Category Archives: Consideration

Whatever happened to?

Whatever happened to……

… thanking your friends for being there for you

… being discreet about your bedroom proclivities

… not belching, farting, sneezing, coughing loudly in front of others

… saying please and thank you

… managing by walking around

… doing proper, detailed references when hiring

… paying your suppliers

… paying back the endless loans you took from friends

… teaching and speaking the truth

… honesty

… not having your hand out at others you believe more successful than yourself

… keeping your word

… being considerate of others

… not cyberbullying strangers you disagree with

… not expecting others to pay for your latest feel good vanity charity

… not driving on black ice like a maniac and risking the lives of everyone around you

… not pontificating on how you wish to be perceived as elegant then stiffing all your friends on restaurant and taxi charges

… not spreading cruel rumours about those of whom you are actually seriously jealous

… behaving like you are an expert about everything, you are NOT

… not bragging endlessly about your latest trip

… not showing everyone endless photographs of your children or grandchildren

… not screaming down others when they try to speak

… not taking the credit for the work done by others

… acknowledging the kindness of others

… stepping in to stop bullying

… actually holding the door open for the person behind you

… saying THANK YOU to the person who held the door open for you

… saying thank you to your clients

… not cutting or cleaning your nails in public

… not picking your teeth at the table

… not shoving your latest dietary obsession down everyone’s throats

… not insisting you know best about which car one requires

… not answering emails

… not answering telephone calls

SAYING PLEASE and THANK YOU

Views on Aging

Life comes with an automatic death sentence. No matter how rich or famous, successful or not, death is an absolute. Life is to be lived and embraced. It is an opportunity to live, travel, taste, see, and experience all the amazing sights in this world, to meet extraordinary people in extraordinary places. I have been extremely fortunate in my life, and have met some unbelievably incredible people from every part of the globe. How you view life and appreciate the time you have goes very much along the lines of whether the glass is half full or half empty.

In both my Professional and Personal life, I meet an inordinate number of people from every corner of the globe, and love the fact that everyone has stories to share. It is an amazing way to learn. Similarly, I am absolutely mesmerized at meeting individuals in their 20’s who are obsessing about their retirement, and have not considered the option of living their lives on a daily basis, at the same time as meeting others who embrace life in the fullest, and will not stop moving forward. From the 80 year old who decided and succeeded in becoming an artist, and has had a couple of solo exhibits in art galleries, travels extensively, including a jaunt to Hong Kong to meet up with an old friend.
How do you have an intelligent conversation with a 20 something who refuses to learn another language, has been nowhere, done nothing with their life, has no hobbies to speak of, no accomplishments, no enthusiasm, no curiosity, and tells you that once they retire they might actually consider doing something?? With that TOTAL lack of drive, it is questionable whether they will actually survive long enough to retire, being old and boring at 20.

Some people are born whiners, others develop into whiners to elicit attention, every little incident intensified as though it was a major crisis of epic proportions, yet others experience horrific experiences in their lives and quietly, stoically, push on silently.

Since last fall, I have once again had to face my friends dying monthly, some months, more than one. Some young, some old. It is very difficult to say goodbye to so many people. But at the same time, I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have known them and shared some small part of their lives. Some funerals, like people, are dismal and depressing, others joyful, a celebration of a life well lived. What is it that defines your view on living?? Are you joyous? Engaging? Entertaining? …or one of those people, who, as in some of the cartoon characters, are walking through life with a gray cloud over your head.
What is it about some people who are such whiners, negative, depressing, demanding, exhausting, who experience no joy, yet they have faced no hardships, when others who have lived through so much worse endure silently.

Facebook and social media present an incredible window on social behaviour. I am truly blown away by some of the things posted by certain individuals, and the depths to which they will sink to garner attention. There are so many toxic people bringing darkness instead of joy. I prefer to purge the darkness and embrace the light, if that means fewer friends, but joyful friends who bring laughter, then I am more than prepared to live with that. I would rather live with laughter and joy than darkness. It is sunny outside, I will go soak up the sunshine alone, breathe in its heat and joy, and banish those to darkness, and celebrate my extraordinary luck in having shared my life with extraordinary people, many gone too soon.

