Personal Development

Dr Gerald Bell of the University of North Carolina conducted a survey where four thousand retired executives were asked the question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?” Overwhelmingly, the vast majority of the executives’ answers reflected a desire to take better ownership of their lives. Fundamentally, they responded…

Pain is part of everyone’s experience of life – sometimes caused by external factors (retrenchment, death of a loved one, frustrating circumstances, etc.) or occasionally caused by internal factors (bad decisions, inability to make changes, feelings of disempowerment, unhealthy self-image, etc.). Many people find themselves “stuck” – in bad relationships, in a work context that…

One of the most frustrating problems we face in Africa is the lack of tangible investment or re-investment in infrastructure, particularly felt in the sub-standard network of roads and tracks that link its countries. In some countries, it is not uncommon to come across potholes the size of which could quite comfortably accommodate a fully-grown…

I love flying – just as well, as I do a lot of it! When I was a boy, dreaming of wanting to become a pilot, one of my greatest memories was attending an air show, watching pilots go through their pre-flight routines, checking instrumentation and getting weather reports. I would be fascinated at the…

Charles (Chippy) Brand (civil engineer) bought a defunct little road-building business from his dad and moved back to a rented house in Carltonville, South Africa, to manage the company, C & J Reid. The company had few assets – antiquated steam-driven rollers, two motor graders which ran off power paraffin, a couple of ancient bulldozers…

There’s a wonderful sign on one of the lengthy dirt roads in South Africa which reads: “Choose your rut carefully as you will be in it for the next one hundred kilometres”! “Ruts” are not particular to gravel roads, however, but seem to be part of the regular human experience as people get stuck in…

I love stories and especially mythology. Myths may be seen as a compilation of well-chosen, but contrived characters, weaved into a story to tell of a foundational and even an eternal truth. The phrase “mythic reality” sounds at first like a contradiction of terms – “mythic” meaning by popular belief “not true” and “reality” meaning…

Fish have always fascinated me – not only are the edible ones tasty, but it is also such a relaxing and particularly interesting experience to go down to the local aquarium in Cape Town to view what one does not normally have the opportunity of seeing in their “natural” environment, unless you are a regular…

There are numerous stories of those who had to overcome difficulty, were resilient and triumphed, even in the face of criticism or extreme hardship – Ignace Paderewski, the great Polish pianist, was told by his first piano teacher that his hands were too small to master the keyboard; Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper…

In talking to literally hundreds of people about career development and subsequently, positional growth, I have been struck by the expectation of most people that career growth means promotion – it means progress upwards within a department within the company. Many of these people feel that they have offered value to the company through their…