Archive for May, 2012

Honeybee Leadership

On Wednesday night a leader and mentor of mine, Dr Greg Nazvanov, invited me to speak at the Honeybee Leadership Dinner at the Apprentice Restaurant in Ultimo. The assembly of some 100 or so business people and academics were treated to a presentation about Honeybee Leadership from Dr Harry Bergstein of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and the Institute for Sustainable Leadership. I spoke about my death in 2009 and the leadership shown by the surgical and nursing teams of St Vincent’s Hospital, as well as how that led to my becoming a full time writer, doing what I love for a living.

Dr Greg Nazvanov is a leading financial adviser here in Sydney and someone worth listening to when he has something to say. In fact, all the people I met at this high powered event, organised by Greg, were worth listening to. He included a representative from the Army Reserve to educate employers as to how fortunate they really are to have Reservists working for them. Apart from the $1200 a week the Army Reserve pays the employer while their employee is away serving their country and developing priceless leadership skills, there are the skills themselves they bring back to the workplace. Sgt Amanda, I forget her surname and I do apologize, made a very definite impact on this audience and I am confident many went away keen to hire a Reservist for their next vacancy! I served in the Ares in 1977 aged 15 (lied about my age) and again when I left the Regular Army in 1985 and I have to say they are every bit as good as the regulars and I would have one beside me in business or battle any day.

We also heard from Mario Frapiccini who is a personal trainer and had recently returned from trekking in Nepal. He looked so fit I reckon he ran back from Kathmandu! Then Tony Morris took the floor and he engaged the audience with his craft, that of interpreting body language. All in all it was a terrific event and a great opportunity to network. I have met some top people through it and am already teeing up more work and making some great connections.

As for honeybee leadership, suffice to say I am a convert. Visit the web site and read up on the concept. It is how it should be here in Australia. One day, perhaps it will be.

Unrequited Love

A man who stabbed his girlfriend 26 times has been jailed for at least 11 years today. Read the article at the link then read on. Basically there are people out there who are mentally unstable. How else can you explain this kind of behaviour?  I was young once and I had loves and lost a few and never once did I think stabbing her 26 times then stabbing myself would sort things out.

Mental illness is the only rational explanation, otherwise we have to acknowledge that some people aren’t as good as others. By good I mean balanced, stable, smart, thinking whatever. I am so glad this nutter is Anglo-Celtic or whatever. A white, non-muslim, male heterosexual. If he were anything else the loonies on one side would scream, see, told you they were all bad while the loonies on the other side would be screaming about how its not his fault because he is a minority and so on.

Bad has no colour bar, it cares not your orientation or religious beliefs. Bad is bad. Period. It is easier to hold views that say he is bad because all (insert personal bias) are bad and it is not so comfortable or easy to accept that this is not the case in reality. That not all (insert personal bias) are bad nor are all (your own ‘type’) good.

The lesson to be earned is that we need to teach our children survival skills. Skills such as the ability to pick up on body language signs that signal the potential to cause harm. Word signals that should ring alarm bells. Just as we don’t teach them how to really handle money and what life is really about, we need to teach them to disregard the gonads and go with the hairs on the back of the neck.

We also need to acknowledge that the brain is susceptible to malfunction just as any other organ is (although technically the brain is not an organ).  let’s try and stop judging people as being less than ourselves for having mental health issues and feel some compassion for them and their loved ones. At the same time, let’s not excuse their behaviour. They may not be responsible but if only for the sake of their victim’s closure they should be punished for their actions, or else let us change completely how we as a society think about crime, punishment, health and society. Hmmm, maybe that is the answer after all.



The Trifecta of Stupid II

This woman in New Jersey, USA (where else) is accused of endangering her 5 year old daughter by taking her into a tanning booth. She denies the charge and of course, despite the fact she looks like Al Jolson’s sister, she is entitled to the presumption of innocence. But really, take a look at this woman. She says she loves tanning. OK, but why the aversion to mirrors? I mean has she seen herself lately? I know, I am being judgmental, but we all are. We discriminate, too. Every time we choose coffee over tea or chicken instead of the beef we discriminate. We can’t choose everything and the fact we are offered choices only perpetuates the discrimination we exercise. Yet isn’t discrimination a bad thing?

Perhaps it is, at least when we discriminate for the wrong reasons. But who decides which reasons are good and which are bad? Keep in mind we make our choices based on a number of things, one of which is our culture and societal programming. To some people in our community it is OK to treat women like goods or providers of services, to have them wear clothing that positions them in the hierarchy of their social group and so on. Then we have those who want to be brown and brown people who want to be white, like the late Michael Jackson and millions of women in the Philippines and India. Skin whitening cream is the biggest seller in pharmacies in both countries. Some kind of insecurity throwback to colonial days, I guess and not something I think they need. Especially not now, in the 21st Century, the time of the emergence of BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. A move away from the Anglo-centric world of previous centuries.

I think the face of Australia has changed, but many still expect to see an Anglo-Celtic face on billboards and in ads on TV or in magazines, despite a quick peak at the platform of any railway station at peak hour, at least in Sydney or Melbourne, will show we have a lot more brown faces standing next to the white ones. We have some ‘yellow’ faces for want of a more PC hue for those Asiatic people not quite white and not quite brown, with some very black ones here and there, too. Of course there will be some teething problems and adjustments to be made on all sides but we have always done that From adjusting to having white people landing on shores owned by aboriginal people, to free settlers among our convict originals to those from Europe before and after the World Wars to later waves from South East Asia and lately, from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa and everywhere else. We adjust, they adjust and eventually we change and grow. But not everyone.

Yesterday some of our nation’s finest used a chainsaw to defend their decision to annoy everyone else in the street with their loud music and dangerous driving. When questioned their attitude was typically bogan, or yobbo or whatever term you wish to use. On the other hand, there was a tragic murder suicide involving a migrant family. The point is, you can’t paint everyone with the same brush. There is good and bad in every ethnic community, religion, racial group or however you want to divide us up and analyse us. None of this excuses the Trifecta of Stupid. The scary thing about these people, no matter who they are, where they live, where they came from or what colour their skin is…. they can vote, breed and drive on the roads. You can’t stop them doing any of the three, so the best thing is to not be a part of the problem. Open your mind, think outside the envelope and accept that we live in a society made up of very different people from very different origins and that is our strength.  So ask yourself a few simple questions. Who did you vote for? How are your kids being brought up? How good a driver are you, really? Ignorance is based on fear, usually of the unknown. Knowledge dispels fear so educate yourself. Think about that, then find someone with a different skin tone and say G’Day! Find out that behind that skin tone there is a human being, more alike than different to you. You never know, you might make a friend.

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