FUNERAL CHASERS

This is one of those ‘glass half full, glass half empty” discussions.

Over the last year, at least one friend of mine has died every month, some months there were 3. We can embark on a discussion of incredible loss, at the same time as celebrating extraordinary friendships from across the globe.

Obviously attending all the funerals was impossible, both from a time and expense point of view, not to mention, the unfortunate host of the event will never actually know that you were in attendance.

Celebrations of life being for the living who remain, not the deceased.
Which brings me to the point of this BLOG.

As a student of human behaviour, in all it’s bizarre incarnations, one which disturbs me the most is people who go to funerals for all the wrong reasons, often claiming a level of friendship with the deceased which lives only in their imaginations, as in some cases, they were absolutely despised by the deceased, or virtually unknown.

Some are there because they genuinely cared about the host, others, morbid curiosity, some because frankly they have little else to do, others to be seen and heard, and let everyone know they are there, some to network, some to seek a new husband, others to consume vast quantities of free food and drink, and surreptitiously, they think, take more home for later. Some by necessity, for societal or family reasons. Then, we reach the most sad reason of all, which is those seeking human companionship, as they have successfully alienated everyone who ever befriended them. At the funeral of one prominent businessman and inveterate host, several attendees who are no longer invited anywhere due to their profound unpleasantness were there, proclaiming their closeness to the deceased. Obviously he was in no position to proclaim the exact opposite.

Then there are the serious social climbers, strutting around introducing themselves to those they deem to be important, posing for photographs to let the world know of their perceived importance. One ruthless social climber appeared wearing a large hat, strutting around waving in order to be seen. So inappropriate, so incredibly vulgar. At the same funeral, one equally grotesquely inappropriate man sat in the front row, preening, speaking loudly, turning around and waving at people in attendance to let the world see his popularity. Once the service was over, he rushed to introduce himself to the attending celebrities, speaking loudly to ensure those present witnessed his conversation. It was frankly embarrassing.

There was a clique of old, badly dressed women in attendance, sitting on the sidelines, commenting non stop throughout the service on the various guests in attendance, then afterwards, devouring the drink and food as if they had not eaten in months. Gate crashers???

To say some of the behaviour I have seen is disgraceful, is an understatement. It is a sign of complete and utter disrespect to those grieving.

Seeking a husband or to improve one’s social standing at a funeral is despicable.

Some celebrations of a life well lived are truly that, a party, a celebration, others are morbid and depressing.

These days more and more people plan their own funerals and receptions to hopefully eliminate these shameless actions, but unfortunately there are no guarantees to ensure respectful behaviour. Do we have to consider putting gate-keepers at funeral receptions to ensure that only the invited guests are in attendance??

This has been a year of incredible loss, but at the same time one of celebration.
I have been amazingly fortunate to be friends with some extraordinary people who are, unfortunately, no longer with us.

Thank you all for being my friend, and a huge part of my life. You will be severely missed.

Whatever Happened to Discretion??

There was a time when people of a certain class were proud to keep their private lives out of the public eye. Your name was in the newspaper at birth, marriage and at death, and every effort was made to keep it out for the balance of their lives.

Today, with Social Media, you are considered a loser if you don’t have thousands or even millions of followers on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin filled with endless selfies, delivered almost every millisecond to ensure maximum exposure.

Bragging has become the lexicon for success and visibility. Life is measured and appraised by following the so-called ‘influencers’ on Instagram, snapping images of every facet of their lives, ostensibly to deliver instantaneous views, the rhetoric defining their lives, questionable, as to whether all this actually delivers quantifiable results beyond ego enhancement.

It is a pernicious, dangerous path, for when life and one’s popularity are measured in micro-moments, how can you develop real, honest, and not simply imagined friends??

Is it a real life or a fictitious, staged existence for a fickle, imagined audience, living vicariously through the imagined lives of the various individuals they follow?? Poses in luxurious surroundings, shows of extravagance, beautiful possessions, often staged in shops or in borrowed clothes and homes of friends or acquaintances for long enough to take a selfie.
These same people, dropped equally fast when someone new and more fabulous emerges into view.

