest animal of the pack. Think Simba from The Lion King.

In the human kingdom it isn't necessarily the guy in the centre of the room holding court, talking with a loud voice, telling joke after joke.

The alpha male is the one who knows himself and has self awareness. You don't have to wear any particular clothes or listen to any particular music or play any particular sport.

You need to embrace who you are and also, most importantly, accept that there are people out there who like different things to you.

For example, most men of my generation like Star Wars and can usually recite a few lines here and there. But if they don't like Star Wars, does that mean that they are weird and strange?

No, not at all, it just means that they don't like Star Wars.

The fact that I like musicals, does that make me feminine and ladylike and god forbid, gay? Not at all, I'm just a guy who likes musicals. I know that. I accept that. You can accept it too if you like. I don't care if you don't. Your reaction says more about you than me.

Here are two things that you can do:

1. Embrace who you are. Embrace the things that you enjoy as those things are what makes you uniquely you.

2. Educate yourself. Hit the books. Education doesn't finish when you leave school or university, it is a never-ending journey of seeking knowledge. When you arm yourself with this knowledge, I assure you that you will become the most compelling man in the room because the people around you will be interested in what you are saying.

Half the battle is understanding who you are and when you figure that it, embrace it, be proud of it and get going. It is all downhill from there.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

When going to a party can be a real chore

I remember being with my first girlfriend. We had only been going out for a few weeks and we went to one of her friend's parties. I was told that her ex-boyfriend was there. For some reason this was not a good thing for me and I did not want to enter the house. I felt intimidated for some reason.

I know now that I wasn't intimidated by him (who I never met) but I was intimidated by the party.

Because I liked my girlfriend I had agreed to go along with her. At the time I had thought that the reason I didn't want to go into the house was because of the ex-boyfriend. I now know that that wasn't the case at all. No siree. Little, introverted old me just didn't want to join the party and that was the excuse. I'm not proud of it but that was the reason. (RMS nee D, if you are reading this, I am sorry.)

We were together for a couple of years and I remember another occasion that I went to my girlfriend's friend's wedding. It was on the Saturday and we went to the area where it was been held on the Friday afternoon.

They had a gathering on the Friday night which I decided to miss. I went by myself to watch a cricket game. To this day, I still think it is the most exciting game that I have ever attended.

Even then in February 1997 I knew that it was better to be by myself than in a big group. I knew that I was attending the wedding the following day so I knew that I needed my time alone. The cricket was just an excuse to get out of there.

Once you understand all of this stuff, I believe that your life will become a lot easier. You won't feel guilty about going to things by yourself or saying no to an event. You won't feel so bad about staying in on a Saturday night. That is 100% fine. You are being true to yourself. That is all you can ask of yourself.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Love for an introvert

Introverted people might not show their love in the way a more extroverted person might but that doesn't mean that we are emotionless. We love with a passion and if you are dating an introverted person, you will know whether they tell you or not that they love you. They will want to spend more time with you alone. They probably won't be too keen to spend time with your friends but believe me when they are wth you, they will be with you 100% and just with being with you, they will be recharging.

In saying that, lets looks at some quotes about love from an introvert's perspective.

The first one is from the patron saint of introverts worldwide, Susan Cain:

"Introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly."

I think that basically this sums it up in one. Sure, we might like to recharge by ourselves or with someone we feel is special but we will do anything for friends, family, or lovers. If that means jumping out of our comfort zones. If that means dancing like a maniac at your friend's wedding, we will do it, because we think you are special and we want to show it to you even if we don't say it often.

The final quote is from Adam S. McHugh:

"Introverts treasure the close relationships they have stretched so much to make."

Yes! This is so true as well. In the world of apps and dating sites and friend finders and the like it can be easy to find a date or someone but in this throw-away society it is easy to lose them just as fast. I have found that people who I have kind of kept in contact with are people I might have met at events or parties or something similar. I treasure those because, instead of sitting in front of my phone either swiping life or right, I have forced myself to get out of the house, to travel to the place and to talk to strangers. Usually it is fun, but I do know my limit and I do know my energy range and I will excuse myself when I feel my energy source on low.

Don't disregard people because they might not be loud and exciting. I tell you one thing, they will be very loyal and will love and care for you as well as anyone can and that is all you can ask for, right?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Coming out of your shell in Kansai

I was talking with a client recently and she was telling me about her family situation. It sounded really interesting to me so I would like to share it with you here today.

First of all my client comes from an area in Japan where the inhabitants could be classified as "lively."

The Kansai region could be considered the cultural and historical heart of Japan. The people from this area generally are considered to be down to earth and have a great sense of humour. In fact it is well know that a lot of the comedians in Japan come from this area.

