Lead a vivid life that does good

Category: Family Values (Page 1 of 4)

 “Treat others, the way you would want to be treated.” Easy to talk about. Hard to do.

Treat others, the way you would want to be treatedTreat others, the way you would want to be treated!

This is a post about how The Golden Rule is easy to talk about, hard to think about, and harder to do!

You could read the post.


You could put it into action, right now, for one person!


Easy to talk about…

At face value the Golden Rule is a great concept, although I’m not sure how it became golden or a rule.

Most world religions have a form of the rule, although its best known in the west through Jesus words, where he indicates that the essence of the bible is to live this way.

You’ll hear it talked about with kids, in schools, at churches, in communities and even in the business world.

And it’s easy to talk about, probably because we would all like people to treat us that way.


Hard to think about…

Pause and consider these questions:

Consider that challenge your friend is going through right now. If you were that friend, how would you want to be treated by the real you?

Put yourself in the shoes that person who is ‘unjustifiably’ grumpy with you. If you were that person, with all their feelings, beliefs and experiences. How would you want to be treated by the real you?

Ponder being a homeless person on the streets. How would you want to be treated by the real you?

Think about how it would feel to be a parent with a starving child in the third world. How would you want to be treated by the real you?


Harder to do…

In all honesty, my answers to those questions are often not reflected in my actions.

Which could be disheartening, because I can’t help everyone in the world.

But I can help one!

And I can do that today.

Imagine a world were even 10% of people truly completely lived the Golden Rule.

Or imagine working in an organisation where everyone, always lived the Golden Rule first and foremost. (Hint to my coHired & Agoge teams this is essence of ‘love people’)

Or imagine our own life, how radically different would it be if we chose to treat others, the way we want to be treated.

What if treating others, the way we would want to be treated,

stopped being some abstract golden rule,

and instead became our life mantra?

How much do I get paid?

Pay Kids for inventionsAround our house we have duties that everyone has to do each week on rotation as a part of being in the family. Then there are the tasks like mowing the lawns which I can do for free, or the kids can do for money.

Of course the first question is “how much do I get paid?”

We are taught from an early age to value our time when we work. We are rewarded for the hours we put in, not the outcomes.

Which is weird, because as adults we know true success is not determined by how much we earn.

Success is defined by what we do.

What we learn.

What we create.



Who we help.



And how we shape the lives of people around us.

I’m not sure I want my kids to grow up with a ‘wage’ mentality. I would rather they have a ‘change’ mentality.

Maybe those of us with kids should start paying them for the hours they aren’t on devices or watching TV.

We could pay them to read, or exercise, or learn new stuff they don’t teach at school.

We could start offering to pay our kids when they are writing, or creating, or making art.

Better yet, we could pay our kids for each invention they make, regardless of how successful. Or fund any social project, no matter how short-lived.

I’m sure there will be a downside to all of this, but it must be better than just paying them to mow the lawns

Why memories exist in the now.

Memories are only made in the now

Photo of actual sunset from the bridge.

And so it came to be that I was standing with my daughter on the walk bridge, in the now, watching as the sun slowly inched below the horizon. As twilight took hold a memory was locked away. A memory of being present, being here, being in the now.

And I could have missed it.

A few minutes earlier I had been driving home, noticing the sun as New Zealand rotated away from its radiant light. I decided to call my daughter and told her to meet me outside in a few minutes, and just minutes after that we watch the sun set for another day.

It was exciting.


Memorable. (Memories are only made in the now!)


And all it took was a simple choice, to disconnect and enjoy the moment. To be in the now.

My mind is always active. It’s so active that often I miss what is happening around me.

I miss the smell of flowers as I enter the room.

I miss the popping sounds as I walk along an estuary.

I miss the opportunity to engage with the person in front of me because I’m thinking of what’s coming up.

I miss the now.

Do you?

Does fear steal freedom?

Fear takes freedomLast week I was out running with Jay tagging along on his bike. As I ran, a seagull became increasingly disturbed with my presence and finally started dive bombing me. We sought shelter under some trees and, once the bird was over it, we carried on.

It is fair to say Jay was freaked out by the bird. He was afraid or fearful.

Like all fear if it was left unchecked, it would steal his freedom. If he allowed himself to become afraid of all seagulls or even all birds then he could avoid beaches or places where there are a lot of birds. When that happens freedom is lost.

Ultimately that’s what Terrorism does. Makes us fear and give away freedom by avoiding travel or amazing experiences.

So does a fear of failure.

Or a fear of meeting new people.

Or even a fear of asking ‘dumb’ questions.

Fear is the opposite of freedom.

Next time your stomach churns a little, your heart races and fear starts to set in. Stop and check that fear … is it something you should really be afraid of?

Or is it a call to step out.

To be bold.

Is it a call to freedom?

‘Kinstugi’ the art of turning Brokenness into Beauty.

Kinstugi Brokenness‘Kinstugi’ is the Japanese word that describes the art of repairing broken ceramics with gold.

This art form is wonderful in the way it takes something that is broken, destined to be rubbish.

And restores it.

With gold !

Once repaired, it is considered more beautiful for having been broken.

Often brokenness from our past are considered ugly scars, that we need to hide, and never speak of again.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we took the art of Kinstugi and applied the thinking to our lives.

What if we understood that the times we feel smashed and broken are gold in the making?

What if our past brokenness was seen as gold lines that speak boldly of our journey and healing?

What if that was Jesus intention, to take our brokenness and use it to make us more beautiful?

Do you have 406 things you could get rid of?

Floppy Disk 1993This is a picture of a floppy disk I own and have held onto since 1993. It’s a backup disk of the accounts from my one of my first businesses in 1990. I have no idea why I am holding onto it. Maybe it is part memento and part my own personal IT museum, as it certainly has no practical use.

The issue with this disk is that it is representative of a lot of things I have around the house and work that I don’t really need. Things I am holding “just in case”.

So at the beginning of February I decided to start a minimalist challenge. It basically goes like this.

1 Feb – Get rid of 1 thing
2 Feb – 2 things
3 Feb – 3 things

… all the way to …

28 Feb – Get rid of 28 things.

A total of 406 items I will either throw out, sell, or give away.

Now because I love freedom I have decided to bend the rules and basically just make sure that I get rid of 406 things by the end of Feb, and to date I have got rid of 160 items from either home or my office. And in addition each of my kids need to do 30 things and Karina needs to do 100.

600 items as a family sounds a lot, but it is surprising how much stuff we keep “just in case” I need it in the future. Once I started looking with a fresh set of eyes it was amazing what I saw.

Do you have 406 things you could get rid of? – You might be surprised.

Like a lot of things, it all comes down to the right question.

For example, in the wardrobe. Instead of asking “Is there any chance I will wear this in the future?”, which is our normal question.

I need to ask tougher questions;
“Do I wear this often?”
“Do I love it?”
“Do I look good in it?”

If the answer is no, it’s a real contender for the get rid of pile.


I don’t get time to …

I don’t get time to … think

I don’t get time to … exerciseclock

I don’t get time to … read

I don’t get time to … do good

I don’t get time to … play with the kids

I don’t get time to … relax

I don’t get time to … [fill in the blank]

You are right of course.

You only get time to do the things you choose to do. You can’t make time, but we can lose it doing the wrong things.

Like me you probably need to stop doing some things, to make time for the things that are really important.

Stuck! – Do you really know the next step?

Next StepIt was a bleak, grey morning, and my 14-year-old daughter sat on the couch in her pyjamas, really struggling to get started on a massive homework project that she had. It was as though the burden of the project hung over her as dark as the clouds outside. The project seemed daunting and unachievable.

After some cajoling, I managed to get her to get dressed and we headed off to a cafe down the road. And that’s when I started to teach her (as best a dad can) to work out what the next step was. I asked her to break down the next step … then break it down further … and then break it down even more, until we got to the real simple achievable next step.

The problem a lot of us have when we’re faced with a big task, or with an assignment or with a massive project, is that we keep thinking about the outcome, and we fail to break it down to the next step.

What is the very next thing that I need to do?

In the case of my daughter’s protest poetry, she had to first narrow down who it was she was going to protest about. She had to find two or three people, or causes, that she could protest about. Once she had those, she had to decide on one! That was the next step.

And then once she had that, she had to break that down and learn something about the cause that she was protesting for. Then brainstorm the verses of the poem. Then she was away.

Easy … or at least easier.

When you’re faced with a challenge, or a project or an assignment, how can you break it down further?

How can you look for that next step?

What might that next step be? One that you could complete in a few minutes that would move you forward.

Once you are moving it’s surprising how momentum follows.

Why NZ needs a Ministry of Men’s Affairs

Ministry of Mens Affairs source 3newsA friend of mine was sitting next to the Minister of Women’s Affairs on the plane recently and I asked him if he had asked her, if “women have many affairs?” Ok, that’s a poor shot at humour.

The Hon. Jo Goodhew has an incredibly important role and I love that we are the first country in the world to give women the vote, the first country in the world where women have held the 3 most senior offices (Prime Minister, Governor General and Chief Justice). The Ministry of Women’s Affairs has been and will continue to play an incredibly important role.

This got me thinking though… Is there a need for a Minister of Men’s Affairs?

We spend a huge amount of resources protecting and supporting the disadvantaged, and maybe we need to focus on addressing a core issue …


What if the Ministry of Men’s Affairs had one goal “to develop better men

Less addictive
Less abusive
Less prejudiced
Less couch bound

More literate
More balanced
More tolerant
More adventurous

Better role models
Better fathers
Better husbands and partners

Great Men who break repeating cycles and in turn raise Great Men.

I know plenty of great men. I also know plenty of men, and communities where men struggle with abuse and addictions and have never had great role models. These men are the role models for tomorrow’s men.

I know that a Ministry of Men’s Affairs is probably politically incorrect. It’s not a strong opinion or deep held belief or a statement on equality. Rather it’s an evocative post to remind us men are the cause of much of society’s problems, and maybe, just maybe, a focus on them might have long term benefits.

If you are a Man reading this post, the implication is clear.

Break the cycle. Be a Great Man!

Why Accountability is more like Renting than Owning.

For RentOften, as I’m walking or running along the streets, I will notice rental properties. Not because they have a sign on them saying they are rental, but because of the way that the lawns are kept and the gardens are over grown. The residents just seem to park their cars wherever they might like, be it, on the driveway or on the grass.

Sometimes rental properties seem to be treated differently than properties that are owned by people. An owner seems to take more care and responsibility for their property, if things need fixing they get fixed, whereas a renter generally contacts the landlord to get it fixed. It’s the owner’s problem.

In business, we have a word that has almost become the business version of Renter, it’s the word ‘accountable’. It’s not that being accountable is wrong, just as renting is not wrong. People that are accountable (give an account) for their own actions, but if something needs fixing, or something really needs owning, they will often speak up and they will pass it on to somebody else.

It’s funny I say this because at Agoge accountability is one of our behavioural values, however we also have a tagline that says “See it. Own it. Fix it.” If you see a problem, it’s one thing to be accountable, to see a problem and flag it up to somebody, and then effectively wash your hands of it. Accountability for us requires that you see the problem. And own it. And work with the rest of the team until it gets fixed.

Accountability means, you aren’t just a renter. You are an owner.

There is a difference between how most organisations view accountability and ownership. Just as there is a difference between renting and an owning.

People who take real ownership are invaluable!

Today, will you take ownership for something, or will you merely be accountable for it?

Which will you be, a renter, or an owner?

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