Whatever happened to NOT bragging about one’s wealth, popularity or success?? About being gracious, discreet, elegant, kind??

Some people have hundreds of birthday greetings with gushing adoration from their followers, yet spend the actual day totally alone.

Certain individuals have their PR Maven’s on speed-dial racing to ring up newspapers or posting endlessly on Social Media the staged fabulousness of their clients, be it their so-called social lives or business successes.
Appearances at cocktails, balls, gallery openings, conferences, meticulously posted with the requisite photograph to promote their fabulousness. But what do they truly have to offer beyond their staged, fake lives?? Are they educated?? Travelled?? Sophisticated?? Elegant?? Interesting?? Well Spoken?? Have they actually done ANYTHING beyond actually showing up?? Can one actually have an interesting conversation about something other than themselves??

It is extremely unfortunate that in today’s world, being on Social Media is no longer a choice but a necessity, driven by the impression that with no media presence either you or your company do not exist. That most of the most extraordinary websites are for companies that barely exist, and many of the truly successful ones, barely have a social presence. They actually provide a product or service which is in demand within their industry, and do not wish to be inundated with spam.

People do business with people. People make friends with people. People DO NOT do business with Social Media. Some people actually value discretion.

Perceptions…

Why is it that some people are attracted to someone and will sing their praises regardless of being shown something totally contrary to their beliefs, and someone else will absolutely despise the object of their praises??

There are a variety of reasons which can contribute to this, including, but not limited to the following:

SITUATIONAL

Someone you know and respect introduces you to someone and exclaims how fabulous, kind, generous, considerate and otherwise wonderful they are, and how you would be well suited to befriend them.

RELIGIOUS

Many people join religious groups, willingly, or unwillingly, due to societal or parental pressure, and make the incumbent feel non-worthy if they are not part of the group, or even totally shunned by their community.

POLITICAL

See religious

HAVING A BAD DAY

If you are feeling sad or unwell, being told how you MUST like someone may actually anger you and change your feelings towards the innocent person, as you would rather be elsewhere, and not forced into a fake smile and an unwanted conversation. The unfortunate object of your feelings being totally innocent.

REFERRED BY SOMEONE YOU RESPECT

With flowery but not so subtle pressure to adhere to the group. Ergo, we all think this person is, fill in the blanks, wonderful, special, generous, one of us…..or in the case of a business referral, it could be their friend, boss, mentor, foe, or simply an honest referral out of generosity.

PRAISED BY SOMEONE YOU DESPISE

How many times have you been in a business or social situation where someone is presented to the group as a ‘person of value’ by someone you do not respect?? Society dictates that you smile graciously and extend your hand in friendship and acceptance, and try to put your personal feelings behind you. Unfortunately many people believe that their ‘first impressions’ are accurate, and they are NOT. Just because you do not like the person making the introduction does not mean the object of their introduction bears any resemblance to them and is not actually wonderful.

PHYSICAL

Illogical physical revulsion to someone for no apparent reason.

SOCIETAL

Some individuals adhere to strict societal rules and norms and are afraid to venture outside the limits of who and what they are told to approve. This is extremely unfortunate, as they miss out on the immense joy of meeting people from all walks of life and extraordinary experiences.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE

Like it or not, our makeup drives a physical revulsion or in the case of extreme good looks, acceptance. But just because someone is either very pleasant or unpleasant on the eyes does not make them less of a person. Are you able to step back and look into the soul of someone and establish who they really are simply based upon appearance?? Usually the unattractive one is the most interesting, as they have had to work harder at being accepted.

