HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Personal Directions

The Doctor's Consultation by Dr. Iain Corness

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Personal Directions: Unnatural acts lead to success

By Christina Dodd,

“You can have anything you want in life if you will help enough other people get what they want.” - Zig Ziglar

Success is available to all of us – although it may be measured differently by each and every individual. Success is indeed relative to each and every one of us. There has been much written and spoken on the nature of success, the methodologies and the theories. In order to attain success there are no magic formulae, spells or incantations as basically it all comes down to common sense practice and planning combined in varying degrees with determination, will and perseverance.

From time to time I find articles or snippets in newsletters or journals which are worthwhile sharing. Today I have included a short piece on success by William N Hodges, president of the Professional Speakers Guild in the US.

“What would you say if I told you that anyone who achieves success in any area has committed an unnatural act and has probably committed a whole series of them to be where they are?

Webster’s dictionary says that an unnatural act is one “that is not in accordance with normal feelings and behavior”.

Successful people constantly defy normal feelings and behavior and do things the average person will not do.

The average person lives for today.

The successful person lives for tomorrow.

Failure – either as a person or as a concept – dwells and festers in the dark past.

Most of us want instant rewards, and we are satisfied to accept less as long as the gratification is immediate.

Success driven people are willing to forgo the normal need for immediate feedback and trade it for a greater return in the future.

This is probably one reason why so many of us have a problem saving for the future.

People who have financial success at retirement are those who put a certain amount away every week to build a nest egg.

The rest of us want everything now and buy the latest electronic device with our money.

Living for the future is an unnatural act in our credit driven society, but successful people do it all the time. Weird, aren’t they?

Another unnatural act of successful people is that they are always active; they do not spend much time resting or just lying around.

In America, which has been characterized as a nation of “couch potatoes,” this penchant for activity certainly has to be considered an unnatural act.

A study of successful business executives showed that they had at least three things in common-that were not so common.

They had a regular daily exercise program, they slept an average of six hours each night, and they arose at an average hour of 5:45 a.m., seven days a week.

I don’t know about you, but getting up that early for anything but a fishing trip is an unnatural act for me.

But armed with this knowledge and a desire to be successful, I’m getting up a few minutes earlier each morning, and using the time to exercise.

The average person always finds it easier, and in many ways more natural, to learn to live with less than to exert the effort to earn more.

Doing what the average person does will always keep us an average person. It is only when we do those things (socially acceptable things) that other people will not do that we will be successful.

It will certainly mean that we will not always be comfortable, complacent, or safe. At times, we assuredly will be out of step with those around us. But if we persist, believe in ourselves, and are consistent in our efforts, we can become a success in whatever area we choose.

We can have rewards that are far beyond those achieved by persons who remain average.”

Leo Burnett emphasized greatness, the desire for super-human achievement, in the use of “reach for the stars”. Those words inspired a great company to even greater achievements. An average vision would not have produced a world leader! That ultimate “reach” may be beyond our physical arms length, but even for average people it can never, nor should it ever be beyond our imagination or desire.

Average people are afraid to stand out and to attain greatness and success. They sublimate and effectively quash their dreams as being too difficult or not normal. The “tall poppy syndrome” comes into effect and the average person returns to blend in to a sea of obscurity with his or her dreams unnoticed, unrealized and unfulfilled. Successful people seize the vision and “warp the physics” to achieve their goals, desires and ambitions.

I have written much before on the power of the human mind to conceive, nurture and develop greatness in people … and no doubt I shall continue to do so. Success is an all-consuming passion. It is indeed as Napoleon Hill described it a “philosophy”. It is not unattainable, it is within the reach and grasp of all who strive and aspire to have it.

To be average is not bad but it is when we take the next step - that all propelling step towards success and our goals - that we realize that we have great reserves of untapped resources which would have been squandered and lost to eternity if had no dared to take the steps to be successful.

This week I a would also like to leave you with a set of 5 simple concepts to ponder … and in turn to consider in your own daily lives:

People change.

People have bad days.

People have more information at their disposal than at any time in people history.

People seek meaning.

People want to be valued and loved for who, not what, they are.

Take the time to reflect: on yourself, others, and the world around you. This is not a trick nor a test or a challenge - rather it is a simple exercise in thinking, caring and ultimately understanding the nature of people and things.

For those of you would like a personal presentation on our success based training programs, life-coaching services, or any of our other professional and life skills programs, please contact me by email at [email protected] or visit our web-site www.

Until next time, have a tremendous week!

The Doctor's Consultation:  Your Brain - Use it or lose it!

by Dr. Iain Corness

We have known for some time that if you don’t use your muscles, they waste away. By not using your hands for physical work, the skin on your hands gets thin. However, we also know that if you use your muscles again, the muscle tissue builds up and becomes strong once more. If you use your hands again, the skin builds up and becomes thicker. The message is that all is not lost! Recovery is possible.

However, we were always told that the one organ of the body that could not reverse the wasting process was the Central Nervous System. Once it started to fail, that was it. Dementia was just around the corner.

That view has recently been challenged and the results are comforting, to say the least. Experiments have been carried out that showed that inducing stress in an animal resulted in chemicals being released. This on its own was nothing new, but what was new was the fact that some of these chemicals produced a difference in the brain’s anatomy! The idea that the brain could not change was incorrect! It could be ‘short-circuited’ resulting in a new wiring pathway.

What was even more exciting was that if the animal was restored to its own ‘safe’ and non-threatening environment, then the brain reverted to its pre-stressed anatomy! It was possible to ‘re-wire’ the brain.

In turn this has led to much research into the effects of stress and its reversal, and then on to Alzheimer’s Disease (if I have remembered to spell it correctly)! And if it were possible for its reversal too!

Returning to the research, we have shown that stress can physically damage nerve cells used in storing memory. We have also found that mindless watching of the goggle-box also produces a decline in brain function. In fact the numbers are more worrying than that. It has now been found that people with no stimulating leisure activities, and who are couch potatoes instead, are nearly four times more likely to develop dementia compared to those people who have leisure stimuli and do not waste hours in front of the TV.

Taking that a step further, and turning the scientific data around to be useful, it has been found that in being the converse to the couch potato, intellectually stimulating leisure activities had a ‘protective’ effect for the brain and its capabilities. What is more, they have also found that if you are doing a job you enjoy, then this was again protective, but a dull job with no stimulus or challenge was another way to head downhill.

This does not mean that we all have to take up chess tomorrow, because in place of intellectually stimulating hobbies, it has been found that physical exercise itself stops memory loss and stimulates growth of nerve cells.

Another protective factor appears to be marriage! Those who have never married have twice as high an incidence of dementia than those who are married. So there you are, rather than say that your wife is driving you insane, it appears that she is driving you towards sanity instead.

So the secret towards staving off dementia and Al whatsisname’s disease is to have a job you enjoy, get some exercise, watch a very limited amount of TV and settle down with a good book (sorry, that should have read “a good cook”).

The best news of all is that it isn’t too late. You can reverse your fortune - but start today.

Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
I have been reading your column on dating and have enjoyed it very much. As I am going to be there in March for the first time I am writing. It seems that everyone I ask (single men like myself) talk about being at the bars as the way to meet the working women of Thailand. While I realize this is not the only way I do have a question. If one is not a big drinker will I offend if I do not drink a lot or wish to leave to go see music, movies or see the country.

Dear B,
I can assure you that the ladies from the bars have not the slightest interest in how much ‘you’ drink, only in how much ‘they’ drink, while you are paying of course! This is because they receive a percentage of the cost of the ‘lady drinks’, while they get nothing from the price of your drinks. This is how they make money, as they are ‘working’ women, getting their monthly salaries in many ways. It works like this, since you have not been here before, Petal. They generally receive a small wage (or retainer), and then their lady drinks percentage plus a percentage of the so-called ‘bar fine’ which is what the punters (like you) pay for the honour and glory of taking one of the blushing young ladies away from the bar to see music, movies or the country. Anything else is a private arrangement between the lady and the customer, as you have to realize that there is no prostitution in Thailand, because the government said so. And in the statute books has said so since about 1966. While you are paying for things, you will not offend; however, since the bars will be closing before many tourists get up, you will have to be quick.
Dear Hillary,
I have this idea for an Early Morning Businessman’s Breakfast Club. It opens at 12.01 a.m. to supply early risers with ‘breakfast’. As everyone will be going to bed so very early they will need this new type of club. Should be good I think! Do you agree?
Breakfast is the Important Meal

Dear Breakfast is the Important Meal,
What a wonderfully thoughtful person you are. Yes, breakfast is an important repast, and with the bars shutting at midnight, there will be no place for businessmen to go for a little nibble. Since this is a new venture, you may even be eligible for some assistance from the Board of Investment. Could I even suggest that the 1201 Club has a nice ring to it.
Dear Mrs H,
I often just sit back and enjoy the show.
1. Young and handsome Caucasian, “I only go with good girls, never pay for it (where is she, though?).”
2. Middle agend (sic) Caucasian, a Thai beuty (sic) on his side, “Got the divorce man, and I’m telling you, I’ll never marry again.”
3. Experienced Caucasian, Chang beer in hand, “How long I have stayed here? Let me see now.”
4. Old expat, Regal whiskey bottle behind the counter, “I still do it once or twice a week, you know.”
5. Chinese, “Where did they go, heyyy! Wait.”
6. Japanese, “Keep you camera outside this club please, and your shoes too. Then lets see.”

