New Possibilities

The New Year gives each one of us an opportunity to start afresh while at the same time aiming at doing more and doing better. The big picture of your life and mine comes to us piecemeal year by year. This explains why we have to look at the passing year closely before planning for the New Year. I have had to assess whether I was able to achieve the goals that I set for myself for this year and the progress I made towards advancing my overall purpose in life. I know that I should have done better in some areas and in others; things were beyond my control. I am now determined to use the lessons I have learned from my failures to improve my future, as for the achievements, they point me toward bigger goals in the years to come. They say that Experience is the best teacher.

As I write this post, a quote by an unknown author keeps coming to me: “Set your goals high enough to inspire you and low enough to encourage you.”
Unrealistic goals put you on pressure and lead to frustration.
For the last five years, I have been a keen Follower of Michael Hyatt, the renowned American life coach and Virtual mentor. He advises each one of us to plan for the year as planning gives us clarity and helps us to make progress to achieving the goals. The three elements of the plan are:
1. The Vision- this is the big picture of your life and it should inspire and inform your plan.
2. The Priorities- the most important things in your life that advance your personal development and fulfillment.
We live in a fast-paced world and many demands are made on us. It is vital that we consistently apply the 80/20 Rule of Time Management: prioritize the 20% most important things in your life and devote 80% of your time, energy, efforts and resources on them. It is the only way to stop the ‘Urgent’ from drowning out the most important activities that advance your overall purpose in life. They change as we grow but essentially they are: family, career, health, finances and relationships.
3. The Actions- the steps to be taken to fulfill your priorities. These are the goals and are better laid out using the SMART acronym:
S- Our goals should be Specific
M- should be Measurable( year-long)
A- should be Actionable
R- should be Realistic.
T- should be Time bound.

These three elements should be aligned together.

I have always had to remind myself that I am in control of my life. It fuels my determination to follow things through to achieve my vision and stay motivated to reach my goals.
I would urge you to believe in yourself and encourage yourself by rewarding yourself for the achievements. Be smart to let go of what no longer serves you and pick what really fits who you now are. This is the only way you can be yourself and let yourself have what you truly want.

As you plan for 2018 and try to make it different from 2017, I wish you happiness and prosperity. I would like to hear about your plans for the New Year.

Thank you for visiting my Blog and reading this post.  I hope it will give you the confidence to make Smarter goals for 2018.Feel free to share it with your family and friends.

 

 

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

I spent last Saturday afternoon singing Christmas carols at the home of one of my childhood friends. Before I got carried away by the singing and before the memories of childhood came flooding in , I had to remind myself of the true meaning of Christmas. As a Christian I know that every family in heaven and on earth receives its free name from God the Father. God the Father sent his only Son to earth to change all those who believe in the Son into members of the holy family. So Christmas is about family, friends and focuses on loving, sharing and giving. A group of about seventy people consisting of the young and old sang the Christmas carols bringing the joyful Christmas spirit into our homes. With hearts filled with love and gratitude, we sang and embraced each other .We sang the traditional Christmas carols like Once in Royal David’s City and Silent Night and we the seniors among the group knew each song line by line! The kid in me just came alive as the treasured memories of the Christmas days celebrated in the past floated to the surface.

I could see myself singing the same Christmas carols as a teenager at home and at the Mayor’s gardens in Kampala. Many years later I was to sing the same Christmas carols in Cape Town botanical gardens at the foot of the Table Mountains. Irrespective of where I have had to join in the Christmas Carol Service , the switching on the Christmas tree lights always symbolizes the ushering in of the Christmas spirit into my home. It always brings in smiles, joy and love in my heart.

I cannot even begin to count how many Christmas cards I have had to write out and post early enough to be received by family and friends in time for Christmas all these years. The e-Christmas cards have been around for a while and I sometimes find them convenient and fast but still I feel that a few special people need the traditional card signed by me. I cannot forget the time I spent with my siblings and later with my children decorating the Christmas tree. It gives me hope that someday, I shall be decorating one with my grandchildren.

Memories of the early morning church service where everyone sings cheerfully and with enthusiasm are greatly treasured .The family gathering that usually follows later, remains the cherry on the cake for many of us. The Christmas meal consisting of a variety of family favourite dishes are a constant reminder of a mother’s labor of love. Their smells and taste are safely stored in my memory too. Not forgetting the traditional Christmas fruit cake; moist and fruit laden. I have always tasted it with my eyes before biting into it!