Kansai people are a bit more open compared to Kanto (Tokyo) people. The people in Tokyo seem to be a little bit more reserved (unless they are drinking) and everything is a bit more formal.

For example a few years ago I went to Osaka to watch a Field Hockey Olympic qualifying tournament. On the last day, New Zealand lost their classification game and I had had my fill of hockey for a weekend so I decided to have a look around the stadium and I found a sport shoe shop. I'm always interested to see what they have in those kinds of shops so I went in.

The shop assistant who was probably a university student greeted me in the normal Japanese way. I responded in the normal Japanese way. I said nothing. Then she asked me how I was. This is unusual, for Tokyo anyway and I said that I was fine. She then proceeded to ask me where I was from and what I was doing in Osaka. I told her that I was watching the hockey and that I lived in Chiba Prefecture.

She then started teaching me some of the local Osaka dialect. I then taught her some of the rural Chiba dialect which must have been quite amusing to other shop assistants and customers.

Long story short, I left there with a new pair of shoes and a great story about how different Osaka is to Tokyo.

Anyway, back to my client. She is very chatty and seems to be very sociable. She tells me she likes going out and trying different restaurants with her friends and she really enjoys living in Tokyo although she does get homesick from time to time.

She told me about her mother and father. It sounds as though she takes after her mother. Her mother has a lot of friends and really likes socialising but she sacrificed a lot of that to look after her children (my client and her brother). The father was more introverted and had very few friends if any and he liked doing things by himself. He would go and play golf, go running and even go cycling and leave my client and mother and brother by themselves and it sounds as though she to this day doesn't have a very good relationship with her father which is very unfortunate.

It made me sad hearing about this story.

If you energise by being by yourself that is fine. A lot of us are in that situation but remember unless you are the ultimate of hermits you still have to socialise and there are no better people to socialise with than your family. You can be yourself and no one is going to judge you. Remember the most important people in your life, don't neglect them.

There you have it, you have learned a little bit about the Kansai region of Japan and the difference between it and Tokyo.

The third city of Japan is probably Nagoya. I remember a friend describing it as the Invercargill of Japan. I've never been to Invercargill so I'm not sure if that is true or not. I do have a story about Nagoya but I will leave it to your imagination. Lets just say it involves me and a well-endowed Brazilian woman and I wasn't very introverted that night. (See! It can be done. You can come out of your shell on occasions.)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Penn and Teller: An example of the archetypical introvert/extrovert relationship

This is Penn Jillette (the tall guy) and Teller. They are magicians. Penn is the orator of the pair while Teller very rarely speaks. Teller seems to be the slight of hand guy while Penn has mastered the art of misdirection very well. He also brings charisma to the pair and is a fantastic speaker. (Lets just say that I wish that I could speak half as well as he can.)

They have been working together in show business for more than 40 years and quite frankly I think they are very entertaining. I like the contrast of the loud, confident talking of Penn and the silent Teller. It really works and they have been extremely successful.

One of my favourites is the clip below from their show called Penn & Teller: Bullshit where they basically prank diners with bottled water. Even though all the waters are in different bottles the water comes from a garden hose.

Penn and Teller are a classic case of how well an introverted and extroverted character can work together. Penn is the outgoing talker of the couple while Teller is the quiet one and they both play their roles to perfection. I'm willing to bet that the characters they portray on television are what they are like in real life too.

I read that they really respect each other but they are not best friends. I'm sure they enjoy each other's company socially but they don't live in each other's pocket which in any good business relationship is the way it should be.

You would find that in many marriages or long-term relationships it is the same. I know my friend's parents, one is extroverted and the other is introverted. It works. You can play of each other's strengths and weaknesses.

I'm not saying that Teller can't talk well. There are a few videos on YouTube where he is speaking and he speaks well. It is just in their relationship, Penn is the better speaker so why shouldn't he do the speaking? I know for me he is very easy to listen to.

You are probably not going to consciously think about it when you are in a relationship but after awhile, you will see that one of the reasons that you are together is that the other person has characteristics that you admire or would like yourself. When you hear people say, "I'm attracted to him but I don't know why" (besides the obvious things) it is because they have things that you can't do.

Introverts and extroverts. You might annoy each other all the time but you really are a great combination and you should celebrate your relationship.

Penn and Teller. More than 40 years. In the age of the divorce, this shows that it is possible to keep your relationship going.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Why do we not like the simple way?

I was talking with a friend of mine recently. He is looking to open his own business consultancy. He already has one consultancy specialising in something else but he is looking to branch out into a different area in the near future.

Because of that he has been reading various books to help him shape his methodology. One of the books he read suggested that when you are brought into a business, the more complicated you can make your suggestions or solutions the more money you can charge. This got me thinking about human psychology and how ridiculous sometimes we all are.

Lets think about this for awhile, when we ask a consultant or adviser for advice, we expect some kind of solution, right?

How many times have you been to the doctor and his or her advice is to do nothing, just rest in bed for a couple of days? I don't know about you but for me, that is the best result that could happen. However some people expect an impossible to understand explanation and enough medication to sink the Titanic. Some people feel that if they don't get that at the minimum, they feel shortchanged. It feels like a waste of their time and money. They feel like their is something wrong with them so they need something. Whatever that is.

In other consultancy type scenarios, if the consultant gives a very simple solution, we also feel like we have been shortchanged.

Our attitude is, "What am I paying you for? I can do that myself. I don't need your overpriced advice."

The consultant ultimate comeback to that objection would be "Have you done it?"

99.99999999% of the time the answer to the above question is, "No."

"Why not? You just said it was really easy and you can do it yourself."

"Yes, but, umm."

Why do we have to overcomplicate things? Why do we disregard simple things? Human psychology is interesting, isn't it? We don't value free things although we want it for free and then we get an answer we can understand and we are paying for it we complain.

Why do we make it so difficult for ourselves?

I guess we think life is difficult when it doesn't have to be.

KISS - Keep it simple, stupid.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

What would you do?

Unless you live under a rock or live on Sotobanari Island in Okinawa then you have probably seen or have heard other people talk about the video below:

This is Professor Robert Kelly of Pusan National University in South Korea. He was conducting a live interview with the BBC from his home when he was interrupted by his children.

Credit to Professor Kelly that he was able to complete his interview in a professional manner despite the interruption.

During the week there has been some, what I think is unwarranted criticism of Professor Kelly about his treatment of his daughter. He was conducting a very serious interview and he was interrupted by his children. How many times does that happen around the world in the course of a day? He did what millions of parents would have done.

I remember on numerous occasions been told to be quiet because my mother or father was talking on the phone or they had guests around at our house. What was the difference between my example and what we saw Professor Kelly? Nothing. His children were just being children and he was just being a busy father, bringing home the bacon so to speak. What is wrong with that? Have we gotten so PC that the rules of parenthood have changed? I hope not.

Videos like this, although funny do nothing for me and why should Professor Kelly get criticised for what he did? He hardly threw his daughter against the wall in disgust. All a bit of a none issue really.

The second thing that came out of the interview and I must admit I was a little bit guilty of it was the fact that Professor Kelly's wife was not thought to be his wife but a nanny. People criticised this because of the stereotype in Asia of a white family with an Asian helper.

I must admit that I thought Kim Jung-A was the nanny too, not because she is Asian but just by the look on her face and her body language. It suggested to me that she as thinking to herself, "Oh shit, I am so going to get fired today."

Does this make me guilty of racial stereotyping? I don't know. Maybe it does. I'm just saying that it could have been a caucasian and if she had had that same body language then I would of thought that she was the nanny.

Professor Robert Kelly and his family have certainly got their 15 minutes of fame this week. I can imagine that the 21st birthdays in a few years time are going to be very interesting with a few jokes flying about.

There has been some bad things come out of it like racial stereotyping and ignoring children but I am glad that Professor Kelly and his wife Jung-A have seen it for what it is, a funny episode that they are going to be able to play for years and years to come.

It's nice to have these little stories from time to time but we can't afford to forget about the bigger picture and that is the powder keg that is the Korean peninsula.

The sooner that they can find peace in that part of the world and all 75 million people living on the peninsula can find freedom and the ability to question their surroundings then we will have something to really celebrate and I hope that that comes sooner rather than later.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Look up while walking

When I was at high school I remember a particular teacher would always walk from the classroom to the staff room with his head down, looking at the asphalt. I never knew why he did that. Was he thinking about his next class? Was he thinking about what he was going to have for dinner that night? I don't know.

This morning when I was walking I noticed many people with their head down looking at the footpath as they walked to work. It was a beautiful morning. It was warm. It was sunny and it's Friday but people were looking down, dawdling to what looked like to me to be an execution.

Why do people do this? Is it a habit? I don't know. Are they genuinely miserable and they don't want to look up? I didn't know.

My advice to you today is walk straight, walk tall and walk proud and as my mother used to say, "look the world in the eye."

Forget about your smartphone for a few minutes. That email from some obscure person will still be there in five minutes. Look up. If you are brave, smile at people walking by or do as do because I am not that brave, look at them acknowledge them. You never know who might be walking past you.

Head up everyone. Put a smile on your dial and kick a** in life. I assure you, you will feel a lot better.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Omotenashi Part 2


In this post I wrote about omotenashi. The Japanese concept that can be loosely translated as hospitality. I don't think that translation shows the nuance of the word. Another way to translate it is by saying that you are anticipating the other person's needs.

Today I thought about omotenashi again when I was at a convenience store that I go to semi-regularly. I deliberately went to the clerk who is always smiley and chatty. I get a good vibe from her and even though the interaction is short it always leaves with a good feeling.

Today, however, she was not herself. She obviously had a cold or the flu. She was wearing a mask and it was obvious that she wasn't feeling very well.

It goes without saying that I didn't enjoy the interaction today. I didn't like the fact that she looked sick and also that her sickness could be transferred to me. (Selfish I know, but if you can't look after number 1, who can look after, right?)

This got me thinking, did she go to work today because she needed the money and she wouldn't get any sick pay or did the bosses make her come because they couldn't be bothered finding a replacement. (If that was the case, they should be fired.)

Why should they be fired?

They didn't anticipate the needs of the employee or the customer (me).

I don't want to be served my food or anything with someone who is coughing, liquid spilling out of the nose and mouth. I know that it is part of being a human but it was just disgusting.

I don't like that old-fashioned idea of you should just laugh it off and you are weak for wanting a day off. By just having one day in bed, you might miss out on one day of work but you will feel better for the following four days instead of suffering for five days in a row.

I must admit that I have worked through colds and it isn't much fun although I've found that if I drink more water than normal for a couple of days I almost drown out the cold but I should really rest.

What's the point of the post?

Well, I believe when you catch cold or something worse, your body is saying to rest and rest you should.

If you are the boss, let them rest, one day off will raise their productivity for the rest of the week.

Just don't be like this boss.

The Daily RBL Video Blog - Networking

Another video from The Daily RBL - In this video I talk about attending a networking event. This can be nerve-wracking for a lot of people and it is for me as well.

I believe that you have to look for people who might be their by themselves as well and befriend them and go from there. At the beginning of the video I talk about the gaijin ambivert. This is in reference to my Japanese language blog

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Four Simple Rules

I was looking at this post on Instagram the other day. It talks about the 4 simple rules of life. They are simple but they are good and we should all follow them:

4 Simple Rules

1. Wake up early.
2. Work harder than you think you did yesterday.
3. Never go more than 3 days without exercise.
4. Make time to read every single day.

1. Wake up early

All the literature I read seems to have this as a very important one. 5am seems to be a time that is popular among these people and do you know what, I agree. I find that if I get up at this time and I have the discipline to stay up, I get a lot more done and it is quite pleasing to look at your watch and it is 9am and you have basically done everything that you needed to have done on that particular day. You've done the washing, you've been to the gym, you've done your reading and it is Saturday. Wow! You have the whole day to yourself.

Recently I saw a post talking about 5am. It said something like "winners are either going to bed at 5am or just getting up, which is just about right.

2. Work harder than you think you did yesterday.

For me this applies to work and also in the gym. If you and I can work harder than we did yesterday, then we are going to see results faster than normal. I'd like to think I work harder than previous day but I am human and sometimes that just won't work. After doing the Crossfit Open workouts I find that it takes me two or three days to get back to normal because I put a lot of physical and emotional energy into it.

The secret here is not to get down on yourself because you are not working as hard as the previous day. Recognise that you are a human being and that there are ups and downs in life but don't make a habit. This is fatal for your personal development.

3. Never go more than 3 days without exercise.

I'm going to let you in on a secret, I decided not to go to the gym today because I wanted to write this post and do some other things at my "office." For me that is the bad news. The good news is that I was at the gym yesterday and did a good running type workout and I will go tomorrow. I find if I start mission days at the gym, it starts getting easier to say no the following day and the following day and the following day and before you know it your belly is spilling over the top of your jeans, you are puffing as you walk up the stairs and you wake up tired instead of refreshed.

Do some exercise. It's good for you. Believe me.

4. Make time to read every single day.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I try to do this. I must admit that the last few days I have been slack and that is something in need to remedy. When you miss a few days it is difficult to get back into the habit and it is like getting your behind to the gym. It can take a big effort.

When you do get to the gym however it feels good and it makes it all seem worthwhile. It's the same with reading everyday. It can take some effort to start it but once you start, the things you read about can be quite interesting and it certainly helps you in social conversations.

