Feel like giving up? Then watch this…

The past few weeks in my life has been hectic. But, while that is the case, I have also been learning new things, connecting with business mentors, completing many tasks, making tough choices and taking steps every day to get my cloud platform up and running. It is easy to start feeling overwhelmed and even easier to feel like quitting, because a project like this is not for the faint hearted.  All the long hours, lack of sleep, hours of intense concentration, overcoming obstacles etc, can really get to you. So, I decided to take the weekend off, not touch my computer and just chill out and catch up with life a bit.

To start my week, I decided to complete a few other tasks, before I get stuck into my work and cloud project. As it happens, I run a Plex Media Server at my home office, and while firing up the app to get some good tunes on, I accidentally stumbled in to my “channels” section, and then saw my TED Talks app. Thought I’d have a quick look to see what was new, and then stumbled across this talk by David Blaine. He’s well know as a magician, illusionist and stuntman. This honest, low-key, talk on him learning how to hold his breath for 17 minutes fascinated me. The talk is not about how awesome he is, all the media attention, his successes or anything like that. He does a short intro, just to set the scene of who he is and what he does, and then he describes his admiration of legendary magicians and escape artists. This admiration pushes him to attempt a stunt, to emulate the great Houdini. What follows is a story of all the ways he explored, all the ways he failed, almost dying and how he finally succeeded, setting a Guinness World record by holding his breath for more than 17 minutes. It is a great talk that shows us how we can fail many times, in many ways (including publicly!) before we finally achieve success.

Quite an inspiring video to watch on a Monday morning. What is true is that, as we learn to overcome obstacles, we train ourselves to be mentally tougher. I can already see this with my two young sons. They are quick to quit, but mom and dad pushes them to try. When they try and succeed, they suddenly realize that it was not so hard as it initially seemed, and they want to tackle an even bigger task. There is a valuable lesson in there for us, we do not get born with perseverance, we learn it my failing, trying and overcoming.

Male bonding

Last night an impromptu invite lead to yet another cherished evening. I have a buddy, Quintin, who is a great rugby lover. A few calls to arrange where the Bulls – Stormers game was to be watched, lead to an evening with me, Quintin, my kids and housekeeper doing dinner at my place.

A quick trip resulted in me fetching Quin, and a snack run was completed to make sure we are stocked with biltong, beer assorted snacks and steaks for the braai (barbecue for my foreign pals). Our team lost miserably, but that was soon forgotten when we lit the fire. Discussing everything under the sun allowed us some time to laugh, vent and just make sure that everything is ok with the world. After doing dinner inside, I got the kids to bed, and Quintin and I fired up my home theater system. We spent a glorious two hours watching tracks from 6 different Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart Bluray discs.

I always maintain, that the best music is not what we hear on the radio, but what our friends share with us. That is how I was introduced to many artists, and sharing that with Quintin was awesome.

Thanks Quintin, you’re a great pal and spending time with you is always awesome 🙂 Here’s some pics of our dinner and fire…

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Getting emotional…over Skype

People say that technology makes the world smaller, and several tech brands have emotionally charged ads with loved ones interacting via technology. I am no stranger to using technology to shrink my world, my arsenal includes GotoMeeting, Google Hangouts and of course Skype. However, during the past two weeks, Skype has been pivotal in my family.

Mari and I are blessed in our businesses, but sometimes the cost is counted in a loss of family time when we travel. Usually it is only a day or two, here or there, but the past few weeks have been brutal, especially since a portion of it fell smack in the middle of the kids’ school holiday.

First I had a day full of meetings that clashed with my youngest’s (he’s 5) swimming medal presentation, but Mom was on hand to capture high definition video on her mobile, and I got to see the results. Next day I was up, as Mari was away for the day, and this time I was the videographer at my oldest’s (he’s 7) swimming medal presentation.

Then came the humdinger. School holiday is on, Mari has to be away for 9 days, and I am piled under a self created workload for my latest project. The first day with the oldest’s music session was easy, a small group of kids doing a small concert for maybe 10 people. Skype to the rescue! As Jason was performing, I hooked up a Skype call to his mom, who was on the road (she was a passenger) on the way back home. She did not miss a beat. Mobile-to-mobile Skype over LTE/3G networks worked great.

Granny wanted to spend some quality time with the kids, so they went with granny to her place, around 45 minutes away from where we stay. Gave Granny an iPad 3 with camera and 3G sim card, so all week, Mari and I could communicate not only with each other, but also grab the kids and granny over Skype.

But tonight was the killer. The kids are back home with dad after a week with granny, and tomorrow night mom is back from her trip. So after bath time, we quickly hooked up a Skype call to catch up with mom. It all went great, right up to the point where my youngest, Eli looked at his mom, got teary eyed and told her how much he missed her. The floodgates opened. Jason followed suit, in close succession with mom. 9 days apart will do that.

Even though we miss Mari, and cannot wait to have her back home after 10 days, I am thankful for WiFi, 3G/LTE, tables, mobile phones and Skype. It did shrink my world, and kept us connected, even emotionally.