Now that I have earned membership to the Senior citizens’ Club, it thrills me to see the young creating their own memories of this festive season. I know for sure that once such memories are created, they will be cherished forever.

Over time, I have learned to look out for the needy in my community so that I give and share the joy and peace of the season in my small way with them. I have been amazed by the difference it makes.
To anyone reading this post, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. May God’s love, peace and joy remain in your heart throughout the year. We are blessed to bless others so go out and share this love, peace and joy throughout the New Year.
May 2018 turn out to be your best year yet.

 

 

Where would I be Without Encouragement?

Among the definitions of the word encouragement that I came across while preparing this post was: to give support, confidence or hope to someone. This implies that this person has given up or is about to give up on something. Your encouragement can be given in words or as attention or as a reward and helps to keep the person on the path. Children need more encouragement than adults but we all need it. Parents, teachers and friends are always there for us to motivate us to want to do better and to want to give more. As we grow older it becomes clearer that if you want anything enough you have to encourage yourself first.

As I write now, I am being reminded of the three modes of encouragement. In the ancient Greek games held every four years at Olympia, the winners were given a victory crown of wild olive leaves and an olive branch. In my culture: the Ganda culture of Uganda, mothers used to tie locally made metallic ankle bracelets known as endege on young children to encourage them to learn to walk. The sound made by the bracelet as the child moved around would encourage the child to stay up on her/his feet.

In my teenage years, I was a passionate athlete and was a member of the School Athletics team for some years. Winners in the National School Athletics championships were given book vouchers from the then Uganda Bookshop. I can vividly recall the days when my father would drive me to the bookshop and leave me there for some hours to chose the story books I wanted to buy. I always felt like a kid in a toy shop! At the same time, the best class students in each school subject were presented with books at the end of the year. Thankfully, I was able to collect a number of these and this fuelled my passion for the written word up to today.

All children need to hear adults complement them on what they are doing right and to be taught that failure is part of success and therefore should never allow themselves to be defined by one particular event. For any child, being given encouragement in the form of attention or presence is terribly important. As long as you are present especially for a school event in which he/she is performing; it hardly makes any difference whether he is Joseph, the carpenter or just a tree among the many in the forest. As a reward, a mother’s or father’s simple smile always does the magic.

The psychologist tell us that a child has both physical needs like food, shelter and air and core emotional needs:approval,affirmation and acknowledgement to grow into a well-balanced individual. When the parents or caregivers and our friends provide us with these needs, we all feel good about ourselves and it brings out the best in us. Our parents’ approval, love and acceptance condition us to seek approval from others. Away from home, we seek for these from friends, spouses and coworkers. They give us an emotional sense of security and free us to be ourselves and to effectively engage fully in the world around us.

I have been around for a while and have come to understand that the need for approval, affirmation and acknowledgement never stops. We look for these needs throughout our lives. Each time I post an article on the Blog, I wait patiently and excitedly for comments from the readers. When I get some, I am encouraged to write more posts and to write better too. Sometimes I reward myself with a treat after a hard day’s work.

One encouraging quote by an unknown author says: “ Set your goals high enough to inspire you and low enough to encourage you.’’
Catherine Pulsifer, an inspirational writer says: “ A gift that costs no money but one that costs time and your attention is giving some words of encouragement.’’
You and I can go around building up people; it will create happier and more confident people.

Thank you for visitng my Blog and reading this post. May it stimulate you into encouraging those around you every day. I would be very grateful for a comment about this post and others. Feel free to share the posts with family and friends.

 

A Sense of Belonging

A sense of belonging is a human need like the need for food and shelter. We all yearn to be accepted as a member or a part. The psychologists tell us that the worst fear of any child is being abandoned or rejected. A child would do anything to be loved and be part of things, to make others love and be proud of it. A child can only engage effectively in the world around it if he/she feels a part of this world.

We find this sense of belonging traditionally in the family, in friends, in the church or mosque and now in this Digital era; some find it on Social Media. As we grow older, we try to belong to something bigger than ourselves. This improves our motivation, health and happiness. We tend to focus on getting connected to people who are similar to us; enjoying what we love and having similar values. Maturity gives us the courage to be who we are – to see what we see, know what we know and act on that knowledge. When we act on what we know, we tend to find others like ourselves and then together we can begin creating new worlds where we are.

