Igniting the Human Positive Condition _ PERMA 

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When I was growing up, I use to hear my mother saying, the car has broken down your father will not be a good company to be with. It took me almost 30 years to understand what my mother was saying. It was the call from my wife, that made me understand my mother’s statement. She said love I have car issues, the car does not want to move. What made things more difficult, was the quotation from the mechanic. This affected most of our plans and other engagement. It was the theory of well-being by Dr Seligman that put things into perspective. The theory of well-being is called PERMA.

PERMA™ Theory of Well-Being

Dr Seligman’s PERMA™ theory of well-being is an attempt to answer these fundamental questions. There are five building blocks that enable flourishing – Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (hence PERMA™) – and there are techniques to increase each. 

The theory state that different people will derive well-being from each of these five building blocks to varying degrees. A good life for one person is not necessarily a good life for another. There are many different routes to a flourishing life and the five building blocks drive the well-being of life:

  • Positive Emotion

Positive emotion is about feeling good and is obviously the most direct path to being happy. When one feels good, one feels positive. However, such positive emotion doesn’t just stop at someone flashing a great smile because that is something anyone can do or, sadly, fake.

Positive emotion goes beyond that and may even involve acceptance of the past regardless of how bad it was and anticipating positively what the future holds.

However, such emotion does not necessarily mean that the person should be happy 100% of the time because that is impossible. But trying to achieve a positive emotion greatly affects many other aspects of life, such as the other elements found in the PERMA model.

The words pleasure and enjoyment are easily associated with happiness but are mistakenly understood to be equal and the same. Pleasure, according to the model, refers to one’s physical needs being satisfied such as food, shelter, water, clothing, and safety. Enjoyment, on the other hand, is the satisfaction and fulfilment derived from doing something such as painting, cross-stitching, or exploring a car’s engine. When enjoyment is achieved, happiness tags along, too.

  • Engagement

The second element in the PERMA Model is Engagement, which refers to something that an individual can get engrossed with or absorbed in. Almost everybody has experienced getting lost in a book or living in “one’s own world” because of something so engaging. It is actually a very positive thing for a person’s intelligence, emotions, and skills, which is why a child who is busy putting together different Lego parts or piling blocks should be allowed to do so and let be.

Doing something that engages an individual also brings happiness even if it has nothing to do at all with one’s work or if it is deemed by others as silly. For example, a woman in her mid-30’s who loves to play the violin can do so, and while engaged in doing it can momentarily leave the present and live in the music.

  • Relationships

 Relationships are the third element of happiness and well-being, according to the PERMA model. As human beings, it is our natural desire to want to be connected and be part of a group such as a clique, school organization, or a circle. We were wired to not just want but need love, affection, attention, and interaction. It is why people need to create relationships with family, co-workers, friends, and peers, because it is from these groups that we can receive emotional support when things get rough.

A simple yet clear example of the need for belongingness and interaction is when high school girls go together to the comfort room even if only one actually needs to use it.

  • Meaning

Many people wonder why many celebrities who live in multi-million-dollar mansions and go on monthly vacations to the Maldives and the Caribbean end up taking their own lives. What they do not understand is that there is so much more to life than just money and material possessions. Above it all, what makes a person want to live is the meaning they find in their lives.

Parents with young children understand how important they are in their children’s lives and so they work hard to provide for their families. A beautiful lady, though unmarried, is happy because she takes care of her ageing parents. These things are worth more than any amount of money and meaning keeps people happy and persistent.

  • Accomplishments

Finally, the fifth PERMA model element is accomplishments. We all take pride in something we’ve done or accomplished. It is these accomplishments that strengthen our self-esteem and our confidence that we are worth something. When we achieve something, we feel good and want to do more and become more. It can be seen even in very young children.

For instance, a little girl learns to use the spoon and fork when eating and when she knows how proud her mother is upon learning this, the child continues to use her spoon and fork. She also seeks new things to learn that are more challenging than what she can already do, such as pouring water into her glass or putting her toys back in the cupboard. In short, these accomplishments drive individuals to achieve more and make them feel good.

Dr Seligman believes that, Yet the concept of “happiness” is often hard to accurately define.

Living the good life, flourishing, self-actualization, joy, and purpose are words that come to mind with happiness. Is it possible to experience any of these in the middle of a chaotic world and negative circumstances? Can we learn to grow or find skills that lead to this “good life?”

Positive psychology takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfilment, meaning and purpose.

The Dr Seligman PERMA model helped us realize the concept of happiness and give us strength, lasting fulfilment, life meaning and life purpose. 



Dr Seligman Video on Positive Education, 2016

Dr Seligman Video on PERMA and Flourishing in the Classroom, 2016

Hardwork Meet Talent – GIFT

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My first coach and mentor, in my younger days he taught me that hardworking complements talent to achieve success in life. For years I struggled with this phrase. I often hear football coaches saying this is a talented player, but he will not make it to his full potential. One of the reasons they give, the player is not committed enough, or he is not working hand enough. My current coach Dr Emmanuel said to me hardwork plus talent is equal to GIFT. He one of the tiger woods video clips to emphasise this concept. Tiger Woods made a short, looked away and start celebrating because he knew he has hard at work practising this short and he has talent. He also used the debate about Ronaldo and Messi. Dr Emmanuel simplified it this way Messi has great talent, but he complements it with hardwork. Ronaldo is an extremely hardworking footballer complementing his talent. Note the way both sentences are written, the answers to the debate it in the way the sentences are written. Both players use hardwork and talent but in deference sequence. Does this mean talent alone is not enough?

