Personal Directions: See further by standing
upon the shoulders of giants
By Christina Dodd,
For those of you out there who have read any self-help and
inspirational literature, you will no doubt recognize the name W. Clement
Stone. Indeed you will also know two other names, that of William James and
Napoleon Hill. All three gentlemen were extraordinary seekers of the secrets
of success and believers in the amazing power of a Positive Mental Attitude
(PMA). I thought it might be an idea to give you a little information about
them and their tremendous involvement in this field of study and way of life.
Hopefully you will be inspired to read some of their work.
These “giants of men” (and many others) contributed
over the years to the development and refinement of the PMA concept. William
James (1842-1910), a Harvard Medical School graduate who stayed at the
university to teach anatomy, physiology, psychology, and philosophy, helped to
develop a system of thought called pragmatism. According to the ideas
of pragmatism, results are what count. Thought is a guide to action. If a
thought does not result in practical actions, it is not useful. James wrote,
“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief
will create the fact.”
The people of James’s day respected his theories, and he
attracted many followers. He was convinced that life is a battle between
pessimism and optimism. James vehemently opposed negative thinking; “It
fills people with failure and doubt,” he said. The universe, according to
James, was full of possibilities. People could vastly improve
themselves if only they opened their eyes and looked for the mind power they
had within them. James believed that each of us decides what our future will
be and that, “We become what we think about most of the time. The greatest
revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing
the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their
Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) was another who carried the PMA
baton. Hill made it his life work to interview immensely successful people,
deriving seventeen principles from this study that he wove into the first
practical philosophy of personal achievement. Hill enumerated these principles
in various books including The Law of Success, Think and Grow Rich,
and many other self-help books. Hill always found that the men he studied
shared a Positive Mental Attitude. He noted about one, Andrew Carnegie, who
had an obsession. He believed that anything in life worth having was worth
working for. Carnegie said, “I believe that anything in life worth having
and working for is worth paying for. What price are you willing to pay for
W. Clement Stone, born in 1902, who only recently passed
away, made his millions in the insurance industry in the USA. The chairman
emeritus of Aon Insurance Companies, he made it his business to use PMA in
every possible way, not only in business but in his personal and family life,
and in his charitable works. An outstanding contemporary author and a man who
accumulated his great wealth by using and mastering the principles set down by
Hill, made a profound discovery while co-authoring (with Napoleon Hill) the
book Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude.
The essence of his discovery was this: The basic principles
of success are effective in achieving worthwhile goals only to the extent that
they are constantly reinforced and replenished by a Positive Mental Attitude.
That principle became the cornerstone of Stone’s philosophy and the theme
that unified his writings. The stage was set, and PMA dominated the spotlight.
Stone put to work Hill’s ten-step formula for developing and maintaining a
Positive Mental Attitude and the rest his history!
Napoleon Hill’s ten steps are briefly explained here, and
in some of them I have made reference to the words of Clement Stone.
Step One: Take
possession of your own mind with conviction
Stone said of this, “I have long been an advocate of
selecting thoughts and sayings that can be immediately summoned into the
conscious mind to counter the negative influences we all encounter in everyday
life … Since I was a teenager I deliberately trained myself to neutralize
negative suggestions from others. If someone said to me, “It can’t be
done,” or “You can’t do that,” my subconscious mind would instantly
flash a message to my conscious mind the positive translation: “He can’t, but
I can. I practiced it so often that it became an automatic, instantaneous
Step Two: Keep your mind on
the things you want and off the things you don’t want
Every time you meet a setback, by staying in control of
your mental attitude, it’s like being able to do that extra push-up. You are
training your mind to do more than it has ever done before and just as your
muscles become strong and resilient through exercise and constant use, so does
Step Three: Live the Golden Rule:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you –
it is that simple!
Step Four: Eliminate all
negative thoughts by self-inspection
Stone’s introduction to the insurance business that would
bring him success was not easy. The first day of business he sold just two
policies out of countless attempts. Although he improved steadily, he found
that he had to examine his ways thoroughly and daily and had to overcome his
fears. One of his greatest fears was that of knocking on doors. But after some
thinking he reasoned, “Success is achieved by those who try. And where there
is nothing to lose by trying, and a great deal to be gained if successful, by
all means, try!”
Step Five: Be happy! Make
Step Six: Form a habit of tolerance
Step Seven: Give yourself positive suggestions
Step Eight: Use your power of prayer
Step Nine: Set goals
Step Ten: Study, think and plan daily
These ten steps are worth thinking about and worth
embracing if you are considering changing your life!
There are so many excellent books out there and available
for you to find some inspiration. But something Clement Stone said is worth
remembering. He said, “The difference between a novel and a self-help book
is this: In a novel, the author writes the conclusion; in a self-help book,
the reader writes the conclusion by the action he takes.”
Until next time, have an inspiring week!
