Category Archives: General

Getting out of the box

For a long time I’ve had the terrible habit of putting myself, and others, into boxes.  Not physical boxes, but mental boxes, boxes that carry labels.  Oh I’m just a techie.  Or, he’s just a teller at the checkout counter.  Perhaps you have done the same at some point or another in life and can relate.  Recently I became acutely aware of this rather disappointing habit.

What happens when we put ourselves, or others, into boxes?  I have come to understand that by labelling, by putting into boxes, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to get to know and understand each person, including ourselves, as individuals.  Each of us has hopes and dreams.  I believe we all have hidden and uncovered talents.  I believe that labelling ourselves, and others, puts us at a distinct disadvantage in our interpersonal relationships.  It doesn’t matter if we are applying this to the relationship we have with ourselves, or the casual encounter we have with the person at the checkout counter.

We can take this one step further.  Have you ever had somebody introduce themselves using this as the opening part of their introduction:  “I’m just a…..”  Now how’s that for a label?  “I’m just a….” do we even hear what comes next or do we subconsciously place that person into the insignificant or unimportant box?  Can we honestly say that we take the rest of the conversation with that person seriously, or do they remain in our mental box?

Perhaps it’s time we start dismantling the boxes, removing the labels along with their negative connotations, and get to know each other as people, as individuals, and see the incredible wealth of talent in each other.  We all bring something unique to the table.  I firmly believe that the only way to do this is by removing our own labels first.  To label is to hold onto pre-conceived ideas.

I recently victimised myself and sabotaged my own performance by placing myself in a box and assuming a label – I am a technical support engineer.  I fix technical issues, that’s what I do.  The challenge facing me was a training workshop for sales people.  I wore my label and lived in my box, subconsciously telling myself that I would not pass the final grading let alone excel at it.  I wore my label so stubbornly that other delegates put me into the same box with the same label.   To my surprise I got more than just a passing grade.  It surprised the course facilitators too as I had let them subconsciously accept the box I’d placed myself so firmly in.  What if I had kept a more open mind going into the workshop?  What if I had more readily embraced the opportunity to learn and grow in uncharted territory?  Instead I trapped myself and hampered my own growth.  All my own doing.

So this brings me full-circle in this article.  I start with myself.  I need to consciously step outside of any box I may want place myself in.  I need to break down those mental labels I apply to myself.  If I don’t do this I will forever hold myself back and hamper my own growth.  If I don’t stop labelling myself how can I expect others to stop?

Getting out of the box

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

How to order a dozen wings at KFC

It is seldom I consume fast food, but occasionally I relent.  A while ago I decided to indulge in some Kentucky Fried Chicken.  With great anticipation I took a drive to a KFC outlet.  Obviously I had chosen the wrong day of the week, time of the month as the queue was snaking out the door.  Patiently I waited my turn and perused the menu.  The wings looked very appetising and thus my choice was made.

Eventually I get to the counter and am warmly greeted and asked what I would like to order.  With great eagerness I requested a dozen wings.  A confused look came over the face of the person serving me.  They informed me that they do not serve a dozen wings.  My thought processes kicked in and I came to the conclusion that perhaps there is a language barrier at play here and the term dozen has been misunderstood.  I restated my request, this time asking for twelve wings.  Again I am informed that twelve wings are not served.  I enquired as to what wings are served as they are clearly displayed on the menu.  Imagine my confusion here.

The person serving me informed me that they serve four wings or eight wings.

Quick as a flash I ordered four wings.  My order was duly rung up and entered into the system.  With a broad smile and great enthusiasm I was then asked if there was anything else I would like to order.  I promptly placed an order for eight wings.  The response I received: “Hayibo” (pronounced \hah-yee-boh\), which is South African for absolute disbelief.

Very confused my second order was questioned and confirmed several times.  It would appear that when going to a KFC you may only order either four or eight wings but not twelve!

After some convincing my order was rung up and entered into the system.  Again my order was confirmed with me.  At least they are thorough with ensuring my order has been captured correctly.

In due course I paid for my four plus eight wings and moved to the area to wait for my purchase.  When my order arrived I had a good chuckle.  There were two separate boxes containing my wings and they were placed into two separate packets before being handed to me.

So now you know how to order a dozen wings at KFC.

 

KFC Wings

 

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

 

The Gift of Time

Last week I wrote a post about friendship.  I’ve started to think about the different ways in which we express our friendship and thus our love for one another.  Recently, over lunch, my sisters raised this point too.  This got me thinking how I show my affection, my love, my appreciation to family and friends.

A close friend and colleague of mine brought to my attention “The Languages of Love”.  There is a well-known book written on the topic – The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman. I admit I have never read the book.  It’s on my list of books to read.  It is my understanding the book is aimed specifically at intimate relationships.  Having said that, as my colleague described his understanding of the five love languages to me a light bulb lit up over my head.

Quality Time.

It doesn’t occur to me to give gifts to my friends and loved ones.  In fact when faced with getting a person a gift I am out of my depth.  I have no idea where to start, what would express thoughtfulness.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to the USA to attend a conference.  Dear friends of mine live several miles from the conference.  With great delight I arranged transport to spend a few precious hours with them at their home.  Only when I arrived did the thought occur to me that I should have bought them a gift.  Something thoughtful and symbolic from my country, sunny South Africa. Suddenly I felt like I had somehow disappointed them.  I meekly said:  “My present to you is my presence.”  They welcomed it.  They welcomed me.  They understood.  Finally I understand.

The Gift of Time

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura