Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Home Authors Posts by Alistair Shaw

Alistair Shaw

Change Is Awesome

I love Christmas; I always have!  When I was a young child my father would always bring home a freshly cut pine tree and set it in the lounge.  Then, the dusty box in the garage roof would come down and we’d begin decorating the tree and draping the ceilings with Christmas trimmings.

Ah, I clearly recall the pine fragrance filling the air, me playing with the decorations before they made their way to the tree – those are awesome memories I will treasure forever.  It was always exciting decorating the house, but what was even more fun was seeing the gifts mysteriously appear under the tree.

You’ve heard how curiosity killed the cat; well, I used to get beyond excitement!  The anticipation of what could be beneath the wrapping was exhilarating.

Life is full of uncertainties and no matter how much you prepare for life, there are always unforeseen circumstances that will attempt to hinder your progress in life.  Life has often been referred to as having different seasons or chapters; as one door closes another opens…

When big change comes our way we can either kick and scream and fight the lurking and imminent change that awaits us; or we can embrace the change, see the positives that the change will bring and allow ourselves to be driven by passion, the idea of greater opportunities and personal development.

What if we approached change with the same enthusiasm and excitement we display for events like birthdays and Christmas etc?  You’ve often heard it said that attitude determines altitude; well this positive approach to change could certainly only aid and assist us in our new ventures in life.

If you struggle with change and need some encouragement, please click on the banner below.

How Far Is Too Far

When I was a youth leader there were always the same old questions posed to me by the kids – year in and year out.  One of these questions inevitably would be, “how far is too far?”  Obviously teenagers refer to dating and physical relationships when asking this question, and yes, it is vitally important to know your ‘physical limits’ and when to STOP.

When it comes to dating, relationships and life in general, what is acceptable and at which point are you crossing the line?

When visiting a relative or a friend who you haven’t seen for a long time – let’s say for example 3 years, it can be quite awkward. Mostly because people change, the way they do things and their approach to life change. Your freshest memory of them would be from the last time you interacted with them.  Now, 3 years later you anticipate them to respond and react in the same way they did 3 years ago; but to your surprise, they don’t entirely follow the predictable path.

Your visit is going well (for the most part and all things considered), but 4 days into your 10 day stay, it suddenly takes its toll.  You’re in their house, living under their roof but the way they do things is very different to you and vice versa. You begin to unknowingly impose your views and your ways of doing things and as a result, are potentially stepping into a mine field and an imminent explosion is underway.

This is just one of many examples of ‘crossing a line’.  I have come to realize that irrespective of the situation, whether it be dating, relationships, friendships or family life; there are some golden rules one can apply in order to stay clear of crossing a line and going ‘too far’.

  1. Set clear boundaries and stick to them.
  2. Know what level of responsibility you carry and where that responsibility ends.
  3. Respect your peers, elders, friends and family – especially while you’re under their roof.
  4. Have a moral code and stick to it, if people want you to violate that code, then be firm and put your foot down – just remain respectful.

If you’re constantly crossing the line and struggle to know when you’ve gone too far, please click on the banner and contact us today for more advice!

The Roller Coaster Rides Of Life

Life, for the majority of us, has been one big roller coaster ride, irrespective of our age.  I think as we get older, so the amount of times we travel the  ride increases.

I loved growing up as a child!  I had a healthy family life, had many pleasant experiences, and just had so much fun!  Now, there were hair raising moments and many tears.  There were disappointments and regrets, but boy did I LIVE!

The scary thing about a roller coaster ride is that you just don’t know what to expect. There are exciting moments – those moments of pleasure and joy, happiness and peace.  Then there are those moments of fear, doubt and sadness.

I think the secret to life and all these roller coaster rides is that we can either hate them every single time, or we can learn from them, learn to appreciate the wisdom and knowledge gained from the experiences of life; and ultimately turn that unpleasant ‘ride’ into an attitude of gratitude – because even though bad things happen to us, we become stronger, wiser, and more courageous because of them.

If your life seems like one big roller coaster ride with lots of uncertainty, please click on the link below, and we’ll introduce you to a solution that will bring calmness to your storm.

Most Abortion Should Be Illegal Says Ben Carson

GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson wants to see almost all abortions be made illegal. In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Carson—who is closely trailing Donald Trump in most polls—said that he would “love” to see Roe vs. Wade overturned. The 1973 Supreme Court decision ultimately led to the legalization of abortion throughout the United States. He said that he would like prohibitions against abortions to be sweeping, and not include exceptions for rape and abortion, explaining, “I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way.” He did said that in the “extraordinarily rare situation” in which an abortion must take place to potentially save the life of the mother, “I believe there’s room to discuss that.”

Carson said, “During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do. What if the abolitionists had said, ‘You know, I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do.’ Where would we be?” He later added, “I’m a reasonable person and if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I’ll listen.”

Credit:  Relevant Magazine

When Your Best Is Not Good Enough

There are many things that make us unique as humans.  Our one-of-a-kind fingerprint, our talents, personality… and the list goes on.  But then there are things that make us absolutely predictable and ‘not so special’.  One of the many things that we all can unite around is our desire to please by working hard, and being told well done.  Now, I’m not saying we always need a pat on the back for every little (and sometimes insignificant) thing we do; but when it’s something big and significant, at least then it would be nice to know we’re heading in the right direction.  I’m sure you can agree.

