Personal Effectiveness [Part 1]

Personal Effectiveness [Part 1]

Before we get into the purpose of this blog, a quick word on the property market.

Given the economic turmoil through which we have gone and which has been brought on by nothing less than Politics, the property market has been surprisingly resilient. Prices are subdued in the country other than Cape Town. This is simply a factor of the Cape’s prices being inflated by a perceived quality of life. Magnus Heystek anecdotally says that 45000 families a year are semigrating here. Not sure they can last, the price increases and the semigration, as it is simply a reflection of the unpleasantness of life in other major cities. We trust that things will turn economically, crime and grime will decrease and these demographics return to a more normal state over time. [Right now there is just not enough water in the Cape dams to go around!]. In short, we can expect a deterioration of house price increases this year owing to our poor economy. However, though we probably will no longer have an interest rate decrease, we surely should have stable interest rates even if Moody’s downgrade us by 2 notches. Finally, to that point, hopefully they just do one notch. How different the narrative would have been if not for one arrogant man.

Let’s turn our minds to the subject of this blog and be challenged to be better than we currently are. Personal effectiveness, if you Google it, is actually a branch of positive psychology, and is contained in the works of that, management, leadership and positive thinking. I found that interesting and to be honest, never thought of it in such illustrious terms. With that in mind, I would like to express personal effectiveness in the simple equation of input vs output. Effectiveness is often expressed in terms of doing the right thing vs doing things right. That doesn’t mean we can shortcut many things, but just rather that we challenge our efforts to ensure they are exactly what we need to achieve what we desire. In presenting this series of blogs, I pass no judgement on your effectiveness nor do I stand as the rolemodel. But what I do intend to do is challenge each of us to be better than we have been especially if I hit a nerve that requires your personal development.

Everything has a genesis. Personal effectiveness starts with our bodies. I heard of someone who is “cracking up” recently. Not unusual at my age, but if you want to win the Formula 1, the car needs to be in pristine condition. How much more the race of Life! Key to this is EDES – Eat, Drink, Exercise, Sleep.

Eating and Drinking: I can almost hear the “here we go again” sigh. But these two aspects really affect our personal efficiency and they are probably the ticket to the game. I was talking to a guy the other day and he mentioned a shredded lettuce and kale, carrot, cinnamon and water-based tuna salad. Just before I began my bad thoughts, he said the obvious, “you won’t believe how good you feel 30 minutes later”. Hard on the ears but nonetheless, a hard fact. Rathan Tata has this to say: “ If your food is not your medicine, then medicine will be your food.” And a quote that I received today by Maimonides says, “No disease that can be treated by diet, should be treated with any other means.” He died in 1204 – a seriously long time ago and before Type 2 Diabetes was even known. Unfortunately, and me included, we cannot duck the fact that our food and what we drink has a major impact on how effective we are as human beings and multivitamins and Essentiale don’t do much to help if the fundamentals are not in place. In turn, please don’t diet; just divide your plate into quarters and eat one protein, one starch and two portions of vegetables. Simple advice at which I could come from many angles, but if you want to cut out anything, then cut out the starch. You may not have a “kale and tuna” experience immediately but you will feel better for it.

Exercise: There is no doubt in my mind that exercise covers many areas. Discipline, first of all, especially the one prefixed by “Self-“. Self-Anything is a powerful effectiveness tool – self-control, discipline, development, motivation – when it comes from within, they’re powerful. That feeling that you get when you have woken up, gone for exercise and showered, cannot be beaten. And it’s not important what you do but that you do it. Exercise de-stresses. Not sure about you but I endure stress and I can literally feel the hormonal effects of that. Exercise releases powerful substances, like dopamine, that elevate you. And the good news is that you want more as dopamine is habitual. Crazy but true, that exercise and sleep spur creativity. That thought that you get on a spinning bike could be the breakthrough of the day. And then of course, exercise is good for your heart and bloodflow. Pulsing through you and causing sweat on your skin, blood flow cleans and heals while your muscles strengthen. Make room for this daily spurt of natural substances and you will raise your effectiveness to new levels. It doesn’t take that long but it does take that spoonful of discipline to get it down. Have a Nike moment: Just Do It!

Sleep: Introducing her book, The Sleep Revolution, Ariannna Huffington of Huffington Post fame, says: “We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis and this has profound consequences on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness.  Only by renewing our relationship with sleep, can we take back control of our lives.” I quote her because she is one unbelievable lady and no doubt has experienced both insomnia and the peaceful regeneration, of sleep. So why sleep? Well, it is the place where we fully relax and where even our brain replenishes itself. Having a good sleep naturally also says volumes about our state of mind when we’re awake. Work pressures, relationship issues, overeating and drinking, too little or too much exercise, negative cashflows [need I mention more before I get your issue?] are all the demons of our daily lives. Nothing is perfect, but if these things stop our sleep, they worsen. Ever laid there and wished the sun would rise so you can reaffirm your perspective? I have – and how horrible that worry becomes as it persists in destroying your sleep patterns. Irritable, demotivated, emotionally drained, catastrophizing and just a pain in the backside is what we become to ourselves and those around us. Stop it! Go back to a sound perspective. Reinvent your sleep and cherish it again. Try this for a thought from Karen Salmansohn: “Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day.” Shew, if only I had mentalized that when I was younger! All the cold sweats, panic, sleepless nights, pent up anxiousness….WORRY that stole away my SLEEP. [Don’t you also just love that word “Breathe”?].

Initially, we have covered EDES. Each of us has a story to tell in some or all of these areas. Be careful of reasons and excuses and while you’re there, be careful of Guilt. Like it cousin, Fear, guilt is only a short-term motivator. Sustainable self-motivation, call it Change if you like, does not come from knee jerk reactions. A sense of dignity, coupled with a few habits changing continuously over time, leads to progressive self-growth and sustainable improvement in self-worth. But begin the journey in your area of self-development and allow fun and desire to be bedfellows. There was such a lovely saying when I was young, “Be patient with me, God ain’t finished with me yet.” So begin the journey of a thousand miles with that first step.

In summary, personal effectiveness starts with the human vessel in which resides your being. All the technology in the world cannot do what your body does. It is not the sine qua non of human effectiveness but it is a grand and grandly designed gift to each of us. Look after it and it will no doubt look after you for as long as it is able.

Property is not an easy game. Having the right tools to play is a prerequisite to play.

Yours in Property.

Jack Trevena
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