Some of the writers believe that hardwork alone can beat talent any day, is this true? Joshua Flanagan said It feels good to be talented but ‘Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard’. The vast majority of successful people are said to be ‘simply talented’ or ‘lucky’. Talent is a gift, but luck is a preparedness meeting opportunity. The harder you work, the more prepared you become for opportunity thus making it seem you are ‘luckier’ than most.

The word talent is heard in a variety of contexts. According to Webster definition of talent, is ‘natural ability or power’. Yes, talent is the easiest way to achieve goals, it takes less time and effort to reach the top. It is the path of least resistance and as humans, we seek that out. However, is it the most rewarding or even the most efficient? I do not believe so. Hard work is a mindset, it is painful, uncomfortable, challenging. It allows us to face adversity and grow through that adversity. It calluses our minds in a way that only hard work can. It can lead us to a spot, where no natural talent in the world can come close. You can achieve any dream and vision with hard work.

What Does Hard Work Look Like?

Hard work has no substitute, not even talent. There is only one road, and that road has stormed in the way, goes through the desert, and is very long and slow. That is the road that leads to long-lasting accomplishments. The experience, practice, years of hard work, and smart choices are the paths prosperous people laid track on. Hard work is like climbing Mount Everest. Going through the hardships, the icefalls, hazards, avalanches, frostbite, and several other obstacles and threats. And finally, the extreme altitude comes, the destination is so close, heart pumping blood harder, many run out of oxygen, the track becomes steeper, and there comes the real test. In simple words, this is called consistent effort. You have to keep going even when you are sick of trying again and again when you think this is as far as you could have gone, your energy is all utilized but you have to give one more try, just one more push, one extra mile, one more attempt, and certainly you will reach the summit.

Talent Sounds Good:

We cannot just deny the fact that talent can lead to high-level performance. Some talents are inherited and inborn, like a melodious voice, a five-year-old mathematician, a 2-year-old footballer. All these talents amaze us. It is accurate that talent requires little effort and time. But possessing a talent has its cons too. Less effort leads to laziness and the habit of not working hard enough, which becomes the cause of short-term success. Here is where hard work comes into play. Hard Work demands willpower, high spirits, and passion. People who choose to work hard are goal-oriented and more focused which equals higher levels of success. When you couple talent with hard work it is an unstoppable force.

Jacqueline Walker said Talent is the natural ability or capacity to perform a function. When you possess talent in a given area, you are gifted with the “knack” or “instinct” needed to perform a skill or display a specific quality. But this only means you have the “raw mechanism.”

So, you have the equipment or tools needed to perform the skills, but until you learn how to efficiently and effectively use, manage, and control these resources, you will not be able to perform or use your talents at the highest levels.

The Gift 

Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in the top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its symbol system. The example of articles use above has demonstrated outstanding levels of aptitude, meaning they are gifted. However, they only realised they gift from hardwork and talent. The principles of hardwork and talent led me to PositiveMind question what is in the word GIFT, illustrated in the quote.

G – Gratitude: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”—Oprah Winfrey

I – Inspire: Aspire to inspire before you expire

F – Future: The best way to predict your future is to create it. – Abraham Lincon

T – Treasure: Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure: where your treasure, there your heart; where your heart, there your happiness – Saint Augustine




Achievement Carries us During Difficult Times

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I often hear people saying you must never look back in life, but the wise man said only look back to draw inspiration. Where do I draw inspiration if nothing is inspiring in the past? What can be classified as inspirational moments? The inspiration moments in my life is every challenge that comes our way. Challenges us, much more than anything else, keeps us up no matter how hard they can get sometimes. We always believe that while challenges were meant to sometimes distract us, they can also give us hope and inspire us to be better. Sometimes it is the results we achieved from the challenges.

The Harvard article titled Why Inspiration Matters by Scott Barry Kaufman, illustrate the importance of inspiration.

we often overlook the important role of inspiration. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility and transforms the way we perceive our capabilities. Inspiration may sometimes be overlooked because of its elusive nature. Its history of being treated as supernatural or divine hasn’t helped the situation. But as recent research shows, inspiration can be activated, captured, and manipulated, and it has a major effect on important life outcomes. He identified that Inspiration has three main qualities. Psychologists Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliot have noted these core aspects of inspiration: evocation, transcendence, and approach motivation. First, inspiration is evoked spontaneously without intention. Inspiration is also transcendent of our more animalistic and self-serving concerns and limitations. Such transcendence often involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities. As Thrash and Elliot note, “The heights of human motivation spring from the beauty and goodness that precede us and awaken us to better possibilities.” This moment of clarity is often vivid and can take the form of a grand vision, or a “seeing” of something one has not seen before (but that was probably always there). Finally, inspiration involves approach motivation, in which the individual strives to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision. According to Thrash and Elliot, inspiration involves both being inspired by something and acting on that inspiration.

