HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Personal Directions

The Doctor's Consultation 

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Personal Directions:  There’s a lot to building a Positive Personality …

By Christina Dodd,

Following on from last week, here are a few more guidelines (from Shiv Khera) to building a positive personality that we all seem to know about, but from time to time need reminding of.

Step 4: Don’t criticize and complain

“When I talk of criticism I refer to negative criticism. Why should we not criticize? When a person is criticized, he becomes defensive. Does that mean we should never criticize, or can we give positive criticism?

A critic is like a back-seat driver who drives the driver mad.

Positive criticism What is constructive criticism? Criticize with a spirit of helpfulness rather than as a put-down. Offer solutions in your criticism. Criticize the behavior, not the person, because when we criticize the person, we hurt their self-esteem. The right to criticize comes with the desire to help. As long as the act of criticizing does not give pleasure to the giver, it is okay. When giving criticism becomes a pleasure, it is time to stop.

Receiving criticism There are many times when we are criticized, justly or unjustly. The greatest people in the world have been criticized. Justified criticism can be very helpful and should be taken positively as feedback. Unjustified criticism is really a compliment in disguise. Average people hate winners. When people are not successful, critics have nothing to talk about.

The only way you will never be criticized is if you do nothing, say nothing or have nothing. You will end up being a big nothing. An inability to accept constructive criticism is a sign of poor self-esteem. A person with high self-esteem accepts positive criticism and becomes better, not bitter.

Complaints Some people are chronic complainers. If it is hot, it is too hot. If it is cold, it is too cold. Every day is a bad day. They complain even if everything goes right. Why is it not a good idea to complain? Because 50% of the people don’t care if you have got a problem and the other 50% are happy that you have got a problem. What is the point of complaining? Nothing comes out of it. It becomes a personality trait. Does that mean we should never complain or invite complaints? Not at all. Just like criticism, if it is done in a positive way, complaints can be very useful.

Step 5: Put positive interpretation on other people’s behavior

In the absence of sufficient facts, people instinctively put a negative interpretation on others’ actions or inactions. Some people suffer from “paranoia”; they think the world is out to get them. That is not true. By starting on a positive note, we have a better chance of building a pleasing personality resulting in good relationships.

For example, how often have we put through a call and not gotten a reply from the other party for two days and the first thought that comes to our mind is, “They never cared to return my call” or “They ignored me.” That is negative. Maybe:

* They tried, but couldn’t get through

* They left a message we didn’t get

* They had an emergency

* They never got the message

There could be many reasons. It is worth giving the benefit of doubt to the other person and starting on a positive note.

Step 6: Be a good listener

Ask yourself these questions. How does it make you feel when you wanted somebody to listen to you and

* They did more talking than listening

* They disagreed with the first thing you said

* They interrupted you at every step

* They were impatient and completed every sentence you started

* They were physically present but mentally absent

* You had to repeat the same thing three times because the other person wasn’t listening

* They came to conclusions unrelated to the facts

* They asked questions on unrelated topics

* They were fidgety and distracted

* They were obviously not listening or paying attention

All these things show disinterest in the person or the topic and a total lack of courtesy. And the following words perhaps best describe the feeling of not being listened to:

Neglected, rejected, dejected, let down, unimportant, small, ignored, belittled, annoyed, stupid, worthless, embarrassed, disheartened.

Now let’s reverse the scenario. How does it make you feel when you want someone to listen to you and they

* Make you feel comfortable

* Give you their undivided attention

* Ask appropriate and relevant questions

* Show interest in your subject

Do the following words describe the feeling of being listened to?

Important, good, satisfied, worthwhile, cared for, pleased, happy, appreciated, encouraged, inspired.

Listening shows caring. When you show a caring attitude toward another person, that person feels important. When he feels important, what happens? He is more motivated and more receptive to your ideas.

Step 7: Be enthusiastic

Enthusiasm and success go hand in hand, but enthusiasm comes first. Enthusiasm inspires confidence, raises morale, builds loyalty, and is priceless. Enthusiasm is contagious. You can feel enthusiasm by the way a person talks, walks, or shakes hands. Enthusiasm is a habit that one can acquire and practice.

Live while you are alive. Don’t die before you are dead. Enthusiasm and desire are what change mediocrity to excellence. Water turns into steam with a difference of only one degree in temperature and steam can move some of the biggest engines in the world. That is what enthusiasm helps us to do in our lives.”

If you would like to write to me or contact me further about any of our personal or business skills programs, then please email me at Christina. [email protected] .com I’d be very happy to hear from you.

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

The Doctor's Consultation:  Osteoporosis and how to avoid it!

by Dr. Iain Corness

Rule Number One - be a man! Yes, ladies, this is one of those conditions like breast cancer, where it’s not all that much fun being a woman. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones lose their density and thus become very much easier to fracture. This is particularly prevalent in later life, and the statistics would indicate that 30 percent of women reaching 90 years old will suffer from a hip fracture by that age, as the result of osteoporosis.

Now this does not mean that older men don’t get fractures, but the majority to suffer in this way are women, because bone density is very much related to female hormones, amongst other factors.

So let’s look at which factors are involved in winding up with low density (and weaker) bones. Begin with advancing years! This is an increasing problem throughout the civilized world (I include Thailand, despite misgivings at times) as modern medicine is getting people to live much longer. Long enough to fall over and break something! Or even just getting compression fractures of the bones in the spine with 25 percent of all women over 70 showing this problem.

Another major factor is inactivity, or lack of exercise. Immobilization after a fracture, or bed rest after major surgery, can cause more fractures through the decrease in bone density caused by the bed rest. Lying in bed can be dangerous, as many young ladies have found out!

Another important factor is calcium. This element has a major role in building and maintaining bones. An adequate intake of calcium is necessary to build up the strength of the bones during the growing phases in childhood, and then to maintain that strength during adult life. The daily intake should be between 800-1,500 mg, which is best taken in the normal diet. Dairy foods are also the best source of easily absorbed calcium and items such as 35 gm of cheese, 250 ml of milk or 200 gm tub of yoghurt will supply between 200-400 mg of calcium. If you aren’t into dairy foods then tinned sardines, salmon, mussels, oysters, almonds and tofu have good quantities of calcium as well.

Now here’s where being a woman has its downside. Oestrogen levels need to be kept high, as this hormone plays an important part in producing new bone. When oestrogen levels decrease after the menopause (or following surgery to remove the ovaries) then women become at risk. This is one of the ‘good’ arguments behind hormone replacement therapy. Other causes of decrease in oestrogen levels can be through anorexia or even very intense exercise, such as occurs with female marathon runners, for example. Lactating mothers also lose their calcium, as it goes preferentially to the milk supply for baby.

Another factor towards giving you less dense bones is my old friend - smoking. Really, with so many ill effects caused by smoking, I find it difficult to understand why any intelligent person continues. I can fully understand the addiction process, but not the continuation in the face of all the evidence process - but then I suppose some people just like their family to be able to claim early on the life insurance policy.

Excess alcohol on a regular basis also weakens the bones, as well as other weakenings, such as Brewer’s Droop.

So do you have weak bones? The way to find out is via Bone Densitometry, a non-invasive screening process. Ask your doctor about it next time - especially if you are a post-menopausal lady!

Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
I am at my wits end. How do you get hold of a tradesman here, or even an “odd job” man, such as you can get in the UK? They can’t speak English and the workmanship is terrible. Where do I go to find someone? It’s not as if I want them to build the Taj Mahal or anything like that. Even just putting in a new light in the kitchen seems to be an impossible ask.
Home Improvements Henrietta

Dear Home Improvements Henrietta,
Your problem is a very common one, I am afraid, but does relate in part to the language situation. As you correctly point out, “they can’t speak English” but you should not forget, my Petal, that you are living in Thai-land and the language the people speak here is called Thai! It is unreasonable to expect tradesmen to accommodate your lack of local language. There is a way around the problem, however. If you scan the Classified sections of the paper, you will find that English speaking tradesmen do advertise, and if you ask around in any of the local ex-pat organizations, they will be able to give you the names of some reliable people. But you should always remember that in any country, even English speaking ones, getting a good tradesman that can do everything is like rocking horse poo. Very difficult to find.
Dear Hillary,
My father (a 70 year old widower) is coming over to Thailand to see my husband and I next month. He gets along very well with my husband and already hubby is making noises about taking Dad out to some of the places that he wouldn’t see at home and that he wouldn’t take me to, for example. How do I convince my husband that these places are not suitable for my father, and he should be more discreet with where he takes him? As I have a busy schedule with organisations and charity work, I cannot be with both of them all the time as a chaperone.
Dutiful daughter

