I was on my way to visit a friend at the Johannesburg Art Gallery which is in Hillbrow. On my way to the gallery suddenly I was surrounded by hundreds of cars in gridlocked traffic. There was a metro police car on my left dealing with a crime scene and hundreds of taxi’s on my right.

Then suddenly my leg goes buzz buzz, it was my friend who I was meant to meet who had sent me a SMS. “Still lying in bed” read the message.

What!! I remember smacking the cushion of the car seat next to me. I am sitting in the middle of Hillbrow in such a dangerous situation and you are still lying in bed.

I eventually negotiated my way out the traffic jam and parked in the parking lot.

Still furious. I walked round the building where I looked up and saw an amazing sight three other people who were waiting for me for the tour of the Art Gallery which I had arranged. I quickly composed myself and introduced myself.

We then entered the art gallery where a representative from the City of Johannesburg was waiting to meet us and she had kindly arranged a personal tour for us.

There were four of us plus the guide who were walking around the empty art gallery looking at amazing and magnificent pieces of art while he was giving us an amazing tour. If we were in any other city such as London and New york we would be surrounded by hundreds of people but here we were looking at amazing and rare art works.

I remember looking at the art works and thinking to myself.
What lessons can I learn from this experience?

I was still angry at my friend who had let me down.

For the artists who had created the art had gone through much worse strife and pain than what I was going through.

Soon the wonderful tour was over and we all headed back home. It ended up being a really nice day.

There were powerful lessons learned that day.

Lesson 1: You are defined by what you do not by what people do to you.

In the years that have passed since this incident I have learnt that you are defined by what you do not how others treat you. I was there for my friend that day.

Don’t let people who don’t care about you bring you down. So many times outside people say insulting and hurtful things to other people. What really matters is what you do.

Lesson 2: Hard working normal people can make a big difference in the world.


There are lots of people trying to make a positive difference in the world. From the City of Johannesburg employee who arranged a tour for us even though we were such a small group to guide, to the other people who did arrive that day. Their presence made a big difference.

I remember a quote that when tragedies have happened or there is wars, there are always people who are rebuilding not destroying. There will always be someone who comes into your life and builds you up.

Lesson 3:
Life does get better

I
f someone had come to me that morning when I was so upset and angered by what my friend did to me and said Jarrod, in a few years time you will end up doing the things you do and and finding the new better people in my life. I wouldn't have believed them.

My call to action to you:

Find a that real person who wants to be with you and is a real friend.

Remember the old M-Net adverts where they go deep into a forest trying to find something magical and then finally end up 

“If there is magic out there we will find it. Find that MAGIC!

“When things seem unjust or unfair, and you show up anyways and give 100%, that is when greatness shows up.”
 
 
I belong to a club that encourages people to develop their public speaking abilities.

This past week it has been our clubs bi-annual speaking competition. We duly sent out lots of e-mails asking for volunteers to compete and received responses from the eager club members.

It is a scary experience to enter a competition. You have to perform in front of strangers who will judge you but there are lots of good reasons to enter a competition as mentioned below.

Here are ten positive reasons to enter a competition:
1. You can share the experience with Friends and Family
2. There is a sense of Accomplishment from Achieving Your Goal
3. You take Your craft/ skill to New Heights
4. Be Inspired to achieve something bigger
5. Get Performance Experience in a stressful environment
6. Learn From Your Mistakes
7. Bring Your Entire Vision to Life
8. Make New Friends
9. Be a Role Model to other competitors
10. Challenge Expectations of yourself

Life is all about competing, this quote that comes from the Olympics sums it up best, I believe:

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
- Pierre de Coubertin (primarily responsible for the revival of the Olympic Games in 1894)

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do" Henry Ford

It is important to at least try, because that way you get to learn something new and gain a new skill.
 
 
A group of frogs were travelling through the woods. Suddenly two of them fell through a large hole. 

When the other frogs looked down the deep pit, they told the frogs that had fallen down the pit that there was no hope and that they will be stuck in the pit forever.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs told them to stop. What was the point?

Finally after trying for hours and hours one of the frogs took heed of what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He gently floated to the bottom of the pit.

The other frog ignored the situation around him and continued to try get out. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and give up. He jumped even harder and harder and finally made it out the pit.

The other frogs were shocked, they never expected him to get out the pit alive.

This is the power of never giving up. To keep on trying and trying until you succeed.

 
 
A young boy and a man were driving through the countryside they stopped at an old farm to ask for directions.

While the man and farmer were talking the young boy came running to his father who told him there was a eagle in the chicken coup. Not believing him, the man continued talking with the farmer.

Again the boy returned and said, “Dad, you have to come see this eagle.” The father told his son that it couldn’t be an eagle and began to apologize to the farmer for the interruption.

The farmer stopped him, and said, “It’s okay. There is an eagle in there."

In disbelief the man walked over to the fence where his son stood pointing. There he saw a bald eagle walking around on the ground pecking for food in the dirt. The man could not believe it. He turned to the farmer and asked, “How did this happen?”

The farmer laughed and said he found the eagle when it was a baby. It had fallen out of its nest in a storm and was injured. He brought it home, weened it back to health and put it with the chickens because it didn’t know how to fly.

Time passed and the eagle grew but never learned how to fly. In fact, it never seemed like it wanted to. It was happy to be with the chickens, eating seeds and digging for worms.

The father was absolutely right.

An eagle had no business walking around on the ground digging for worms. Eagles are meant to soar.

If you put an eagle with a group of chickens, sooner or later, it will act like a chicken.

How do the people closest to you make you feel?

Do they want you to be a chicken or do they want you to be an eagle?

 
 
Have you ever had a job you loved so much?

You got up in the morning singing your way to your job, laughing with your co-workers and generally being happy. Having lunch with your co-workers in the afternoon, and saying goodbye at the end of the day like you were leaving a group of long lost friends?

Have you ever fallen in love with your work?

You loved writing a book, recording music, trying to record an album, opening a motivational speaking consulting firm, drawing a huge picture, trying to start a company, building a blog or created something very special.

If the answer is no then maybe it is time for a change.

I was recently watching an interview with one of the wealthiest people in America. He is a 79 year old man. Toward the interview he joked about his working day. He still works nine hours during the day and then goes home to his wife for dinner then works until late into the evening.

When the journalist asked why he still works, because he obvisouly doesn't need the money he replied "I still have passion for what I do. I still love what I do!"

Maybe we need to start loving our work more, start increasing our passion because with passion comes success and money.

 
 
The Oscars are an event that many people each year look forward to with excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately this year's event has been marred by accusations of racism and bias.

I read interesting article about how the process of the Academy Awards are awarded to the actors.

There are approximately 4000 members who vote on who should get an Oscar or not. The way it works is that all the members are posted DVD's of the movies a few months before the event. The members are meant to watch all the movies and then vote on which movies and actors they think deserve an Oscar.

Unfortunately what is happening is that there are too many movies to watch and it is too time consuming to adequately evaluate every movie and actor. According to the article the judges just select the movies they want to watch and nominate the actors in those movies while the movies that the judges didn't have time to see are left out.

This is according to the writer one of the reasons there is so little diversity at the Academy awards.

This made me think of how so much of our lives are created by other people's perceptions. We are molded by what others think of us.
At school if you are the lucky one and you got the teacher to like you, you got any with being naughty or got better marks.

At work if your boss likes you then you got a promotion. Our whole world is created by outside people telling us their opinion.

Like the judges who don't watch all the movies they are meant to, don't let people who don't have the time for you to define your life.

"Never allow yourself to be defined by someone else's opinion of you."