LIFE EXPERIENCES

We all have totally different life experiences which guide us in many of the choices we make, willingly or unwillingly. If you come from a fairly socially isolated community, your views on other races or nationalities, as well as socio-economic vagaries , will be inaccurate based upon sheer ignorance. Someone who has travelled extensively will be much more open minded and accepting of others than someone who has neither travelled nor integrated within other communities.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC

Some people do not venture outside of whatever they perceive to be their socio-economic group, as they consider people who are poorer to be somehow inferior. How many interviews have you heard of arrogant music or movie stars speaking about how they can only socialize with their peers as ‘no one understands them’. They have forgotten where they come from, usually poor. The extremely wealthy often only socialize with other very wealthy people, as they are afraid that everyone else is out to profit from them, the joke is, we regularly hear of poseurs giving themselves titles and English accents and being invited as ‘entertaining guests’, one was recently exposed on television……and yes, it was hysterical.
But there are also social climbers who are so intent on climbing that invisible ladder that they will insult and snub anyone they do not deem important enough, and this is VERY dangerous. Often the most wealthy people are the least obvious, and believe me, they are paying attention, and they DO NOT CARE. They know who they are.

But life plays funny tricks and judgement is often totally flawed. How many times have I heard some social climber discuss how they need to associate with ‘people like us’, yet the reality is that they are pretentious frauds, their actual childhoods totally contrary to the glorious image they are trying to convey.
How many people have built huge empires only to lose them, and turn around and build something more successful than ever before?? So, if you meet them on the way down, are they losers, or is it simply bad timing?? And who is really the loser?? The poseur or the person who fell on hard times??

Due to the nature of our business as well as intensive travel, I have learned over the years NOT to judge anything on first impressions, as they are wildly inaccurate. The well dressed, well coiffed individual with the ‘right’ car, ‘right address’, may be hugely in debt, but the person in the older clothes, driving a 10 year old car, living in a smaller house in a modest neighbourhood may be incredibly wealthy. Think Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. Billionaire. Old car, bad clothes, small, modest house.

For years we have been told endlessly that ‘clothes make the man/woman” but too flashy often denotes insecurity and poverty. If you are truly successful, you do not require your clothes to make a statement for you.

MORAL JUDGEMENT

People are often judged by their jobs, like it or not. Taxi driver, janitor, …. How many lawyers have put themselves through law school working as strippers or waitresses?? At the time, they are judged by those who ‘hold their noses in moral judgement’ and are treated as prostitutes, whether or not they are actually performing the service. But, who is more honest?? The woman who only sleeps with fabulously wealthy men in order to secure her financial future or the stripper?? ( if you think you may be reading between the lines, think of a highly publicized US stripper…..just saying!!!)) sorry, I actually vote for the stripper.

UNPLEASANT COUNTENANCE

Someone is introduced to you with a snarl on their face. Are they actually unpleasant or just being forced into an unwanted situation??

BIG COSMOPOLITAN CITIES

Yes, I actually have to include this. People who travel extensively and live in large cosmopolitan cities tend to be more open minded and inclusive than those from small isolated towns where everyone is the same and have known each other since they were born….

SOMETHING TO GAIN

Unfortunately, some individuals show many different faces, and this issue is huge. The premise being their innate kindness and generosity which is given only to those they consider to be of ‘value’, anyone they judge to be socially inferior or competition to whatever their cause, are dispensed with in an utterly ruthless fashion. Do NOT attempt to explain this phenomenon to the recipient of their largess, as not only will it fall on very deaf ears, but you will come off as the ‘bad guy. How could this marvelous person ever do something nasty?? They are so…..add adjective….. but to others, they are NOT.

SO, what is the point of all this??

Depending on our life experiences, narrow or open mindedness, our perceptions can be skewered.
Are you having a bad day?? Good day?
Feeling unwell?
Happy?
Sad?
Take a step backwards in your head, appraise the situation , your feelings, logical or not, and evaluate.

If I perceive that any of the above are a likelihood, I actually do something unique. I REFERENCE my subject, and as women are extremely harsh on one another, I try to do a cross section, men and women, and people who have no reason but to give their honest opinion.
The responses have been unexpected and extraordinary. Some wildly entertaining, some horrifying.

Remember, FIRST IMPRESSIONS are wrong…….

WHO are you??

Perception is everything, or is it??
Do you really know who someone truly is??

Some people are awesome at self-promotion, to the extent that they will engage the services of a PR to develop their ‘brand’ or public personae, and it is amazing just who pays for it. There are innumerable socialites and business people who pay for the proper introductions, and invitations to sparkly events so they can meet the ‘right’ people.

Different people may perceive the same person in totally different ways, one may be excited to be their ‘friend’ , in newspeak, ‘honoured’ to be their acquaintance, when another may see them as a total fraud. Who is right??
Obviously, there is context, as well as personal experience and judgement.
Add to that, the fact that some view the world through pink lenses, and always believe what they are told. So, if they were introduced to someone and told the individual is super successful, the new associate will obviously identify with them in a positive manner.
Issues include context, social, business, timing, physical chemistry, jealousy, as well as something as simple as having a good or bad day. Some people are gullible, and are totally swayed by those who are able self promoters, they truly WANT to believe. The art of self-aggrandizement, particularly today with the volume and nature of social media, as well as many people feeling socially inferior, are apt to grasp on to the person who appears to have a large, fabulous life, as they hope that, by extension, they will be a part of it.
The question which must be asked is, how much is real?? Are you a follower, a believer or a doubter??
Admittedly, I am a doubter, If something or someone appears too good to be true, and I have never either heard of them, or been under a totally different perception, I tend to investigate to establish whether my perceptions and at times physical reaction to someone is accurate.
I know for a fact that I am the epitome of the wrong first impression, most women who judge me and know nothing about me are virtually ALWAYS wrong, and I mean TOTALLY wrong, not just a little, and this is the basis point for this discussion.

The younger generation are obsessed with following movie stars and bloggers and their perceived ‘fabulous lives’, but how much is true?? We know that you can actually BUY friends and ‘clicks’ today, so, do they really have 1 million followers, or is it really 50,000 and a lot of buying power??
If you are trying to associate with someone simply because you believe them to be successful, shouldn’t you ask the question as to why they would actually want to associate with YOU??? What is it they are seeking? Friends?? Sycophants?? Or is it more of the façade……? Do they feel so insecure that they need to have someone with them at all times??

Actions speak louder than words, so follow the actions and not the rhetoric. The reality may be far from what you perceive……….

Customer Appreciation

If you are a regular reader of this BLOG, you will know that I tend to be all over the place, and visit an astounding cross section of shops and restaurants from some of the most exquisite in the world to absolute dumps, and everything in between, including Hawker Stalls where one stands in public to eat. Absolutely NOT what I was brought up to do, however in between an abundance of Chinese friends and a Japanese husband, one enhances one’s life experiences appropriately, and obviously with a sense of adventure.

YES, I have eaten in some incredibly exquisite places, the most notable being in a Restaurant in a Private Home in Japan. It was a massive traditional Japanese structure dating back over 500 years, obviously Tatami, where the entire second floor of the house has actually been a restaurant for over 500 years. This is one of the many secrets one discovers travelling throughout Asia, as there is no way an outsider could know this exists. No advertising, ever. Simply upon personal recommendation.

The huge antique lacquer table was incredible, the lacquer hand rubbed to a brilliant gloss. The art work in the alcove and throughout, of museum quality, and as is traditional with fine Japanese dining, the dishes were all antique, appropriate to the season, as was the food which was presented. Each changed with each of the 18??? Courses which were served over a period of several hours. Everything was absolutely delicious. A total feast for all the senses.

It was difficult to be elegant and discreet however, when my brother in law started peeling off 100, 000 Yen notes endlessly, I absolutely shudder to think what this cost, but it was in the thousands of dollars. An opportunity of a lifetime. It was an amazing experience from start to finish.

From London to Paris, Amsterdam to Monte Carlo, Tokyo and Hong Kong, I have been fortunate in my life to experience some of the best dining there is to be had. Concurrently, eating in Asian Restaurants where the majority of my white friends would not EVER set foot.

The best Hawker Stalls, undoubtedly in Singapore. Government regulated, no worry about the possibility of getting sick, and the choices are endless. Singapore is a wonderfully diverse place, so there is everything from Thai to Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, and more. ….incredible fresh fruit treats from the tastiest freshest fruits ever, smoothies and freshly made ice creams, and fabulous Asian desserts…….

