How To Be Heard: Easy Does It

Approx 1 min read

You ever been in a group and wonder why everyone listens to that one dude but not you? Well today we’ll find out a simple trick on how to be heard.

“Come here you stupid little idiot you… You good for nothing maggot… You worthless insignificant brat you.”

“I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! YOU’RE SO AMAZING! COME HEAR RIGHT NOW SO I CAN GIVE YOU A KISS!”

There’s something about how we say things that can even alter what others think about what we say. Dogs get this. That’s why the dog in question wagged its tail and was super excited by the first speaker, whose speech was full of evil but delivered with unrivaled gentleness. The same dog ran away from the second speaker. They’re just dogs you may say, they don’t understand language. True, but the fundamental principle doesn’t change. We are attracted to gentle, not abrasive. That’s why we call the places we like to stay “comfort zones”.

Diplomacy is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in a way that makes them look forward to the journey.

If that’s not enough; it’s a popular statement that empty vessels make the most noise. To avoid being classified in this group and to have the words you say treated with the utmost respect and attention, try say less with less volume. You’ll be surprised you’ll be heard all the more.

See you tomorrow.

Stay awesome.

Comfort Zone

Aaaaand we’re back! Lovely people – this long, unanticipated hiatus is finally over! I missed you almost more certainly than you missed me. I am about 51% sure this is the case. Regardless, we are going to jump right in and get the ball rolling again, faster and with more purpose than ever before.

While I’ve been away I’ve published two collections. (“Yay! Congratulations Ayanda!” “Why thank you very much, I love you so much! :)” )  One of short stories and the other of poems. You’ll find both available for purchase and download on Amazon under the titles: ‘Unrealistically Plausible Short Stories’ and ‘Bleeding Heart: A Collection Of Poems’. If you can, get ’em. I promise you will not be massively disappointed.


We’re embarking on new territory, governed by experience but mostly principle. The topics we’re going to cover in the coming weeks should help us all do amazing things and  take small steps towards achieving the goals we set in our lives. So… right now I have 3 SERIES LINED UP!

The first is called ‘Comfort Zone’. Here we will look at the things that keep us tethered and like an anchor, prevent us from reaching far, as well as looking at what we need to do to flourish outside of the waters we have been paddling in all our lives.

The second is called ‘Communication’. We are going to look at the benefits of knowing how to communicate effectively and find out which tools we can use to help us do so. We’ll discuss things like love languages and preventing misunderstanding. This is going to be lit!

Third but not last (can you feel my excitement right now? “Not last” because there’s loads more to come!) we are going to talk about ‘Friends’. This will range from how to introduce yourself to people who you would like in your inner circle, to identifying who you should spend the most amount of time on and/or with. We’ll talk about what I’ve learned are referred to as “quality people”, how to identify them and keep them in your life. 

New posts coming up Every. Single. Day. Be sure to let your friends know all about it, it could change their lives – it could impact their lives positively… and as you know that’s what we’re all about.

Till tomorrow!

Stay awesome.

 

Shush… Don’t Call Me Daddy

“You look like you would do well with the toddlers.”

“Huh?” was all I managed. The door shut behind me and I was immediately swept away by the pervasive odour of soiled diapers in a room full of fragile little 1 and 2 year olds. Toddlers with snot running down their noses playing in some sort of organised chaos on a custard yellow tarpaulin. Right. Where to begin?

“Uhm… excuse me?” I had approached the older gentleman who had assisted me in my first diaper change. “I’m new here and I’ve just been deployed to the toddler section. Would you let me know what it is I should do?” I thought I had been clear enough but the man looked perplexed. Before his evident worry became my own he seemed to calm down and nodded.

“In this room I am not the authority, she is,” the man led me to the young woman who had taught me how to register babies in the first place.

“It’s you!” I remarked excitedly. “Well, seems like I am at your service. What should I do?”

She smiled at me. I guess my enthusiasm wasn’t misplaced. “Pick a kid and play with ’em.”

I returned the smile and went to town!

“Hey there you cute lil goo goo ga ga! What’s up? What your name?” As I asked all these essential questions my voice’s pitch only went higher and higher. Eventually I was just an unintelligible as the kids I was trying to communicate with which bizarrely made me more approachable to them. I guess somehow we ended up speaking the same language. I knew in that instant I had found my place of service.