These can characteristics were classified in the following 

  1. Inspired people share certain characteristics. Thrash and Elliot developed the “Inspiration Scale,” which measures the frequency with which a person experiences inspiration in their daily lives. They found that inspired people were more open to new experiences, and reported more absorption in their tasks.
  2. Inspiration is not the same as positive affect. Compared to the normal experiences of everyday life, inspiration involves elevated levels of positive affect and task involvement, and lower levels of negative affect. Inspiration is not the same state as positive affect, however. Compared to being in an enthusiastic and excited state, people who enter an inspired state (by thinking of a prior moment they were inspired) reported greater levels of spirituality and meaning, and lower levels of volitional control, controllability, and self-responsibility for their inspiration.
  3. Inspiration is the springboard for creativity. Inspired people view themselves as more creative and show actual increases in self-ratings of creativity over time. Patent-holding inventors report being inspired more frequently and intensely than non-patent holders, and the higher the frequency of inspiration, the higher the number of patents held.
  4. The inspiration facilitates progress toward goals. In a recent study conducted by Marina Milyavskaya and her colleagues, college students were asked to report three goals they intended to accomplish throughout the course of the semester. The researchers note, “this suggests that goal progress and goal inspiration build on each other to form a cycle of greater goal inspiration and greater goal pursuit.” Finally, inspired individuals reported experiencing more purpose in life and more gratitude.
  5. Inspiration increases well-being. In another study, those who were exposed to Michael Jordan’s greatness experienced higher levels of positive affect, and this increase in positive affect was completely explained by their score on the Inspiration Scale. This inspiration was not transitory though, predicting positive well-being (e.g., positive affect, life satisfaction) three months later! Inspiration was more strongly related to the future than to present satisfaction. The extent to which inspiration lasted was explained by self-reported levels of purpose and gratitude in life.

The Harvard article demonstrates Why Inspiration Matters and the role it plays In carrying us during difficult times. The Psychologists recommends the recording of all your life achievements big or small, you may not know what you will need them. Keep them in the notes book, review them during a difficult time.  The principles of recording achievement led me to PositiveMind question what is in the word ACHIEVE, illustrated in the Achieve Coaching Model. The ACHIEVE model has seven steps: ASSESS current situation, CREATIVEbrainstorm alternatives to the current situation, HONE goals, INITIATE options, EVALUATION options, VALIDaction plan design and ENCOURAGE Momentum. It’s a useful model in the world of work.

Assess Current Situation

The first stage of the ACHIEVE Coaching Model is focused on developing an understanding of the current state. The logic is that you can’t understand where you want to get to if you don’t know where you are right now.

Creatively Brainstorm Alternatives

Having established what the current state is, the second stage of this model is designed to help a coachee start to think about potential alternatives. This is a gentle way to help people explore the idea that things could be different, and start to decide how they would like things to be different

Hone Goals

Once the coachee starts to develop an understanding of how things could be different, the third stage of the ACHIEVE Coaching Model helps them start to refine how they would like things to be different and to define the goals that they would like to work towards.

Initiate option generation

The third stage of Achieve Coaching Model is to initiate option generation. Now that the coachee knows both where they are at the moment, and where they would like to get to, the next stage of the model helps them start to explore how to bridge the gap. This stage is about with coming up with potential things they could do, options that may help them achieve their goals. Options should not be assessed at this stage, simply collated.

Evaluation Options

Once the coachee has identified several options that may help them achieve their goal, they should evaluate them and determine which ones, or one, they wish to pursue.

Valid Action Plan Design

By this stage, the coachee should have a fairly clear view of which options they plan to pursue to help them achieve their goal. The next thing they need to do is to add depth to the option, bring it to life and plan the sub-steps and actions they’ll need to complete to help them achieve their goal.

Encourage Momentum

The last stage of the Achieve Coaching Model is to encourage momentum. While having a clear understanding of your current state, a vision of where you want to get to and a clear plan of how to get there is great, it might not always be enough. People are emotional beings, and sometimes a little encouragement and momentum are needed to help us achieve our goals. Coaches have a role to play in this, as do leaders and managers.


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We live in a world where things are no longer the way they used to be. I remember when I was young, I use to ask a lot of questions to my parents. The social media and the google of this world were not there. We relied on our parents to give us answers and this was part of growing up. In the Zulu language, there is a say which says: “ingane engakhali ifela embelekweni” meaning if you do not ask you will not get help. This was the way of knowing things and get information. 

A few weeks back I was finalising the digital online platform to sell digital information and e-books. The difficult part I did not have books to sell and didn’t know any authors. My project was approaching the brick wall. While I was looking for a solution, I came across Dr Emmanuel book. Dr Emmanuel is my business and leadership coach, I did not know that he has written books. In our next coaching section, I asked him if he can partner with me on my project by selling his ebooks on my platform. He said yes and he will be delighted to be part of it. “The power of asking” ended becoming our topic for our section. After the coaching section, l continued with my search to know more about the power of asking. This is very popular in leadership teaching.

