Committing To Life

Committing, Celebrating and Growing through Life


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The Art of Reflection

One year is a very long sabbatical and I can safely say that “Committed 2 Life” took a ‘365 day’ reflection. Going forward the format will be slightly different and the content a little more robust. After countless questions of when I will be blogging again throughout 2014, I had to break the fast in the new year.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

It is absolutely essential that we take a moment to sit back and introspect. Introspection simply means to look within and understand the mechanisms that make us, as well as the thought-processes that drive our actions and feelings. It is incredibly difficult to do this while you are going through say, a very difficult time or while you are nursing wounds. So upon exiting a cloudy/exciting/jubilant moment – take a second to recollect yourself.

I love Mondays. I love Mondays as much as I love New Years’ Day. Why? It is the perfect moment to begin anew, re-strategize, re-do and improve. Anyone with goals and aspirations understands the importance and significance of time. It is segmented into sections for a reason – to assist us in managing our lives, help us to plan and to manage our goals in what I call bite-sized pieces.

Have a look at companies: not only is the performance of a company segmented into ‘Financial Years” to measure performance and manage resources but it is also divided into quarters to breakdown strategies into manageable and measurable areas. How much more efficient would we be if we ran our lives similarly (with flexibility of course)?

Before we move into constructing our SMART (Simple, Measurable, accurate, Realistic and Time-Bound) life goals, we need to reflect a bit and understand where we just came from, what we did right and what we can improve on. So I came up with this exciting idea of a reflection chart and will be sharing it as soon as I am done. So as you start the year let’s start with these reflective questions, you can write them in a notepad, the first page of your diary, a huge whiteboard or whatever tickles your fancy:

1) What did I do right in the previous year and what type of attitude did I carry during those moments?
2) Which goals did I fail to achieve in the previous year and what went wrong?
3) Which major goals did I have in the previous year that I achieved, that I am proud of?
4) What were my major mistakes in the previous year and what did I learn from them? What type of thought-process/attitude should I adopt to not make them again?
5) What were the 3 major lessons learned in the previous year that have contributed to the betterment of my character?

These five simple questions are essential in that not only can you get a moment to actually celebrate your successes but you will get a chance to take heed of lessons to be learned. You can finally get a grip of what you can continue to do well and what attitudes to work on improving. It is only through reflection and understanding the journey walked that we can have a clearer grip on the steps we take next. I’d love to hear your thoughts and you’re free to share on the above questions.

Remember, in order to grow we need to be self-aware and the only way to be self-aware is to constantly reflect. Wishing you a splendid new year. 🙂

“The un-examined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

With Love,
Candice Mncwabe

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Passion and Resilience

Most people are wrapping up the year and jetting off on holiday with immense relief and excitement. I can’t say I share these feelings though. Sure, I am relieved that I can rest, but I am also quite awe-struck by the fact that the year is actually over. I feel like pressing a rewind button and reliving some moments, doing things differently and taking notes from every experience. I am actually more stressed now than I was when the year began and actually quite overwhelmed by everything I have gone through. This is largely related to my absence on my blog as I have literally come out of a whirlwind of activities, challenges and introspection.  

Reflection. This is such an integral part of our journeys on Earth. I feel that we cannot advance to the next level without fully understanding the implications and lessons of the present moment. Luckily life is divided into edible portions that we can measure ourselves on; useful start and end points that we can leverage off. Each year should be a benchmarking process for our potential and progress. Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So go on, examine, test, measure and rate your progress.

For students, the measuring point could be your academic progress. As a student myself, I know the feeling of exam pressure and the even greater pressure of awaiting your results and I cannot help but feel we always get what we deserve; what we worked for; what we have earned. What is your goal? Do you know your potential? If you are an ‘A grade student’ then why are you ‘just making it’ with Cs, What can you do to change this? Do you actually want to achieve better? These are questions we should always present to ourselves. Aristotle said excellence is a habit, so academic merits are that too.

As a working woman I also understand the tension and challenges of the working environment. Did you truly give off your best this year? Are you proud of the way you handled difficult situations at work? What can you do to become a better employer/employee? Quite often, we look for external factors that hinder us when in reality the biggest variable that we can control is ourselves.

So the biggest lesson I have learned again is resilience: my favourite word. ‘Going from failure to failure with the same amount of enthusiasm.” We should never lose our desire to learn, grow, advance and become better.

I have been thinking a lot about adding value which I have decided to save for my next blog post because I feel that now is actually the time to do some introspection and rate ourselves, without the influence/opinion of others but just the real and honest internal voice called truth and reason. I feel like there is so much untapped potential that we are not harnessing and if we start getting to know ourselves we can relinquish the fear of finding and releasing it. The greatest successes are built on passion, resilience and honesty. I hope that as we wrap the year we can all offer ourselves the opportunity to look back, reflect, celebrate our successes and formulate plans on improving on our failures. Dedicate yourself to every area of your life that makes you ‘you’: family, work, academics, health, spirituality etc. Delve into each sphere and observe yourself and how you can offer more and better of who you are. Whether it is through a book, workshop, a chat, meditation, prayer, food etc. never neglect to enrich yourself and build a better and valuable you.  

Happy Holidays! 🙂

With Love,
Candice Mncwabe


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Are You Part Of Someone Else’s Strategy?

I love how we make excuses. I love how we complain about our current state of life but make zero changes in our daily routines because ultimately, if we desire change then we should start making changes in the way we act. They say “stupidity is repeating the same action, expecting a different result.” – how many of us are any wiser?