With the New Year, comes the closing of several well known shops and restaurants. One of which was extraordinarily disappointing as I have known the owner since he arrived from Japan. No notice whatsoever to any regular customers or friends. Just a public notice to announce that they have closed, and thank you. It would have been fitting to contact people such as myself who brought them a constant stream of new clients to advise us so that we could come one or two more times before it closed, but it was not to be.
A Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown which used to be my ‘go to’ spot, gone, but admittedly I have not gone there for years as the waiters became rude and arrogant, as they say, familiarity breeds contempt.
A bakery which was part of Westmount’s landscape, and a meeting place, closed surreptitiously, not surprisingly however, as the staff were arrogant and refused to speak English to the clients. The store across the street increasingly stocking a cornucopia of breads and cakes for significantly less cost, and slowly rendering them redundant.

With the closing of my favourite Dim Sum Restaurant in Chinatown a few years ago, I was excited to learn about a new restaurant, so I visited a new Dim Sum Restaurant in Chinatown this week, touted as typical Hong Kong, and it was certainly not the case. Having stuffed my face all over Hong Kong and Kowloon, it fell seriously short in presentation and taste. The food was served luke warm, mediocre in taste, and it was not overly friendly.The head waitress made 2 condescending remarks to me which were highly inappropriate. The first was to bring me tea and make a point of stressing that it is free in Chinese Restaurants. Then, after seeing me eat using Chopsticks and a bowl, NOT A FORK AND PLATE, stopped by to make another condescending comment about whether or not this was the first time I was eating Dim Sum. Seriously??? I have been eating real Chinese Food for twice as long as her, and arguably in more Chinese Restaurants in Chinatowns all over the world.
To make matters worse, they have been spamming me endlessly on Facebook, and none of the dishes even vaguely resembled what they presented on line.
NO, I will not go back.

Several other major closings of restaurants and shops which have been around for a while and quietly disappeared just after the holidays. Is it that the new generation are fickle?? Well, that is one explanation, as they tend to follow whatever trend or spot which is trending on social media, or is it simply that NONE of them have the vaguest concept of CUSTOMER RECOGNITION??

During the same period I visited a high end shop mid week to look for a very particular new belt. I was seeking a particular shade of pink. Sorry to disappoint, but every year or so it is obvious that I am a chick!!! And Pink it is!! I have been chasing this elusive belt for a few years, and had hard cash in my pocket. Do you know how HARD it is to spend your money?? In 3 high end boutiques I was totally ignored while the staff pretended to be busy. Did I mention I was the ONLY client??? Yes. Just moi. So in each case, I looked around and walked out. In the most expensive of the group I was actually acknowledged by the Assistant Manager who told me he continues to seek a pink or purple belt for me, but so far, no joy. Only boring, traditional colours, brown, black……

So, out of frustration, I returned to one of the other boutiques where I had been ignored to be finally served, and advised that the belt on the counter was the only one in my size. The lady actually went into the back-store to check, and let me know there was nothing. They were waiting for the new shipment. So, this elegant,, polite, French (read from France) lady made a sale. The original shop clerk who had ignored me hovered in the background. Did she EVER acknowledge me during my first visit?? Absolutely not.

It is easy to blame technology and the disruption it is causing in a rapidly evolving world, but whatever happened to doing something simple like actually THANKING your long term customers and show some sign of appreciation?? The ones which survive have learned that you can’t always just take, take, take, and sometimes just a small token of appreciation goes a long way.
If you NEVER thank people for being faithful long term clients, at some point they will take their custom and drift away, no advanced technology required. Just 2 words:

THANK YOU.

On Cruelty

We live in strange times, this has been said repeatedly over the centuries, unfortunately we appear to have reached the apex in disgraceful behaviour.

Gone are the days of civility, or any soupcon of decency, just pure unadulterated arrogance and utter cruelty. The concepts of consideration and good manners are treated with contempt. Those who are mind-numbingly rude and pushy, and constantly bragging about themselves are treated with awe, they must be truly AMAZING to be able to behave like that.

When bad manners are given nomenclatures such as ‘ghosting’ you know there is a serious problem in society.
Total strangers post cruel cutting comments on Facebook, insulting those opinions which vary from their own.
Bullying both on line and in person have reached absolutely catastrophic levels, as has the levels of youth suicide.