The rapid start leadership illustrated this in their article: The Power of Asking Questions: 7 Ways Questions are More Powerful Than Answers

How can ask questions be more powerful than answering them? In the effort to demonstrate our worthiness to lead, often we find ourselves in a hurry to provide answers.  People want guidance, direction, and need to understand priorities. But if we’re playing the Shell Answer Man all day, we miss the opportunity to do something that can be more powerful as a leadership tool: asking questions. In fact, for leaders, I think there are at least seven ways that asking a good question can be better than giving a good answer.

1. Asking Builds Our Knowledge

It may seem like the best leaders are supposed to be the ones with all the answers.  But thinking like that may prevent us from asking the questions we should.  After all (we imagine), how good can a leader be who doesn’t have all the answers?

I was in a meeting once where a mid-ranking person spoke up, saying, “I may be the ‘lowest common denominator in the room, but I have to ask this question…”

In setting aside any pretence of knowing, he got the answer to his question, and that made him smarter.  And in truth, many of us had the same question on our minds but were afraid to ask it.  At that moment, he was leading by asking that question. In asking questions, we learn.

2. Asking Teaches Us About People

Even as they are answering our question, we are learning more about the person with whom we are talking:  how much do they really know?  How well they can express themselves? How do they feel about what they are doing?

As they respond, it can be instructive to think not only about their answer, but about how they answered, and how well.  In that sense, sometimes it can be revealing to occasionally ask questions that you already know the answer to.

In asking questions we learn about others.

3. Asking Engages

We are all hard-wired to want to be able to answer questions.  So when you pose one, whether people answer it or not, their grey matter is likely mulling it over and may continue to do so long after the conversation has ended.

When we can get multiple sets of brains working to find answers, the odds of coming up with good ones are far better than if you relied only on your brain.

In asking questions, we engage the minds of others.

4. Asking Communicates Value

By asking for input from others, we are telling them that what they say is important to us.  By extension, we are saying that they are important.

In group settings, some may struggle to get their voices heard.  When we pose a question directly to them and give them the floor to respond, we are demonstrating that every voice is important. In asking questions, we are telling others that they matter.

5. Asking Guides

When others ask, we tend to respond, but in that way, they are setting the topic of discussion and controlling the thinking. When we ask the questions, the opposite becomes true – they respond to us.

When we want to move attention and thought in one direction or another, a good question can be all it takes. In asking questions, we guide the thinking.

6. Asking Sets an Example

By posing questions, we establish an environment where thinking about what is happening, looking for better ways to do things, and questioning “the way we’ve always done it” are OK.  And that’s a good place to be.

If we allow our team to slip into robotic group-think where nobody is willing to risk a question for fear of upsetting the apple cart, we’ve set the conditions for future failure.  A sure way to prevent this is to ask lots of questions and encourage others to ask questions too.

There’s a quote from a meeting headed by Alfred P. Sloan I found in the book Mindset that illustrates this nicely:In asking questions, we make it OK to ask questions.

7. Asking Develops

In Turn the Ship Around, Captain David Marquet explains how he learned to stop giving orders aboard his submarine.  Instead, he asked his crew to announce their intentions to him.  In doing so, psychological ownership of a task shifted from him to them.  Instead of waiting for his orders, they had to think about what needed to be done.  Over time, this approach made them better leaders and teammates because it taught them to think on a higher level.

And as Michael Hyatt says, one of the best ways to mentor others is to ask good questions. We can give someone our best advice, but helpful insights will be much more powerful if our teammates come to important conclusions on their own, guided by the questions we ask. In asking questions, we help others become better.

They concluded by saying:  In the rush to answer questions, we risk missing the opportunity to ask them.  And in doing so, we may miss a chance to learn. But beyond that, we risk losing an opportunity to lead. The next time we get with our teams, maybe our thinking shouldn’t focus on having good answers, but on asking good questions.

I realise now we may have missed several opportunities and learnings, just because we did not ask. Like a Zulu saying “ingane engakhali ifela embelekweni” meaning if you do not ask you will not get help. Next time ask you may get an opportunity to learn. The power of asking led me to PositiveMind question what is in the word ASK, illustrated in the quote.

Always: “Always” is a good word to believe in.” ― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin

Seek: “Seeking excellence means choosing to forge your own sword to cut through the limitations of your life…” ― James A. Murphy,

Knowledge: Knowledge will give you power, but character respect. Bruce Lee

Matchstick – FIRE or LIGHT

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The power of a little matchstick can create light to celebrate and give life to the darkroom. The little matchstick can create a fire to cook food for the family or a fire that can destroy a family house. 

The wise man said the matchstick is a resource for igniting (ignite) something. Ignite refers to the process of starting a fire. In this sense – starting something – can also be used to describe the process of starting an argument or inspiring a strong feeling in another person.

The word ignite suggests something that happens quickly, with an intense result. Igniting a fire, for example, happens in just a few seconds when done properly. To ignite feelings in another person also happens quickly, and those feelings are usually strong, like love or anger or fear. The Ignite Talks have taken this idea of a quick, intense start of something and applied it to a series of international events aimed at educating, informing, inspiring and entertaining people with a variety of interesting topics.

