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Learning from Big Blokes in Skirts

Learning from Big Blokes in Skirts


    So here I am in gorgeous Fiji, one of the most beautiful places on earth, hanging out with possibly the nicest people on the planet. It’s like everyone in the whole country has a PhD in friendliness. Or at the very least, a Master’s degree in happiness. You know when people smile at you and they really smile; the real deal? Not one of those half-assed pathetic grimaces that we Westerners have perfected; the pseudo smile. Kinda looks more like we have wind than we’re offering any kind of warm greeting. Nope, with these guys it’s your genuine ear-to-ear smile-fest. Man, these people are FRIENDLY!

    It’s kinda strange to go from a culture where the majority tend to avoid eye contact at all costs to one where people almost rugby tackle you to the ground to greet you and express kindness. Perhaps I need to bring a few of the locals back with me. When I’m home I feel pretty special if I get sneered at by a passer-by. Any love’s good love right?

    I know what you might be thinking, “you’re at a resort, they have to be nice to you”. Well yeah I guess, but they’re nice everywhere, not just here. I went for a run into town yesterday (away from the five star experience and into the ‘no star’ zone) and people waved and shouted at me the whole time – little kids, guys working on the side of the road, people in their houses, truck drivers. Imagine that: people being nice just for the sake of it – that’ll never catch on. I think all the shouting and waving back actually tired me out more than the run.

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    Stress Management Fijian Style

    I don’t have any stats on it, but I can’t imagine too many Fijians dying of a stress-related illness any time soon – not the ones I’ve met any way. Maybe I could enlist the help of my new buddy Joseph the gardener, who’s working (and singing) outside my room right now, to run the stress-management part of my session later this morning. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. I wonder if he has a stress management strategy?

    I’m not sure that this audience will want to relocate to Fiji and become gardeners at the Sofitel but maybe they should. Maybe I should. Maybe we all should.

    I wonder where Joseph learned all that happiness stuff anyway? Probably Doctor Phil. Or perhaps he has the entire Tony Robbins collection? Maybe he’s read The Art of Happiness a few times. Oh, I know; he must be a subscriber to medotcom. How else could he do it? Surely he can’t just be happy right? Of course not. Probably has a great therapist. Anyway, he doesn’t make enough money or own enough stuff to be truly happy does he? Maybe someone needs to have a talk with him to tell him what he’s missing out on – he mustn’t realise. Perhaps I’ll tell him later….

    Or not.

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    Blending in.

    So, as you can imagine I have been using my entire Fijian vocabulary at every opportunity. I’m sure they are suitably impressed with my proficiency in their native tongue. In fact, at a quick glimpse I’m sure I could be mistaken for one of the locals. Were it not for my gigantic white body, my shaved head, my complete lack of cool-ness and my hideous accent, I would blend right in with the local population.

    “Bula”, I say to my new friends.

    Which is code for “I’m a stupid huge white man, trying to fit in with you very cool gorgeous people.”

    To be honest, it’s probably not working. I think they know I’m from out of town. Not sure what gave it away. Could be the way I stare stupidly at their money as I try to figure out what I’m handing over every time I buy something, or it could have been my tireless and completely pointless quest to find some skim milk; they found this most amusing. Somehow I don’t think skim milk is near the top of most Fijian shopping lists. Or personal development books.

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    Big dumb white man.

    I was at the beach just before (which is about fifty feet from my room) and Greenpeace showed up to try to roll me back into the water. It was kind of embarrassing but at least it brought some much-needed attention to a good cause.
    Heavy sigh.

    However….

    While they seem to have nailed the hospitality and the friendliness things, there are one or two areas which could probably do with just a little tweaking. Not that I’d tell them – some of the lads are quite large. Let’s just say that an advanced driver training course probably wouldn’t go astray for some of the local taxi drivers. And while we’re on the transport thing, those thirty year-old Toyota taxis with more miles on them than the space shuttle don’t really enhance the ‘overall driving experience’ either. On the way from the airport to my hotel, I felt like I was an extra in Die Hard 8 and a very old Bruce Willis was my driver. Hopefully I can collect my fingernails from his dashboard on the return journey.

    Blokes in Skirts.

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      It may also take me a while to get my head around the notion of big muscular blokes wearing skirts. The guy who showed me to my room when I arrived at the hotel was six-three (187cm) easy, probably tipped the scales at a muscular 220lbs (100kgs) and was wearing a tan (is that a colour?) skirt. Gotta say I had no urge to let him know that in my country only the girls wear skirts. No urge at all. Especially as I’m not really sure how the health care thing works while I’m overseas.

      Seriously though, if I could frock up and look that cool, I would be known as Skirt-Boy from this day forth. Probably ain’t gonna happen though. Maybe I could start ‘skirting’ around the house and build myself up to a public debut over time.
      Or not.

      Anyway, enough about my cross-dressing debut (it must be the tropical heat) I best go and do what I came here to do. I’m up in fifteen minutes.

      “Hey Joseph, can I borrow that skirt of yours for an hour or so?”
      “Joseph… where are you going?”
      “Jo?”

      More by this author

      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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      Last Updated on October 20, 2020

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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      • (1) Research
      • (2) Deciding the topic
      • (3) Creating the outline
      • (4) Drafting the content
      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
      • (6) Revision
      • (7) etc.

      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

      2. Change Your Environment

      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

      6. Get a Buddy

      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

      Reality check:

      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

      Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

      More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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