How You Spend Your 8 Hours Determines How You Will Spend the Rest of Your Life

Work by definition is a way of life. Are you content with where you are right now?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The lucky few among us who don’t have to work for a living are the lucky few among us. For the majority, it means getting up when the alarm goes off and getting ready to go to work.

When you step into your office or work space, what is it that you are feeling? Is it a feeling of dread, of mild torture or are you like one of my colleagues who say over and over again, “I love, love, love my job!”

I hope you are close, if not right there in the zone.

I had my own business for a while and although it was fun to be my own boss and command my hours, it was hard work. Don’t be fooled that being your own boss is the answer. It sometimes isn’t.

I’ve heard of entrepreneurs who are worse off after running their business to the ground and draining all their savings.

When you’re fresh out of college, it’s normal to not love the first job you enter. The second and third may not be much better. But somewhere along the line, you find something that kind of feels right.

Stick it out for a while and see how it goes. It’s only after a period of 6 months or so that you really find your feet.

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is the company’s vision in line with mine?
  • Is the company culture one where I feel welcome and accepted?
  • Are there growth prospects?
  • Is it a place where I can apply my knowledge and excel in my area of expertise?

Then, the most important question.
Is it a place where I regularly go into a state of flow where I do deep work?

At around 14h00 in the afternoon, my stomach starts to rumble. I look in my bag and see that once again I forgot to pack my lunch. What saves me is the box of breakfast cereal I have for breakfast and lunch most days.

I get so absorbed with work that I forget to eat or even think about lunch. Is that the same for you?

Some of my colleagues bring a whole grocery bag to work every day. One can guess what they think of the whole time.

It is great to lose yourself in something. If it can be your work where you spend 8 or more hours a day, you will make it so much more enjoyable.

Find out what your passion is and pursue that one thing with all your heart.
So many of us go to a job we dislike or even hate. This is pure torture. It has to change. Take some time out to evaluate your goals and aspirations.

If it means looking out for something else, then start doing that. The world is so full of opportunities that it is almost unforgivable for you to stay in a job that you don’t like.

I know not all of us have all the opportunities, but with the internet, remote working, side businesses, there is no way that you cannot get closer to your ideal 8 hour day.

Our lives are made up of little moments.

Most of it goes by without much thinking or awareness since we are so busy living. Work is a part of it. We cannot get passed it.

Our parents have done good, honourable work for a long time without questioning whether they are happy or not, or if it was really meant for them. They just got on with it.

We have choices.

We are in a position to make more informed decisions. We have more tools available to choose the best options available to us. But don’t make a mistake, the work must still be done.

We can’t sit at the country club sipping cocktails and expect our bank balance to grow. There is no substitute for hard work.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Like Niklas Göke says, he is at the same spot in the library from 07h00am to 07h00pm Monday to Friday. I do a 08h00 to 18h00 most days, not because anyone expects that of me, but because I take pride in what I do and want to deliver only the best results. Not for my boss, but for me.

Maybe long days are not the answer. Break it down into shorter spurts, that is fine too. But the work must be done. Nothing comes easy. One will have to make some sacrifices.

In fact, it’s not whether you will have to make sacrifices, it is which sacrifices you are willing to make.

The famous quote reads:
Some of us are prepared to work an 80 hour work week, so we don’t have to do a 40 hour work week later.

As we hit the half-year mark of 2018 it’s a good time to take stock of where you are and what you have achieved so far. What have you set out to accomplish at the beginning of 2018? Are you still on track?

Now is the time to get rid of everything that is holding you back from achieving your goals in work, finances, health and life.

Sometimes you don’t even know that you are shackled. It’s ok, you are getting by. It’s not unpleasant. You can make it work. The pay is not bad. What are you giving up? What is the opportunity cost of you staying where you are, where it is comfortable?

It doesn’t really hurt, it’s just mildly uncomfortable. It’s easier to stay put than to reach out and watch the opportunities unfold before your eyes.