Ignite Talks can be on any subject, but each presenter must follow a basic set of rules. Presenters get just 20 slides that advance automatically after only 15 seconds. This means each presentation lasts a total of only five minutes. The result is a fast-paced talk that keeps the audience entertained and engaged, even on complex or difficult topics. Events are held in cities all over the world by Ignite Talks and have encouraged thousands of people to practise public speaking and share their stories.

The question remains, how can a little matchstick be so influential in good and the bed. That means it true if they say dynamite comes in small packages. Even a mouth one of the smaller parts of the body can speak words that give hope and comfort, but it can also speak words that kill individuals and destroys human beings, just like a little matchstick. The proverb says from small beginnings come great things. What people don’t know is that the little things do matter. Small acts of love daily can mean much more compared to a grand romantic gesture that happens only once a year. And simple delights throughout the day can make all the difference and allow you to enjoy a fuller and more satisfying life.

The little spark from the matchstick can create light during the nights and create warmth during cold days. 

Fire: Fire symbolizes many things, including passion, desire, rebirth, resurrection, eternity, destruction, hope, hell and purification. Fire has been used by humans for over 400,000 years. Our ability to control fire is linked to our ability to evolve as a species.

Light: Light is one of the most universal and fundamental symbols. It is the spiritual and the divine, it is illumination and intelligence. Light is the source of goodness and the ultimate reality, and it accompanies transcendence into the Nirvana of Buddhist doctrine.

The characters of the words FIRE & LIGHT made me ask the positivemind question, what is in these two words FIRE & LIGHT illustrated by quotes.

Faith: To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible – Thomas Aquinas

Improve: The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement – Helmut Schmidt

Results: There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure – Colin Powell

Emerge: Good art is an art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views – Mary Schmich


Learn: Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever – Mahatma Gandhi

Ignite: A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instil a love of learning – Brad Henry

Gift: The greatest gift of leadership is a boss who wants you to be successful – Jon Taffer

Help: The hardships that I encountered in the past will help me succeed in the future – Philip Emeagwali

Thrive: I thrive on obstacles. If I’m told that it can’t be told, then I push harder – Issa Rae







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You can only win the Soccer game by scoring the GOAL. To score the GOAL you need a BALL. It is key to focus on the ball so that you can score the goal. How are you going to score if you do not have the ball? asked Dr Emmanuel 

For the past 15 years, I’ve been straggling to understand the theory of goals. Goal setting is planning and taking steps to achieve any desired outcome. Here are the three most effective goal-setting techniques to motivate and take you towards achieving your desired result:

  1. SMART Technique
  2. HARD Technique
  3. WOOP Technique

1. SMART Technique

Good for beginners, it is one of the most popular and efficient methods of goal setting, especially for beginners. It says an effective goal should be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.

  • Specific – you know exactly what your goal is.
  • Measurable – you can measure and track your goal.
  • Attainable – your goal is realistic, and you can achieve it.
  • Relevant – your goal is exciting and meaningful to you.
  • Time-bound – you have a clear deadline for your goal.

The most common goal model is SMART. SMART goals are established using a specific set of criteria that ensures your objectives are attainable within a certain time frame.

Writing a SMART goal entails working through each of those five components to build a measurable goal that encompasses exactly what needs to be accomplished and when, and how you’ll know when you’re successful. This approach eliminates generalities and guesswork, sets a clear timeline, and makes it that much easier to track progress and identify missed milestones. 

2. HARD Technique

Good for personal goals., it is an easy and effective way to follow when you want to set personal goals.

Mark Murphy ideated this second method in his well-researched 2009 book Hundred Percenters. To set productive goals, he says the proper way is: H.A.R.D.

Murphy’s research for his book revealed people who set HARD goals were up to 75 per cent more fulfilled than those who set easy goals. He explains how success comes from knowing how to set HARD goals:

  • Heartfelt – have an emotional attachment with your goals when setting them and try to make them “scratch an existential itch.”
  • Animated – see yourself having achieved future success and imagine vivid pictures of the positive feelings after you have achieved them.
  • Required – build a sense of urgency and necessity into the goals you are setting and imbue your goals with a sense of immediacy and urgency.
  • Difficult – make your goals difficult, and be prepared to take their challenges headlong, as outstanding achievements come from tough challenges that leave you feeling stronger, smarter, and happier.

3. WOOP Technique

Good for both personal and business goals, this is a newer technique based on solid science. Gabriele Oettingen, author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, and Peter Gollwitzer, psychologists at New York University, created WOOP after 20+ years of scientific research. It has proven effective across ages and life domains.

Dr Oettingen is against the Think Positive and Thoughts Become Things movement. While optimism can help us soften the immediate suffering and stand with strength in challenging times, merely dreaming about a bright future makes people more frustrated and unhappy. They become lazy and less likely to achieve their goals.

