Personal Directions: The same methods will produce the same results
By Christina Dodd,
How has your week been? Is there anything to report or better
still – to celebrate? One thing I know this week has been for sure is
“hot”! I can’t remember it being this sticky and uncomfortable. A
lot of people tell me the same thing but I am reassured that this is not
the hottest it has been! All I can say is that when at 6:30 a.m. you are
working up a sweat just walking down the drive – we’re in for a
Soaring temperatures and oppressive humidity do tend to
make us crazy and get a little more bothered over something than we would
if the weather were more pleasant. It seems a normal kind of reaction. I
remember when I was living in Vietnam – Hanoi to be specific – and
experiencing endless power failures. Every day of the week was not without
two or three hours down time in terms of electricity. And in the more
humid months of the year it was very incapacitating. When the failures
appeared you would hear a communal groan and moan coming from the streets
and houses. The Vietnamese hated these situations just as we did and we
all knew that if the power wasn’t back on in at least a couple of hours
(we had become somehow conditioned to two hour blackouts) then tempers
would rise and fights would break out, arguments would become the norm and
the atmosphere would be rather unpleasant! We all breathed deep sighs of
relief when the air-conditioners and all things electrical started up
again … we could get back to normal!
Just a tiny moment in time from my years in Vietnam but
one I remember vividly whilst observing how behaviors can change. Talking
about changing behaviors, I have been reading some literature by Sean
McPheat, his best seller “Being A Success”, and would like to point
out something he has said about acquiring success. He says,
“The results of your methods to acquire success to
date can be found in your bank balance, your attitude towards life and the
things around you.”
I mean basically we all know this – but the way it is
so clearly put by Sean really sends a direct message. What he goes on to
say further is,
“If you continue to use the same methods (to acquire
success) you will get the same results.”
Both of these statements are so true and we should sit
up and take notice if our lives right now are not as we wished, dreamed
and hoped for them to be. If things aren’t how you want them to be, if
you are not happy or if you are not achieving the things you desire or
becoming the person you want to be - then read the above two statements
again, and again. Repeat them and even say them aloud to yourself for it
to sink in!
We all want better results in our lives, most of us do,
but what do most of us continue to do? We continue to go about getting the
things we want by using the same old ways and methods. The penny hasn’t
dropped with many people that to achieve different results, you have to do
things differently. If you want to bake a cake that has more raisins and
sultanas in it – then you do something different – you add more
raisins and sultanas. The taste of the cake will not change until you do
this! A simple analogy but it is very true of the way we go about living
our lives and striving for achievement and success.
Some people might say, sure we know this but how –
tell us how – do we make those changes?
From my own experience I am not afraid to tell you that
it can be really tough to make those changes. It takes a lot of effort and
self-testing. It takes planning and it takes you telling yourself – hey
– I deserve better than this and if I don’t get off my backside and do
something about it my life is going to be delivering the same old
heartache, unhappiness, failure and misery until the day I die! I am going
to be in the same situation and never have the things I want – I’ll
never be able to be independent and secure and live a happy life.
Once you recognize that you have to do something then
you have to make a commitment that you are actually going to do it. Not
only do you have to “say what you mean” but you have to “mean what
you say”. Not taking action after fully acknowledging that you must do
something – is only lying to yourself and there are only so many times
that you will be allowed to do this before you fall into the abyss.
Recognize that you have to make changes then make a
commitment that you will.
Then start to look at some other factors, for example,
whether you are afraid to come out of your comfort zone and whether you
have limiting beliefs about yourself. Both of these will stop you in your
tracks. They have probably been holding you back for years from changing
the way you do things and you didn’t even realize it. Take yourself to a
quiet place where you can have complete privacy and begin to explore these
areas of yourself. It takes time believe me to sit down and look at these
because they make up a very important part of you and the way you behave.
Comfort zones are exactly what they imply –
places of comfort and who wants to leave a nice, cosy and comfy place?
Sometimes it is like suffering an illness - being attached to our comfort
zones. They have such power over us that we immediately retreat there he
going gets tough. But – hey – unless you want to live in hell and
devote yourself to a life of misery, it is time to take that step and leap
out of your comfort zone.
Make up your mind – where do you want to be? Ask
yourself this question TEN times and then answer it.
For more details about how we can help you along in
your life or how our business programs can assist you and your company,
please e-mail me at [email protected] asiatrainingassociates.com
Until next time – make your week happen!
The Doctor's Consultation: Enter the PSA - Is it
the end of the DRE?
by Dr. Iain Corness
A friend asked me repeat my article on PSA and prostate
cancer. Since it is timely, here we are again. We just love acronyms in
medicine! CXR is a Chest X-Ray, LFT’s are Liver Function Tests and even the
History we take is written as Hx. So where is PSA and DRE?
PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen. Please re-read
that - it is Prostate, and not “prostrate”. The Prostate is a gland at the
base of the bladder, while “prostrate” is how you get after a good night
on the turps! Big difference!
Now, DRE stands for Digital Rectal Examination, which means
exactly what it says. This is examination of the Prostate gland, done by the
medical digit, via the rectum. A form of examination that many patients shrink
from, and medico’s themselves have much hesitation in suggesting. However,
we were all taught as undergraduates, “If you don’t put your finger in it,
you may put your foot in it.”
Prostate cancer is the big worry. Sure, only us males get
this particularly nasty cancer (women don’t have a prostate) but it is one
you do not want to get! And it is nasty. Prostate cancer is a form of cancer
that is very aggressive, eating into bone and spreading through the entire
body and is a very painful way to end one’s days, and not to be recommended.
So, like many medical problems, we should try and get an
early warning system up and operating for us, much as we used to do screening
CXR’s for TB many years ago. So what did the medical fraternity offer males
over 50? Annual DRE’s, something which had decided buyer resistance in some
However, in 1986 the male world was heartened to be told
there was now a blood test which had been developed to detect prostate cancer,
called the PSA. Overnight the medical labs were being bombarded by males over
50 wanting the blood test, rather than the digit test. Alas, the real picture
was not as cut and dried.
While PSA appeared to be a reasonable indicator - that’s
where it started and finished. It was a “reasonable indicator” and that
was all. A low PSA did not guarantee freedom from cancer and a high PSA did
not necessarily mean you were ready for the open coffin routine at the local
temple. It was found that some benign conditions, such as benign prostatic
hypertrophy (non cancerous prostate enlargement) also increased the PSA levels
in some males, and prostatitis (inflammation) and even sexual intercourse
could alter the levels too. So while the PSA did relate to prostate function,
it could only be called an “imperfect” test.
However, the boffins in the back room continued to refine
the PSA test and we then came up with something called a “PSA velocity”
figure. This measured the rate of increase in the PSA result over a given
period of time. The faster the increase, the “more likely” it was that
there was a cancer down there. But it still wasn’t absolute.
So where does that leave us (males)? The bad news is, back
with the DRE, plus serial PSA estimations. DRE and PSA continue to be our best
bet, and if either or both of those tests are a little doubtful, then the next
definitive step is a prostatic needle biopsy.
Think about a check-up today! It could mean you get a lot
more trouble free “todays”.
I like to leave the noise of the discos and bars behind me and return to
the quietness of my home for a good night’s sleep. This is why I chose
to live in a soi where the only disturbances are the crowing of the
neighbourhood’s randy rooster and the occasional cat and dog fight.
Unfortunately, the peace that I once enjoyed has come to an abrupt end. My
next door neighbours have a new baby daughter. The father is a European
expat and immediately following the birth his house was full of his
raucous, inebriated, freeloading mates, all taking advantage of the head
wetting tradition as an excuse to further exacerbate their bad habits by
guzzling free flowing booze and puffing on handout cigars. Sleep was
impossible as these alcoholic misfits repeatedly sang ‘For he’s a
jolly good fellow’ well into the early hours of the morning. The mother
is a demure Thai lady with many girlfriends, all of whom seem to visit at
the same time. Again, trying to sleep with the constant “oohs” and
“aahs” coming from her friends as they take turns to nurse the baby,
is a waste of time. I’m now expected to tolerate the baby screaming for
attention at all hours of the night, the din from rattling baby toys, as
well as the sound of drying nappies flapping in the breeze. Don’t get me
wrong, I love baby girls, particularly those born about 22 years ago, but
I need my sleep. What can you suggest?
Dear Mighty Mouse,
You are really going to have to take some more gripe water, aren’t you.
You are full of gripes this time around. Just because I didn’t like your
wheelbarrow toting boy scouts idea the other week, doesn’t mean that you
should now have a down on the world. What can I suggest? Well, it probably
really is time your next door neighbours joined the 21st century. Nappies
flapping in the breeze? Really, Mighty Mouseketeer! Buy them some
disposable nappies and half the problem’s solved already. The alcoholic
misfits will all have moved on to the next head wetting, so that’s no
longer a problem either. As far as the wife’s friends are concerned,
sounds like a fair few of them will be around the 22 years of age you are
looking for, so perhaps you could pop next door and help them find a few
more “oohs” and “aahs” if you play your cards right. I don’t
think you have any real problems this time, but you’ve got a few good
things for Saturday night!
