Tag Archives: values

Where is your attention?

harmony

by Reino Gevers

When you practise the martial art of “taiji push hands” you instantly become aware when your mind is wandering elsewhere. As soon as your attention slips your opponent has easy play in finding the gap and pushing you over. Its all about:

Where your attention goes your energy goes.

In our connected world the power of distraction lurks everywhere. Our mind becomes like a butterfly constantly fluttering from one short attention span to the next. We search for something on google and suddenly a pop-up diverts our attention elsewhere and before we know it, we have spent hours surfing meaninglessly on the Internet.

Mass media is brainwashing us 24-7 with drama and catastrophes. The objective is to shock and awe. The result: more clicks, more viewers, a higher circulation and more advertising revenue. Good news is no news. I know what I’m talking about because I worked in the news industry for more than 26 years. Don’t get me wrong. Its not about sticking your head in the sand and avoiding the world’s problems. Its the dosage of negativity in relation to positivity.

Human nature has a habit of looking first on what is bad than on what is wonderful and on what we can be grateful for in our lives. If your mind is filled with thoughts on wars, riots, crime, the antics of the rich and famous and all the other shadow sides of humanity your subconscious mind will begin to confirm all this as the reality of existence. The end result is often depression and a sense of hopelessness. Moreover, negativity hurts us on the physical level, weakening our immune system and causing many of our modern day plagues such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The truth is that we live in a world of polarity – of yin and yang. For every bad event being flashed across the globe you can be sure there is another positive thing happening at the same time. Its just not receiving our attention. There is so much distraction, brainwashing and mind control from external forces that we spend less and less time in reflecting on what is happening to us. The end result is living a life behind a veil of negativity and emptyness.

You have the power! Draw your boundary on what you want inside your “room” and what needs to stay out:

  • By anchoring yourself with meditation you are extracting yourself from distraction. Meditation is a powerful tool in helping you perceive that inner voice that keeps you connected to your Soul Path.
  • As you meditate you will observe your thoughts. Are they mostly of a positive or negative nature?
  • Are the people you surround yourself with kind and compassionate? Do they exude positive vibes or are they abusing you as a refuse bucket in venting all their anger and frustration? Remember you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with.
  • How much time are you spending in nature? Are you exercising enough? Taking a walk in nature, doing yoga or taiji,  will hugely improve your mood and help you realign.
  • Are you nourishing your body and mind with healthy foods and liquids?

In training your awareness by doing the right things every day, of every week of every month and of every year you will be aligned and become immune to energy-sucking distractions.

By Reino Gevers – Health Mentor for Leaders and Achievers

http://www.reinogevers.com

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Filed under body arts, corporate health, exercise mental health, lifestyle management, mass media, mental-health, outdoor coaching, psychology, spirituality, Uncategorized, yin and yang

The healing power of language

Thank You Word Cloud concept background in many languages Monks and wise teachers from the times of yore knew of the power and resonance of language in formulating the first mantras and healing prayers.

Recent psychological reasearch has confirmed that there is a direct link between the use of language and health. Thus there seems to be a correlation between cardiovascular disease and the use of negative language found on Twitter accounts in the northwestern United States.

Language patterns reflecting negative social relationships, disengagement, and negative emotions—especially anger—emerged as risk factors. On the other hand positive emotions and psychological engagement emerged as protective factors.

It’s sad to observe a growing lack of mindfulness in the use of language, especially on social media sites. I have taken to blocking those people on facebook who have a habit of constantly posting “negativity”. Hate speech, gossip and xenophobia seem the norm. Extremist politicians, following their own agenda, are feeding into this shadow side of human nature, especially in countries where the issues of migrants, religious tolerance and wealth distribution are being debated with strong emotion.

Why not focus on those postings, information and images that serve  the common good, that create a positive wave and healing enerty. This too is part of our reality.

In this context I find the words of the Kalu Rinpoche (excerpt from the Dharma) particularly poignant:

“Mere words, which have no ultimate reality, can determine our happiness and suffering. We create pleasure and pain through our fundamental clinging to sound and speech.”

