Thursday, 28 June 2007

What you think you become..

A friend asked me today how I manage to ALWAYS stay so positive. I was blown away, because I think I have been doing a really lousy job at being positive over the last few weeks! I have been particularly frustrated and I know I have been letting it show.
So once again…that comment got me thinking…maybe I put too much pressure on myself to be constantly positive. Isn’t that, in reality, a little unrealistic?? I get frustrated when I can’t control my negative thoughts, but we all have them. As humans we dip in and out of positive and negative thoughts all the time. Some of us tend to display dominance in either one or the other, but that may be inherent, or part of who we have allowed ourselves to become. Positive thinking has been well documented and does seem to improve life holistically, you can also apparently train yourself to reprogramme your brain.

There is a theory that explains negativity’s origin in humans as a survival instinct [driven by the primal base of the brain]. When the first humans wandered the earth, the survival part kicked in when they had to recognize, in an instant, the danger they faced when dealing with certain prehistoric animals. They had to know when to run and being all warm, positive and fuzzy about the encounter would end in them being eaten!

In the end it goes back to balance and how we need to be conscious of finding it!

Mahatma Gandhi sums it up for me, “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Generation Why?

Ok. I am back on the issue of moral ethics, this time the spotlight is on what 'they' are calling Generation Y – or rather Gen Y.
The Fortune 500 magazine recently published an article that really hit home for me. Its worth a read.

Owning a small business I have noticed its becoming increasing difficult to find young people with any kind moral ethic, commitment, basic manners or loyalty. BUT what is more frightening for me is total lack of passion and direction that most exude even in a job interview [this last point seems to contradict the Fortune article on the ambitious Gen-Y’ers]. They certainly don’t seem to be trying to impress, its almost as if they are expecting you to impress them! [I am basing this off over 100 interviews with early 20-somethings over the last 9 months]. I am now convinced that this behaviour is a result of a few things but mostly I think it’s a result of: indulgence, guilt & lack of quality mentorship/time.

More cash flush parents [more so than the industrial age lets say] indulging their children over the past decade [or more] because they feel guilty about the time they are able to spend with them in this fast paced world. Many families now also have different structures, they are made up of all sorts of different layers, all coming with their own issues and morals. This new age family often has split parenting complications that fuel the guilt that parents feel when dealing with their children. Sadly, this is only part of the problem, schools are not able to discipline as they did in the 'old days' incase the children’s rights are ‘infringed’. Advertisers greedily see children as a hugely important target for their products, further feeding the indulgence [or 'me'] epidemic.

Don’t believe me…. do a test, ask any teenager or 20-something where they want to be in 5 years and see what the answer is. Very few have even thought about today never mind tomorrow! Sure the business landscape is changing very quickly, and it is difficult to keep up, but what happened to 'following a passion'?? Technology has been an channel that has aided these ‘All about ME’ kids enabling a secret community that excludes parents & mentors…. fueling the growth of the communication canyon [or disconnect] between generations.

Understanding & providing opportunities to this generation is important, of course, but it should not be a one sided affair. I realize that I am generalizing here [always dangerous] but I am trying to illustrate a very strong trend that needs some discussion.

I am personally not sure how to deal with people that are not passionate about anything [is this because they have mostly never felt what it is like to really want anything ?] AND I believe that you have to be taught to care and give to others. So where do you begin, how do you reason with this lot? Just to complicate this further, being a parent of a small child, I am conscious not to fall into the same give, give, give parenting trap BUT that is not as easy as it sounds with such massive external pressures [peer pressure being a main one]. Teaching manners, empathy and caring is key BUT will that be enough…? Maybe for my child [she is still young and impressionable] but what happens to the Generations Y’ers floating out there in their-own-space???

UPDATE: Since writing this I stumbled across this article BizComArticle

Half full...not empty

A good friend of mine mentioned to me the other day, that although she loves my blog, I need to try balance the positive with the negative. That really got me thinking…

By nature I am a positive person (glass being half full rather than empty), BUT her comment made me realize that I am using this blog to do 2 things: vent and share. I have mentioned it’s therapeutic to ‘put it all out there’ AND it is really cool to hear from you on the what I write especially when it comes to what we face as humans, families, communities and businesses. For me open dialogue is what has so often saved the world from the scourges of war and many other negative confrontations. I know that my parents may not see a blog as a dialogue [face to face is how you conduct dialogue] BUT this is really a platform for a new type of open, dual communication that is different..... and very much the future.