If you would like a presentation or more information on our
personal training or coaching services, or any of our business and corporate
skills programs, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] asia
The Doctor's Consultation: Long-term therapy - just how long should you take it?
by Dr. Iain Corness
So you have just been diagnosed as having raised blood
pressure. Do you have to take drugs for the rest of your life just to save
your life? In actual fact, modification, reduction and even completely
stopping medication can be on the cards. However, before you take that last
sentence as the excuse you were looking for to stop taking your tablets, read
It is a well known medical fact that the need for higher
doses of many medications becomes less as we get older. There are many reasons
for this, the major ones being a reduction in the efficiency of the kidneys
and liver. You see, what happens is that these two organs break down the
chemicals in your medicines, and when they work a little slower (like all
things as you get older) then there can be a build up of the drugs in the
blood, making for a greater concentration than before. The way round this is
to reduce the amount of the drugs being taken, so it may be possible to go
from 1,000 mg per day to only 500 mg, and still be in the ‘therapeutic blood
There is also another factor that can influence just how
much of any particular medication that you might need, as time goes by. This
is called the pharmacodynamic effect, whereby we find that as you get older
there appears to be an increasing sensitivity to certain medications,
especially pain killers, anti-epilepsy drugs and antihistamines. Again the end
result is that a reduction is not only warranted, but is clinically indicated.
Medical science, despite being inexact, is advancing every
day. The research that is being done is not just into the life threatening
diseases such as HIV/AIDS, but into the more common problems as well. This can
produce a new way of treating an old ailment - stomach ulcers being a classic
example, where we used to give patients bottles of bismuth, then we changed
that to antacid tablets, and then to proton pump inhibitors and then to
looking for a little bug called Helicobacter pylori. Different medications in
Finally, there comes the (vexed) question as to whether it
is appropriate to reduce or stop medication or not. My own personal philosophy
has always been that all drugs are ‘poisons’, but in small doses will not
kill you. But back to the problem in hand - are you on medications for life? I
believe that even if the pharmaceutical ‘poisons’ are ‘safe’ perhaps
we should review the situation regularly to see if you still need it. After
all, why take it if you can do without it? Do I hear a ‘Hooray’ out there?
But do not stop taking the medication yet! Keep reading!
If you were prescribed a drug, there was a good (medical)
reason for it. If we are to withdraw that drug, then there has to be a very
good medical review of the situation. That situation is dynamic - and all
reductions must be done under medical supervision and strictly controlled.
With anti-hypertensives, for example, you would begin by halving the dosage
and monitoring the BP regularly. If the BP has not gone up, then it is
reasonable to halve the dose again, and eventually you may be able to stop all
treatment. However, it does not mean that monitoring stops as well.
That is the key to all this - constant monitoring and
reviews. Do not neglect this side of medication reduction!
An apology from Santa for the non-delivery of your choccy bars.
Apparently, ruddy-nosed Rudolph got stuck into them, there being a
shortage of suitable tundra in Thailand for the hungry, horny-headed
beast. But now for the good news! Santa is thinning out his herd and is
offering you first pick for your delight.
How nice to see that you made it through the New Year celebrations, my
Petal. I was a trifle worried that you might have tried your smooth
talking ways on people not as forgiving as Hillary, and come to a
disastrous end. There is always retribution, even for those with a
seemingly limitless stock of excuses such as yourself, you should realise.
These days I neither believe in Santa, nor in your protestations of having
sent the many times promised chocolates and champagne. Mistersingha, it is
time to put up, or shut up.
Further to your not being able to find the anti-SPAM K9 program I advised
you to try, I apologize. The program is called K9 but the website for it
is http://keir.net/k9.html. Googling “K9” will get you the relevant
site also. FYI, I use Pegasus Mail and the SMTP service that my ISP
provides. Sorry I couldn’t be more humorous, but that is your field, not
mine. However, I put the phrase “googling” K9 in to provide you with
more fodder. Or should that be dog food?
You are forgiven, as opposed to the Mistersingha above, who is not. But
FYI, I am not into acronyms. They disrupt my SMTP something chronic, so
that my ISP goes into RS mode, I revert to drinking cheap champagne and
getting done for DIC.
Valentines Day is coming up soon and I would like to show my affection for
a certain Thai lady I have met. She works in a department store and is
always very pleasant when I meet her, but I’ve been going slow as I
don’t want her to think that I am like all the other ‘kiss me quick’
foreigners. Do Thais celebrate Valentines Day? I don’t want to miss out
on this opportunity, but at the same time, I want to try to continue to do
things the “right way”.
Dear Valentine Vic,
There beats a romantic heart in the men in this town still! Of course Thai
women celebrate Valentine’s Day, Petal. However, you still have to tread
slowly. Your problem is that your lady may not even know of your dreams,
she may just be being polite. Valentine’s Day cards are also
traditionally unsigned, so you run the risk of her thinking it came from
your arch rival Police Constable Pisinurai. But be brave, a faint heart
ne’er won a fair lady (or even a dusky one). Put your mobile phone
number in the card and see if you really ring her bell. Lots of luck!
