Are you under construction or under distraction?

Today I am inspired to talk about relationships and the state you are in, construction or distraction. Even though this is mostly applicable to those who are single or dating, I believe married men and women can relate to this and share it with their loved ones.

Going out on a many dates over the past few months, I have learned how to quickly identify if a lady I am on a date with has the basic attributes I am looking for in an ideal life partner. As I have gotten better at this, I noticed that sometimes, despite having realized there was no long term future for me and the lady, I would still go on subsequent dates. It never dawned on me that it was a waste of time. Ok, not really a waste but somehow a waste. Subsequent dates were distractions. They were distractions because they took my attention and energy away from what I wanted and into what I knew I did not want. Whether you find the lady very attractive and beautiful or not so much, for someone who already knows what he wants, it would be a distraction.

Under Construction

The opposite of being under distraction is being under construction. When a man is attracted to a woman beyond physical appearance and the opposite is true, a relationship begins. When the two have consciously agreed and made the decision to be in a relationship with one another, they enter into “construction” mode. In construction mode, everything done by both parties is with the aim of strengthening the relationship, building a strong foundation that hopefully will serve as the pillars of a matrimonial union in the future.

This concept does not only apply to relationships, it applies to every aspect of our lives. We should constantly evaluate whether we are under construction or under distraction. What state are you in?

My simple weight loss solution

Last weekend spend an hour on the phone with my junior brother and when we had finished catching up with family news and other related business, he told me he had noticed from my pictures that I had lost weight. I was happily surprised. Not that I have a problem with weight loss but I am more conscious of what goes into my body and a logical consequence is an overall improvement of the quality of my health. If that comes with weight loss, great!

hot green tea

He asked me what I was doing different and I told him. In this post I want to share what I have shared with him that I believe is the cause of my weight loss. Here comes the list:

  • Make the conscious decision to lose weight. That is the first step towards permanent weight loss. I made the decision last year in October to build my dream body. Ripped abs and pumped up chess. When a friend asked me why, my reply was “why not?” I will achieve my desired result for two reasons: 1. Because I can 2. Because the process and discipline it requires will help me in every other area of my life. Make the decision and have your “whys” ready.
  • Drink lots of tea. Since about November of last year, I have been drinking a lot of green tea, which contains lots of antioxidants and helps improve metabolism. My green tea consumption is now at two to five bags every day. That seems to be working and I encourage you to drink more tea. One factor that helps is that the water cooler in the office is next to Coke vending machine and (almost) every time I am tempted to buy a coke, I fill my cup with hot water and make myself a cup of tea. Replace soda with hot green tea and you will be on your way to simple weight loss.
  • Begin an (easy) exercise routine. An easy exercise routine could be as simple as walking for 30 minutes every day or stretching when you wake up in the the morning. What prevents many people to start exercising is that they see the final result (people in top physical shape) and don’t want to accept that the process to that result takes time and daily dedication. I have been walking every morning for an hour since January 1st and when I cannot go walking because of an early morning appointment, I do stretch exercises, push-ups and squats in my bedroom before taking a shower.

I have bought a few books that explain many different weight loss strategies. The bridge between someone reading the book and loosing the weight is consistent daily action, which I have started and am engaged in. You don’t actually need the books, unless you love reading and can use some motivation to get you started. If you want to lose weight: make the decision, drink green tea, exercise daily and have fun in the process. To your success!

Lessons from the international speech contest

I am an active member of Toastmasters International and last Saturday March 9th, I participated in the International Speech Contest for Area G1 in Division G. Lined up against 4 other talented and confident speakers from different clubs in our area, I knew I had a very good shot at taking the trophy home. I was loaded with positive energy and enthusiasm that I shared with everyone I spoke to on that morning.

Speech Contest Picture

Scott Shier – Area G1 Governor with Lionnel Yamentou – Second place for International Speech Contest Table Topics.