My husband is looking for an old car to restore, but we live in a condo
and have no place to work on anything like that. Totally impractical as
always. Thank goodness we live on the 10th floor, or he might be tempted
to bring bits of it up to work on. Why do grown men still have to
construct things? I thought they were supposed to outgrow Lego before they
got to their teens, or is mine just a trifle retarded? When I say what
does he want to do if he finds some junky old jalopy, he just smiles and
says that men need some men things to do.
Dear Mrs. Lego,
I don’t know where you got the information that the men folk grow out of
these building tendencies. All the ones I know all want to get their hands
dirty, and they’re 30 years on from their teens at least. The best idea
is to help him find a small shed somewhere so he can go off there and do
his ‘secret men’s business’ while you go out with your girlfriends
for some secret women’s business.
I have heard about golfing widows, but at least golf is played in the
daytime, so the golfing husbands are home in the evenings. My problem is
that I am turning into a football widow. Football matches seem to be
played at any time of the day (or night) and he is always off to some pub
or other to watch the game. I am not interested in football, or else I’d
go with him, but I am getting lonely left at home. What should I do? Tell
him it is football or me? (I’m afraid he might go for the football.)
Dear Footy Widow,
If you make life difficult for your football mad mate, then he will go for
the football and it will be an ‘away’ game every night. Men will
always take the easy way out, when pushed into a corner. They have no real
goals in life, you see. Before you get right cross and relegated to Left
Right Out, I would ask around to see if any of his football watching
mate’s wives would like to come over for a hen session. Even if you are
not interested, a night out at the pub might also be fun. Let him watch
while you gossip with the other women there. That is much better for
everyone, rather than sitting fuming at home, while plotting how to give
your man a red card.
Camera Class: Looking through a glass darkly
by Harry Flashman
speaking there is an enormous difference between sharp and soft. Those terms are
the ones reserved for describing whether the final print is well focused. We
speak about ‘sharp’ focus and ‘soft’ focus and everyone knows what is
While ‘soft’ focus is not all that difficult to end up
with, ‘sharp’ focus is a lot more difficult to attain, so I thought it might
be worthwhile looking at what you have to do to get pin-sharp photographs.
Forgetting all about Auto-Focus (AF) problems and camera
shake for the moment, the deciding factor on whether or not you get sharp
pictures will depend upon the quality of the optics in the lenses you use.
Unfortunately quality costs money - like most consumer items. “You get what
you pay for” works in photography just the same as it does in the red light
I came across this fundamental truth when I was becoming
despondent with the sharpness of my final prints many years ago. Even putting
the camera on a tripod had not helped. Asking around in my photographer
acquaintances led to my being loaned a very battered and well used Nikon FM2N,
with Nikon lens.
I took the “old” camera away and shot a multitude of
photos. Off to the darkroom and guess what? Every one as sharp as a tack. I had
learned an important lesson and went and purchased some second hand Nikon
equipment, and have never regretted it since. In fact, old FM2N Nikons are still
part of my camera equipment.
So what was the difference? Well, the end result will always
rely on super sharp optics in the lens department. If they are not spot on,
neither will your photos be spot on. The actual exposures are close enough for
just about any camera these days with the latitude in the films being so wide,
so the other differences now will come down to ease of use, or user
friendliness. Simple mechanical cameras, like the FM2, have simple operations
too. These new electronic cameras with their “menus” and other operations I
do not consider to be user friendly. It is easier to push a lever, surely.
However, perhaps it might just be that I am resistant to change!
The important lesson from all that is that to get good
results you need a camera that has good optics. There are plenty on the market
these days, and although the Nikon brand may be my favourite, there are other
manufacturers which have equally as good quality glass at the front.
Unfortunately, the results from these great cameras can become poor if you put a
cheap “after market” lens on it. Good lenses are expensive, but the end
result is always worth it.
Having mentioned AF problems earlier, a few words on this
again. While AF is now almost 100 percent universal, it still is not 100 percent
foolproof. One of the reasons for this is quite simple. The camera’s magic eye
doesn’t know exactly what subject(s) you want to be in focus and picked the
wrong one! The focussing area for the AF system is a small circle or square in
the middle of the viewfinder, so if you are taking a picture of two people two
metres away, the camera may just focus on the trees in the far distance that it
can see between your two subjects. Those trees are two km away, so you get back
a print with the background sharp and the two people in the foreground as soft
fuzzy blobs. The fix is to focus on one person, use the ‘focus lock’ and
recompose the picture.
Finally - camera shake. Cameras are supposed to be operated with two hands,
not one. The practice of holding the camera in one hand and raising one, two and
three fingers on the other can only lead to camera shake. Don’t do it. If you
must tell your subjects that you are about to trip the shutter, do it by saying
the words “one, two, three” - not by waving your fingers in the air.