Dear Dutiful daughter,
It is a father’s role to look after his daughter during her growing up, not the other way around after she has grown up, my Petal. Particularly when Dad is now 70! Sure, help look after his needs, but that is all. I am sure that if you leave your two boys together they will be able to get by some evenings, complete with discretion. Is that the important factor? Being discreet? By this stage, I would imagine that your father understands your position fairly well with the organizations and charity work and will not embarrass you. He doesn’t need a chaperone. Let him enjoy his twilight years. Hubby has the best ideas. Dad will soon say if he is enjoying himself or otherwise.
Dear Hillary,
This is a real estate problem, but I am hoping you can help me. Last summer I rented a small apartment for six months, from a Thai lady I met socially. She asked me for a deposit equal to two month’s rent, which I paid, because I think that’s a standard thing and she said I would get it back at the end of the contract. When it was time for me to go back to the UK she would not give me the deposit back because she said she was waiting for the bill for the electricity and water and telephone and had to deduct those amounts first. I wrote to her from the UK and asked for the remainder from the holding deposit, but she never replied. When I came this time I went looking for her, but nobody seems to know where she has gone. This has really annoyed me and I was wondering how I can stop this happening again? Have you any suggestions, Hillary?
Roger the Lodger

Dear Roger,
Unfortunately my Petal, you went into the rental contract with your eyes shut and your brain in neutral. You might have been the lodger, but now she’s the dodger! This is not the UK. There are no agencies over here to help people get their unwisely spent money back. Just learn from the experience and next time rent through a reputable real estate office, which will hold the deposit in trust and credit your account after all the bills are paid. As for last year, put it down to experience. It’s not the end of the world!
Dear Hillary,
My friends wanta (sic) know how old you is reely (sic) and would you come out with us one night? There are four of us who go regular to the bars and we said it would be fun to have you come along with us. Are you game enough for four young guys? Or are you just a stay at home and tell people what to do type of person?

Dear Jerry,
Oh you young boys with the excess circulating hormone problems! You’re all too young for me, pretty Petals. When you’ve grown up send me another letter. In the meantime learn to spell. After that I’ll tell you what to do, but you would probably wouldn’t take my advice anyway.

Camera Class:  Grandma Moses and photography for ‘phailing’ eyes

by Harry Flashman

As we get older, there are some pursuits that begin to be restricted to the young. Septuagenarian motorcycle racers would be fairly rare; however, photography is a pursuit that can be followed by just about everyone, irrespective of age. In fact, much of photography is actually more suited to the elderly than the young.

Let’s face it, who is able to get up early for those classic early morning sunrises, or has the patience to wait for the late afternoon sunsets? Only retirees who have their time freed from the daily grind.

It is thought, in the general community, that to be a good photographer you need 20/20 vision. Not any longer! Just because you have to wear glasses shouldn’t stop you, because modern technology is here to help you. Today’s cameras can solve this problem. Provided you can point the camera in the right direction, the camera will do the rest. Welcome to the wonderful world of Auto Focus (AF). AF cameras work by moving the lens in and out electronically to focus on the subject in the middle of the viewfinder, just as if you were doing it yourself. They do this quickly and accurately and some cameras will even give an audible ‘beep’ to let you know the focus has been set.

Another problem often associated with aging is stiffening of the fingers. Today’s cameras take care of this as well. Technology has developed the easy load system for you. Just drop the film cassette into the camera, pull the film across a couple of inches (about 50 new fangled millimeters) and close the camera back. The camera will automatically wind the film on and stop ready at frame number 1. It will even indicate if the take up is not successful, and will not operate until the film is in correctly. Nothing could be simpler or more fool proof.

While still on stiffening fingers that don’t like fiddly little jobs - remember those dreadful fiddly pull up handles to rewind the film? The tiny button under the camera you had to push at the same time? Try using those with arthritic fingers. Now you don’t have to, with Auto Rewind as well. When the last shot has been taken, the film automatically rewinds into the cassette. This is just getting too easy.

Is it just too much of a hassle these days to walk up to distant objects to get close-up details? Zoom lenses save you having to go the distance. The zoom lens will do it for you. With a zoom lens it is no problem at all to get a close-up, a wide angle and a distant shot from the same camera position. Maybe an autofocus compact camera with a zoom lens is just the camera for you. Just push a button to make the zoom bring the subject closer or farther away.

Flash without being arrested. These days forget struggling with flash guns and working out complicated guide numbers and all that scientific tommy twaddle. Today’s camera manufacturers have taken the tears out of using the flash too. Most new cameras have their own in-built flash which comes on when the light levels are too low, will set their own flash power and give you perfectly lit indoor night shots every time. You don’t have to worry about doing anything. The camera’s brain does it all.

So there you have it, Grey Power. There are cameras available now which can get you back into photography again. If you once had the ‘photographic eye’, then that ability is still there. All you have to do is get the equipment to let you use and enjoy it again. All the camera stores these days will stock cameras with all the features mentioned above. An autofocus compact with built in zoom, auto load and auto flash will set you back less than 6,000 baht.

Remember the famous Grandma Moses who began her painting career very late in life. You can start your photographic one.