“I restore myself when I’m alone.”
Marilyn Monroe


I know a lot of people aren’t going to get this, but my favourite thing is to be alone.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like visiting with friends, going out, spending time with family and loved ones, it just means that I really enjoy being with the one person I am never away from … me.

So, seeing as I am always with me, what is the big deal about spending time alone?
That is when I recharge instead of being drained. When I have time to think instead of solving problems, when I can start on one thing and end up somewhere altogether somewhere else and have such a good time along the way. When the tick tock I hear is my beating heart and not the clock…

What do I want to do when I am alone? Nothing and everything. The most activity takes place in my head. I can be reading a novel, sorting through some of the many articles I have kept, tidying up files on my computer, or on an extremely rare occasion watching a movie by myself. I have looked through loads of websites for hobbies, but I haven’t found anything that irritates me. (Suggestions welcome)

Some people cannot be alone. While having the utmost sympathy for people who always have to be around others to be entertained, I just don’t get that they don’t know themselves well enough to appreciate the person they are. Unless of course, they are a bit of a jerk, in which case it would depend on themselves if they were willing to change. Unfortunately, people don’t know what they don’t know and some don’t want to do anything about it even if they did!

Others are lonely even when they are with people. From my experience, those people maybe want to be with people that aren’t there anymore instead of trying to enjoy the people with them at the moment.

Have you ever played the “Ja but” game? It goes like this:

• It’s so nice to be by myself. Ja but wait, one day when you are all alone, you will be sorry
• It’s so nice to have such silence. Ja but wait, if you go deaf one day, you will wish to hear the sounds again
We even do it with the weather!!
• Lovely warm weather. Ja but wait, just now we are going to be wishing for cooler days
• Nice to have rain. Ja but wait, there’ll be too much and then there’ll be floods

Wow – we complain about EVERYTHING – and the most about things we can’t even control!

Which brings me back to me. I am going through a much needed recharge at the moment. Everything and everybody was just getting too much for me. Things that normally didn’t even bother me was suddenly demanding a reaction that would have involved temper tantrums in the least and violence at the most. Thinking back now, I’m actually ashamed that things have got to this point, but having gone through burnout in 2009, it feels like it is starting again and if it took me three months and intense therapy to recover last time, I don’t want to go through that again.

So I have imposed a two week absence from work on myself. I know it sounds crazy, seeing as we work from home, but luckily my office is inside so I can physically separate myself. Mentally it’s not so easy, because there are still things I want to work on, part of the stress that has been building up – but I need to be away from that daily having to deal with things.

And thanks to my awesome team at MGL, with Viv fielding the calls and supported by Helen, I am able to step away. Almost away. As away as possible.

May you too take an opportunity to step away, recharge and make a good start.

Attitude beat all

Over under aroundI like to set up obstacles and defeat them.

Heath Ledger

Sometimes I find a quote and it triggers something and other times, like today I went looking for a quote.

I wasn’t too sure about this one, because is an obstacle that you set for yourself really an obstacle or is it self-sabotage?

Anyway, I was thinking about obstacles and how we can overcome them.  And how some people will give up at the first obstacle they face.

You actually can’t win with some people, they will find a problem for every solution, but generally, people do want to move on and improve their lives.

The problem is though, that you don’t know what you don’t know.  Things change all the time.  Think back to the 1940’s and 1950’s – “get a good job” was the most important thing.  Unless you were a woman, then it was “get a good husband”.

So people stuck it out in those jobs – or moved to slightly better jobs – because that is what they were told to do, it was all they knew.  The lucky ones worked for places that had a pension fund so that they had something when they stopped working.

The next mantra was “finish school” – then “get a qualification” – by now we have moved on so that women were also included.

No one was taught to have a good attitude and how that attitude can change things around you and your life.  Work hard, be polite, don’t steal … but not have a good attitude.  The word attitude can be replaced with mindset.

I’m not so crazy about “positive thinking” – you can’t just think about something and it happens, else I would be writing this from my house along the Cape coast.

But anyone can have a good attitude. It doesn’t cost anything and you can develop it.  It becomes a habit and having a good attitude will go a long way to overcoming so many obstacles.

Anyway back to the obstacle part.  Think about obstacles like our potholes.  Joburg people are very familiar with them (Cape Town, that’s when the roads aren’t maintained and eventually you end up with a crater and damage to your car).

If you regularly drive the same road, you get to know where the potholes are and you avoid them – a little to the right, never mind the driver from the oncoming lane who thought you were going to hit him, a little to the left or maybe you even change your route.

Point is, you have to become aware of the obstacle/pothole/problem.  Then you can take corrective action.  Being upset about the problem won’t change it, cursing the pothole is not going to fill it.  But if you are aware and looking out for them and are ready to take evasive action, you have to agree that is a lot easier than riding through life being angry.

The other thing is that if you can make a good attitude a habit, you start being able to find solutions – whether it is over, under or around.

What if you don’t know how to overcome a problem? TALK to someone!  Anyone will do – unless you need a kick in the pants, then don’t go to someone who will pat you on the back and go there, there…

When you talk to someone, there are two of you listening.  You hear your own words which is why sometimes the person talking comes up with their own solution just by hearing it aloud.

Don’t talk to a negative person!  They will suck the life out of you.  That would be like taking a lifejacket off and then jumping into the middle of the ocean.

I truly believe that there is a lot more good in people than they realise and that they can be far more than they are…  it starts with attitude.  Change that and you are on your way.

Until next time, may your obstacles be overcome.