The Reunion that our Graduate Class organised last month where it all began forty years ago, helped me crystallise the value of a sense of belonging.
Among us were colleagues I last saw on graduation day but all along I have been looking for in my mind. The five years we spent close to one another in the Medical school of Makerere University and the shared experiences during the hostile political climate of the 70s, had bonded us and turned us into friends for life. Little wonder then that when we met last month, we just kicked off where we had left off. I was among the finest people I know. We had taken different journeys and had changed. We have transformed our lives and made contributions to changing others wherever we have worked. We consider ourselves wiser and less naïve. Each trusting herself/himself and others, we sat down and shared our lives and were able to learn from each other. It felt clear and right to celebrate the process we had gone through to become who we were more than the actual success or achievements.

Each one of us felt he/she was a member of the group and it helped us to see the value in life and come to terms with what we had gone through in the prime of our youth. A number of us agreed to write about their unique experiences to help the young ones now going through tough times. This can only happen when you feel that you belong as it frees you to engage freely in the world around you.

Celebrating the process of how each one had achieved her/his success opened us up to giving something back to the community that created us. We all felt we needed to pass on this positive tradition by simply trying to be mindful of the needs of the current students. We are developing a clear and achievable vision for our group and focusing on what we want to do together for the rest of our lives. We want to make the most of our group by helping to make the world a better place in our small ways.
All in all, we were proud of being a part of this group. It was worth spending the time together; we learned many lessons from each other, cemented an enriching relationship and had great fun.

Two relevant quotes have come to my mind:

“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.’’ Brene Brown( an American scholar)

“We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.’’
William Glasser(1925-2013) an American psychiatrist.

Thank you very much for taking time to visit my Blog and to read this post. I would be grateful if you left a comment about it and shared it among your friends and family. May it inspire you to appreciate and value the different groups of which you are a member and to work through them to make the world a better place.

A Sense of Belonging

A sense of belonging is a human need like the need for food and shelter. We all yearn to be accepted as a member or a part. The psychologists tell us that the worst fear of any child is being abandoned or rejected. A child would do anything to be loved and be part of things, to make others love and be proud of it. A child can only engage effectively in the world around it if he/she feels a part of this world.

We find this sense of belonging traditionally in the family, in friends, in the church or mosque and now in this Digital era; some find it on Social Media. As we grow older, we try to belong to something bigger than ourselves. This improves our motivation, health and happiness. We tend to focus on getting connected to people who are similar to us; enjoying what we love and having similar values. Maturity gives us the courage to be who we are , to see what we see, know what we know and act on that knowledge. When we act on what we know, we tend to find others like ourselves and then together we can begin creating new worlds where we are.

The Reunion that our Graduate Class organised last month where it all began forty years ago, helped me crystallise the value of a sense of belonging.
Among us were colleagues I last saw on graduation day but all along I have been looking for in my mind. The five years we spent close to one another in the Medical school of Makerere University and the shared experiences during the hostile political climate of the 70s, had bonded us and turned us into friends for life. Little wonder then that when we met last month, we just kicked off where we had left off. I was among the finest people I know. We had taken different journeys and had changed. We have transformed our lives and made contributions to changing others wherever we have worked. We consider ourselves wiser and less naïve. Each trusting herself/himself and others, we sat down and shared our lives and were able to learn from each other. It felt clear and right to celebrate the process we had gone through to become who we were more than the actual success or achievements.

Each one of us felt he/she was a member of the group and it helped us to see the value in life and come to terms with what we had gone through in the prime of our youth. A number of us agreed to write about their unique experiences to help the young ones now going through tough times. This can only happen when you feel that you belong as it frees you to engage freely in the world around you.
Celebrating the process of how each one had achieved her/his success opened us up to giving something back to the community that created us. We all felt we needed to pass on this positive tradition by simply trying to be mindful of the needs of the current students. We are developing a clear and achievable vision for our group and focusing on what we want to do together for the rest of our lives. We want to make the most of our group by helping to make the world a better place in our small ways.