WOOP improved effort, attendance, and even GPA among students by significant margins. It reduced insecurity-based behaviours (e.g., looking through your partner’s phone log) and increased commitments in romantic relationships. It also doubled regular physical exercise over four months and increased fruit and vegetable intake by 30% over two years.

There is also a WOOP app on Appstore and Playstore.

WOOP bases itself on a visualization technique known as Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions (MCII) in the scientific literature. WOOP stands for:

  • W — Wish – wish something you want to accomplish for real, one that is exciting, challenging, realistic.
  • O — Outcome – imagine the best outcome of your goal and recognize how it would make you feel.
  • O — Obstacle – imagine the personal obstacles that prevent you from accomplishing your goal.
  • P — Plan – make an if/then plan to name an action you could do if an obstacle appears

One thing is common about these techniques, they all yielded almost identical results and benefits. It well documented the importance of goal setting, the role of building self-confidence and improving productivity. Here are five reasons why goal setting will improve your focus:

1. Goal’s trigger behaviour.

Having a clear, compelling goal mobilizes your focus toward actionable behaviour. In other words, goal setting should motivate you.

2. Goals guide your focus.

When you set a goal, you naturally direct your attention toward the next step and, as a result, lead yourself in the right direction which forces your actions—your behaviours—to follow.

3. Goals sustain momentum.

Seeing progress is addicting. No seriously, it’s addicting because of the dopamine released in your brain after attaining a reward.

4. Goals align your focus.

Goal setting helps you align focus with behaviour because you get feedback on your progress. The actions you take—or avoid—offer clues about your values, beliefs, challenges, strengths and weaknesses which allow you to course-correct as necessary and reset your goal achievement strategy (and subsequently, your focus).

5. Goal setting promotes self-mastery.

Perhaps the most important reason why goals work is because they build character. Achieving goals builds character. While the process of goal setting is important because it helps unearth and identify what’s truly important to you, pursuing your goals is the real money-maker (literally and figuratively) because it builds self-efficacy; it develops yourself as the type of person who can achieve goals.

My coaching section with Dr Emmanuel Imevbore simplified the concept of GOALS. He introduced the analogy of the soccer match, for a team to win the match the ball must be inside the GOAL post. Without the ball they will be no GOAL, every player in the field of play is focusing on the ball illustrating the importance of the ball to achieve your goal.

What is the ball for our life GOALS? The ball is the functional phases of our GOALS. The character of the word BALL made me ask the positivemind question, what is in the word BALL illustrated by phases.

Building Blocks: In fact, socialization gives us the tools to fill our evolutionary roles. They are our building blocks, Warren Farrell

Action Plan: “If you keep waiting for the ideal time, chances are that there will never be” ― Bernard Kelvin Clive

Learning Experience: There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience, Archibald MacLeish

Leveraging: We must develop knowledge optimization initiatives to leverage our key learnings, Scott Adams






Your Position of Defense – FEAR

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The type of defence in which the bulk of the defending force is disposed of in selected tactical localities where the decisive battle is to be fought. Principal reliance is placed on the ability of the forces in the defended localities to maintain their positions and to control the terrain between them.

I grow up herring everyone defending their positions in life. I’m not in a relationship because I do not want to be abused, I don’t want to get married because married are not happy and are divorced every day, I don’t want to be rich, rich people have bid problems and not happy. There even a song that has a line that confirms this by Puff Daddy. I thought It was just me seeing things but even myself I found myself defending my position in life. I got married very early in life, I defended by saying I wanted to things while they are chip to do. Later on, I found myself defending the issue of getting kids late in our marriage, I do not want my kids to suffer the same way I did.

The wise man said fear reaction starts in the brain and spreads through the body to make adjustments for the best defence, or flight reaction. The fear response starts in a region of the brain called the amygdala. This almond-shaped set of nuclei in the temporal lobe of the brain is dedicated to detecting the emotional salience of the stimuli – how much something stands out to us. A large part of the human brain, just like the brain of other animals, is devoted to threat detection. These circuits are constantly evaluating our internal and external state for threats. This cannot be conscious, because that’s too slow. It’s deep in the brain below the cerebral cortex, where consciousness arises, in a region called the hypothalamic attack region.   

One believes that we all defend our position because of fear. The Top 10 Fears That Hold People Back in Life, According to a Psychotherapist

Change: We live in a rapidly changing world. However, many people fear change. As a result, they resist it. The fear of change can cause people to become stagnant and they may miss out on a lot of really good opportunities in life.

Loneliness: Sometimes people stay in bad relationships or resist living alone due to their fear of loneliness. Learning how to tolerate feeling lonely and finding ways to keep yourself company can help manage the fear of loneliness.

Failure: One of the top fears in the world is the fear of failure. Many people won’t try something new unless they’re confident they can win. Failure is a normal part of life and learning from failure can help you find eventual success.

Rejection: Many people avoid entering into new relationships or trying to meet new people due to a fear of rejection. Even married people often avoid approaching a long-time spouse to ask for something due to a fear that the person will say no. Whether you’ve got a fear of your boss declining your request for a raise or a fear that the attractive person won’t go on a date with you, don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back and do it anyway.