I would love to know your thoughts on this, but the reality is I write [as selfish as it sounds] more for me than for you.

Zapiro my hero...

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Media fois gras is coming...

About 2 months ago I went to a ‘Reshaping Media’ conference where there was a discussion about how people’s cell phones are the next BIG advertising platform for agencies/companies. I queried the legality of sending ‘spam’ [otherwise known as unsolicited crap] to people’s phones, noting this was a step 2 far, as a phone is really personal. The ‘expert’ replied - as long as there is an ‘unsubscribe option’ it is not illegal. NOW today I got a multimedia MMS (‘song and dance’) spam message from a company called Mahindra Finanicial Services. This message ‘presentation’ told me about a product I WOULD NEVER buy, showing ugly cars and urged me to visit a dealership. I was given an option to ‘unsubscribe’ at a 50c fee!!!!!

So welcome to the future then…. FORCED MEDIA [media foie gras- yuk]. We will have to pay for rejecting messages that were illegally sent to our phones…. Huh?
I certainly never gave this company the right to send me such a large file and the very, very LAST THING I would ever do is ‘visit a dealership’. A REAL branding faux pax.

I get the same feeling that I think I would get if someone robbed my house. Violated and very angry. So how did they get my number? The cell phone companies would clearly benefit from passing on my details (just add up all the 50c unsubscribe responses they are going to get!). But who knows! Our details are being traded freely for large sums of cash without our permission daily - cant see how that is legal. CHARMING.

The most ironic part of all [and the biggest slap in the face] is one line in the MMS …. “Mahindra subscribes to strict anti-spamming policies. In you do not want to receive any further MMS messages from us, please SMS the words ‘OPTOUT 1658’ to 31234. SMS charged at R0.50.” I rest my case.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Band-aid for AFRICA!

You know when something is so obvious that it hits you right between the eyes and you go....'why the hell didnt I think of that'. We have a country of diverse skin tones, YET when shopping for plasters (band aids... whatever) I havent seen any offering different skin tone options. Why the hell not? Then I came across Ebon-Aide. Has anyone seen anything like this in SA? Please let me know if you have.....
It strikes me as odd though that on the whole, European/USA type product ranges are still 'forced' [sure we buy them, its called limited choice] into African countries by suppliers ['a buying strategy' I am sure], with a seemingly below the line kind of arrogance and no-one says anything...or do they? Children play a huge role in the plaster target market (Scooby, Cinderella you name it!) BUT brown toned plasters??
Whilst on the subject of children...check out the doll section at your local toy shop...these are generally still not weighing in Africa's favour [I can hear the Marketers markets..aimed at LSM Blah blah]. Sure I have seen the odd brown toned doll here and there but generally, out there on the shelves, it's still very much 1993. What are we saying 2 our children?

Media circus?

zapiro is one sharp oke.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

The death of tolerance...

Sorry been a bit quiet. I’ve had one of those weeks…..

The public servants strike has really tried and tested people, politics, patience and moral ethics generally. I am not getting into the strike in this post as that has had enough coverage, BUT I have to address the issue of moral ethics.

In JHB a headmaster was murdered during the strike and on the same day he openly questioned (on Radio 702) an incident of alleged police mistreatment of suspects (I am not sure if these suspects were strikers?). His death has been called ‘a suspected robbery’. Anyway the point of this post is not so much the incident (which was tragic of course), but to question the few people that called or smsed 702 and said things like, ‘I am happy he is dead, he was a troublemaker’. Who says something like that? The scary part is that it was not just one person, but a few with similar harsh comments. Luckily the minority, BUT one comment like that is bad enough in these circumstances! No matter who or what this man was, who would wish that on anyone for such a minor thing as ‘troublemaking’. I would expect that kind of response for something like child abuse BUT such vicious comments for a differing opinion? HUH?

What does this kind of reaction say about our society and how numb we are to the finality, tragedy and pain of death. Have we forgotten to care for others not to mention the feelings of the family and friends left behind? Have we forgotten to think and reason? Have we forgotten that we are supposed to be proud of our diverse country with differing opinions? Is this a S African thing or a global problem? How have some people become so openly ugly? I really hope that this kind of hatred is not a growing trend, but rather a sad bunch of individuals that may one day understand the impact of their words...

