Shift your focus

It’s completely normal to feel lost and unbalanced every now and then – especially when we have too much on our minds. Most of the time, we become so consumed with our thoughts, that we lose sight of (and forget to focus on) what is actually important to us. I know I’ve made that mistake one too many times. But life is about lessons, right? If we are not learning something every day, then what are we doing with our time?

Like anything in life, we need to redirect our thoughts into the light – especially when it comes to studying. Focusing on the negative things in life will never generate any positivity. For example, focusing on the fact that your exam is going to be difficult will not make it any easier. Instead, you should try to focus on getting through the work so that you are well prepared for the exam.

Your focus determines your reality

Browsing through some inspirational stories for this blog post, I came across one story where a coach was able to motivate his team to win a game by encouraging them to change their focus:

“If you were to place two planks across the floor and ask 10 of your friends to walk over to the other side of the room, it would be easy, because their focus would be on walking to get to the other side. But if you put those same two planks 10 stories high between two buildings, only a few would make it, because the focus would be on falling.”

That story is a clear example of the phrase “focus is everything”! We need to imagine the light, and think about how that desired outcome will feel. Once we are able to do that, we can summon that feeling into the moment and focus on it. This might just create the reality that we all seek.

Focus

We need to create healthy thought-processes for ourselves, because focusing our attention on a problem will only amplify it.

Do you have any suggestions for staying positive and improving focus? Share your ideas with us by leaving a comment in the box below:

Ackson Moyo’s Inspirational Student Story

At College SA, our favourite thing is to hear from our students. Ackson Moyo, who is currently finishing his events management course, had an interesting story about how he ended up working and studying in Dubai.

Ackson Moyo

In 2012, Ackson registered for the College SA Advanced Diploma in Business Events Management course with us. Like many of our students, Ackson had a full-time job to help him pay for his studies. And then the worst possible thing happened. Ackson writes:

“The journey was so smooth and very exciting until I lost my Job”

Losing his job meant more than just losing his livelihood; it also meant he couldn’t complete his course, which could have had devastating effects on his future plans.

“I struggled a lot to go so far with this Course, out of 12 subjects am remaining with only 2 for me to finish this course. This mean my life, I sacrificed myself taking half of each and every month salary to pay for my studies for two years. It was not easy but I survived by grace of our Almighty God.”

Ackson could have given up, but he had come so far, and had already learned so much. So, with the skills and knowledge he had acquired through his partially finished course, he went on and found a new job. And not just any job – he got work in the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in Dubai!

Ackson in Dubai

But Ackson still wanted, and needed, to finish his Advanced Diploma course. Early in June, he sent us an e-mail in which he told us his story:

“My worry is that, the Hotel knows that am still a student, but yet am not studying anymore. The question is they will be waiting until when to see my Diploma?

I believe College SA is there to help needy people like me, if there is someone out there to hear me out please do, as am very much in need of direction, where to go from here?”

And of course we were more than happy to help him. Sonia, our Quality Assurance Manager, made sure Ackson received a bursary to finish his course.  “We are very proud of you that you completed so many of your course’s subjects,” she wrote to him, “We can see that you worked very hard on your studies and that you took your studies very seriously”.

Ackson is still working in Dubai now, finishing the last two subjects he needs to get his Advanced Diploma and build his career further.

We want to thank Ackson for letting us share his story, for all the hard work he has already put into his course, and for showing us all that anything is possible with hard work and determination. Good luck, Ackson! Let us know when you are one day running that hotel!

Ackson Moyo
Are you currently studying with us? Do you have an interesting story or inspiring tale to tell about your studies? You can leave us a comment below and we will happily share it with the rest of our students. 

Laugh Out Loud

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” –  Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.

Laugh Out Loud

They say laughter is the best medicine. I always disagreed, but lately I have come to fully understand the true worth of laughter. Not only did I experience the value of laughter first hand, but after doing some research, I discovered how it plays a role in your physical, mental and emotional health.

 

Here is a list of a few health benefits of laughter:

  • Relaxes your muscles
  • Relieves stress
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Improves blood pressure and flow
  • Reduces aggression and feelings of despair
  • Relieves pain
  • Eases anxiety and fear

We can even argue that laughter connects people with one another, strengthening their relationships. It improves mood and lifts burdens. And the best thing about laughter – it’s free!

