Archive for February, 2021

February 22, 2021

Facing conflict?

by Rod Smith

Facing Necessary Conflict and considering timing, tone, intentions, and love 

If you are facing a challenging circumstance with someone, preparation time is invaluable. Barging ahead is seldom helpful. Bulldozering creates immediate resistance. Then you must face the initial circumstance and the resistance created by your lack of planning. 

Before you engage please consider:

Intentions: What do you hope to achieve? Can you express your hopes in 20 words or fewer? You may be very good at flying by the seat of your pants but preparation for necessary conflict is usually a very good idea. 

Tone: Are you on a warpath or do you come in peace? Are you sure you are barking up the right tree? When we are angry it is common to generalize all our issues into one perceived enemy. This will not be helpful.

Timing: Has enough time passed so your responses will be more objective? Are you trying to humiliate your opponent? Letting things rest for a few days usually helps shape perspectives. 

Love: No matter who your opponent is, spouse, business partner, complete stranger, you will be better off if your overriding desire is to learn more about yourself and about love. If your goal is to get even or win or defeat you are probably not ready and may need to go back to the drawing board.

February 15, 2021

To the millions of South African high school students returning to school over the next few days

by Rod Smith

It is highly likely everyone who works at your school is there because they like people and they want to assist you to be very successful. They find empowering others to be fulfilling. While teachers and coaches may really like rugby, the sciences, mathematics, or languages, these legitimate and deeply held passions probably did not draw them to  the profession. You did. Yes, you. Get to know your teachers. Let them get to know you. You are a person in a school, not a gadget on an assembly line. Teachers love to teach. When you demonstrate you want to learn, you will have life-long advocates in all who teach you and people who will readily applaud your every success.      

Your success will be built from the ground up. It’s a lesson-by-lesson, day-by-day, assignment-by-assignment journey. There will be days when you can offer more; days when you feel you have less motivation and have less to offer. Your teachers will understand this. They have similar experiences. On days you are less motivated your challenge is to remain up to date. Falling behind is dangerous. Before you can say Pythagoras, the wave of unfinished work will hit you and you’ll be drowning in unfinished work and diminishing grades or marks. Use the days you feel highly motivated to get ahead and so create a cushion for the not-so-good days.

February 10, 2021

While it is not guaranteed, you get returns on your investments

by Rod Smith

There is so much turmoil and uncertainty all around you and all around me and the causes and reasons for the turmoil and the uncertainties are many. 

Nonetheless, of these things I am convinced: 

You will find what you are looking for. You will (usually) get a return on what you invest.

Look for beauty and you will find it. Look for friendliness, it will meet you time and time again, even to the point of overwhelming you. Look for opportunities to love and to serve and you will never be short of possibilities. Be generous and others will be generous to you. Forgive, and you, yourself will find greater freedom. 

Look for rejection and it will be yours before you know it. If you want to complain and be negative you will never be short of company, it just may not be the kind of company you want to keep. Resent others for whatever reason and you will be resented. 

These are not tricks or formulas. It is the way the world usually works. 

While I do not believe for a moment that we can control all that happens to us or that somehow we are responsible when all undesirable things occur, I do believe that we are capable of projecting goodness and kindness and when we do we increase the possibility of reaping desired benefits.