Ancient languages such as Sanskrit, Latin and Aramaic, the lingua franca in the Middle East during the time of Jesus, are particularly powerful. Mantras and healing prayers in these languages are known to create a strong healing vibration in the body.

In the ancient Chinese body arts of Qi Gong we have the healing sounds for each cycle of the Five Elements:

  • Tzue for the element wood (liver)
  • Haaa for the element fire (heart)
  • Huuu for the element earth (spleen and stomach)
  • Zzzzz for the elemnt metal (lungs)
  • Chuwayy for the element water (kidneys, lower back and bladder)
  • Seeee for harmonizing the central meridian

On the mindset level, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, has a particularly strong cleansing effect:

Om – representing the divine universal energy

Mani – the pure jewel of compassion and love

Padme – the lotus symbolizing wisdom

Hung or Hum – establishing wisdom and removing attachment to hatred.

 

Reino Gevers – coach, trainer, author

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

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Filed under exercise mental health, healing nature, immune system, lifestyle management, meditation, monks, psychology, spirituality, stress hormones, Uncategorized

Employee vitality – the human factor

Happiness and joy. Young happy female

Its a common fallacy that technology alone and the cost factor are key ingredients on the global corporate playing field. Yet when looking at highly successful companies its the vitality and positive-mindset of its people who have that slight but crucial edge.

These are the corporates with a high stress resilience in rough times, open to innovation and change and who go into positive resonance with clients.

The mindset of key players in a company is crucial. This means having a permanent learning culture of self-development, reflection and positive feedback. Investment in the well-being of employees makes itself paid on all levels.

As the lines between work, family and leisure time become increasingly blurred in the digital world of today, it is all the more necessary to keep in mind essential human needs. We are social animals who feel a great need to interconnect positively with those immediately around us. It gives us a feeling of safety and security because humans have depended on each other for survival since the earliest of times.

Old style management that leads with fear and intimidation creates an environment that stifles all form of healthy human communication, inevitably stirring basic human survival instincts that lead to mobbing, burnout and other psychological fallouts. On the long-run companies that rule by fear are doomed.

A healthy work environment has room for recuperation phases and encourages them. There needs to be a healthy cycle between intensive work sessions, times of stress and rest periods. Its old school thinking not to include private issues at the work place. Immediate colleagues are often the first support network we fall back on when we have tough times at home. So how do you create a healthy corporate culture?

  • Its a long-term learning process. Supervisors and managers need  to keep their ears close to the ground in addressing the needs of their employees. Listening is one of the most important yet least found ingredients among leaders.
  • Self-development, team training and investment in soft-skills training is a crucial element.
  • Self-responsibility on personal health, nutrition, recuperation and lifestyle management can be actively nurtured in a learning environment.
  • Creating a culture of mindfulness and attentiveness is a high ideal but can be learned and creates a highly positive resonance with clients. We are after all dealing with humans.

We spend most of our lives at the workplace and it is sad to see that so little effort is being made in investing in the “human factor”. Do we live to work or work to live?  To quote Studs Terkel:

“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.”

Reino Gevers – coach, author, trainer

http://www.reinogevers.com

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Filed under corporate health, Job satisfaction, lifestyle management, Uncategorized, work environment, work purpose

World yearns for leaders with Mandela qualities

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Today the world took farewell of Nelson Mandela. As a boy he herded cattle near his home in a remote rural area of South Africa to grow into one of the greatest leaders of our age, epitomising values that have become rare indeed.

Why is the world so fascinated by Mandela? When he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 nine out of ten South Africans at the time probably wanted him hanged, seeing him only as a dangerous “terrorist”. For many years only a handful of people kept his memory alive. His writings were banned in South Africa. His first years of hard labour on Robben Island were especially harsh and would have broken most other people. One of the things that sustained him was the poem by William Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

When he came out prison 27 years later, he was indeed unbowed, having sacrificed everything for a common good, knowing instinctively that some day destiny would call him to duty. During my early years as a newspaper reporter in South Africa I met one of the police officers who actually arrested him outside Howick, near Pietermaritzburg in 1962. The Afrikaner policeman became very reflective when asked about Mandela. It was obvious that the man had somehow been deeply affected by this African liberator during the interrogation, for the Afrikaners too had fought a struggle against British imperialism.

