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Personal Directions

The Doctor's Consultation by Dr. Iain Corness

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Personal Directions:  Build relationships … not walls

By Christina Dodd,

Over the many years that I have been dealing with people in the field of training and human resource development, it has always been the case (to my mind) that no matter how technical and job specific a training program is, no matter how capable and qualified the participants, there is continual need for the nurturing of human growth and development from a relationship building point of view.

People thirst for knowledge and information and ways to improve performance. But people also reach out for acceptance and just to be liked and appreciated. To many, this is perhaps of far greater importance.

I have been working with a lot of very young people recently – half my age (don’t ask!) – and whilst highly qualified and capable in their field, they seem to be searching for something other than the information they are gaining as a result of the program. They are all attentive and very switched on. They are smart and quick-thinking. They absorb every bit of information that is given and take the time to enquire and question. But I have found that they also seek exactly what I have mentioned above.

The success and happiness of human beings totally depends on the relationships they develop with other human beings!

I have no doubt about the truth of this statement. In fact, I believe it should be something that we wake up every morning saying to ourselves and reminding ourselves of every minute we have!

There are so many walls around us. We are so diligent in building them. It’s as if we are Master Builders – all of us. And we tend to be proud of the fact. We think that it is how it should be and forget that there is another kind of life that we could be living – if only we didn’t create barriers.

Why is it that we do this? Why do we continue to toil away so very eagerly at creating our own unhappiness? What is it that drives us so hard towards this destination?

Could it be our upbringing and conditioning? Could it be that we are influenced by others and circumstances around us that prevent us from being who we want to be? Perhaps it is the fear within us of change, the fear of doing something new in our lives. Maybe we lack self-confidence and strength within ourselves. Maybe we are tied to our past and a pattern of behavior that has become such a habit that we are unable to break, or unlock. Could it be that in our lives we have suffered episodes of hardship and even emotional struggle that have caused us to close ourselves off?

Whatever the reasons … all these negative elements are extremely efficient at creating barriers and allowing us to build walls. They are like the mortar that holds the bricks together. Strengthening and hardening as every second passes until the wall becomes rock solid and unbreakable.

With my groups of young trainees, when I enquire as to how the walls can be removed, they are very quick to respond - apply positive thinking, change your attitudes, get rid of old ways of behaving and open your mind, confront your fears, take a look at yourself, gain some self-confidence! This is all very true indeed. But as some of them point out, it is easier said than done. I find that in order to get past this point, this blockage, sometimes working with someone can help the process. A lot of the time in our lives we think that we should try to solve everything by ourselves. Of course it is the first approach and when it comes to personal and individual areas and difficulties in our lives, we don’t want to involve others.

Relationships are common to all of us. Just look around you and you will see how much we need people. We may not admit it, but it is true. We have to be able to get along with each other and co-exist to attain real fulfillment. There are those of you who would disagree with this and yes, there are people who can live quite happily on their own. There are those who thrive on their own company (that’s what they say) and have very little time for others. There are people like this and if that is their choice in life, then so be it. But I am not totally convinced that this is what they truly want or desire. And I am not really convinced that they are really going it alone. The only way to do it one hundred percent would be to lock yourself off from every possible contact with society and the human race. How many of you could honestly do that? People are all around us as is the requirement to interact and to communicate.

What does it take to build relationships? What is the cost?

What it takes and what it costs are only what you are prepared to give. If we take a look back at the group of young trainees I was talking about earlier, their educational background has equipped them with the tools to have a very rewarding and if they so desire, a very successful career. They are primed to learn and to achieve, but a lot of them are seeking something more. They need, in order to be where they want to go, to build relationships with those who are working with them and around them. They know this instinctively and realize it within themselves. They can’t work and perform their best by being “one man shows” in their respective departments. They are part of a much bigger picture as indeed we all are.

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] as sociates.com

Until next time, have a great week!


The Doctor's Consultation:  The relief of actually ‘knowing’

by Dr. Iain Corness

I am luckier than most of my readers. I ‘should’ know whether I have the symptoms of something nasty, without having to wait for it to be confirmed by one of my colleagues. However, since many conditions do not exhibit symptoms till late in the piece (in fact sometimes too late), then relying on how I ‘feel’ could be giving me a false sense of security.

That fact I do know, and the answer to all this is called the Annual Check-up, which includes non-invasive tests such as X-Rays and blood tests to catch the not wanted diseases at an early and symptomless stage. Having just had my annual check-up, I thought I might share with you just what it all meant, and how I felt about it.