I have not been here very long, but have now got a steady girlfriend. She
comes from Udorn and her family still lives up there. She wants me to go
up there to meet the family, so I think she is pretty serious, and must
like me. She wants me to hire a car to go up there because she says her
village is a little ways out of town, so the bus isn’t any good and
anyways we will have some household items to take up for her folks. She
says that we will stay with her mother in her mother’s house, but I
should bring some money up with me as I will have to pay for my stay
there. Since we are only planning on a couple of days, I thought this a
bit strange, but since I don’t know Thai customs, I have just said yes,
particularly since I’ve only known her for two weeks. Now she is talking
about buying a TV set for the folks, but I get the feeling it is me who is
going to buy this. Am I being played as a sucker? Advice please, Hillary.
You certainly did come down in the last shower, didn’t you, my Petal.
You are talking about meeting the parents of your long-time Thai
girlfriend of two whole weeks! Three by the time you get the answer to
your letter! This lovely young thing is telling you to rent a car, buy a
TV, pay for sleeping on the board floor at Mum’s and goodness knows what
else. Newbie, I want you to stand in front of the mirror and look at
yourself and go, Mooo! You are looking at someone otherwise known as a
cash cow, Newbie, nothing more, nothing less. Thai ladies do not bring
foreigners home after two weeks of sweaty evenings and say, “Look what
I’ve brought home, Mum.” This is your first trip to Thailand too,
isn’t it, Newbie? You are following a classic pattern that makes you out
to be one big sucker. While buying the TV set, why don’t you just give
her the credit card and tell her to empty the account. This way you
don’t have to waste money on a rental car or accommodation on the floor.
If you can, start running now!
Camera Class: Harry and Howard.
The answers to the questions you were too afraid to ask!
by Harry Flashman
A few weeks ago, Howard Greene, a local photographer in
Pattaya, asked my opinion on the selection of images for a project he had
undertaken in which he had to photograph a number of the staff at the Classroom
(Soi Pattayaland 2). The brief was to come up with some flattering artistic
images, and two of the ‘outs’ are published here to show what a hard job we
I decided that a Question and Answer session might be of
interest, so here are some answers from a professional photographer.
Q (Harry): Let’s start with the basics. What type of
equipment do you use?
A (Howard): I use a 35 mm Nikon N90s body, plus a 35-70 mm
zoom and another 70-210 zoom, so I can shoot anything from landscapes to ‘fill
the frame’ portraits. I know that you (Harry) do not like zoom lenses, but one
cannot underestimate the quality of a Nikon system. In addition I use a
compatible Nikon Speedlight flash, a sturdy Gitzo tripod, a polarizing filter,
plus a few other bits and pieces.
Q: Which film do you use?
A: It is my practice to always use the same film, so I know
what to expect under similar circumstances. After some experimentation I have
settled on Fuji 100, unless the entire shoot will be in a darkened setting such
as a nightclub. In those instances I can pick up one stop by using Fuji 200.
Q: How do you work with Thai models, when you have a limited
knowledge of the language?
A: First of all, I try to put them at their ease. Having
one’s photograph taken is not root canal work, so if I am relaxed that should
transfer to the models. I show them how I want them to pose and click-click we
are finished in less than five minutes. There is never a reason for me to touch
any of the models. No Thai model ever posed with an agenda to be difficult.
Moreover, the models all go to the movies, watch TV and look at fashion
magazines, so they know how to strike a pose.
Q: What makes a shot easy for you?
A: I just follow my instincts when photographing Thai models.
When there is no budget for stylists, assistants, hair and nail technicians, ad
agency reps and so on, the final photograph is all up to me without seeking
consensus from a group of people as to what works best.
Q: What are your views on photo credits and copyright as well
as ‘theft’ of intellectual property?
A: Speaking personally, when I see my photographs printed
without a photo credit, my consent or reasonable compensation to which I would
normally be entitled to, I take it as a compliment so as not to go crazy
thinking about it. It is 2004, the Rolling Stones cannot stop their music being
downloaded, nor can the Disney company protect the image of Mickey Mouse. I
prefer to walk away from these issues rather than seek relief. As the sole
creator of a photograph anyone who prints one of my images does not have a
license to do so unless I transfer ownership by contract.
Q: What has been the highlight of your taking photographs in
A: That is easy to answer. Meeting and photographing Khun
Anand Panyarachun, the former PM, who hosts a golf tournament for UNICEF. You
know that you are in the presence of a great man, who warmly welcomes everyone
he meets. Even me. That is the highlight. There isn’t even a close second.
Q: I know that you have been involved in many charity
photography projects, covering differing assignments in Thailand, tell us of the
dynamics of these.
A: Sure, I can identify four immediately. Children are the most fun. Models
are the most challenging. Golf the most exhausting, and finally, Special Events
- you have to get it right as there is no second chance!