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Learning from Big Blokes in Skirts

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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 November 25, 2021

      Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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      Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

      With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

      Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

      In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

      The easy fundamentals

      First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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      A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

      Here are some examples of strong passwords:
      * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
      * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
      * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

      And not so good examples
      * sammy1234
      * password123
      * christopher

      You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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      Managing your passwords

      I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

      So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

      There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

      Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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      LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

      Upkeep

      You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

      There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

      Alternatives

      You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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      1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
      2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
      3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

      These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

      So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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