I’m am shocked by the number of young people who haven’t got a clue about cooking, cleaning, basic accounting and common courtesy just to name a few life skills. We wonder why we see so many ill-equipped youth struggling to make their way in life, yet how many of us have taken the time to teach our children basic life skills?
My mom and dad worked full-time, demanding jobs. So, when we were very young, a university student baby-sat us until our parents returned from work in the evening. We were left orders to show her respect, do what she said and help around the house if necessary. By the time the youngest of us turned nine, the sitter was gone. Our parents put my older brother in charge and we were each assigned housekeeping jobs in addition to our school work and after school sports. The chores were on a rotation, so all of us learned how to clean the bathroom, vacuum and dust. My sister and I learned how to cook dinner, something I loved and my sister hated. Nonetheless, she still learned that basic necessity in life. Even my older brother could cook by the time he went to university.
We could not receive our small weekly allowance until our chores were completed and we were expected to budget that money until the next pay out. That was never easy for me! Still, that life lesson came in handy when the time came for me to pay my own bills. Furthermore, we were not allowed to go out and socialize until all housework and homework was completed. That taught us the lessons of management, responsibility and the rewards that come with doing your job properly.
These basic disciplines served me and my siblings well when we flew the nest and went out on our own. They are part of the fabric of our being. Evaluating some of the young people I work with today leads me to ask – has our fast paced existence, modern conveniences, and apathy left our children without the skills to cope with life in the long run? We do so much to ensure our children’s futures, but why don’t we guarantee they have the right tools for living? We buy them every mod-con we can afford, but forget about giving them life skills we can give for free. Young people need to understand that there are consequences for not being prepared in life. If they haven’t mastered the basics, they won’t have a proper foundation to build upon. At some point, their short comings will become a real disadvantage in life.
Training your kids at a young age is a real advantage. Life skills will quickly become habitual. It’s more difficult when they’re older and think they can control their lives before they’re capable; so, start early before they can question your motives.
I know it’s not easy to get our kids to help out around the house. I know we give into their demands because we’re too worn out to resist. But, it’s worth making them learn and earn, even if it causes friction on occasion. Personally, I’m for prying those mobile phones and computers out of their hands and replacing them with a mop and a frying pan a couple of times a week before they become teenagers and vanish from the house! Don’t forget who the boss is!
For those of you who can afford to or want to do everything for your kids, STOP NOW! A spoiled child always suffers in the end. Do them a lasting favour. Teach them proper life skills. They will thank you in the future. I am grateful for my parents every day.
It’s my passion to motivate and encourage people to go get what they want in life and achieve their goals, but the fact is the path to success is not always a straight road. There is much to be learned from failure and it happens to all of us on occasion. It’s best to take a hard look at our mistakes and learn from them to insure greater success the next time around.
- Don’t obsess over failing but do analyse your mistakes. Did you do enough preparation and planning? Did you account for possible road blocks to your success?
- Don’t let ego, disappointment and even embarrassment cloud your judgement about what went wrong. Use another person’s perspective to help you determine what you could have done differently in order to succeed.
- Isolate the cause of your failure. Go back over your behaviour. Were you too talkative; Were you an active listener? Did you fail to make a good presentation; did you walk and talk with confidence; could you back up your statements with facts?
- What was your mindset? Did you think you would succeed before you tried? You can’t expect to succeed if you’re defeatist.
- Once you’ve reviewed your mistakes; make sure you don’t repeat them. It’s easy to fall into negative behaviour patterns.
- Be a graceful loser; a bad loser leaves a negative impression that’s hard to erase.
Believe in yourself. Have the confidence and faith to know that there’s another opportunity waiting around the corner.
It’s unrealistic to think that you’re always going to feel good about yourself because frankly you’re not. That’s only human. However, you can do a few basic things to help build yourself a foundation of confidence that will carry you through many of life’s ups and downs. Here are a few of my top suggestions to either get you started building or remind you of the confidence you already have within.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. What a waste of time and energy. You can’t possibly know all that lies behind someone else’s facade just as they don’t know what lies behind yours. For all you know, they may be plagued with problems and you may not want to swap places after all.
- Acknowledge your insecurities and talk to someone about them. It always helps to get an outside perspective on what you perceive as a weakness.
- Make a list of your signature strengths. We’re all good at some things. Write a memo on your phone so your power strengths are at your fingertips when you need reminding.
- Adapt a positive mindset. Act positive even when you don’t feel that way. You’ll find that your proactive behaviour will have an impact on your attitude. Don’t let others make you feel inferior.
- Be thankful for what you have. Many of our insecurities stem from thoughts that we are lacking something. Best to remember what you do have and give thanks.
- Don’t strive to be perfect, no one is.
- Exercise and eat right. The better shape you’re in, the better you will feel about yourself.
- Use positive affirmations. Make friends with your mirror and create a positive mantra that you can repeat to yourself every morning and evening. They really do work if you use them repeatedly.
Stand tall and believe you can achieve anything you what you want to achieve.
Happy 2014! Here’s to all the happiness and challenges this year may bring all of us. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. After years of unfulfilled personal promises I know with certainty that actions speak a lot louder than words. Real, lasting change requires conviction and dedication to the cause. Human metamorphosis are not something that happens in a few weeks but over a period of time. It is a journey. So, this year be steadfast in your conviction to make positive transformations in your life. Whether you choose to let go of bad habits that hinder your happiness, make slight life adjustments or if you need to do a complete about-face, here are a few suggestions that can help you keep your changes on track.
- If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t bother. You’re much more likely to work hard for something that will bring you happiness, so start there.
- Declutter your brain. Dump all negative influences and energy drainers. They will only bring you down.
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!
- Set yourself realistic, attainable goals. Don’t try to make too many big changes at once.
- Break your goals down into bite size pieces. Put time measurements on your progress and check yourself regularly.
- Keep a record of your goals and progress on paper, on your mobile and any other place you’re likely to see them on a daily basis.
- Have a support system in place. Goals are often very personal, but it’s important to have someone with whom you can share your successes and frustrations. Perhaps you can do the same for them.
- Don’t be put off by disappointment. We are usually keen to succeed when we set goals for the New Year. However, as time moves along our commitment to success can fade and frustration sets in. In comes the same old mundane routines and excuses that sabotaged you in the past. Don’t let disappointments and set-backs defeat you. Use your support system and determination to get ourselves back on track.
Let 2014 be the year you follow through on your dreams. Work to your potential and follow through until you achieve your goals. Life is what you make of it anchor your future in this sage advice:
“To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
To all charity.”