Many years later I met Mandela for the first time in his home in Soweto in 1990, some months after his release. His mere presence was magical. It was not only his physical presence but something that comes from a heart or soul level. Mandela saw himself as a servant of his people, for a higher goal and destiny – he epitomised the concept of Ubuntu (humanity to others). He set an example to politicians and leaders at every level. Here are some of them:

  • An amazing self-deprecating humour that kept him grounded as a human being
  • He was everything but a leader on a godly throne, admitting that he made mistakes and was not a saint.
  • He was a mentor and mediator, bringing together disparate groups for a common goal
  • He was very disciplined. His comrades, who spent years in prison cells next to him, were woken in the morning at 5 a.m. by his skipping exercise routine. At times he could get very impatient with people around him who came late for appointments.
  • He exuded a dignity that so impressed his white prison guards that they soon resorted to calling him Mr Mandela instead of the derogatory term “kaffir”
  • He confronted his fears, strengths and weaknesses with much self-reflection
  • At the same time he was humble and down to earth. People, especially children always felt at ease around him.

Our world has a leadership problem. Whether we look at business, politics or many other levels of society. Where are the managers, CEO’s, teachers, political party leaders, heads of government with UBUNTU qualities?

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Human needs or corporate values?

Germany’s two major political parties have just agreed to form a grand coalition, deciding for the first time on a countrywide minimum wage of 8.50 Euro per hour. This was one of the issues pushed through by the Social Democrats in the new coalition.

 The sad truth is that many employees in the services sector are currently earning a lot less. Many have been forced to apply, in addition to their low income, for a social welfare subsidy to pay the rent.

 The state, or taxpayer, has indirectly been subsidizing these lower paid jobs. It is one of the downsides of the German economic boom. German corporations are earning huge profits with their emphasis on exports. Domestic demand on the other hand has been stagnating at a low level for many years because the available income of middle class and lower income groups has been declining. This has largely been due to low wage increases coupled with high medical aid, tax and other social welfare fees.

 The background to such a development, not only in Germany, has been a dramatic shift in the value system: Greed has taken over. We saw the worst outgrowths of this in the banking crisis that came to a head in 2008 and that is not over yet, by far. The positive side to the story is that all the muck came to the fore. The story was out in full glare. We could finally read how customers were literally “robbed” with junk products so that bankers could cash in on their annual bonuses running into millions – in some extreme cases.

 

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Words are telling. The person responsible for staff issues is called the head of “Human Resources” as if humans can be put on the same level as material resources such as technical equipment. In the same way the customer is not seen as a human being but as a “product” that needs to be milked in every way possible and can be treated with complete disrespect. When was the last time you actually got hold of a human being on the other end of the line when trying to phone a telecommunications or other big service company? You are inevitably left waiting, listening to a computer voice and being forced to listen to horrible music while you are at it. Watch how a company treats its employees and you will find that it will be treating its customers in the same way.

 During the past ten years there has been a dramatic increase of burnout and other psychological disorders among employees in Germany. This had the German Labour Ministry so worried that they have commissioned an annual study on stress and related matters.

 One of the issues that regularly comes up is the lack of human leadership skills, empathy, inability or unwillingness on the part of managers to praise their employees for work well done. It is one of the key factors employees list as to why they feel dissatisfied or emotionally exhausted in their jobs. Bosses have been appointing bosses of their own kind with a complete lack of social skills.

 People have needs. They are social beings who interact, communicate, laugh and especially enjoy being in a team where basic human respect and recognition is the norm. People want to earn a decent wage to be able to afford basic needs but they also want to go to a job every day where they feel they can contribute to something meaningful and meet up with friends at work who are there to also support them during the natural cycles of ups-and-downs in life.

And, more importantly, they want a boss who leads by example and is a mentor in honing personal skills. He is also the person who can show genuine empathy when a child is sick at home and remembers every birthday and anniversary – like a good friend. It is not too much to expect. People simply want to be treated like humans and not like a human resource that can be extracted, manipulated and discarded.

 

More info in my book on the cycles of change and value systems: Yield and Overcome

 

 

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