Follow those four simple rules and you will get somewhere, I assure you.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

What's YOUR reason?

I'm often asked why I started this blog. Until I started writing daily I didn't really understand why people ask that question. They ask it because they don't understand why. To most people, you get up, take the children to school, go to work, pick the children up, go home, have dinner, watch TV and then go to bed. That's perfectly fine but when someone does something outside of that, people get confused.

"Why are they doing that?"

"That isn't normal behaviour." (In their world anyway.)

Back to the question, why did I start writing this blog?

Well ladies and gentlemen, I have the official reason and there is the real reason. I'm willing to bet with most of you with your decisions there is the official reason and the real reason too.

"Why do you want to go to grad school overseas?"

The official reason is probably something like, "Well, I really want to further my career and I believe getting an MBA in the States will help me accomplish my goals." Sounds good right?

The real reason is probably something like, "I have a (secret) boyfriend (or girlfriend) in San Francisco and I want to be closer to them so going to business school seems to be the right way to go about it."

"Why do you change your Facebook profile photo so often?"

The official reason might be "I use my Facebook account to help with my business so I like to change my photo so it shows my potential clients that my business is growing and that will encourage them to do business with me."

The real reason is probably "I like getting likes when I change my photo. It boosts my ego." (I am not ashamed to say that I think like that sometimes.)

Don't be ashamed about what you real reason is.

"Yeah, I'm working out because I want to feel healthy and fit."


"I want to look good naked."

Don't be ashamed because it is the reason that motivates you. It is the reason that gets you up in the morning. It's your reason and nobody else's. Who cares what they think if you don't give them a reason that they don't typically hear?

It's your reason.

Finally, Why did I start this blog?

The official reason is that it is something that I always wanted to do and I thought that it would be a good way to get my thoughts and opinions out.

And the real reason? You are going to have to ask me directly. OK?

Monday, 13 March 2017

You have got to know when to ask for help

"Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it." - Mark Amend

Here is an interesting quote by a gentleman by the name of Mark Amend.

If you look at it, there are three sections to it. Lets have a look at each of those sections.

1. Be strong enough to stand alone. 

In this post I talked about people who go it alone. That can be quite scary, the whole idea of going it alone. 20,000 years ago, if you decided to go it alone or the people around decided to cast you aside from the group then you were probably going to die very shortly.

However in 2017, we don't have huge predators wandering around the streets trying to make you their next lunch. So, be confident in your ideas. There will be people who just don't want to listen to you and think that your ideas are crazy. You can't let those people get the better of you because basically they are trying to bring you down to a level that they can understand.

You have to be strong. You can't listen to the naysayers. You have to go with you gut, go with your heart because at the end of the day, their is only one person who knows what is good for you and that is you.

2. Smart enough to know when you need help.

A lot of people, guys in particular don't want to ask for help. What's that stereotype about men? Not wanting to ask for directions? I don't know. Maybe I'm not a real man, if I'm lost I will ask for directions. Do I have to give up my penis if I do?

In life, you are going to need help from time to time and knowing when to ask for it is crucial as it maybe something simple that you are forgetting and the person helping you could just give you that one little tip that could push you over the edge towards a successful result.

3. Brave enough to ask for it.

Asking for help can be very difficult for a lot of people. Just by asking for that help, you are showing to the world that you are weak, well that is what some people think anyway. When you ask for help, you are putting yourself out their to be ridiculed but that should be the least of your worries.

By saying that you want some help, you are putting your pride to one side and saying, "yes" I can learn some things from other people and it is a team sport after all.

There you have it. Everyone needs help from time to time and it is a matter of timing and knowing that you need it. So let me repeat:

"Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it." - Mark Amend

Sunday, 12 March 2017

What is ghosting?


Have you heard this term before? It has been around for a few years but I  have just heard about it recently.

Ghosting is when someone who you have been seeing (dating) suddenly disappears out of your life with no warning. They don't reply to your texts. They don't answer your calls. They delete you from Facebook, they run away and you have no idea why.

This can be quite disconcerting as nobody likes to be rejected, especially when everything was going well, in your mind anyway.

Have you ever been ghosted on?

Well, please remember that it says more about the other person than it does you.

People ghost because they don't want to hurt the other person's feelings but in doing it they actually are really hurting them. If you ghost someone you are not thinking about the other person's feelings at all. You are being extremely selfish and it says more about your immaturity and lack of social skills than anything else.

If you are ghosted upon, as difficult as it may sound, try to remember that in a way the other person is doing you a favour. They are obviously immature and they are not worthy of your time and think yourself lucky that you have found out about that part of their personality now than later down the track.