People decide to humiliate and insult others thinking they are somehow the ‘cool kids’ regardless of the pain they may cause others, but worse, they actually brag about it. The sad thing, is they usually know absolutely NOTHING about the person they are humiliating.

Clearly I grew up in a gentler more civil environment. Good manners and respect for others being forefront in one’s comportment.

Making a large number of friends within the Asian Community brought a further understanding of such concepts as ‘Honour’ and ‘Face’, simply and extension of previous learnings.

On Friday I was in a grocery store in the north end of the city, and asked a gentleman for assistance. He turned to look at me, and I saw his face was severely disfigured, probably from fire. He was extraordinarily shy. He explained he would have to go into the basement of the store to find my mushrooms, and it could take 5 minutes, and I assured him I would not move from my current spot. Several minutes later he emerged with an enormous box of fresh Portobello mushrooms, newly wrapped and boxed. I thanked him and wished him a wonderful New Year. He grasped my hand and wished me the same, with a huge smile on his face, and clearly wanting to continue speaking with me, so I chatted with him for a couple of minutes, then paid and left. It was only while I was driving away that I realized I was probably the only person who had treated him with dignity.

People cut each other off on the road in dangerous conditions for no apparent reason than being utterly inconsiderate of the lives and safety of others. They cut into lines, treat servers in stores and restaurants like trash – no wonder it is so difficult to be served politely – when people feel a sense of entitlement and rage at everyone within earshot for no apparent reason.

The arrogance, self-aggrandising and just plain nastiness abounds, and it is inflicted upon anyone close by who have absolutely NO IDEA why they are being targeted. Unfortunately this creates an angry society, where it becomes ‘ every man for himself ‘ . Gestures of generosity must be public not private as well, with the appropriate ‘look at me, I am generous and giving back’ whatever that is supposed to mean, as all they ever do is take.
The number of people they destroy along the way is inconsequential. Ironically, some of those so-called generous people are not giving of their own wealth, but that of others. There are numerous events where the so-called organizers and fame seekers are actually earning as much as 15% of the money they raise, then seeking public acknowledgement of their generosity.
Unknowingly, all the volunteers work for free, pay for their own tickets to the events, and are contributing to the pockets and fame of the person who is gaining the most.

I can not comprehend the level of cruelty that some individuals are bestowing upon others, and the fact that it somehow gives them some sense of power. If the person they have harmed is a total stranger, I fail to understand how they can bask in all this perceived sense of power, when all they did is offend and damage a total stranger for no apparent reason.

Perhaps the concept of humility is missing from their DNA.
How many suicides will it take for parents to discipline their children against bullying?? It is currently at crisis level… Men are teaching their sons to be ‘MEN’ and women are teaching their daughters to be ‘LEADERS’, however this sense of entitlement is being translated into cruelty, as they are not teaching the concept of decency and consideration of others.

Teachers are allowing students to call them by their first names, further eroding their position of authority, so how can they teach them respect for others??

Clerks in shops are being allowed to treat customers with utter disrespect because no one is monitoring their bad behaviour.

We need to go back to basics and teach respect, manners and consideration of others.

Living one’s life with decency and dignity is..

NOT shaming others
NOT being cruel
NOT being a liar
NOT taking amusement from the pain and suffering of others
NOT speaking down or shouting down of others when they voice an opinion
NOT interrupting others

Look around you, how many people do you actually know who are living by these rules??

Do you consider them weak or polite??

Think hard about the answer……..it says a lot about who you are………

Happy New Year!!

Life is a constant game of checks and balances, as well as perceptions, which vary depending on our life experience.

This BLOG is a RANT, and as such can be perceived by some as negative, feeding back into the endless debate over whether the glass is half full or half empty.

I have suggested to those who are offended, mostly because they see themselves in my comments, that they are welcome to abstain from reading it, as THEIR negativity is not welcome.

There are many followers however who view it as a sanity check – their own – in a world gone mad.