I had a conversation, a couple of days ago, with a partner of a colleague at a social event we had. He asked me a question I tend to avoid a lot of times. He asked me this: “What is stopping you from implementing any of your plans, dreams or business ideas?” My answer was simple: “I am lazy and I am scared.” Now I’m not usually that honest, I tend to delve into detailed explanations as a writer but I guess we have the glass of wine I had to thank for my transparency that evening.

I have always thought to myself: “I will do X when I have more cash flow and more experience” ; “I will complete Y when I have a car” ; “I will start planning Z when I have more time.” All these excuses being absolute cowardly ways of escaping any way in which I can work towards my dreams.

When I talk about dreams I’m talking about the aspirations beyond the normal mundane drone of every day life. To some people the daily mundane is the dream, no offence (I hope I am far from right on that front) but to some people the dream stems beyond that to silent moments spent pondering over the ultimate life in our solitude.

So I love how we make excuses, how we have majestic dreams and yet ‘complement’ them with below-average decisions and actions. You may not have enough “capital” yet to put into your business but if a potential investor walked up to you with enough capital would you have your business plan accurately drafted and researched? You may not have the ‘time’ to put work into your passion/hobby/initiative but if you could substitute 2 hours spent infront of the television with 2 hours of research and practice would it not make a difference & sharpen your strategy?

I know it is easy to say, I know because it is a battle I too am fighting right now but it can be done

Alvin Toffler said: “If you do not have a strategy, you will be part of someone else’s strategy.” I respect this man a lot so I do take his words seriously, especially because they are so true. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wake up at 40 and realize I spent a good part of my best years to thrive, being part of someone else’s strategy.

Hope you’re having a great week and that this has caused you to ponder over your dreams and act on them a little.

Quote: “Hope is not a strategy.” – Timothy Wilson

Stay Committed.

🙂


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Nurturing Networks

If you had told me about the importance of networks 4 years ago I would’ve frowned. Perhaps even pouted, flicked my hair & told you that you were absurd.

No, I was not ‘stuck up’ or overly prudent back in my much younger days, I was just so sure of what and who I am. I really believed that all that I needed to make it in life was within. (You may chuckle, I was much more naïve then than I am now) Once again, I learned how far I was from the truth two and a half years ago during my gap year which I took after two daunting years of Engineering.

What I have learned between that gap year and now (as a working lady & a student) is that we really are not islands as individuals. We form an intricate web of individuals that can build and guide one another. And, if we are not directly building and guiding the next person, we are surely a resourceful link to a well of wisdom that will enrich that person.

Timothy Wilson (@TimothyWilson) said: “If you don’t want to be a leader learn to be a link, you can connect people correctly with positive experiences that will impact them.” He tweeted that a day ago & it really resonated with my belief that there is something amazing in each person: whether you have an amazing story to tell, a wealth of knowledge to share, strength to guide or simply a link to positive people and experiences: you matter. And, if you matter then the next person does too. Value.

I could go in depth about how I have seen the value of networking & nurturing relationships but that in itself, would be a separate testimony. I never really bothered with nurturing relationships or giving people a chance to enter into what I call “my sacred private space”, until I learned that I am not an island.

An awesome article that I read this evening on the forbes website (one of many, as I have become addicted to their informative articles) really resonated with me as a young woman trying to establish her career and life. It is so important that we learn to lay down a solid foundation and have direction. It is even more important to align ourselves with like-minded people and ‘wiser’ people that can guide us.

The article can be found on this link: http://t.co/uiAvj3acM9 and it was the catalyst of this post.

Sure, its a Saturday evening in South Africa and I am having a ‘moment’ about career advice.

Robert Kiyosaki said: “What you do in your spare time defines your level of success. It’s late on a Sunday night and I’m looking at deals. What are you doing?”

So I guess my love for writing, people and sharing wisdom on how we can build and commit to our lives better is that important to me. What’s yours? Respect your passion & be a great link. Commit to what you want & remember that life is amazing, the power to unleash that lies in your hands & don’t forget that you’re part of a huge network of like-minded individuals.

Have a great weekend.
🙂

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Pursue Your Dreams & Prepare Yourself For Them

Life is not just about dreaming about the destination, it is about preparing ourselves for the destination by running the race.

Throughout our life journey we have been told to dream & dream big. I am not contesting the importance of having a vision, in fact I live by that. We cannot wander aimlessly without an idea of where we are headed or where we would like to get in life. It is highly linked to how much value and purpose we place on our breath. That is only the beginning though, the crucial part comes in when we have to prepare for the destination.

If your dream landed right here and claimed you would you be ready? The purpose (if you have identified yours) that you base your life on: if it finally found you and clung to you, would you be able to carry out your role? If you were offered your dream job right now would you be competent enough or at least mentally ready to do it?

We need to prepare ourselves for our dreams. Not only by studying towards them & reading about them, but by preparing ourselves mentally & emotionally for the resilience & qualities that they will require of us.

What are you doing everyday to get you closer to the person you need to be to do what you aim to do? Whether it takes reading a chapter or two everyday, Linking up with a mentor/elder to impart wisdom to you, creating a profile of your role models or simply actively making decisions and choices everyday that mould you into the holder of your dreams. Whatever it is, just do it. Get ready. Get prepared. Start growing.

Stay Committed! 🙂

Thought for The Week: Prepare yourself for your destiny

Quote: “In the fields of observation, chance only favours the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

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