Laughter is contagious…

Have you ever heard someone laugh so hard that you cannot help but start laughing yourself? It happens, and it is a wonderful feeling. You do not even have to know why the person is laughing – just the sound is enough to be infectious.

It is one thing to be able to laugh with someone, but a completely different thing to laugh at oneself. But you should be able to laugh at yourself. It indicates a good character trait – humour. The world is serious enough, and it is good to remind ourselves not to take everything so seriously, including ourselves.

 

“To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity.” – William Arthur Ward

 

In a life filled with despair, fear, war, bloodshed, anger, confusion, disappointment, loss and betrayal – how do we find joy and laughter? Well, we find it in each other, in ourselves, and in everything around us.

Here are some examples of where you are sure to find laughter:

Books:                    

  • The Ginger Man – JP Donleavy
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Comedy of Errors – William Shakespeare
  • The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
  • Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce

Movies:

  • The Hangover
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • Borat
  • Bridesmaids
  • Coming to America

TV Series

  • New Girl
  • 30 Rock
  • Friends
  • The Office
  • The Simpsons

There are many other ways to have a good laugh. Go watch a stand-up comedy show, read comic strips in the newspaper, or read jokes and tell them to your friends. I must confess: I obtain my daily laugh or chuckle from online videos – usually involving animals doing weird and funny things. It always lifts my spirit.

Even though there are so many ways to get a laugh, the best ones are always the unexpected ones. And next time you find yourself in a hilarious situation, do not suppress your laughter. Let it out and laugh! It is the best medicine.

The Soccer World Cup’s Champions on the Sidelines

Who’s watching the Soccer World Cup? Or let me rather ask: who isn’t? Already, everyone is talking about those great moments that have played out in Brazil so far (and we aren’t even out of the group stages yet!).

Brazil vs Croatia FIFA 2014 World Cup

Who didn’t loved watching Van ‘Supervan’ Persie’s amazing header as it arched perfectly over that Spanish goalkeeper; Suarez’s phenomenal goals against England; or Germany’s precision as they took Portugal apart piece-by-piece, goal-by-goal? And what about that beautiful corner by Italy, where Pirlo faked ball possession and let Marchisio shoot it straight through into the back of the net?

As soon as a goal is scored, however, the camera cuts straight to those men on the sidelines. They anxiously stand at the edge of the field the whole game, but as soon as the ball hits the net, they shout and pump their fists into the air and laugh, cry, and celebrate as if they themselves were the ones that scored.

Well, this is because these men are essentially responsible for the team’s performance on the field. These are the champions on the sidelines. These are the coaches.

Football fans know their names: Scolari (Brazil), Loew (Germany), or Hodgson (England). Football fans also know that a team’s success or failure can be traced directly back to these coaches. And likewise, College SA knows how important coaches are to a team’s performance. It is for this reason that we offer a number of sports coaching courses (including our College SA Short Course in Coaching Football).

We also know that, while some coaches wear expensive suits, others wear golf-shirts and track pants. We know that while some coaches are world-renowned, others are from small, unknown towns. And we also know that even the coach with the most humble beginnings can one day help their team win the World Cup.

So why can’t it be you standing there next to the field in 2018, holding the next World Cup trophy over your head like you scored the winning goal yourself?

Spain FIFA World Cup 2010

If you’ve always dreamt of doing this, then maybe you should start studying a coaching course today. In the meantime, however, we hope you enjoy the rest of the World Cup!

10 Tips for Beating Procrastination

Have you ever had so much on your plate that you had no idea how to get started? Don’t worry – you are not alone!  Leaving things for the last minute can be extremely stressful, and can often lead to having to pull unnecessary all-nighters, or having to deal with emotional breakdowns.

Beat procrastination

This blog post is meant to ease your fears and help you beat stress, because having those meltdowns is not worth it. Remember that most of the time, things work out just fine. So let’s get started.

10 ways to beat procrastination:

  1. Know your tasks:

It’s very easy to lose motivation when you have no idea what is expected of you. So, before you start any of your work, make sure you understand the instructions and what you are meant to do.