The first was the relief of having it confirmed, that I really was in good shape. OK, so I was 400 grams overweight (0.4 kg) and my cholesterol was 1 unit above the 200 unit ‘normal’ range, but even the cardiologist who saw me agreed that this was so small an increase that I shouldn’t worry.

So does this mean that I should ignore (or ‘can’ ignore) my health for another 12 months? The answer is a very emphatic “No!” You see, I have had these measurements done before, and I have actually put on around 3 kg since the last examination, and my cholesterol has gone from being below the upper limit of normal, to just above that upper limit.

The real value of the annual check-up is in spotting the trends. In fact, if you have the results of several of these annual check-ups behind you, you can even begin to draw graphs with the results that are in fact almost predictive. If, for example, your blood sugar is increasing by 10 units each year and you are now just below the upper limit of normal, you can ‘predict’ that next year you will be over the top of the limit and the year after that you are in danger.

Do you realize just what a boon that is? You have just given yourself two years advance notice of diabetes! You can now do something about it before it begins to affect your eyes and all the other organs that can be damaged by diabetes. That is like getting a reprieve in court from the death sentence. A little application now of lifestyle change will stop major problems in two years. You have the option to fix it now, or wait for the disaster later. The choice is a no-brainer, surely!

The other ‘good thing’ about going for the check-up, however, is the good feeling when you walk out with good results. “It’s always a relief,” said my mate Jack who went along for his check-up at the same time as me. However, he had some upward rising indicators that he must address (and I don’t mean viagra-powered ones either!).

So to get the maximum out of your annual check-up, the answer is to save the results, and take them with you when you go. Discuss the trends with the doctor, rather than just patting yourself on the back when the blood tests just scrape in on the right side of normal.

When you think about it, the ability to be pro-active about your health makes the annual check-up a most inexpensive way of ensuring you have an enjoyable quality of life in the future. Use the check-up wisely and you will look forward to next year.


Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
We have a problem, you and I. Some imposter is using my name to send letters to you casting aspersions on some fictitious person named “Jerry”. The letter which appeared in the 20th of April issue signed “Tully” was not written by me. As far as I know I am the only person in Pattaya named Tully (J. E. Tully Global Family of Companies). You recalled receiving a letter from me two and a half years ago on a similar subject, but if you will note the name “Jerry” was represented as a pseudonym, not to be attributed to any person, living or brain-dead who happened to have that name (especially the gentleman from North Dakota as so many assumed). If you would compare the original message to the recent one from the imposter, you would realize the difference in style. My message was impeccable in it’s (sic) syntax, parallel structure, punctuation, spelling, etc., which evidenced a solid degree of tertuary (sic) education, whereas the letter from the imposter was written in a “chat room” style indicative of a person whose intellect levelled off around the sixth grade. My reason for responding to this letter is to protect my good name. You may be aware that I am a well-known golfer whose picture appears regularly on the sports pages of your newspaper where they announce the winners of various competitions. I have a reputation to defend, and the use of my name, in what appears to be some sort of practical joke might detract from the respect normally accorded me. Of course I will attempt to determine who is responsible for this transgresion (sic). The knowledge that the perpetrator is intellectually challenged does not appreciably narrow the list of suspects in our Monday golf competitions, but we do know it was written by a functional illiterate (was there a White House letterhead?). Perhaps it was someone from whom I won a large sum of money on the golf course - but no names spring to mind. Please publish this letter as a retraction, and in the future be wary of those who might try to sully my good name.
(the real) Tully

Dear (the real) Tully,
It is not I who has to worry about sully on Tully, but you yourself, my Petal. I have no idea why anyone would be out to cause you trouble, other than perhaps the legion of golf players, if I read your letter correctly, who may be jealous of your successes, emblazoned on the sports pages. This I cannot verify, as I do not peruse the sports pages with pictures of macho men beating their small white balls. I am also left in more than a modicum of doubt when you loudly and publicly proclaim your tertiary education, and spell tertiary as “tertuary” and then leave the third “s” out of transgression. Add to that, confusing “it’s” (which is “it is”) with “its” (which denotes possession). But then again, perhaps you were on the golf course when the spelling lessons were on when you were in 4th grade. As regards the White House logo, I have had someone look at the phone book for Washington DC and there are several Tully’s listed, so there may be a White House conspiracy here (after all, there are lots of them)! Finally I know nothing about North Dakota, other than the fact it is closer to the Arctic Circle than South Dakota, and I do not believe I have neither met your “Jerry” nor the cat named “Tom”, but since it obviously makes you feel better, I have published your letter so that you can unsully Tully, but pray tell me who is retracting what?
Dear Hillary,
I have assembled an Amphibious Tuk-Tuk Squadron to safely convey your chocs and bubbly. In command will be Major Bloodnok (retired) with Ensign Bluebottle (redundant) and the famous Eccles (retarded) in attendance. Their controllers are codenamed Henry and Min. I must point out that Major Bloodnok is not related to Nok of Soi 2 or indeed to the Noks of Sois 6, 7 and 8 etc. So, lubricate your gullet and prepare your stomach, ‘sabai’ time approaches!
Mistersingha