To my surprise, when the results were announced I did not come second place as I thought I would have. I was a bit disappointed but I rather quickly got over it and I am already looking forward to the next speech contest. I will take part in every contest until I sign-up for a leadership role within Toastmasters which disqualifies me from participating in contests. The contests are fun and always have great audiences. The contest was a priceless learning experience. Here are 3 lessons I took away:

  • Prepare and practice. I am blessed to have a few people who have committed themselves to coaching and mentoring me but I did not fully take advantage of them when preparing for the area contest. I met with my enunciation and pronunciation coach 3 days before the area contest but we did not have enough time to thoroughly practice my delivery. For the next contest, I will prepare and practice with my various coaches weeks ahead of time.
  • My best might not be enough. So long as there is someone out there whose best is better than your best, you are likely not to emerge as the contest winner. I realized that there are speakers who are very well skilled in areas where I lack, and I have decided to commit more time working on improving my weaknesses. I know what they are and I know what edge the contest winners had over me.
  • Winning is just the icing on the cake. I met a gentleman who took part in the contest and he was very happy to have taken part but he explicitly told me he was not interested in winning. He was happy to “be in the game” but was not playing to win. He was just having a good time. I also had a fun time with the process and delivering my speech but I went into the contest with a “do or die” attitude, as opposed to a “do or do” attitude. Winning the contest was and is still important to me, but it will just be the icing on the cake, the cake being taking part to the contest.

If you belong to a Toastmasters club, I strongly encourage you to take part in contests, you will learn a lot. If you are not yet a member of Toastmasters, please sign up as soon as possible. You will get access to a great network of people who are committed to improving themselves and others by developing their communication and leadership skills.

The meaning of forgiveness

During my morning physical exercise routine, I listen to audio books which I select randomly from my library. Interestingly, every book I have listened to every morning for the past 2 months has always spoken directly to me. The book I am currently enjoying is “Zero Limits” by Joe Vitale. Amazing content! The information I am receiving is so timely that I believe it is a conspiracy of the universe to make my daily experiences turn into growing experiences.


The book brought my awareness to the concept of forgiveness and I have been able to use one the teachings to effect a change in one aspect of my life only a few hours after being exposed to the principle. Here is about the meaning of forgiveness:

  • Forgiveness is about you, and you alone. Every situation you experience is a creation of your mind, your thoughts. You will never be able to receive or give forgiveness if you cannot forgive yourself for creating the initial problem or issue at hand. 
  • To forgive is to love. Love is the greatest and most powerful emotion on earth. One cannot love and not forgive. If you love yourself, you will forgive yourself. If you love others, you will forgive others. Forgiveness is from the divine, as love is.

True forgiveness cannot be explained, it can only be experienced. When you receive forgiveness or you give forgiveness, you get closer to divinity by strengthening the love relationship between you are every other human being on the planet. To forgive is to love, yourself first and the other parties involved next. Forgive!

References: Picture from

Listen to your excuses

Preparing for an upcoming speech in a few days, I met with my coach and friend Quinn. He helped me evaluate and made helpful recommendations on how to improve the delivery of my message and to clarify the structure and main points of my speech. When Quinn was constructively criticizing my rehearsal speech video, I went into defensive mode and came up with excuses for every one of the points he noticed needed improvement.

Your potential is only limited by the number of excuses you have.

Quinn is a very good communicator and every time I spoke in argument with what he was saying, he just kept quiet and listened. His silence and facial expression made me realize I was making excuses for not having performed better. We have a good laugh when that came to my awareness. Driving on my way back home, these are the lessons I took away from the evening.

Listen to your excuses

  • Gracefully accept constructive criticism. You have probably witnesses a situation where someone was receiving feedback and that person went into defensive mode because the feedback was not what he wanted to hear. The essence of feedback is to help us improve. If you only learn about what you did well and not what you can improve, you will not fully benefit from the experiences you go through.
  • Do not justify poor performance. When you realize you could have done better in a particular situation, your first reaction will be to justify why you did not do better. Humans are very skilled at justifying poor performance. Listen to yourself before you speak and realize that the more excuses you have, the lesser your chances of growth from the experience.
  • Laugh at your excuses if they do come out. Ideally you would stop your excuses from going through your mind to your spoken word, but because that’s not always the case, learn to laugh at your excuses when they still manage to come out. For example, “I did not get the promotion because the boss likes the other employee more”. Even though that might be the reason why you did not get the promotion, if you did not hear that from your boss, it is just an excuse. Become aware of that, laugh at the excuse and get busy working to increase your chances of getting the next promotion.

Until you learn how to recognize your excuses for poor or low performance and turn them off before they are expressed in your spoken word, you will be limited in what you can achieve. Listen to your excuses, laugh at them, and focus your thoughts and energy on using the feedback improving yourself.

References: Photo: