To Greet or Not to Greet – ‘Why?’ is the Question!

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth city

The young, respectable-looking couple bounced cheerfully up the gravel path towards us, chatting happily with each other and breathing in the delightfully fresh morning air of the Zamia Trail at Perth’s Bold Park. Their facial expressions changed however, from a contented beam to a poker face as they realised they were not alone in this urban wilderness.

My partner, Jo and I were out for an invigorating morning stroll in one of the City’s most beautiful walking trails, surrounded by spectacular, natural Australian bushland and we were descending down the path towards the young adults.

I could sense a certain uncertainty from them as to whether or not they would acknowledge our existence.

“Good morning” I said chirpily and smiled at them. I was proud of myself for getting out of bed to go and do a 5.1 kilometres walk.

The relief on their faces was palpable as they turned towards us and smiled radiantly back without breaking stride, in as perfectly synchronised a fashion as a pair of those bizarre swimmers at the Olympics. The only things missing from the display were the nose plugs and the speedo’s! They were very polite and seemed genuinely cheered that a complete stranger had taken a moment to greet them.

“That was interesting “I observed, deriving a smattering of amusement from my little social experiment.

“What do you mean?” asked Jo, somewhat bemused by my comment.

I had been inspired to conduct this exercise when a memory was jogged in me by a middle-aged gentleman (older than me obviously!) I had said good morning to him only minutes before and he had completely blanked us. Jo had theorised “Maybe he didn’t hear you or maybe he didn’t speak English, or maybe he was just a rude bxxxxxxd!”

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

“That reminds me of something I was pondering a while ago at Hyde Park” I replied.

A while back I had got into a routine of going for very early morning walks around Hyde Park in Perth. That’s when I began thinking about a strange phenomenon that I had noticed.

When you encounter people out walking or jogging early in the morning, most of them it seems, give you the kind of greeting normally reserved for old family members you haven’t seen for years, often accompanied by a weather report.

“G’day mate!” they’ll bellow, “Lovely day for it, eh? Think we’re past the worst of the rains now.” They’re always glowing with positivity and energy, as if there’s some kind of secret battery charger hidden in the bushes next to the lake that they plug themselves into, to start the day beaming. Even the joggers wearing earphones will nod and grin as they bounce past.

Then I noticed that when I walked around that same park later in the day, hardly anyone will move their head, nor will their face crack. Very few will acknowledge you or say hello, unless…

You say it first. If you smile and say hello, in Perth at least, most people will as a minimum, nod and possibly smile. Some will even speak to you. That’s because on the whole, Perth is a friendly city.

I’ve also conducted this experiment overseas, and the one that really blew me away was in England. In London, down South, if you speak to someone in public, especially on the Underground, they will assume you are either (a) an unpredictable nutter or (b) about to mug them. Either way, their initial reaction is often very defensive, and that’s in the daytime. In Manchester, up North, you couldn’t shut them up! If you spoke to a random stranger there, they’d tell you their life story. Now I know where my Mother got it from!

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

 

I realise that some of it is down to population size. Those of you who may remember the ‘Crocodile Dundee’ movies would recall that when the hero, Mick Dundee walked down the street in his Aussie Outback town, everyone knew each other’s business and they all said ‘G’day’ to everyone. When he travelled to New York in the movie’s sequel, it was comical when he walked through a massive crowd trying to say ‘G’day’ to everyone he met until he became overwhelmed.

Some of it may also be a cultural thing. Some nationalities have a culture of being chattier and more open than others. I found that very interesting when I owned a backpackers hostel business for fourteen years.

 

 

One thing I have reaffirmed everywhere though is that a smile is universally understood. A nod with the smile is respectful and polite. Combine those two with a genuine greeting and positive body language and you may just make a new friend. Ignore people or put up a defensive or even hostile countenance and they will mostly ignore you. If you DO make the effort though, you may notice an increase in your own energy.

So there you have my quirky ramblings. The question for you is, ‘To greet or not to greet?’ Don’t grin too hard or people may think you a grinning idiot, but smile warmly and authentically, and the world smiles with you  🙂

Do You Really Seek Personal Development? If So, Open Your Heart to the World…

 

For real personal development, travel and meet peopleSo last night I was invited over to a mate’s place in the complex where I live, then was asked to fetch my guitar for a few tunes.

 

I found myself playing guitar, singing songs, drinking and chatting the evening away in the company of a guy from Chile, two German girls, a Brazilian girl, a Germanic Aussie guy, a Pakistani male, a Pommy guy and an American girl (though we call her the Mexican). I had only just missed catching up with an Indian girl and a lady who is a fellow Jersey bean from the original Jersey in the English Channel Islands. Meanwhile across the courtyard, people from France and Sri Lanka were sitting on their balconies. (We even allow Kiwi’s to live here!)

 

Is it any wonder that it reminded me of my 14 years running a Perth-based backpacker hostel?

 

I reflected this morning on that trans-global mixture and thought to myself, ‘How lucky are we in this day and age of xenophobic nonsense being stirred up by the likes of Donald Trump, that we can share the nuances and subtleties of our cultural differences with nothing other than joy and friendship.’

 

hands across the worldWe laughed about the complications of learning different languages. Everyone present knew at least a minimum of several phrases in other languages, while some of us could converse in two or more tongues.

 

If you’ve never had the chance to travel, the next best thing you can do to broaden your mind is to meet up with people from other countries, ask them about their culture, their language, and their beliefs and keep an open mind. You’ll find that beneath the apparent differences and even the humorous stereotypes, people are all basically the same, no matter where they’re from.

 

They all want to smile, to laugh, to sing, to socialise and to have fun with friends.

 

If only we could get that same message and feeling across to the extremists of the world and agree to live and let live. Whether you’re an atheist, or you believe in God, Allah, Brahman, Jehovah, Ra, Baha, Waheguru, Thor or Sir Alex Ferguson, as far as I know, and correct me if I’m wrong, none of those religions believe in the random destruction of the rest of humanity.

 

So my Christmas message for you is one that my parents have drummed into me from my childhood – “There are good and bad in all nationalities”. The sub-text is, ‘So don’t discriminate against people just because of the colour of their skin, where they were born or what they have been brought up to believe’. To discriminate is the act of a closed mind and I can assure you that you will have a lot more fun in life if you overcome the fear of the differences between people and instead learn to embrace them as part of your education and personal development.

 

How a Dahab girl climbed her camel

How a Dahab girl climbed her camel

In 2007 I remember sitting in Dahab at the Red Sea, chatting with our Egyptian dive instructors over our lunch break. Achmed and Abdul (yes they really were their names) wanted to know how their country was portrayed in Western media. They wanted to know what we thought of them and what we were being told by our television stations. They were genuinely lovely people and we had some really interesting chats, fantastic diving experiences and a wonderful time. As we travelled through Egypt we had guides called Sharif and Mohammed, who was a Coptic Christian. I can tell you that he was delighted when we called him from Australia several months later to wish him a happy birthday.

 

As a former hostel owner, raised in family hotels, I already had friends from all over the world who had visited me, but as I have travelled more myself I have made new friends in many countries and I love it. I’ve also learnt a lot of important things:

 

  • I’ve learned that people can be happy whilst living even in extreme poverty, like the kids I saw kicking a football between two sticks on a beach in the Solomon Islands with no sign of an X-Box or an I-pad
  • I’ve learned that people can re-examine their beliefs, like Nick the Russian Israeli who confessed to killing twelve Arabs because he had been brought up to hate them, yet wept as he told me he now knew that was wrong

 

Happy kids in Tulagi

Happy kids in Tulagi, Solomon Islands

  • I’ve learned that children are fascinated with travellers and new technology, like the group of kids who posed for a team photo on the island of Tulagi and giggled with wonder when they saw their own image on the screen
  • I’ve learned that a whole family plus babies and pets can balance on a motor bike in Cairo and Bali alike
  • I’ve learnt that porters as old as 60 on the Inca Trail of Peru can run at high altitude carrying 25kg loads in their backpacks, and do it with a smile on their face
  • I’ve learnt from our guide, Lewis in the Amazon jungle that you can find a specific plant to heal just about anything – though the pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know this!
  • I’ve learnt that music unites people from the Samba tunes of Brazil, to the flute tunes of Peru or the airport band in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. One of my favourite stories is when I played with a band in Papua New Guinea and ended up helping them to score a regular resort gig for that band when they brought their instruments across by boat from one island to the other
  • I learnt as our Yucatan tour guide, Maurizio pretended to sacrifice me to the Gods that the Mayans regarded such a ritual as an extreme honour to die for your community because your passing secured the sun and the rain for your people
  • I’ve learnt that strangers can look out for you and help you without any thought of recompense, like our hotel security man in Cancun who warned us about the extortion Police further along the sands or our underwater videographer who pulled my partner out of a strong current in the ocean at East Borneo
  • I’ve learnt that people love their families and friends everywhere in the world and that a stranger may just be a friend you haven’t yet met

 

I could continue on for days and still not recount or even remember everyone who has touched my life in an amazing way, so I’ll sum it up with this thought:

 

Travel and/or meeting other people from around the world will broaden your mind and lead you to new discoveries about our amazing planet and about yourself. Just open your mind and your heart.

 

Have an awesome festive season and may your God go with you.

 

 

“He really cares about people…” – Halle Yilmaz, Melbourne, Victoria

image-withheld“You can have an open communication with Tony easily.

He really cares about people and he is committed to make a contribution to other people’s life and happiness.

He is a great life coach.”

 

Halle Yilmaz

Managing Director, HQ Business Consulting & HQ Financial Solutions, Melbourne

Good or Evil? Which One will Win?

Two_wolves_fighting

The two wolves are constantly fighting

There is an old Cherokee tale of a grandfather teaching life principles to his grandson.

The wise old Cherokee said, “Son, on the inside of every person the battle is raging between two wolves. One wolf is evil. It’s angry, jealous, unforgiving, proud, and lazy. The other wolf is good. It is filled with love, kindness, humility, and encouragement. These two wolves are constantly fighting.”

The little boy thought about it and said, “Grandfather, which wolf is going to win?”

The grandfather smiled and said, “Which ever one you feed.”

*****

Which wolf are you feeding in your mind?

Remember that even when you can’t always choose what happens to you in your life, only you can choose how you will react.

 

I just love the wisdom of esoteric tribal teachings. You should listen to what Grandpa’s have to say…

I know, because I’m now a Grandpa!

Have a great week 😛

The Shoe Salesman in Africa

 

A Shoe Salesman in Africa

The Shoe Salesman in Africa

It’s all about perspective…

There’s a timeless story about a shoe salesman, whose Company one day decided to give him a new opportunity. They sent him to Africa to launch their new product range.

He was very excited to have been chosen for such a promotion, but within a week of arrival, he was on the phone to his boss back home, sounding very dejected and disheartened,

“Boss, I’m sorry, but you may as well bring me back home. This is a complete waste of my time and the Company’s money. No-one wears shoes in Africa!”

The boss agreed to let him come home, as he didn’t want unhappy staff.

He decided however, to give another of his salesman a try instead.

Within a week, the second shoe salesman was on the phone to his boss, barely able to contain his excitement!

“Boss, this is amazing! Quick – send me more shoes! Give me everything you’ve got – no-one wears shoes in Africa!

Tony Inman Tony’s View:

The moral of the story is that we can all choose how we look at things in life. Some of us get bogged down in the problems and the obstacles. The go-getters see only the opportunity and the prize. It’s never too late to change your personal filters!

 

 

On a positive ‘foonote’, whilst looking for a photo for this post, I found a heartening story from Shannon Cook of CNN:

 

 

Blake Mycoskie asks "What's afoot?"

Blake Mycoskie asks “What’s afoot?”

 

 

Step into Blake Mycoskie’s shoes for a day, and you might wind up feeling enlightened. Not just because the shoes he wears are incredibly lightweight, but because they transport him to regions of the globe where footwear is a rare, precious commodity.

 

So what are these magical slippers? They’re called TOMS, and they’re the foundation of Mycoskie’s one-for-one business principle: for every pair of TOMS sold, the 32-year-old gives a pair to a child in need.

The idea came to Mycoskie — who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur” whose first company was a laundry business he started in college — while he was vacationing in Argentina. He says he was overwhelmed by the sight of children living without shoes. But instead of simply starting a charity, he decided he could better serve by launching a for-profit business.

 

Tony’s Take-away: Look at ways of helping others and you will simultaneously help yourself.