Some time back I was part of a team which was tasked with the job of completing a project in record time, while maintaining the highest quality.  It was a task that had never been done before and required endless hours of hard labour and large amounts of stress.  At some point during the exercise we assessed our progress and I was told by the team leader that my progress was not satisfactory.  I explained why I was delayed – software and hardware issues, etc…  But no matter how much I stressed the point, one thing was clear, my best was just not good enough.

It left me feeling useless and I felt like a disappointment, especially because I was being compared to the rest of the team, and I just didn’t measure up.  As the project went on I put in extra hours and even took work home.  3/4’s of the way through the project we did another assessment and I had finished all my work.  I then had to take on one of my other team members work because they were not coping and were not going to make it in time – you can imagine how excited I was, especially since I was told none of them would be able to help me catch up and finish, as it would not be fair on them.

The project was finished and we were all relieved.

The valuable lesson I learned here was to trust myself, to be honest with myself and to just do what I needed to do – to the best of my ability, even if my best is not what other’s want.  It’s also important to remember that you and I will never be the BEST at one particular thing – ever.  There is always room for improvement and we are constantly learning, even professors in a particular field will learn to the day they die.  If we truly have been lazy and have not given our best, then we should accept the discipline and improve accordingly; but if you know beyond all doubt that your best is truly your best, then you’ve done well!

If you’re constantly been questioned about your ‘best’ and often feel like your best is not good enough, please click on the banner below.

While There’s Life There’s Hope

Life is very unpredictable! No matter how much planning goes into something, inevitably it won’t go 100% as smoothly as planned. In preparing for my wedding day, my first day at work, and various projects I’ve had to manage – something always ‘went wrong’ or had the potential to derail me.

The problem with these spanners in the works is that they can destabilize you and cause you to lose focus. When you lose focus, you become an easy target for destruction and disaster.

In my 30 odd years of life I have suffered a number of tragedies; hardships I would never wish on anyone. In fact, most, if not all of them I would avoid if I could go back in time and make changes.

In the same breath I have learned to be thankful for the difficulties I’ve faced in life because they have made me strong, developed character and have prepared me for obstacles still yet to come in life.

I clearly remember a tragedy I suffered in 2014 – it felt like my entire world was coming to an end. The exciting thing though was that no matter how dark life became, no matter how difficult it was to breathe and keep my head above water, I always had hope in Jesus. If I never had Jesus, I think I’d be a bundle of anger, frustration, bitterness and resentment. Although while dealing with real emotions during that time, it was somehow easier to recover because I had hope – because while there is life, there is hope!

God is life, and He is hope. You don’t have to walk through difficult times alone, God is able to carry you and can help you deal with any difficulty you may face – all you need to do is call out to Him and ask Him for help.

If you are feeling hopeless and need God to help you through a difficult season of life, please click on the banner below and contact us today.

Trucks With Big Screens Reveal Oncoming Traffic

In Argentina, one person dies in a traffic accident every hour. 80% of these accidents happen when people are trying to overtake, not surprising for a country with hundreds of one-lane roads. Samsung and agency Leo Burnett wanted to make a difference and came up with a brilliant initiative called ‘The Safety Truck’.

Samsung's prototype "Safety Truck" offers view of the road ahead

They installed wireless cameras in front and four rear outdoor monitors at the back of Samsung trucks. The cameras streamed the front view of the truck to the monitors at the back. Drivers behind the truck could see oncoming traffic and overtake safely. The cameras were equipped with night vision as well. Watch the video below to see them in action.

Brilliant use of technology and a wonderful initiative to promote road safety. It’s the kind of idea that you want to see implemented globally if they can figure out a way to manage the hardware costs. This campaign has also been shortlisted for a Cannes Lion under the ‘creative innovation’ category this year. Are we looking at a winner?

Credit:  Digital Synopsis / Samsung

The Power Of Respect

If there’s one thing I’m certain of in this world, it’s that all 7 billion people bleed the colour red.  It doesn’t matter what your cultural heritage is or what ethnic group you belong to – we are all human and we all have the same blood!

Now, there is much chatter and debate in the world right now about rights and privileges, but instead of talking about human rights, gay rights and the rights of children; let’s for a moment speak about the very basics – respect.

What warrants or constitutes respect?  How do we determine who deserves respect and who doesn’t?  Is respect ‘earned’ (like we’ve been taught at school), or does everyone at the very least deserve to be respected?

Before we can continue, we need to remind ourselves just what respect really is, and not what we ‘think’ it is.

Respect is defined by the dictionary as ‘an attitude of admiration or esteem. Respect is a way of treating or thinking about something or someone based on their good qualities’.

How can I have an attitude of admiration towards someone I don’t know?  Well, it’s simple – I don’t necessarily have to have an attitude of admiration towards a stranger, but at the very least I can be polite and kind, and not have a negative attitude towards them just because they are of a different culture, religion or orientation to me.