We spend most of our productive life at the office. Make sure yours is one that you would be happy to return to if ever given the chance.

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savoured. — Earl Nightingale

Admin, Aargh!

Taking the agony out of Admin

Is this your response when you think of Admin in your business? That thing that you dread, but that has to be done. Do you have credit card slips piled up in one corner, and saying every day that today will be the day you’ll tackle and reconcile all the receipts?

Or maybe tomorrow, because today you better get some bottom line activity done. Like making a few sales calls. Your receptionist left some notes with scribbles of who to call back. Ok, it says Sam called. He wanted to know about the coffee table. The one that was on sale last week.

Just one hiccup, you don’t have any more stock. Better call the factory first to check how the next consignment is doing. It was supposed to be in last week. They assured you that you’ll have ample stock before it went on sale.

You pray to God that they don’t disappoint you like last time. You still have to call back the customer. What’s his name again, you can’t make out the scribbles, but let’s just call. Is that an 8 or a 5?

You get an alert from the bank. Your bank balance is going into negative. How is that possible when you had such a good month? The coffee tables are selling like hot cake. You’re expecting a payment from Martin, the restaurant owner up the road. He ordered 3 last month.

Maybe you should get your receptionist to call his office. Or maybe you should just call yourself. You kind of like the guy. Martin picks up on the third ring. You wish your receptionist were as efficient. You always have to shout from the back: “Can somebody please get the phone!”

After talk about the weather and clearing your throat again you ask hesitantly. Hey Martin, just checking up on that payment for the 3 coffee tables? Martin says sure no problem, just send me the invoice. For a moment you’re a bit confused. Martin, you should have the invoice, I sent it last week?Then you chuckle nervously and say, don’t worry I’ll send it again.

You hang up and immediately go to your Sent Items. It’s not there. But I could swear, you mutter to yourself.

The phone rings. Your receptionist is not in yet. It’s 08h30 already. Where is she? She better not blame it on the train again.

Good morning! Martin’s Marvelous Interior Makeovers, how can I assist you?

You forget all about sending that invoice.

If this is even remotely you, you need some help. Why not get a Virtual Assistant or Administrative Consultant to help you. A VA or AC is an independent contractor who is on a specific and measurable Service Level Agreement and is paid for hours worked or outcomes achieved.

No salaries, no sick leave, no hassles.

Give your business every chance to succeed. Free yourself to do the really exciting stuff.

The devil is unfortunately in the detail.

Put Yourself First Now To Become Successful

Giving yourself some tough love now that will pay off later.

Success is not an overnight process. You cannot get there on the Express train. No one just woke up one day and became successful. You will have to do the time. Ten thousand hours.

The reason why most people fail while others succeed is that you don’t want it badly enough. What did you do today to bring you closer to success? What are you willing to give up?

You’ll need a mindset shift. You can’t do the same things as before. They will get you the same results. One thing that has worked for me was getting fit and healthy.

I wake up at 4:30 and get my ass to the gym.

When the alarm goes off, I switch on the light, throw off the blankets, and get up. I brush my teeth, put on my running shoes and I am out of the door.

I don’t even let any thought cross my mind. As soon as you give it any kind of breathing space, it is going to slow you down. There are hundreds of reasons why you can just stay in bed. It is not against the law. You cannot get locked up for it.

You’ve only given up an hour of sleep, but what have you gained? When others are just waking up, you had your natural feel-good medicine (you didn’t even need a prescription), your day starts off on a high and your energy levels will last you the whole day.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” — Mark Twain

I periodically fast for short periods of time. It helps me clear out distractions and zoom into the fundamentals. However, like clockwork, it will be the day when everyone in the office decides to get pizza for lunch. You feel like the chief fun spoiler for saying no.

Are you working better with your money? They say the fastest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket. To have financial freedom means you don’t have to stay at a job you don’t like. It gives you options.