All in all, we were proud of being a part of this group. It was worth spending the time together; we learned many lessons from each other, cemented an enriching relationship and had great fun.
Two relevant quotes have come to my mind:

“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.’’ Brene Brown( an American scholar)

“We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.’’
William Glasser(1925-2013) an American psychiatrist.

Thank you for taking time to visit my Blog and to read this post. I would be very grateful if you left a comment about it  and shared it among friends. May it help you  to appreciate the different groups of which you are a valuable member.

In Search of Opportunities and Choices

The celebration of our 40th Class Reunion on the 10th to 12 the November 2017, got me seriously thinking about the time, energy, the sacrifices and challenges that go into creating the life you want for yourself.
It is every parent’s desire and wish for her/his children to have better opportunities, choices and enjoy better lives than them. Our parents were not any different; they tried all that they could to develop our talents and interests. They worked hard to take us to the best schools available during our time for they knew for sure that the best education would get us into the best jobs. But then the coup of January 1971 changed everything forever.

By the time we graduated  in 1977 from the only university of our time we did not feel safe and secure any more. Many of us felt confined and alienated and feared of the future. We knew that what we wanted in life could not be achieved in this limiting environment. It was only natural that many of us took the courage to make the choice to live Uganda and look for opportunities elsewhere to realize our full potential. Among those who stayed were a few who had the conflicting responsibility of caring for siblings or parents. The civil strife continued well into the late 80s so more of us left.

Thankfully, our teachers had imparted to us knowledge, skills, energy and attitude that enabled us to compete favourably globally. It did not happen overnight; some of us had to re-write examinations to be registered. I for one had to work for ten years before I could be allowed to apply for Permanent Residency and enjoy better benefits as an immigrant. It was tough to juggle against other responsibilities like starting families and supporting them. Finally we got assimilated into the new systems and our children flourished. We made the most of the opportunities and choices available to us. We took responsibility for the choices we made. Having goals and priorities and at the same time determined to keep the passion to make a difference, we strived to overcome the challenges. We opened up our minds and hearts to learn about the people and new environment and we thrived.

The two stable elements that made it easier for us to make all the other changes required of us was having the job we trained for and having a family. Doing the work you love while making adequate living and contributing to society’s good made it worth the struggle. After all at graduation we were all eager to use the knowledge and skills we had acquired to improve ourselves and our society.

40 years later when we find ourselves holding this quickly planned reunion at the very place where it all began, it transformed itself into a purposeful celebration. It enabled us to see, appreciate, and celebrate how far we had come. It gave us the opportunity to remember what we did right and to agree on what we needed to conquer at the next level. It brought clarity to what we want to do and see as a group. We shared our unique personal stories and reassessed our achievements. We were all grateful that we had found both our potential and power despite the odds.
We celebrated and reinforced the good in us mindful of the fact that we never allowed the circumstances to defeat us even at the worst of times.

We acknowledged our remarkable teachers, our families and friends for their role in what we have become. At our age, we have become leaders of our families, communities and societies. We have acquired the wisdom of age: become integrated, whole and responsible. We have claimed our power to influence and impact others while each one of us continues to live her/his own deep and great story. Little wonder then that we are now all focused on finding ways to live with more significance and depth. The synergy we created has given us a momentum to work together as we continue to contribute to society’s good.
Mark Twain an American writer said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.’’
And Louse .E. Boone said: “The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions:
could have
might have and should have.”

Do not let this happen to you.

Thank you for reading this post and may it stimulate you to go out and find ways of achieving  your full potential for your own good and for the good of mankind.

I would love to hear your personal experiences along this path.

 

Nothing Lasts Forever

Since October 2016, the 1977 graduate Class of Makerere University medical School has been planning for its 40 years Reunion of the 10th to 12th November 2017.
It came and went, leaving us asking for more just like Oliver Twist.
As youths of our time, we had dreams, hopes and ambitions and we had held onto them despite what we went through during the hostile political climate of the late 70s and early 80s. After the graduation, we were forced to look for the freedom of opportunity and choice elsewhere. Little wonder then that we gathered from more than five countries to celebrate this Reunion. We could not thank our teachers enough for adequately preparing us to work anywhere in the world. We faced many challenges like having to re-write final examinations but in the end we triumphed.