If it wasn’t evident then it became even more so when in trying to escape my ghastly “I’m coming to get you” face a young man fell on an even younger, smaller girl. Now you have to understand that a kid under 2’s motor functions aren’t enviable. In trying to get up the boy continuously pressed down and squashed the little girl until he could get on his feet. This led to tears and someone needed to bring peace back. I picked up the little girl and did the only thing I knew to do in that situation. I rocked her in my arms and recited the little bit of Proverbs 31 I knew. “You are a strong woman of noble character. You are a virtuous woman. It’s ok to cry honey but you’ll be ok, everything will be fine.” Just like that she stopped crying. I felt an immense sense of victory. “Can I wipe your tears? Let me wipe your tears, ok?” All this was done with minimal fuss and we became the best of friends, praise be to God!

It would be great if the story ended here but it didn’t. After playing together for a while yet she reached for the hem of my shirt and said, “Daddy!”

“Shush…” I said, rather hurriedly, “Don’t call me Daddy.” I don’t think she got the memo.

“Daddy,” she repeated.

“It’s Ayanda,” I said exasperated. “Aya.”

I became Daddy for the rest of the day. Those around me sensing my discomfort tried to cheer me up, “Maybe Daddy is the only word she knows,” they said. Right. Makes sense. Relief flooded my veins. That’s not so bad then, I thought.

When it was time to go a lady approached us with a smile on her face. The girl turned and ran away from me like I had transformed into a ghost. She gave the woman a huge hug as she screamed exuberantly, “MOMMY!”

Embarassed GIF

Self-Confidence Vs Self-Esteem

photo cred: T C North

Worry not, this will not devolve into a war of words or transform into an ultimate rap battle between the words self-confidence and self-esteem. Instead I would just like to add some clarity on what we will be discussing and how I plan to move forward with this series. Let’s dive into a definition, shall we?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes self-confidence as:

a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement

The same source sites self-esteem as:

a confidence and satisfaction in oneself

I always used to believe that self-confidence and self-esteem were synonymous. They are indeed similar, but not identical. Self-confidence has to do with perception based on what one can do whereas self-esteem has to do with one’s perception on who one is. Clear enough?

This wonderful graphic should help make things even clearer:

Self-esteem vs confidence

They are different but one thing is certain, to function to the very best of your ability and to enjoy your life to the fullest: YOU NEED BOTH!

For the purposes of future posts not becoming too wordy I will refer to both self-esteem and self-confidence simply as confidence from this moment on. This is to prevent confusion by interchanging the terms and to avoid the mental block that comes with associating the word esteem with the more negative low self-esteem.

Tomorrow we will discuss the Importance of Confidence.

Creativity: The Day Dream

photo cred: Daniel Coyle

Do you ever feel like you lack imagination? Not me hahaha. No this isn’t a post where I gloat about it. It is a post for me to justshare something that helped me in this aspect, especially regarding stories. It got to the point the that my IGCSE English teacher was forced to air her thoughts to my parents one consultation.

“Ayanda’s stories are too fantastic!” she yelled apparently.

Before you accuse me for providing pseudo-genuine information I vow it is all true. How can one’s story be too fantastic? Well, she didn’t mean it in it’s most positive connotation. My stories were so creative they were totally irrational and required a complete suspension of belief for anyone to thoroughly enjoy them. Not everyone could appreciate that, my teacher being one of them, so for me to start attaining A*s in the subject I humbled myself and reduced the imagination I used in my stories. How did I get to that stage in the first place? As a young boy I didn’t revel in time spent with those my age. This coincided with the time before my sibling could have fruitful, non-goobledygook conversations with me so I needed a way to entertain myself when I felt lonely. Often I would stand beside the house and dream up entire worlds, inserting myself in these dynamic stories as the protagonist, white-haired and dubbed Alex (my favourite name before I appreciated my own). My favourite time  of day was when my head hit the pillow. I would spend an hour or so every night reimagining whatever tv shows I would have watched that day with this fictional white-haired character that was simultaneously myself and someone else kicking ass and winning over the main female character. Kid me had game before he knew what attraction was! In the bath I’d close my eyes and picture things. In the car I would imagine a laser chopping all the long grass within view. I would then close my eyes when I encountered a person or vehicle – after all, I’m no murderer.

The brain works similar to a muscle in this, the more you use it the more capable it becomes in that area. Actively use your imagination as you day-dream and you’ll reap in creativity!

See you tomorrow for Creativity: Fullstop.

Creativity

photo cred: Mark Schaefer

Creativity is often attributed to being within the same class as talent.

“Some people have to work hard and try to be creative” is how most people think.

I wholly agree. But that is the silver lining, creativity can truly be worked at – it can be developed.

Back in the day my tiny little sister would draw pictures of her favourite female cartoon characters. Without fail she produced truly awful drawings. On a scale of 1-10 they were probably a 3 and this is coming from her biased, loving older brother. They were a 3 out of 10 not in general but compared to those just in her age group. She was around 6 years old. Kim would draw ‘cars’ and they would look like random shapes smooshed together. As her doting older brother I would never tell her that her drawings were an eyesore (and they were). In fact I affirmed her and lied saying they were beautiful every time. I didn’t know at the time what was happening when I did so or the importance of praise in the confidence of a child in her formative years but the comments spurred her on to draw even more, and that in turn drew even more deceitful comments out of me…

One day my sister approached me years older than she was when she’d done her first drawing. “What do you think?” she asked. I glanced up from my work expecting to see a wonky car that looked like a block of lego. I was astonished to find that her drawing was not unsightly, it was downright impressive. “Did you draw this?” I asked incredulously. She simply nodded. Her artistic ability had flourished over time due to the practise she had put in. She then went on to tell me that she was grateful that I had affirmed her when she was young and incapable of drawing simple things well. She confessed that my praise had been the catapult to her drive to continue art. Today I am absolutely certain her art will adorn many a famous wall somewhere soon.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a post highlighting how awesome of a brother I am (even though I’m pretty dope as a brother LOL) but serves as an illustration that something that I always attributed as a talent, art, (which I was terrible at in high school), can be worked at. This sort of creativity can be practised! 

Time to get to work!

See you tomorrow for Creativity: The Day Dream.

 

Lying Is Good For You: Building Habits

Starting a habit isn’t always easy. The proof is in the number of people who say they want to start a new habit who don’t actually end up doing so. Or maybe they’ll start but stop before it’s really become a habit.

Habit – a regular tendency that is hard to give up.

Lally’s study claims that it takes anywhere between 18 days to 254 days to form a new habit.

How can one actually achieve such a feat that requires an incredible amount of discipline? First of all we have to acknowledge that it is difficult to maintain something just because we see the benefit of it in the future. If you are one of those people that can do it by just intentionally making the decision, kudos to you! If you are like me then you have to use a different way. The good news is it works just as well. Here it is… it’s time to lie again!

There’s this story about a mouse that’s put in a cage. Scientists would ring a bell at a certain time and then put cheese in the cage. Over time the mouse associated the sound of the shrill bell with cheese and would come out of its little house when the bell was rung and wait, even if the cheese wasn’t forthcoming. The bell didn’t sound attractive but the cheese was attractive. Over time the mouse would come out for the bell because to it the bell = cheese. We’re not mice though so what can we do? We use the horse and carrot stick method.

Ie2uP

Looks ridiculous right? The carrot is the reward after you’ve done the hard work of doing whatever the new habit requires you to do. This way we associate the reward with the work. For example, I love movies! When we got back from a service on Sunday that’s the first thing that I wanted to do. Unfortunately for me, I lived with very wise, orderly parents who would have me do the dishes first (after we’d made and eaten breakfast) before watching any film. Doing the dishes was work. Watching the movie was the carrot. My love for movies was so strong that I would speed through the dishes to have my carrot – ahem – I mean watch my movie. You couldn’t motivate me to do the dishes because it wasn’t something I looked forward to, but because I looked forward to watching movies, the labour of doing the dishes was no longer as hard as it seemed initially. Over time I stopped doing it as an inconvenience and started viewing it as a sort of key, a key to me watching the movies that I wanted to watch on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve used this same trick to exercise daily, write more consistently and to drink enough water each day – all things I never used to do.

So what are the practical bits you can use for you. The only thing you need to do is to make a list of the things you love. Lie to yourself until you believe that you can’t do one of those things until you’ve actioned out the habit you’re trying to build, then reward yourself with the thing you love at the end – and repeat. Make sense?

A short real-life illustration of the effectiveness of this technique:

Mom: Where are you?

Me: I’m in the kitchen. I’ve just started doing the dishes.

Mom: We’ve started watching a movie, come watch with us – you can do the dishes after.

Me: I don’t like doing dishes well after we’ve eaten. I’ll finish up fast then come watch when I’m done.

True story.

I’m a dish dog now!

See you tomorrow for Lying Is Good For You: Trumping Fear.