You don’t have to become a minimalist overnight, but one day sit down and take stock of where your money is going. You will see it flying in all different directions. Things you don’t need. You have enough. Stop buying.

You absolutely have to put yourself first, every time.

It is nothing against nobody. If you give people the chance, they will want the old you back. They like the old you because it makes them feel more comfortable with who they are.

Who sits in front of their laptop on a Saturday night when everyone is out partying? Well, in a few years you will be living your dream while they are still partying on Saturday night.

You want something better for yourself. You owe it to you. Once you know, you cannot go back.

You realise it is only yours truly who is keeping you from achieving the ideal life that you have mapped out for yourself. It is one thing to write the manuscript, but the beauty lies in the implementation. Is your manuscript collecting dust above the kitchen sink?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky

We all have only one life. Stop living on someone else’s terms. Start right now to design the life you want. Put down your goals for the next 12 to 18 months. Also, write down milestones you want to achieve in 3 or 6 months. Make it realistic and achievable.

It will never feel 100% right, you have to trust the process. Get your priorities straight.

Make the decision today to start living your best life.

Life: Calling You…

Response: The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

I attended the memorial service of a work colleague yesterday. Nothing shakes you up like death.

You think of your own mortality, where you are in life, what you have accomplished so far and what is still on your to-do list. For most of us, it’s a sombre moment. You realize just how many things you have been putting off.

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” — Walter Hagen

When you are young, death is the last thing on your mind because naturally you still have a lot of time.

However, as you get older you find that a lot of time have passed, but you are mostly in the same spot. Yes, you may have gotten married, had 2.5 kids, a dog, and a hamster, but still, not much has changed.

Because you’ve put the Caller named Life on hold.

There is something more important taking up your time right now, like:

  • scrolling through your Instagram feed
  • posting another selfie
  • binge-watching your favourite series on Netflix
  • gobbling down another pizza and beer on Friday night
  • going to a soul-crushing job every day that you hate

The Caller named Life is patient.

He will try to reach you again. Perhaps through a different line.

  • you or someone in your family falling seriously ill
  • losing a loved one
  • you losing your job or getting retrenched
  • your car breaking down
  • the landlord telling you that he is selling the place and you need to be out in 30 days
  • the credit card company cancelling your cards and giving you 30 days to pay up

You are in a sorry state and wonder, why is this happening to me.

Because you put Life on hold.

It’s not too late. Let’s start today to pick up the call of life and start living.

Do some reflection and soul-searching. Write down the things that will make you happy and enjoy life. Write down the steps of how you plan to achieve those.

Do things like:

  1. Tell those dearest to you that you love them, that you are grateful for them
  2. Hug your spouse or your kids, or your dog
  3. If you stay far away from your parents, surprise them with a call or visit. They won’t be around forever
  4. If you feel you deserve a raise, take the courage and approach the boss. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
  5. Plant a tree in your garden. If you can, let it be a peach tree. Peaches in summer from your own garden, pure bliss. If you don’t have a garden, get some indoor plants. Just looking at a new flower growing gives you the reassurance that we are all beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
  6. Say hello to your neighbour. All you may get is a surprised look, but do it again and again and soon you’ll be having sundowners over the fence.
  7. Switch off the tv and grab a book. It’s the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon. You’ll be wiser, calmer and you didn’t spend any money.
  8. Exercise, it’s the best investment you can make in your life.

Life is calling you. Are you going to answer?

Whose Life Are You Living?

Silly question right? Of course, your own.

Photo by Denerio Watkins on Unsplash

Not so fast. What have you done today to bring you closer to your dream (whatever that may be)? Or did you semi-consciously fall out of bed, miraculously got yourself dressed and fed and made your way to the train station and ended up in front of your desk.

You can’t remember exactly how you got there. All you do all day is stare at the clock. The best time of the day is 16h59. By this time you had already shut down your computer, put on your jacket, bag on your back, earphones on (you’ve spent the last 5 minutes selecting your playlist), ready to shoot out the door.

