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I want to live in a good country

By Delphine du Toit | July 7, 2014

A new way of measuring and comparing countries is discussed in a TED talk by Simon Anholt, which triggers for Delphine a series of questions about the choice she made in immigrating to Canada “is Canada a good country?” from South Africa. “Good” in this context is not the opposite of “bad”. Instead, it is juxtaposed against “selfish”, but it isn’t synonymous with “generous”. The blog concludes with the realisation that there is a persona contribution to be made towards “good”. It’s not just up to politicians and big business.

A Hurricane of Ideas

By Delphine du Toit | July 5, 2014

While walking in the high winds of the side-end of Hurricane Arthur I realise important things about life that I believe are generally applicable. Such as not to shrink from challenges, to maintain humility and to practice gratitude every day.

Africa discovered fractals first

By Delphine du Toit | June 27, 2014

Africa discovered fractals first I simply love this video –  it set me off on an Internet journey of exploring fractals – the picture kind.  And a profound penny dropped: infinity is both the smallest and the biggest.

In Praise of Older Women

By Delphine du Toit | June 26, 2014

<681 words> The 1965 best-seller by Stephen Vizinczey, “In praise of older women: the amorous recollections of András Vajda” is about the potential and attractions of amorous relationships between young men and older women (women in their 30s and 40s). My ‘older women’ are the women who are in their 50s and 60s, and ‘70s,…

In Defence of Procrastination

By Delphine du Toit | April 29, 2014

I have been putting off writing this blog for a month now. Not because I’m lazy but because I’m not. Initially I thought it would be easy because I’m a very experienced procrastinator and would have a great deal to say about it. But then this academic thing kicked in – maybe I needed to explore some of the research because maybe the thoughts I have on the topic aren’t really valid.
Now THERE’s a great procrastinator’s hideout: go check the authorities rather than thinking the thing through with your own brain. This isn’t an academic treatise: it is an original blog by someone who sometimes has original thoughts.
By procrastinating I create that anxiety and tension because the clock is ticking: the deadline is looming (or as we say in our family “the dead lion doesn’t sleep tonight ahh.. whimeweh”).

THE SEVEN CARDINAL RULES IN LIFE – YES, BUT…(or the more PC Yes, and…)

By Delphine du Toit | March 23, 2014

I often wonder how deeply folks think about all the sayings they circulate and receive on social media, forwarded emails, and the like. At first glance they always seem to make sense. They’re sometimes attributed to well-known people like Albert Einstein or some ancient sage – always from ‘away’ as we say in Nova Scotia. I’m a contrarian. I am as naturally drawn to an alternate perspective (or lens, as we say nowadays), as a fish is to water, and so I decided to be more deliberate about one of these circulating messages, and here it is: My take on the ‘7 Cardinal Rules in Life’.

Ghostwriting & Mediation

By Delphine du Toit | March 9, 2014

It may seem an odd combination, being a ghostwriter and a mediator. This morning I realised that it isn’t so. The ghostwriting is not only an excellent proving ground for refining my writing skills but it is also giving me deep insights into the ways of mediation. I have a few Canadian clients but mostly they are from very different worlds – the Philippines, Australia, the USA, the Middle-East, East Africa, England. The writing involves a range of assignments which means that I’m broadening my general knowledge – often on topics I didn’t think I needed to know much about , but more frequently on topics that become fascinating as I work on them. My awareness of cultural nuances is sharpening as a result. Australians ARE very different from Canadians, for example.

Feelings are a life-saving device

By Delphine du Toit | February 21, 2014

It’s a short trip from contemplating physical pain to reflecting on psychic pain. What is the evolutionary purpose behind emotional pain? If evolution has brought us to where we are now, with our anxieties, fears, anger, depression and drug dependency, what were the original benefits of such emotions?
Consider how readily you reach for a painkiller when you have a bit of a headache, a spell of arthritis or a sprained ankle. You’ve experienced the pain and had enough of it. Your primary desire is to suppress it – if you can’t make it go away then at least you can suppress it. Perhaps there’s a deeper message in the pain though –

I can walk away…I always walk away.

By Delphine du Toit | February 7, 2014

I keep learning the benefits of choosing how to respond to a conflict situation. I learnt the truth that there is no single objective truth; just a range of perspectives. I also learnt the healing power of truth and reconciliation. The peace of mind that comes from taking time to understand and to be understood is one of the greatest destressors I have ever come across. It is a cornerstone for good mental health.
This isn’t a newly invented “app”: aboriginal societies and the major world religions know the value of dialog and creating common understanding.

In my flow? In my flow!

By Delphine du Toit | January 20, 2014

This blog started in
my head as I was watching an interview with Peter Sellers on YouTube, having lunch.
 
“The only time that you’re really happy is at the time that you’re doing it. Not when the film comes out; not when you’re preparing for the film; but at the moment you’re doing the take on the
floor. When you do it and that moment comes out of you and when you’ve done it and you remember that….that’s the time when the achievement – the full sense of achievement comes out.”

Peter Sellers in a 1974 interview with Parkinson.

 vividly remember the first time I realised that I was ‘in my flow’ as positive psychologist Csikszentmihalyi
labelled this experience a couple of decades after Sellers identified it. I had received an ambitious commission from my former employer, SABMiller, to design
and write a course on supervisory/managerial skills that they wanted to roll out to all their breweries across Africa.