These same teachers believed in our potential so much that we also came to believe in it. The belief in our potential and the exposure to horrors in the prime of our lives liberated us to do more with our lives. Among us are several professors, physicians, paediatricians, gynaecologists, surgeons,public health specialists, Family Health Practitioners, and three of us have built and are running their own private hospitals. We realized our potential, creativity and are always grateful for living out our purpose and passion.
As expected, we have lost many colleagues during these forty years. We remember them with great respect and honour.

We have all grown and matured but still we are down- to –earth people looking fit, well groomed and looking the part of senior doctors of today and doing things in a measured way.
As mature people, we have earned the right to claim our power and express it in the world while at the same time taking the responsibility to give back to the communities that created us.
By the shores of Lake Victoria in Munyonyo, we met as old friends and equal partners, claiming and living our lives. We had taken separate journeys but here we were doing things together. It gave us a chance to love and value one another while holding on the best of what we achieved during the five years in the medical school. We listened to each other, hearts pounding with excitement and learned from each other’s experiences. We had great appreciation for our lives and courage. Well aware that nothing lasted forever, we stayed in the moment and enjoyed it for its own sake.

Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor once said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress, working together is success.”
We talked, laughed, told stories and were happy and proud to be in each other’s company. It was an experience of renewal. Over these forty years we have had to redefine relationships to people, to work and institutions so that they are more fulfilling in the current stage of our lives.
I found it hard to believe that the youths of the 70s had turned into these sophisticated men and women who carried themselves with more confidence. Most of us are married with children and grandchildren. It was heart-warming to note that a number of us have children following into our footsteps as medical doctors. It just felt right for each one of us to be real- living out one’s great story.

A few of us had taken the trouble to collect our favourite music of the 70s and just like the 70s, we sang the choruses out loud. It ended up being a case of ‘Where were you when…….’
Such music brought back fond memories of our social lives at the university.
The luncheon we shared with our teachers left us humbled and made us commit to continue serving and helping others in our communities. We know for sure that what we do has a ripple effect in the world beyond us. The onus is on us to continue the good work of our Role Models.

Life goes on and while we still have the shared values of sincere friendship and the duty to protect and promote the health of our people, we believe that we can do much more with what we have.
The synergy created by our coming together will guide us into doing something new and better than we have ever done before. I only have great admiration and respect for each member who contributed in any way towards making this Reunion much fun and memorable. It was an opportunity for us to find a sense of high meaning and value in our lives.
All in all, it has been worth the sacrifice and it was fantastic to have been a part of it.
Sir Richard Branson’s quote sums it up : “ There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passion-in a way that serves the world and you.”

Thank you for visiting my Blog and reading this post. Kindly leave a comment and feel free to share it with friends and family. May it inspire you never to take things for granted but instead be grateful for your gifts and blessings everyday and willingly share them around.

I Felt so Happy That I Cried

It felt like dancing for its own sake to a perfect song. It started as a simple idea when a colleague of mine, a professor of Anatomy at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria and I did all that we could to meet at  the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, thirty minutes before I boarded a flight back to Uganda. The professor’s tight schedule could only allow us this brief encounter though we had not met since our graduation in 1977! In that hurricane of delight, we both felt this was too brief an encounter to warrant organizing the 40 years Reunion for our graduate Class where it had all begun. Thanks to the Digital era, one by one, we sold the idea to our colleagues. We consider ourselves unique in that we joined the faculty of medicine of Makerere University, Kampala on the 4th July 1972 and on the 4th August we were among the congregation of students summoned to listen to the then Life President of Uganda: General Idi Amin Dada in the City square. He narrated his dream of a few days earlier about how the Asians were sabotaging the Ugandan economy. By the time he finished, he had declared an economic war and given the non-citizen Asians 90 days to leave Uganda!

The repercussions set in a few days later when foreign lecturers and students started leaving the country. The atmosphere became terribly tense and unpredictable while we tried to stay focused and committed. In those five years we bonded, we learned to look out for one another, to have fun in our own way and finally became friends for life.
Things went from worse to the worst five days before we started writing our final examinations. On the 17th February 1977, Janani Luwum, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and two ministers; Oryema and Oboth Ofumbi were brutally murdered and their bodies later dumped in the City mortuary a stone’s throw away from the library where we were busy revising for the examinations.