You tell yourself it’s not you. It must be someone else she is referring to.

That’s what I thought as well.

We have 104 days until 01 January 2019. We are entering the last quarter of 2018. Will it be like last year when, on 31 December you felt guilty that you have not properly thought through your plans for the new year, so what you did was dust off the old goals and put them neatly under everyone’s noses. There you have it!

Let’s look at that list quickly (mentally if you have to). What are you able to tick off, what have you accomplished? Are you part of the 8% who actually achieved your goals. Lucky you!

If you are lucky enough to internalise the above message and actually act on it, you are half-way there. Or the best news for you may be that marijuana has just been legalised in South Africa.

That’s ok too. Remember that you always have a choice. Not making a choice is a choice too. You don’t need any reminder. Your conscience will do the job.

I don’t know all the answers. I just want all of us to have a head-start. Let’s keep reminding each other. Let’s hold each other accountable.

The ones who give a damn are becoming fewer and fewer. Life is weighing us down. It sounds so morbid. Well, if nothing else, let it sober you up. You want to listen, absorb and be pro-active.

Don’t be numb. Don’t try to get into a state of numbness. A weekend of numbing is lost time, time that you can never get back. After each numbing session, it becomes harder to snap out of it.

Let’s go back to that child of 10 who had so many dreams. Go and find that child. Circumstances may have led you away, but you are not your circumstances.

You are not your past.

Stand tall today and make the decision to get out of the starting blocks, to take the first step towards a life goodness and peace. To a life of fewer struggles and more rewards.

It all depends on you. You have to make the first move. And all of us will be here, taking that step with you. You may not see us, but we are there. Our common trials and struggles bind us.

We are all fighting against the same forces. They may look different and may be called by different names, but they are all designed to take away our peace and tranquility.

Well, the buck stops here. A win for one is a win for all.

Keep going. Meet you at the finish line. My path is going here. Yours over there.

Arrive we will. We must.

Why Am I Still Stuck Here?

When your only choice is hope.

Photo by aluko ayomiposi on Unsplash

You ask yourself again. Why am I still here? You’ve done your part. You’ve done your due diligence. There are other companies looking for people with your skills. Your relationship is going nowhere. You both know it. Your neighbourhood is suffocating you. You know you have to get out.

You don’t want to end up like aunty Sally’s children. All 4 grow up and still living at home. Johnny tried to get out. He was away for a few months. But he came back. He looked a little worse for wear. Maybe he just got hung up with the wrong crowd.

You tell yourself you can do better. You just need a break. You’ve been scanning the job section. Something out of town. Yeah, it’s time to get away from this area code. You’re from the hood, but not part of it anymore.

Your mind is somewhere else. They told you that you had potential.

Can they stop talking! These voices don’t want to go away. STOP, you say out loud. It’s only you in the room. You have trouble sleeping at night. You don’t want to end up a failure. It’s hard though.

No one understands.

Maybe you should go for a run. That always helps. To quiet the voices. You put on your running shoes and take off down the road. The cool breeze of the afternoon sun is refreshing and your mood starts to lighten. There must be a way out. You start to think of possibilities. Your marks were not so bad.

You’ve sent off several applications to universities out of state. No-one has gotten back to you yet. There is only a small chance of getting in. They’ve raised the bar. You need near-perfect test scores. Who gets that? No-one you know.

Even though you need the money, you know that you need to finish your education. You had to stop because you ran out of money. The IT support job at the local ad agency brought in just enough to keep the lights on and to keep you in the neighbourhood.

You had bigger dreams. You know you have to figure out a way to finish your schooling and feed yourself. Luckily it’s only yourself that you have to feed. You know Johnny has to feed himself, Rowanda and little Tristan. Thank God you had a narrow escape. Rowanda’s sister was all over you at the Spring dance. Clearly, she knew something you didn’t. You made it through the chicken wire by a hair’s breath. Carlo was not so lucky.