Uncertainty: The fear of uncertainty often prevents people from trying something different. They often worry, “What if I don’t like it?” This fear can prevent people from trying new things or doing things differently from the way they’ve always been done.

Something Bad Happening: Bad things happen in life. It’s inevitable. However, when people constantly fear something bad happening, it often restricts their activities. They may avoid doing a lot of things or going to certain places due to an unrealistic fear that bad things may happen.

Getting Hurt: We should all have some fear of getting hurt. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t look both ways before you crossed the street. However, people who have a big fear of being emotionally hurt often refuse to enter into relationships. They may avoid friendships, keep family at an arm’s length, and skip romantic relationships due to a fear that they won’t be able to handle getting hurt.

Being Judged: People who worry that they’ll be judged negatively by others often shy away from social opportunities or chances to advance their career. People who adopt this fear often exaggerate how others will perceive them negatively and underestimate their ability to tolerate not being well-received by others.

Inadequacy: One of the top fears many people share is that they’re just not good enough. They may pass up opportunities for a promotion or may decline an opportunity to lead a group because they worry that they’re inadequate. Often, they overcompensate for their fears by trying to be a perfectionist but remain plagued by thoughts that they just don’t measure up to other people.

Loss of Freedom: Although we should have some fear of the loss of freedom, some people allow this fear to hold them back. Many people enjoy the freedom they have as a single person and as a result, they avoid serious relationships due to a fear that they won’t be able to tolerate the loss of freedom. Although some loss of freedom does accompany a serious relationship, it’s important to balance independence with dependence and maintain some freedoms.

One way or another, one of these Top 10 Fears Is hold Back our Life and we resort to defending our current position in life. F.E.A.R. is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. There’s no true threat of immediate physical danger, no threat of a loss of someone or something dear to us, actually nothing there at all. F.E.A.R. is an illusion.

The character of the word FEAR made me ask the positivemind question, what is in the word FEAR illustrated by quotes.

Future: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Expectation: “Positive expectations are the mark of the superior personality.” ― Brian Tracy,

Advance: “Opportunity doesn’t make appointments, you have to be ready when it arrives.” ― Tim Fargo

Reality: We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. – Jesse Owens

What is the fear that is holding you back from achieving your goals and keep you from defending your current position? 








Your Skills, Your Currency

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I met the old successful businessman from my hometown, in one of the events back at home. We had a brief discussion about my business developments. I shared my challenges in growing my business. He said the reason most of our businesses are not growing, is because money is the currency and most people do not have money. I asked what do you mean? The old men said I started my first business with the barter system. I trended my castles for the construction of my shop and vegetables to be sold in my shop. In our day, people have skills. I ask myself, why people are not trending their skills? Since that is the only thing they have.   

From what the old successful businessman said, I decided to look into this barter system idea.  In the olden days, the barter system was the way of doing business. People used to start and grow business, using a barter system preserves working capital to apply to your venture. This was kind trade, trade-outs, counter-trades or contra agreements, that was a process of funding day-to-day operational expenses without cash outlay. The 1st Source Bank article state that the definition of a barter system is the exchange of goods and services for other goods or services. They are research indicates that nearly one-third of U.S. small businesses use some type of bartering system (Barter News Weekly). Even so, some experts believe companies are not maximizing their barter possibilities.

Some expect believe that our skills are our currency. Some even go far as saying individuals are missing opportunities because they still believe in working capital to start and grow a business. The WITS digital campus says the word “currency” is associated with money or assets, something you can use to buy or barter with. Global business leaders find themselves in an interesting predicament – while they are geared to making more money and gaining more assets, they face a critical shortage of skilled employees to make it happen for them. These three global expert views confirm that skilled employees are worth their weight in gold. 

The Deloitte report indicated careers no longer progress in a neat line from learning to earning to retirement. Not only are people more likely to change jobs and even career tracks over the course of their lifetimes, but freelancers who contract out their skills rather than work for an employer have also become a significant portion of the labour market. The challenging aspect of this transformation is that many learning institutions and companies have still not adjusted to the reality that skills are the new currency. Acknowledging that requires offering working professional’s frequent opportunities to add skills on an ongoing basis throughout their careers. Effective training is key to helping people excel today.

After reading these articles, one question came to my mind. What is stopping us from starting and growing a business, if the barter system is available? In my hometown, we call this Stokvels but even at home we still using money as a currency. What fascinates me more in the Deloitte report is the technology impacts that change skills for currency. Technology is transforming the workplace and fundamentally changing the way companies around the world are hiring talent. Skills – technological and “human” skills – are quickly becoming the new professional currency, a benchmark by which managers and human resource leaders are evaluating candidates.

What is stopping us from using our skills as currency? Expect believes that we are fixated on the idea of money being a currency. Human nature forces us to embrace the status core and not challenging it. That may explain the reason, why we do not commit to a barter system for starting and growing a business. It also explains why many hometown stokvels still focusing on money as currency. If skills can be a currency, what is a skill or what is a currency? 


A skill is an ability to use one’s knowledge effectively, readily in execution and in a competent manner. Skills can be classified into three main types: Transferable/Functional, Personal Traits/Attitudes, and Knowledge-based


Currency is a medium of exchange for goods and services. In short, its money, in the form of paper or coins, usually issued by the government and generally accepted at its face value as a method of payment. Currency is the primary medium of exchange in the modern world, having long ago replaced bartering as a means of trading goods and services.

If the currency replaced the bartering system, this means the currency created uneven grounds for everyone. We live in a world where only individuals with capital can start or grow business. We sell our skills to these individuals every day and get paid in the currency of the day. 

Skills as a Currency

The idea of skills as currency moved, creates a world of opportunities. The idea of a software developer, engineer and marketing officer developing the engineering software by contributing their skills to make and sell the products. At the end of trading skills as currency, every individual shares the profits as per the contribution of the skills. I know this sim to far fetched but it an idea. If the freelancers who contract out their skills rather than work for an employer have become a significant portion of the labour market is possible. What is stopping us from trending skills as currency?  They say it’s only when you are pushed to a corner you start realising things can be done differently. I hope that day is coming soon as per the three articles mentioned above.

The PosetiveMind believes in Skills as a Currency and possibilities it possesses, that way we looked at both words in the positive lights illustrated by quotes. 

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S – Secure: The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain. Aristotle

K – Knowledge: Without knowledge action is useless and knowledge without action is futile. Abu Bakr

I – Inspire: “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash

L – Leaders: A Leader is a dealer in hope, Napoleon Bonaparte

L – Leverage: When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results. Warren Buffett

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C – Courage: Courage is grace under pressure, Ernest Hemingway

U – Unlock: When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life, Suze Orman

R – Rewards: The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more, Jonas Salk

R – Results: Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort, John Ruskin

E – Enjoy: Simply enjoy life and the great pleasures that come with it, Karolina Kurkova

N – Natural: Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries, Jimmy Carter

C – Currency: The true currency of life is time, not money, and we’ve all got a limited stock of that, Robert Harris

Y – YOLO: You only live once but if you do it right once is enough.






The Dying Tree – Roots

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It was summer, last session coming back from a construction site and full of emotions. I went to the park to clear my head before going home. At the park I met an old man, we gritted, and he started the conversation.  What is eating you, my son? I responded, the employees are not happy, and I cannot assist them this time. How big is the problem?  I’m not sure but the morale and results are gone. That bad, this means the tree is dying since roots are getting weak said the old man. I asked, what do you mean? The old man gave me a good one-hour lecture about the structure of the tree and the importance of the roots. 

Hours later, I was home and recalling what the old man was saying. I started looking at the tree with the old man eyes. I found out that the Tree of Life symbol represents our personal development, uniqueness and individual beauty. Just as the branches of a tree strengthen and grow upwards to the sky, we too grow stronger, striving for greater knowledge, wisdom and new experiences as we move through life. The Tree of Life symbol also represents the connection to one’s family and ancestors. The Tree of Life has an intricate network of branches that represents how a family grows and expands throughout many generations. It also symbolizes fertility as it always finds a way to keep growing, through seeds or new saplings, and is lush and green, which signifies its vitality. 

The roots play a very vital role in the structure of the tree. Roots are the underground branches of the tree. They reach down into the ground to get the minerals and water for the tree’s growth. The roots also anchor the tree in the ground. The more the branches grow and expand in the crown, the more they grow deep and wide under the ground. The roots of a tree are the parts that don’t bear any nodes, nor do they ever leaf. They are the base of the tree. Just like a house, the stronger the base, the stronger the structure will be. Everyone knows that tree roots are important to a tree. But do you know why they’re so important? Well, without the roots, the tree would not be able to survive; it’s as simple as that. Just like the organisation that does not value its employees.

The tree structure is well illustrated by Stephen Covey speed of trust 4 Cores of Credibility

Integrity: To use the metaphor of the tree, integrity is the root. Even though it’s underground and not even visible most of the time, it is vital to the nourishment, strength, stability, and growth of the entire tree. 

Intent: In the dictionary, the intent is defined as “plan” or “purpose.” No discussion of intent would be complete without talking about three things: motive, agenda, and behaviour.

Capabilities: Using the metaphor of a tree, capabilities are the branches that produce the fruits or the results. Capabilities are particularly essential in today’s changing economy, where technology and globalisation are outdating skill sets faster than ever before.

Results: Results matter! They matter to your credibility. In the words of Jack Welch, having results is like having “performance chits” on the table

What fascinated me is the positioning of the integrity and intent in the 4 cores of credibility in the tree structure. They have a character of the ROOTS, that create capabilities and results. I recalled that the old man said almost something. The ROOTS is the anchor for the tree, the tree will not survive without the roots. If the employees represent the roots and organisation represent the tree. The old man is correct to say the tree is dying. This tree will lose its uniqueness, strength, energy to strive for greatness and growth.

The character of the word ROOTS made me ask the positivemind question, what is in the word ROOTS illustrated by quotes.

Respect: “Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.” Bruce Lee

Offer: Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer. Rick Pitino

Operative: The employee is regarded by the employer merely in the light of his value as an operative. His productive capacity alone is taken into account. Leland Stanford

Thriving: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou

Success: A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. David Brinkley