Personal Effectiveness [Part 3]

Personal Effectiveness [Part 3]

The best news thus far is the holding of the Repo rate at 7 %. We know the SARB could cut it but they are hamstrung by politics, none the least of it, being our own. The Rand is hanging in and we’re about to get a Fuel decrease. If I couple that with the best Maize crop for 40 years, I would love to say we are on our way to 1+% growth. What a pleasure that would be just to heighten our sense of normality with global trends and give us a bit of Confidence in our country and its future. Never lose hope that we can change and be aware that, at this stage at least, a great President could turn this ship around quickly and efficiently. There is resource and intent in this country like nothing on earth if we created Vision and Hope in the future.

We continue with our series of blogs on Personal Effectiveness. So far we have spoken about physical aspects [EDES] and the mental perspective that Altitude and Attitude bring. Today we deep dive into a question that may be too serious for some, too much information for others and for yet others, life-changing.


I was in conversation with a man the other day and I mentioned the need to have purpose in life. He stopped me and asked me why I thought that was important – why not just live each day at a time, think ahead for obvious things like retirement, but let the rest work itself out? I was flabbergasted especially as I was speaking to a very successful man. I guess I have become so used to speaking to people individually or in groups, to whom purpose is natural. Perhaps it is natural to talk about it but for many, they give very little thought to its outworking in their lives.

Purpose for me is critical. It gets me up in the morning, energises my day and gives me direction, focus, determination, and meaning. A few comments:


  • A Purpose needs to be written down so it can be read, considered, altered when required, memorised, referenced and affirmed. I cannot see how purpose which drives a person can simply be “remembered”.
  • A Purpose is a statement, crafted with care and melded over the years, to indicate an intentionality to our lives and to those whose lives we touch. Such a statement is not definite; not a SMART [Specific, Measurable, Agreed/Accepted, Reasonable, Timed] goal. Something which is almost unnegotiable and “the only way”. It is more like a dart board. In the middle is the bullseye, and around it, the segments of higher and lower scores. Often we hang a dart board on soft board. Why? – because we miss! So it is we start out playing darts and battle to hit the board. Just like Life, we set out to win, stumble and sometimes fall, but we always get up to press on. In darts, we practice and play and improve. One thing about hitting the wall, or the soft board or better still, the dart board is we know where we are. Just our ears make that clear J. Thus, a Purpose Statement need not be the bullseye but it needs to let you know where you are expending your energy and that would enable you to win the game of Life. It can be broad but it needs to be stated in order to be effective.
  • A Purpose creates boundaries. Like a horse racing track has white fences on either side, purpose boundaries our decisions and actions. Imagine a thoroughbred racehorse, shiny and muscled, reined in and ridden by a highly skilled jockey – what need is there to control its race? From start to finish it knows where to go and how to win. So why the fences? Surely they provide more than just a safeguard “in case” the horse decides to bolt? Surely they contain the energy of the race and purposefully direct all the participants to the end goal? How much more the need to direct and channel a person’s energy to that which is meaningful to them and only them; to raise the bar, to channel a person to the outcome for which they were uniquely destined?
  • A Purpose energises focus. Our brains are like heat-seeking, ground-to-air missiles. Sourcing the target like the back of a jet fighter, the missile locks onto its target and takes it out. In 1967, Israeli jets dropped phosphorous balls and the missiles blew up harmlessly. Distractions confuse our brains and diffuse our energies. Even more frightening is that if a missile misses a jet, it self-destructs before it hits the ground. The reason is simply that it could be headed for our own forces. Similarly, old age homes are full of people who have given up and become disillusioned by life. Yet, I know 80+ people who are energetic, determined and aware; driven by the sense that life is to be lived to the full and it’s not over yet. Purpose energises focus and energised people know what they want from life.
  • Purpose blesses others. Perhaps the most contentious of these thoughts but I would simply leave with the naysayers that a life without purpose is inward-focussed and self-centred. Purpose raises the bar. It satisfies the individual who, whilst aware of what he or she needs, also knows that from their strength others are nourished. A sandwich to a beggar or a company that employs thousands – both come from the vision of purpose. I have been at the funerals of highly successful businessmen and lowly Moms. Listening to the stories of the deceased, one is struck that Purpose is neither big nor small, neither important nor unimportant. A business person who makes millions or a Mom who holds a family close together with little, both have this one thing in a common – a life of purpose.

So much more can be written but let’s have a quick look at Default.

You wake up in the morning, rush for coffee, shoot off to work and come back tired and frazzled in the evening. The good news is that tomorrow is totally predictable; it’s just the same. Ten and forty years later, the default position has either been the result of “luck”, being “the right person at the right time” or, is simply “someone else’s fault”. Success or failure, all is in the hands of the gods.

Default deserves some comment:

  • We have spoken before of Locus of Control [Google it for more insight]. Essentially, our locus of control is the way we view the world and how we impact on it. An external locus results in us being impacted by what happens “outside” of ourselves. I get an increase, I’m happy. I miss a promotion, I’m sad. Etcetera. An internal locus implies that we can influence our world and life circumstances. We can study, work hard and self-develop so as to get the increase or the promotion. We live in a sense of self-preparedness and are attuned to opportunity; we believe we have impact and influence. Default says “Que sara, sara, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see, que sara, sara” like the old song.
  • “Life happens while we make other plans”. The saying of John Lennon is simply true for Default. In fact, why stir the pot when stuff happens anyway? Just let it be. Purpose never guarantees success or breakthroughs but Default leaves such triumphs to chance or others. Theodore Rooseveldt’s quote always comes to mind:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though chequered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither endure nor suffer much as they live in the cold twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

Default looks to others and circumstances to make us happy. In short, imagine a world in which every war was simply permitted to be won by the one who starts it and every country left to its own devices to develop by mediocracy.

  • Default is not bad. I put to you that we all know Default people. Some have given up on themselves, some have had hope and confidence knocked out of them by life’s trials and some have just never considered anything else. I would be the last person to denigrate such people. Purpose and Default both have their victims and neither implies success or failure in and of themselves. However, living in default leaves our self-belief in the hands of others and circumstances and perhaps, to chance. Jack Welsh of General Electric fame said, “Take control of your life or someone else will.” At least give yourself the chance to be all you were intended to be and even more, rather than to be a victim of circumstances.
  • Default is probably the majority status. You see, like factory settings, we come with DNA that enlivens us. What we do with it, how we tap into our personal uniqueness largely depends on us. Most people, I would surmise, do not have a purpose statement or a radical, driven sense of purpose. The absence thereof is a Default position. Frankly, not bad for the greater majority of us on this earth but, unless seriously “by chance”, such a position has probably seldom achieved greatness, whether Penicillin, a bread toaster or a skyscraper.

The wonderful thing about personal effectiveness is that it can be developed and enhanced over time. Whether it is weight, fitness, business success or relationships, we can all become more effective. I would put to you that a sense of purpose, backed by goals and mentors and role-models, could drive effectiveness to higher and higher levels. Purpose resets our factory settings and whilst you may never hit the bullseye of your life, you will surely live a life that scores whilst it loves to play its own game.

Homeloan Junction was born of Purpose. Not flashy, not overstated, maybe not even written down but always there. The grit and guts that make it [and each of you in the team] a winner was planned and purposed from the beginning. Defeat was not an option and success never went to its head. Stedfast and focus, it has grown into one of the leading originators in the country.

Yours in Property.

Jack Trevena
Latest posts by Jack Trevena (see all)