As you run down the road you see Mr Clarke’s Nissan coming down the road. Mr Clarke is the headmaster of the town’s only high school. He’s been driving the same Nissan forever. You wondered before how much he gets paid. He is the smartest man you know, but in his eyes, you always see a hint of sadness. As if someone or something dear to him is lost, lost forever. You don’t want to end up like him.

While you are daydreaming you don’t realise that he as past you and slowly brought his brown Nissan to a halt just a little further away from you. He jumps out and has a huge grin on his face. Adam, I’ve got something for you he smiles. You wonder what it could be.

Good Afternoon, Sir, you greet. He takes out an envelope from his jacket pocket and hands it to you. It’s a letter from the university. Mr Clarke could not contain himself.

Full scholarship he yells!

For a moment the sadness disappears from his eyes. There is something new there.

Hope.

It makes two of you.

How Bad Do You Want It?

Not nearly bad enough.

No-one ever has time. We wear the busy badge of honour. Well, did you have to sit in traffic today? Did you have to wait at the doctor’s office somewhere in the not so distant past? Were you waiting at the bus stop or train station today?

There are really no more excuses? You just have to ask yourself these questions.

  • Am I lazy?
  • Am I trying hard enough?
  • Have I sought advice when I feel stuck?

Now ask yourself these questions.

  1. Did I have 10 minutes to listen to an inspiring podcast, but instead scrolled through Facebook?
  2. Did I have the choice of packing my own lunch this morning, but instead decided to eat the greasy food at the cafeteria?
  3. Did I have a choice to set my alarm at 05h00, but when it went off I decided to hit the snooze button for another 10 minutes.
  4. Did I have a choice to hit the gym after work, but decided that I will go tomorrow and just slouched on the couch all evening.
  5. Did I have a choice to join my friends for drinks after work, or go home and work on my side project?

The reality is, you always have a choice. The fact that we ignore the fact that we have a choice does not make it go away.

The fact that we decide to close our eyes to how much we’re eating, how much we’re spending, who we spend our time with, what we do with our free time DO NOT make those choices go away.

In fact, in a very unobtrusive way, it remains. By not acknowledging it, it sits there and just grows in strength and form until one day we wake up and feel like we’re suffocating. Your whole world is falling apart and you wonder how you got there. Little by little.

Your mind doesn’t question you when you make those choices. You don’t give it a chance. It silently acknowledges that you have yet again bailed out on your new year’s resolutions. You said you were gonna stop drinking and you said you were gonna start exercising.

The first quarter of 2018 is gone. What have you achieved? Are you part of the 90% who fails? Those are overwhelming odds, to be in the 10% who actually succeed in keeping their new year’s resolutions.

One question remains. How badly do you want it? Is this the year of real change for you? You can try and fool everyone else. But you can’t fool yourself. Your heart knows. It knows how much you’ve put in. It knows if you have really tried. Talk is cheap.

Stop lying to yourself. I don’t want to be at this same spot next year. You don’t want to either. Make a conscious decision to start taking action and put one foot in front of the other towards a better life. One that you can be proud of.

One where people look up to you and say: wow, I really admire you. You have shown such courage and commitment in striving to become a better, more successful, healthier you. Be the one who stands out like a sore thumb, in a good way.

People all around us need encouragement. They need to see that it is possible to change your life around. They need to see just one person they know do it.

Is that you?

Do you really need more stuff?

How to cut down on accumulating even more stuff and make do with what you have.

Last weekend we had some friends over for a braai (the South African barbeque). I have a modest kitchen with just a few essentials, however, when you have people over you realise that you may not have enough plates and spoons. My friend was cooking jollof rice and she asked for a specific spoon (one with holes in it).