  1. Get moving:

One of the best ways to free yourself from procrastination is to change your scenery.  Try this: Start your day bright and early,and go for a walk around the block or do some stretches to get the blood flowing through your body. This will change your mindset completely and will help when you need to sit down with your work.

  1. Set a time:

Setting a time for yourself to work can be very effective. For example, 25 minutes is a good length of time to keep focused. After every 25 minutes of concentration, take a break and do something completely different for a short period of time, before getting back to your work for another 25 minutes. This allows your mind to re-energise.

  1. Motivation buddies are vital:

It is the best feeling when you know that people are there to support you.  So when you feel like you are slipping into procrastination, your motivation buddy will be a great help to get you back into the swing of things.

  1. Ask for help:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it is help from a tutor or a friend, having someone explain things to you can be very useful. At College SA, we give all our students access to a personal tutor. This tutor is available via telephone, e-mail, or Skype, and will attend to any study-related queries that you may have.

  1. Give yourself a break:

Try not to be too hard on yourself if you cannot get out of the procrastination slump for one day. Just work harder the next day to get things done.

  1. Get enough sleep:

You cannot have a full productive day if you go to bed late. You need to recharge at the end of each day, so remember to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night.

  1. Say goodbye to social networks:

Social networks can be very distracting. In order to focus on your work, you need to be strong and turn off all social networks during work time.

  1. Wake up early:

The advantage of waking up early is that it is quiet – giving you time to concentrate and get some work done.

     10.  Relax:

Try to remember that you will be okay! If you fail, it isn’t the end of the world. There are always second chances.

The Joy of Learning and Chewing Chappies

Today I bought a Kit Kat bar at the café across the road from College SA’s offices. I gave my money, got my Kit Kat, and took my R2 change. And then I decided to do something that I haven’t done since primary school: I bought a whole handful of Chappies.

As I sit down now behind my desk and shove the first little colourful square into my mouth, I can’t help but think back to those good old school days. I remember sitting down and eating Chappies with my friends (with a whole pocketful still to go) and swapping ‘Did you know?’ facts with them. Those ‘Did you know?’ facts were (and still are) written on the inside of each Chappie wrapper.

Did you know? Hurricanes start to take shape when the sea surface temperature is at least 27 degrees Celsius”

“Did you know? The Southeast Asia is the oldest rainforest in the world. It has been around for over 70 million years.”

Did you know? Deserts cover a third of the world’s surface”

(Obviously I had an environment-themed Chappie here).

Reading my Chappie facts (while chewing away), I can’t help but experience that same pleasure I felt back then. The pleasure of discovering another little fact and thinking, “No, I didn’t know that. But I do now!” I realise now that part of the joy I experienced when I was younger, was due to the pleasure one gets from learning and knowing new things.

Did you know? Human beings experience actual pleasure from learning.”

Jordan Litman, a professor at the University of South Florida,even published a paper on it, stating that the satisfaction we feel when learning something new is experienced in the same parts of the brain that experience satisfaction when we appease our appetites. We literally get hungry for knowledge, and experience pleasure when we appease that knowledge-hunger.

This makes me wonder about why we choose to study. Why do you study? To get a job one day? To improve yourself? To receive a diploma or certificate? These are all good reasons, I guess. But I think we all too often forget about the joys of learning when we study. We get so caught up in the piece of paper that a course promises (the certificate or diploma or degree) that we completely forget to enjoy the process of learning.

“Curiosity is a gift, a capacity of pleasure in knowing,” wrote John Rushkin. We are curious beings and we get pleasure from satisfying our curiosity. And what’s more: learning is the cornerstone of self-advancement, self-improvement, and personal (and professional) growth. And this is the focus of many of our provider programmes.

At College SA, we offer provider programmes to give you the knowledge that you want and need, without requiring you to spend a fortune on your education. Remember: knowledge is power; a diploma is just a piece of paper. It’s not the Chappie wrapper, but the facts written on it, that really matter.
You should study for the knowledge, and the pleasure of knowing, rather than just for the piece of paper you’ll get at the end, because:

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest