Archive for March, 2021

March 11, 2021

A reader writes

by Rod Smith

Every morning at 7am Monday to Friday I sit in a small coffee shop north of Durban SA reading your column, sometimes in full agreement, sometimes in total disagreement, but always open to new insights, advice and good thoughts. I wish I was better in so many ways ….. swearing, temper, my attitude, and could implement your training, planning, and ‘do good attitude’ but I live in the real world with real challenges both internal and external for whatever reason. I am getting better. I am trying harder and with daily reflection, daily reminders the world can be a better place at least in my environment, thanks to your input. Huge thanks from sunny South Africa.”

This letter made my day. You, sir, are exactly my target audience. You are who I imagine I am writing to sometimes when I open my computer. So, thank you. I would like to join you one morning for that cup of coffee and a chat about where we agree, and don’t. Please keep in mind that I am also trying to do better in my life and I am happy to be on this journey with you, even though we are oceans apart. This too, is the real world even though the challenges may be quite different.

March 9, 2021


by Rod Smith

You may recall as a child being seated in a car at the beachfront and you happily turned the steering wheel in the belief you were driving. The car was on rails. Your efforts, while fun, were wasted. No connection existed between your efforts and the car’s direction. The rails determined the direction. 

Your parents trusted and understood the rail and how it all worked and that’s why they were happy to strap you in and let you go.  

Families, immediate and extended, are much the same. It is almost a perfect picture of the power families have over the individual, just ask Harry and Megan! 

While most of us are not battling a thousand years of history and the deeply held traditions of royalty, we are all steering wildly only to discover there is little or no connection between our efforts and the direction our individual lives and the life of our family is taking. 

Families are powerful institutions that resist change and will even hold others in the family back if they desire too much change. 

Escaping to New Zealand won’t do it either.

Does this mean we are doomed by our dysfunctional family’s history? 

No, if you see and understand it, know how to work with it. 

Yes, if you deny it, ignore it, or think it is not so.

March 1, 2021

Wake up and decide to Love

by Rod Smith

Next time you wake up, or even today, decide you are going to be a loving person, then see what happens. It’s probably best not to tell anyone. It’s a very private, arduous journey. It’s tougher than deciding to become an ironman or ironwoman athlete when you’ve never owned a pair of running shoes or like deciding to climb Mount Everest when you’re not sure where it is and even getting to your mailbox feels like a chore. 

You may think my analogies are exaggerated or ridiculous but they are not and I have running shoes and I know where Everest is. 

When you decide to Love (capital intended) there are potholes, bumps, diversions every yard or meter. 

The largest contributor to the severest hurdles are not other people, tough circumstances, or resistance from persecutors. 

It’s me. 

I get in the way. 

I am not referring to selfishness or self-centeredness or sin any of those things we’ve all heard from pulpits and every variety of self-helpers.   

Love requires on-going authentic humility, action, and seeking the highest good for myself and others or others and myself – it doesn’t matter which I write first. 

It’s easier to google “climbing Mount Everest” than to climb it. 

With a few clicks I can watch ironman events and never leave my house. 

Learning about love or about mountain climbing. running, swimming, or cycling is not the same as doing it.

That’s what gets in my way.