I opened the drawer and showed her what I have. I didn’t have one with holes in it. I know in her house there is a spoon for every purpose. My other friend was making the salad and I didn’t have any salad dressing! It never crossed my mind to buy it, because I don’t normally use a salad dressing.

I know this may sound strange, but how can you miss something that you don’t even know you’re missing.

I do like things uncomplicated and simple. I have downsized my wardrobe (I am not at the magical 33 pieces yet), but I am just happy that I don’t have to look at that lbd that I was hoping to fit into again after 2 kids! I wear a lot of the same outfits to work and whether people notice or not, I don’t care.

My pair of brown suede boots was a staple this winter (for the 3rd season), but I just wasn’t going to spend money on a pair of shoes for our 3–4 month winter (yes I know we’re lucky)! And the 3 coats I have, have served me well. They are well worn and so comfortable.

Wearing the same few outfits interchangeably saves so much time in the morning. There is only 1 of 2 choices. Besides freeing up space physically and mentally, you are also saving money.

And there’s a greater benefit. I paid off my credit card the other day. After many years of trying to get it down to zero and even if I did, I would keep it open just for emergencies. Of course, before long it would be maxed out again.

Well, that day was the day. And boy was it a mission to just close it and tell the bank that you don’t need their money any more. I called the bank and was told I had to wait another day or two for their systems to be updated, to confirm that I now officially had a zero balance.

Because maybe, just maybe they could squeeze another bit of interest out of you. The next day I was put through from one assistant to another and then the question: “Ma’am why do you want to close your credit card?” Well, maybe because I don’t want any more debt? Like my husband says when you wake up, it’s your morning! He is much better with money and thankfully a few things rubbed off on me!

But, it took time. I cannot judge anyone who is not there yet, I was also blind for a long time. But when you finally see the light, man you wonder, where have I been? You can also get there. That is the great thing about life, no situation is permanent. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. The guidance will come from somewhere, but you have to be willing to take the first step. It’s mostly an individual journey.

As long as you are willing to make small sacrifices, incremental changes, then as surely as the sun comes up in the morning you, too, will arrive. I want to inspire you. It doesn’t matter that you wake up when you are 40 or 50 or 60, the fact is, you are not asleep anymore.

We become what we spend most of our time (and money) on

It’s month end and if you are one of the lucky ones who has a decent job or who runs their own business, you can count on a salary or some form of revenue coming in. You can take care of your expenses, the lights are on, you can decide whether it’s going to be chicken or beef, or vegetarian for dinner. However, the comforts of a somewhat middle class or upper working class come with their own share of pressures.

Our parents have worked hard to give us a better life than they had. We managed to make it through college without having to bribe, beg or steal and we are now safely far from the claws of poverty. But what do we do with this new-found freedom? We accumulate a bunch of stuff that we think we need. We entertain our friends to show off our new apartment, latest pair of wheels and everything our salary can afford us. Of course not far behind are the letters of demand and rising debt. It is so easy to spend more than we actually require or need. Before you know it you are stuck in a job you don’t like, to support a lifestyle that is stressing you out.

This has to stop. It is easier than you think. Start by drawing up a budget to see where your money is going. I am still confused when people tell me it’s in their head. Yes, but did you count your take-away cup of coffee on your way to work this morning? It’s the little expenses that add up. Once you know where your money is going, you can decide which of the luxuries you can live without. Take lunch to work instead of ordering at the cafeteria. But the meals are subsidised and we pay a fraction of the price. Yes, but you will have to work twice as hard at the gym tomorrow! Those meals are laden with fat, preservatives and everything that’s not good for you. And then there are drinks after work on Friday night. It won’t kill you to pass every now and then. Please don’t be the one who picks up the bill every time. Unless they are real friends, they will offer to pay some of the time, otherwise no need to hang out with them.

Do you really need cable or the flat screen tv that is taking up most of your time? Today you can download everything off the internet and watch on your time. Better, instead of wasting away in front of the screen, why don’t you take up a new hobby? Learn a new language, go for dancing classes. Best will be to move, if you have been sitting down all day. Put on your running shoes and go around the block. The benefits are endless. You’ll feel better, it doesn’t cost you anything and you will be more inclined to watch what you eat and better still, enjoy a good night’s rest.

We have to start taking control of our lives. Sit down and make a list of everything you want to accomplish and where you want to be in 3–5 years. Decide which habits are holding you back, what you can do without. Then take small steps every day that will bring you closer to your goals. The key is consistency. Celebrate the small victories. Only you can change your life and create the one you want. Let’s be proactive rather than reactive.

Finally, start today.

Ten Things In Life That Are Absolutely Free

Getting everyone in the car in the morning in time for school is a bit of a challenge. You tell everyone at least 20 minutes before the time that we are going to leave in 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, I tell the boys that we have 5 minutes to get in the car and leave the driveway. Another 10 minutes go by because someone is missing a shoe or another can’t find his library book.

By the time we are all in the car I am just a tad frazzled. We get to school and as I wave my son goodbye he says: mommy, I love you so much. You can’t beat that.

Here are my list of 10 things that are absolutely free and that you cannot buy for any money in the world.

1. A child’s love

It is so unconditional. You can’t do anything to get it, you can just receive it.

All a child needs is to feel safe and to feel loved. It is in our power as adults to give them that. Don’t shy away from that responsibility.

2. A beautiful summer’s day

You wake up and it’s there. Whether you choose to see it or not, it will stay in your face. Seasons come and go. At the beginning of each season, embrace it. Don’t wish the time away. For once it has passed, you cannot get it back.

3. The feeling after a good run or workout

You may not feel like going to the gym. Don’t think about it, just put on your trainers and get going. It is really the best way to start your day.

Some people would love to move a bit more, but their bodies won’t let them. Be gentle with yours. Fuel it the right way and move.

4. A cup of coffee with a good friend

The coffee may be $1.75, but your friend’s company and good advice — priceless. Make time.

5. Curling up with a good book on Sunday afternoon

You may have had to pay money for the book, but the investment is in yourself. The time you spend nurturing, learning and growing cannot be bought with any amount of money.

6. Coming in from the rain and cold and taking a hot shower

The lights are on and you have somewhere to ‘hang your hat’ like my friend Nick Maccarone would say. Appreciate what you have for someone else will give their left pinky to have what you have.

7. Checking your bank account just before month end and finding that you have more money than month left

I wrote another piece a while ago about needing less. The easiest way to lift your mood is to know that you’ve worked hard trying to curb your expenses and then one day seeing that all your efforts to save are paying off.

Savour the moment, but don’t stop. It is only the beginning of great things for you.

8. Having a sense of humour

Whether you are the one with a sense of humour, or you have a friend with a sense of humour it makes life 10 times easier if you can laugh at yourself or catch a joke.

My colleague said something at work yesterday and if I think back I can’t help myself but burst out laughing. It was the most hilarious thing I’ve heard in a while. The best are those who can tell it to you as if they are reading the weather forecast. Enjoy!

9. Long awaited rain

On my grandfather’s farm in Namibia we are always waiting for rain. It is a semi-arid climate with long, hot summers.

The air is dry and there is very little green fields for the animals. When I was a child, we would spend most of our holidays on there.

At Christmas when you see the clouds gathering and you can hear the lightning and thunder after you’ve been waiting and praying for months. It’s a different kind of joy. You have to experience it.

10. Gratitude

It’s so easy to become despondent and question everything. Our daily routine sucks us in. We feel like we are barely hanging on.

Take some time out. Go somewhere quiet and alone and just be. Think about everything that is going well for you. Think about all your blessings. Appreciate who you are and what you have.

11. Bonus — Your beautiful smile.

You have it, you own it. Give it away freely and it will come back to you one thousand fold. Just try it.

Life is what we make of it. It’s in our hands.