But what about the boss who swears at you or makes you feel so inadequate; the spouse that abuses you or the child offender appearing in court – do any of them deserve respect? I personally don’t think any of these deserve any admiration because such behaviour is appalling; yet disrespect and insults are not something I encourage either.

So, should we remain courteous and respectful when people harm us and treat us badly?

Last year I experienced the most severe kind of verbal trauma imaginable, it was sickening; and what made it worse was it came from someone I respected, loved and held in the highest esteem. When they attacked me and falsely accused me for a solid hour in front of 20 other people, I had an urgent choice to make – fight back and retaliate, or respond in a gentle and controlled manner.

I chose to respond calmly and respectfully, not because of who they were (because trust me, they were ugly and rude); but because of who I am, and who I choose to be.  I respect myself and, because of my personal moral convictions, I refused to be brought down to their level, I chose to rise above them and remain in charge of my thoughts.  Now, this is not a conceited attitude, but a wise and intelligent one.  The irony though, was that the calmer I became, the more aggressive and angry my accusers became, it was actually quite pathetic and immature.

The lesson learnt here is that respect is not so much about the person ‘deserving’ it, but rather a personal respect towards oneself.

Do you struggle to remain calm and collected when trouble strikes?  Have you been hurt and are struggling to forgive and live a respectful life?  Please click on the banner below and contact us today if you want true freedom.

How To Keep Cool And Save Relationships

We all have those heated confrontations, discussions or arguments which have the potential to escalate into a blood bath of note!  Fighting is never pleasant and always destroys solid friendships.

But here’s the ultimate truth about fighting and arguing – they are ALWAYS avoidable.  Yes, it is possible that you may never have another heated argument in your life; it all however depends on you.

When we engage in heated confrontation we either fight (retaliate, react and push back), flight (run, escape, back down) or freeze (completely shut down and become inactive and non-responsive).

In researching this topic I discovered a quick, yet thorough read which helped me understand the “heated moment” a little better – here’s how to keep cool and save relationships:

1. Find out what provokes you.

Ask yourself: When do I feel the hottest anger? When do I just want to be alone? When do I feel paralyzed to respond? Once you know and understand what primes your stress response, you’ll have an easier time stopping yourself from reacting impulsively.

2. Catch the impulse that precedes your response.

There is always an impulse––a sensation that rises up through your body––that precedes any reaction. Mindfulness can help you identify the clues that alert you to your coming anger—rapid heartbeat, feeling hot, raising your voice, clenching your jaw, irritability, or a monotone voice. When you can pick up on these warning signs, you can give yourself time to make a deliberate choice. In that moment, you are practicing anger management.

3. Control the impulse.

The goal is to stay in your body and stay in the present. If you’re quick to fight, give yourself a time-out: Close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths. Repeat to yourself something that reminds you it’s OK to sit with your emotions, like, What I’m experiencing is anger. Anger is natural. Feeling anger won’t hurt me. If you’re quick to flee or freeze, ground yourself in the moment: Literally wrap your arms around yourself and hug your body tightly or grip your toes to the floor. And keep your eyes open. Whichever method helps you, give it time to let it work: Count to 10, 20, 30, whatever you need.

If heated arguments are something you’d like to avoid, please click on the banner below and contact us today!

Credit:  Edited // psychology today

How A Cow Can Change Your Life

I bet you’re thinking “how on earth can I take lessons from a cow, and how could a cow possibly change my life?”  Let me explain – it’s pretty awesome!

Life is busy, and it’s easy to get caught in the rush, and forget the important things in life.

Have you ever taken time to observe a cow as it goes about its meal? It’s quite funny actually!  Because the cow’s eyes are on the side of the face, it can’t exactly see straight ahead and be certain of what it’s eating.  So, after it’s eaten enough, it will find a comfy spot to lay down in, and there it will begin regurgitating the cud. The cow then chews larger pieces of grass that were not fine enough to start off with and will also separate the  good, wholesome grass from the harmful sticks, stones, chocolate wrappers, or anything else that it may have collected during the eating process. It simply spits out the bad, and swallows the good.

We are exposed to so many opinions, expressions and criticisms which influence how we think and how we do things.  They shape and mold our personal perceptions and opinions, our self-esteem; even our very nature gets affected.

Like the cow, I take time out every now and then to chew on all the things I’ve “taken in”, and separate the harmful stuff from the good and wholesome.  The Bible says it’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him unclean, but what comes out.  Whatever conversations, media, interactions and sensory stimuli I allow to take root in my heart will no doubt begin spewing forth from my mouth.

If I’m consuming a constant dose of violence, guess what? I’ll eventually adopt an angry nature. If I’m engaging in negative conversation day in and day out, so too I’ll become negative – and that negativity will affect my attitude and my approach toward life and will affect everything I do.  It doesn’t stop there, I will begin influencing other people and will begin dragging them down with me to the negative side of life.

These are just a few practical examples of how bad seed begins to grow and cause damage to our lives.

So, wherever you find yourself today, know that you always have the power of choice when it comes to what you take in, and how you allow it to affect who you are and who you will become!

If you need help taking stock of your life and  discerning good from bad, please click on the banner below and contact us today!

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