Monday 21st February, 8am to the dot, we wrote our first paper and a week later, we undertook the practicals on the wards in a tensely charged atmosphere. We finished the examinations on the 4th of March. Immediately, the scattering began; many of us stayed behind while others found their way into neighbourng Kenya, South Africa, USA, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Botswana. Thankfully, we were able to recover from the trauma of the five years and come into our own. We held onto our dreams, hopes and ambitions to create our lives out of the truth of our souls.
No doubt we have experienced confusion, fear, suffering and loss but through our determination and commitment we survived them. We have become more free to take risks and have made genuine contributions to the communities we have lived in.

We have travelled from those countries to celebrate our friendship, resilience, achievements and to re-dedicate ourselves to our noble calling. We did not want to be overwhelmed by the gathering so we kept it simple: we met to remember, to thank, to celebrate, to give back and to have plenty of fun.
Friday evening after the traditional welcome embraces and hugs, we allowed ourselves to become wise Fools; simply trusting the moment and savouring life in its fullness. The forty years between us quickly dissolved away, we caught up on each other’s lives and from then became as connected as we could be.
Seeing all these great women and men being fully themselves and reaching out to one another filled my heart with so much joy that I cried. We spoke and acted spontaneously as the youths of forty five years ago! We laughed loudly and wildly, we sang and teased each other for old time’s sake.

We spent Saturday morning with the Head of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences and some members of his team. They took us around the Albert Cook Medical Library. Each one of us had spent a lot of her/his time in that place. Little wonder then we decided to give back to the community that created us by giving a token to the library.
The lunch with our teachers at a restaurant in the city centre left us with a lot of joy and contentment and the feeling was mutual. Like us, they have added years to their lives but they are still going strong, caring, serving and teaching and they have remained terribly professional. They supported and guided us through those turbulent times and always emphasized to us that they were training us to work anywhere in the world. We could not have got better Role Models.
All this was taking place against a backdrop of the Doctors’ Industrial strike over poor working conditions, poor remuneration and poor recognition for the work they do. Doctors keep the population healthy so that they can be productive and are able to participate fully in the development of our country. It is a simple reminder that a country’s greatest asset is its people.

It felt so good to be among the old and familiar people whose hearts and spirits have never grown any wrinkles. The three days proved to be not enough for what we wanted and loved to be doing. We immersed ourselves into the moment and enjoyed it for its own sake and it gave us hope the future.
Having camped by the lake side in Munyonyo, we took off time to celebrate the 11 O’clock Mass at the Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine, the martyrdom place of Saint Andrew Kaggwa and Denis Ssebugwawo. It was built two years ago and was blessed by Pope Francis 27th November 2015.
After all members of this Class know that health is defined as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.’’

Spending these three days together is not the end but it is the beginning of many more gatherings to remember, to celebrate, to thank, to give back and to give ourselves up to joy. We consider ourselves outrageously privileged to be together where it all began 45 years ago.

Thank you for visiting my Blog and reading this post. May it inspire you and stimulate you to connect with a wider circle of friends.

The Art of Balancing YES and NO

Life is essentially about relationships and the choices we make. When faced with options, we end up making a series of YES or NO and gradually build up the big picture of our lives. As I said earlier, we are social animals living interdependently. We all start by conforming to please family, friends and peers and continue to ensure success and status doing the same thing. The majority of us will struggle to do what we really want without losing our family and friends. Juggling both family and work, one can find herself taking on too many commitments and too fast. This has resulted in burnout- exhausted and overwhelmed. It is our responsibility to empower the young to avoid or to handle such situations. It goes back to teaching them and supporting them in creating emotional and spiritual balance by simply learning to balance YES and NO.

“ Until you learn how to confidently say No to so many things , you still always say Yes to many things.’’ Enest Agyemang Yeboah
This is where the 80/20 Rule of Time Management comes in handy. At any one stage in your life, you have to define what is most important to you and focus your time, energy, efforts and resources on that. What you focus on always grows.
You have to prioritise the 20% most important things to you and devote 80% of your time on them. Anything else is regarded as a distraction and should not be allowed to steal your time. We all have 24 hours in a day but the most successful among us are those who have mastered the art of using their time wisely.