In my daily life I speak to and meet an extraordinary cross section of the population, every colour, shape, size and walk of life. From Billionaires to shop clerks and everything in between. In business I meet extremely well educated individuals from every corner of the globe, and in doing so, I find myself in every corner of the city as well meeting with people, so it is NOT the view from an armchair, but of living life.
You might try it sometime.

If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that EVERYONE has something to share.

From the Doorman who speaks 5 languages fluently, is dressed in designer clothes straight from the pages of GQ, is worth millions, and holidays in St Bart’s and Japan.
The coffee stall owner in a London Street Market who is now worth millions, but arrived penniless.
The Philippino Engineer whose father risked his life so his children could come to Canada for an education and a better life.

The list is endless. The difference is that I actually SPEAK with people, hear their stories, look into their hearts and their eyes.

Try meeting some of them, they are all extraordinary in their own way.

Happy New Year!!

Christmas Returns

The mad panic to shop for Christmas is now over, now come the Boxing Day Sales and the millions of returns.

Shop-keepers are ‘braced’ for the annual onslaught, having hired extra staff and security guards.

WHY???

I simply do NOT understand how hard it is to actually purchase appropriate gifts for Christmas or anything else. If people paid even a modicum of attention to the likes and dislikes of their family and friends, this would become a thing of the past. The only true excuse for a return is the wrong size or colour. But then again, why on earth would you buy a RED sweater for someone who absolutely DESPISES red??   Wool for someone with allergies who only wears cashmere, …chocolates with nuts for someone with a NUT allergy……..

From the time I was a child, people have given me totally inappropriate and unwanted gifts and expected me to not only say ‘Thank You” but also actually mean it.

I guess the look on my face was a dead giveaway!!!  I will never be a poker player!!… particularly when you are holding a DOLL in your hands which you are about to go outside to smash into smithereens.

You bought me a DOLL!?!?!

REALLY???

You bought me a frilly DRESS?!??!

You MUST be joking…..

You bought me a RED WOOL Sweater??

Great………I hate RED, and am violently allergic to wool.

You gave me chocolates with NUTS???

Seriously??!!??

How HARD is it to actually listen?? Is the gift about the recipient of the ego of the donor?? At times, it is unclear.

I know that I am not the only one who feels this way, otherwise the shops would not have to hire extra staff, security guards, and impose rules about returns.

If you actually CARE about someone, try LISTENING to them. Pay attention to their likes and dislikes.

Please do NOT be condescending and use the old tired adage, “ it is the thought that counts” as it is truly offensive. If there was actually any thought, the gift would not be in process of being returned.

Several of my friends have told me over the years that I am the ONLY one who ever gives them gifts they actually want and enjoy, and, guess what, they end up returning nearly ALL the gifts they receive from everyone else.

Years ago, I was the President of a professional organization where we hosted high caliber speakers on a monthly basis for our luncheons and conferences. I took the time to ring up either the wife or secretary of all our speakers and actually ASKED what they would enjoy within a certain price point. Apparently I was the only one to ever do that. The CIO of a large railway who was an extraordinary speaker became a regular fixture at our events. His wife kept a list for me of items he wanted for his sailboat, and he was absolutely thrilled. One day while visiting his office, he opened several huge drawers in his secretary’s filing cabinet and showed me box after box of cheap pen sets, framed lithographs, and cheap oil paintings as well as other utter nonsense he had been given, non of which was of interest. It would be checked for nametags and given to charity.

Thousands and thousands of dollars of unwanted gifts, because NO ONE actually thought to inquire as to what he might actually like.

Just how many cheap pen sets do you think he wanted?? How totally unoriginal.

As CIO of a large corporation, if there was one thing he did NOT need, it was cheap pens.

He is but one of several executives who told me the same thing. One other senior executive would place everything on a couple of desks and invite the staff to help themselves. He kept nothing. There was never anything remotely of interest.

For myself, I have NEVER played with dolls, continue to absolutely HATE dresses, as well as the colour red.

So, as you stand in line totally frustrated by the time you are wasting with your returns, try spending the same amount of time to contemplate gifts that will please the recipient in the future.

It is really NOT that hard, and is certainly appreciated.

And maybe, just maybe sometime in the future, returns will be a thing of the past.