Dear Mistersingha,
More protestations of a fictitious nature I fear! Not that Hillary is old enough to have listened to the all-leather Goon Show on the 1950’s steam radio, but I have it on good authority that Messrs Seccombe, Milligan and Sellers are treading the boards in that great vaudeville theatre in the sky. So much for the amphibious Tuk-Tuk squadron, being controlled by the ingenious Miss Minnie Bannister and Mr. Henry Crun, octogenarians living in a somewhat irregular m้nage, with both drawing single pensions. Like your promises, the Tuk-Tuks won’t hold water either. If I ever receive the goods, in good order, I shall publish my thanks. Until then, I am not hanging by my fingertips waiting; however, I am impressed by your squadron of Noks, except I would imagine that should be a flock of Noks. I presume you will be flying in with Nok Air in the future.


Camera Class:  Lartigue - the original Action Man!

by Harry Flashman

One of my favourite photographers is Jacques-Henri Lartigue. J-H was the master of action photography, born in 1894 and resident in the Great Darkroom in the Sky since 1986.

Lartigue was born into an upper middle class family in Courbevoie, near Paris. He was a child prodigy, who began to photograph at age seven when he received his first camera from his father, who was also an amateur photographer. This camera was no auto everything point and shoot, but a large 13 x 18 cm box on a wooden tripod. He is reported as having said, “Now I will be able to make portraits of everything, everything. I know very well that many, many things are going to ask me to have their pictures taken, and I will take them all!” And he did, keeping a diary illustrated with sketches, in which he recorded the details of each shot. Information regarding the photos was recorded.

He was a great individualist taking photographs of “...everything which pleases me, everything I am keen on, which delights or amazes me. The rest I let pass.” The amazing aspect of J-H’s photography was that he was able to show movement in his images. Remember that no one was there to teach this young boy, and the cameras, lenses and films were not fast enough to allow him the luxury of fast shutter speeds, yet he could find that split instant in time to stop the action. He would capture the subject, mid-frame, as if posed in mid air waiting for the shutter to click. Truly remarkable stuff for a young boy.

Fortunately for us, he took plenty of photographs, but the enormity of his collection was not discovered till 1963, by which stage he had over 200,000 photographs catalogued in albums! On his 90th birthday he was still snapping away and had a major exhibition in London. His photograph collection he also donated to the French nation. In addition to his black and white photography, Lartigue made several short films in 1913 and 1914.

What J-H Lartigue gave us, however, in addition to all those photographs was twofold. The first is called ‘Anticipation’. As a photographer wanting to record action subjects, you have to anticipate where the action is, and get yourself ready to record the height of the action. Be that tennis, soccer or golf, the great action shots are at the zenith. It is a lot easier now, because these days even compact cameras have shutter speeds faster than poor old J-H’s first camera, and the top of the line SLR’s have shutter speeds as fast as 1/4000th of a second combined with motor drives exposing multiple frames per second. This makes action photography today much easier than at the turn of the century. However, there is still the need for “anticipation”, Lartigue’s great gift.

The second gift from Lartigue is his diary. He recorded all the pertinent details, so that he could reproduce the same concepts later. Photography is always a learning process, and the quickest way to learn is to have records so that you can see what went wrong, or how you got it right!

So let’s have a crack at some “action pix” this week. The secret is to pick a subject where the shot shows that action is truly occurring. This means you are going to record something that does not happen when things are at a standstill. Now while this sounds obvious, if you take a shot of a car going round a corner it will just look as if the car is stopped in the middle of the corner - no difference. But take a motorcycle - it leans into the corner and you can see that it was in motion. Or even better, riding through a puddle, with the spray coming up from the wheels. People jumping convey movement too, or skipping rope, water skiing, running or other physical activities. Anticipate the action and get that action shot.

Richard Avedon called Lartigue “The most deceptively simple and penetrating photographer in the history of that art.” I can only agree.