Developing this 80/20 mindset will help you to use your time effectively. The ‘urgent’ will stop drowning out the most important activities that advance your overall purpose in life. You will stay focused on the key stuff in your life. You will be able to beat the stressful lifestyle that puts you under extreme pressure.
As we grow and take on more responsibilities only to retire later, the 20% most important things in life also change. You continue setting your priorities, it will lead you to make good choices about what you want to be and do. You will stop wasting time on things that do not matter to you.

I have learned to apply this 80/20 Rule on a daily basis and it has worked wonders. I have been able to do much more in a day and generally I have been able to move the most important things in my life forward. I have been able to do amazing things by reducing the distractions.
Each day throws you many options all day long and saying YES or NO to these options points you into a different direction. Over time, your personal growth comes in a series of small, incremental changes resulting from the choices you made and your commitment to follow things through.

Later in life, the strong urge to please, to fit in, to satisfy the demands of family and peer groups wears off and you want to live a life of more significance and depth. You consider what adds value to your life: what makes your heart resonate with your soul and what makes you feel good about yourself and brings fun in your life.
As learning is for life, I am still learning and trying to master the art of balancing YES and NO. As they say: Practice makes perfect.
One last quote: “When you say no to the wrong people, it opens up the space for the right people to come in.’’ Joe Calloway

Thank you for visiting my Blog and reading this post. I hope it will help you to use your time effectively. Kindly leave a comment about it and feel free to share it with your network of friends and family.

 

When Saying NO is The Most Important Word to Say

It is all rooted in our childhood. While growing up, our parents or caretakers have the primary responsibility to love and care for us and to encourage us to develop the basic skills of life and work.
Their love and care keeps us safe and secure until we are old enough to care for ourselves. Through the simplest but most important words of YES and NO, they teach us what is right or wrong. A child’s worst fear at that age is being rejected or abandoned and any child will do anything to retain this sense of belonging. So we all learn to play along to get along. We become eager to please whom we love. We carry this from home into schools and elsewhere. In the schools, we want to bond with the peers to the point of sacrificing a sense of self to belong to the group. We have all been there and done that. Hair has been bleached, noses pierced, ear lobes pierced, bodies tattooed and alcohol tasted all for the sake of fitting in.

Through the guidance of our parents, relatives and teachers and the experiences we go through, we learn and grow. Among the important things we learn is that each one of us is different and has different skills and talents. This gives each child the responsibility for finding and getting what he/she wants in life. Secondly we learn that we are simply human and fallible and cannot please all the people all the time. At the same time, we are reminded to take responsibility to live our lives interdependent on others. A sense of own identity helps each one of us to create her/his own boundaries and defend them. Gradually you develop principles and values and over time you learn to trust yourself and stand up for yourself. You begin to assert your own desires and wishes where you are while at the same time respecting the needs and feeling of the other person. Since you are now free to be yourself and it is coming naturally to you, saying NO to what you do not believe in becomes easier.

All over the world, the professional woman faces the biggest challenge of finding a healthy work-life balance as she rises to the top. Many of us have found ourselves taking on too much and too fast. Getting to the top has come to us at a cost. This is one major milestone in one’s life where you have to pause to learn or re-learn saying a firm NO when choosing to take on commitments. This has to be done every day otherwise you get overwhelmed with work. You do not just stumble into this place; you have to work towards it with the help of others. Once achieved, you have to protect it. Nothing is as frightening as being out of control. The simple words YES and NO that our parents used to prepare and guide us through life are the same words we use to run our lives smoothly. They become more significant as we walk through life. One has to think carefully before using them and when one does, one has to say them confidently.

Here are a few quotes to indicate that each one of us still has the basic right to say NO.

“No ‘’ is a complete sentence. It does not require an explanation to follow. You can truly answer someone’s request with a simple No.” Sharon . E. Rainey

“It takes true courage and real humility to say No or Yes.” Ernest Agyemang Yeboah.

The common thread that runs through the lives of great men and women who lived rich and fulfilling lives and worked for the common good, is that they were able to balance Yes and No in their lives.
Tony Blair( Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1997-2007) once said : “ The art of leadership is saying No not saying Yes. It is very easy to say Yes.”

Over time most of us learn to  say NO to unfair demands or requests and not to allow anyone to argue you out of your NO.Similarly, learn to respect others when they say NO to you. Keep practicing it ; it gets better with time.

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