Dear Tom,
What an astute little voyeur you are, aren’t you, my Petal. However, you should have noted the fact that I am Ms. Hillary, not “Mrs. H”. You also have an English name, but apparently missed out on the spelling lessons. Some I have corrected, but I have left the really glaring ones for you to see and correct, that’s a good little Tom. The sad thing about your little character snapshots is that you can often meet all of these in the one bar. Or perhaps there are many of them at all the bars? I am so glad there are none of them drinking champagne and eating chocolate.
Dear Hillary,
Last year I came over to Thailand for a holiday, and despite all the warnings that my more experienced friends gave me, I fell hook, line and sinker for a beautiful Thai girl I met in a bar. We got along together so well that after two weeks I purchased a condominium and set her up to live there after I returned to England. Each month I would send her money so she didn’t have to go back to the bar and we emailed to stay in touch. Last month my company sent me to Singapore for an urgent trip and I decided to surprise my lady by flying up for a couple of days. It was me who got the surprise when I found a supposed friend of mine from the UK staying in the condo with her. He was paying her too it turns out. Hillary, is it always like this?

Dear Depressed,
It takes two to tango, and while you are bitter about your girlfriend, Hillary would be more annoyed with your “friend” who betrayed you. I think it’s high time you selected both your men friends and your girlfriends more carefully. The local girls who work in bars do not have the security of rich families or masters degrees in business administration. They live by their wits. Don’t forget that, Petal.

Camera Class:  Pictures or Portraits?

by Harry Flashman

I was asked the other day as to whether I did portraits. The answer was yes, but these days I must admit I will only do them when I want to, not on demand. That’s the advantage of being retired!

The question also prompted me to think about the differences between pictures and portraits. The two styles of resulting photographs are poles apart. You see, ‘portraits’ comes from the word ‘portray’ and means to make a likeness of. Portraiture is even described as the ‘art’ of making that likeness, and that is where the difference comes.

We have all got, or have seen, passport photographs. These are the archetypal pictures. They show what your face looks like. Nothing more, nothing less. However, when you have a portrait taken, the photograph should do more than just show what your face looks like, but also give some inkling as to what you are like. Sort of ‘value-added’ if you will. I describe it as making a likeness of the ‘person’. Somehow you have to get the personality into the picture, and that way you have a real portrait.

It is for this reason alone that you cannot walk into a photo studio and get your portrait taken. At best you will get an adequately lit picture of yourself. You will not get a portrait. For the photographer to understand the sitter takes time in getting to know the sitter. Likes and dislikes, hobbies, anxieties, a wife or mother - a whole thumbnail sketch of the person, and then and only then, should the sitter get in front of the camera.

So let’s make you, the weekend photographer into a portrait photographer. To portray the person, you first need to know how the sitters perceive themselves. People who consider themselves to be happy, spontaneous people should be photographed laughing, head back, open mouthed, smiling, tossing the hair around - you get the concept, I’m sure. More studious people should be shown in that manner. A book as a prop is a great idea to convey the mood and make the sitter feel relaxed. Having already found out a little of the sitter’s likes and dislikes, you can also add some props, and have the subject begin to relate to them, like the book in the studious portrait. This also helps them to relax.

I have mentioned before in this column that the first rule with all sitters is to get your subject to relax. If your favourite lady is standing rigidly to attention, I can guarantee that the end result will not be pleasing to either the sitter or the photographer. When photographing Thai people in particular, it is even more important to get them relaxed and happy, as they do tend to “stand to attention” with arms held straight at their sides, looking as if they are on army parade.

The pose to avoid at all costs is the subject straight on to the camera. This is unfortunately the commonest pose - but it is the most un-glamorous pose as far as women are concerned. That is why it is used in passports! Here’s what to do to get over this problem. Start by sitting your lady in a chair, and then turn it 45 degrees away from the straight ahead position. Now ask her to slowly turn her head and look at the end of your camera’s lens. Look through your viewfinder - see? It looks better already. Now ask her to gently raise the shoulder closest to the camera and smile. Guess what? You are starting to get a portrait image.

That basic pose can be modified by turning to the left as well as to the right, shoulders up or down, open mouthed smile or shy grin. Each shot will have a different look. Try to get the subject relaxed by talking to them, cracking jokes or anything that will get them to relax. From there you try to get the personality of the sitter to come through.

Try your hand at portrait photography this weekend.