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Watch out I come!

The web is providing so many platforms for people now it is really difficult to keep up. Can you believe there is a website that actually enables your to set up your own talk show? Check out Talk shoe. You can browse a wide variety of topics.
It really begs the question.. how long does TV have in its current form? In so many ways the web is giving consumers the visual choice (in excess sure), in pretty much the same way that the IPOD changed the way we see music. Has the revolution begun? Need more proof… see Joost
Sadly we will be a little slower here in SA as we still have the small issue of broadband. BUT once that is sorted, all we will need is a connection and we can watch what we want through out TV sets (via our computers)! Whoohooo..bring it on!

Wednesday, 06 June 2007

What a WOP!

You know when there is a day that you hear something and it bothers you…something that just plays on your mind ? Well that happened to me today. I love Radio 702 and this morning whilst caught in the traffic [bear in mind it was pouring with rain], someone called in to say there was a guy [white] in a double cab [2 rows of seats like a normal car – for those that are not ‘bakkie literate’] that had 3 guys sitting IN THE RAIN in the back [open section] of his bakkie huddled around a small blanket!? In the freezing cold and wet and there was no-one but the driver in the car! HUH??

The caller mentioned that driver was ‘from a construction company’ and that the guys in the back of the car were in fact black. He went on to say that he simply could not understand the mentality of someone that would do such a thing. Well bud that makes 2 of us! Racism is clearly alive and well in the minds of some. I was totally horrified, what a total WOP! Some people need to move on in this country [or move out]. Terrible really, I can’t actually stop thinking about it. Sorry for posting such a sad story but this kind of behaviour needs to stop.. geeee wizz....

Monday, 04 June 2007

The Face[ache] Community

I belong to a few online communities and one of those, that is without a doubt a lot of fun is Facebook. There is however only one tiny problem… I am battling to find friends my own age [that I know]. I didn’t think that I was that OLD! I am 35 for heavens sake! In a way I can understand it, my generation [in SA at least] is the ‘lost’ generation of the IT era!! No personal computers and cell phones for us when we were growing up unless of course we had rich parents [which I didn’t].
I would love to see the age stats for the Facebook community. What finally brought this age thing home to me was finding my 17yr old step daughter on Facebook AND the fact that one of my more junior friends told me I was ‘hip for my age’…what does that actually mean??

I would love to use this tool to meet up with old school friends but alas I have no idea what their married names are! One little kink in the Face[ache]book armour! But then again [I remind myself] they are not catering for ‘us’ married lot…they want the unmarried under 25’s to join and share. SHARE…now that is something that takes getting used to. I have to say I battle a little, especially the 'add picture' part! AHH! There are spaces to fill in your whole life history, even to upload..or rather dowload a urine sample [no only kidding..coming soon though]. So right now my profile is up in ‘lights’ with a particularly bad picture, so I’m told. Who cares though, its such fun! "You can't be on FACEbook without a picture of your face!"

Well one thing is comforting my friends are older..cause they ain’t on the fab Facebook!!!

Sunday, 03 June 2007

Ice brains...

We must be the dumbest bunch living on this planet. I have just watched a show on BBC that was worse than watching Freddie in Nightmare on Elm Street (ok. I realize that I show my age as that is the LAST horror I ever watched!).

Can you believe that there are currently a few large countries (up know the first world ones with all the ‘brains’ that should really know better) that are fighting for the rights to the Artic Circle in terms of the moral poison….oil and fishing! To make matters worse they are also fighting to open the sea passage (through the Artic) to get to Asia, which could never been done before as the area was 2 frozen! NOW SADLY the ice has melted so badly over the last 3 decades that a few ships have in fact made their way through! This was really the final frontier until now… real virgin land. Something in the pit of my stomach is screaming NOOOOOO! Can you imagine if this already naturally degraded treasure suddenly becomes the new ‘road’ or rather right of passage to the east?! We are fishing the seas to death, blasting and polluting the land & sea to find oil and trailing our filthy dirty ships through the North Pole. In reality this world belongs to us all. I say stuff the treaties between countries and companies, ask the people what they think!!! Is global warming evidence not enough… when will we learn???