Sunday, 25 June 2017

How do you appear to others?


This is a very intriguing picture, a challenge- and boy do we like a challenge! So I'm going to challenge you further!

We have a whole range of looks and there are many amongst these faces; serenity, happiness and degrees of darkness, light and shade; all of which form our personalities. Interestingly, we often speak about ourselves as having a public and private face, referring to our overall demeanor, but there is also a difference between how we look and how we imagine we look! Being aware of yourself and how things affect you, follwoed by how we express this is a key skill that we neglect far too often, so let's challenge ourselves!

THE CHALLENGE:
To create awareness of inner emotion and external reflection. 

Our faces so often show our feelings so it is good to know how we look to the external world. It is good to create an enhanced awareness of how people react to you. Instead of just talking, tune into people's receptivity. Are they chatting comfortably with you or do they seem reserved, on edge, bored? Look at how you're looked at! This is not direct mirroring but it is certainly a reflection of interaction. People's expressions during conversation may be a response to the way you are looking at them. You could be in a bad mood and have lightened up your speech but not your face! It's easy to do if you are feeling impatient or upset yourself, so it's worth checking in with your emotions and making a concerted effort to change your expression before relaying information to others. There's a very common phrase that comes to mind, especially when dealing with children- as my son says to his eldest, 'fix your face!'

Sometimes we can be so focused on thought that we drift from conversation and may look distant; this can be deemed rude by other people. If you don't feel like contributing, excuse yourself. If at work, you are paid to do a job and throughout your working day mental attention is mandatory. It's no good looking miserable at work or in similar situations, this brings the team down. Take a couple of minutes where possible to pull yourself back together, after all, your problems are not other people's concern and they deserve the best of you. Even if your work colleagues are your best friends they need a break, so discuss things outside working hours.

It is very easy to pull faces without realising it. Shock is an automatic look as is anger in the first instance. When you feel an emotion, let your mind take over for a second and correct your expression. This takes practice but will assist you in many situations, especially job interviews! Example- Okay, that's a tough question but I'm going to continue smiling while I gather my thoughts- done it many times.

There are people we have all the time in the world for and others we can't stand! Truth. Never allow your feelings to enable disrespect, even if you feel you have reason to do so. If people think differently to you that's fine, even if their argument makes no sense to you. Be courteous and listen to other people's points of view. If you don't you will probably look impatient and as if you're just waiting for your chance to get a word in.

Facial expressions are an important part of our body language and very often we read them automatically, hence our reactions to others, so it is good to know how we come across and whether our expressions are appropriate. There are times when we have no idea how we look. I read in a fictional story about a woman who was smitten with a guy and as she approached him, before he saw her, she saw him looking annoyed and checking his watch. Something in his expression told her she had misjudged him, so you took a cab home! There's a lot to that so think about it.

I'm going to round this off quickly by saying, getting to know yourself is an important, on-going process so it is wise to understand your expressions, after all, your public face speaks volumes!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Dancehall Lovers- Macini Hits Spain this Friday!


Sharing a recent Facebook update:

'Popular Dancehall/Reggae artist Macini is thrilled to announce that he’ll be performing again in Europe on Friday 23rd June. You’ll find him pumping up the party vibes at Sin’s Villa Pool Party, Cala Tarida, Sant Josep- perfect for Ibiza. ‘Man A General,’ as he’s become known since first performing his song in Gambia where he thrilled an audience of over 20,000 at the NationalStadium, has found his career spiralling upwards. Macini was invited to Germany off the back of this song, and Shaggy was so impressed when Macini sang it at Shaggy’s single release party where Stylo G also performed last year, that he called him back on stage and shook his hand! More recently Macini has blown people away with ‘Bad Gal,’ a song for the ladies, receiving airplay worldwide which has resulted in countless interviews and invitations for live performances including the Pool Party. Macini’s next interview is ‘the biggie’ on Jamaican Station ‘Nightly Fix’ at 3pm Jamaican time, Tuesday 13th June; so catch it if you can! Make sure to link with Macini on your social network sites for more updates.' 

Jaz McKenzie~The Word Magician

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Reality TV- Are we doing our kids a favour?


The world of reality TV has opened new doors- but what do you want for your child? To dream about being on TV and becoming a celebrity or would you prefer them to understand that there's more to life? This is a one of the challenges facing today's parents.

Progress is and was and ever will be. Children used to be children but now they're frequently mini-me's due largely to media influence across the board; but following on from fashion, a new phase has swept nations worldwide to influence us- it's called reality TV.

Reality TV has become so popular it's taking over more than the airwaves, it's actually programming our minds. Top of the list are the talent contests which have gained incredible momentum, giving people their 5 minutes of fame and possibly a great career. Having proved hugely successful, The Voice is now running a children's talent contest. Is this simply ITV capitalising on our hunger for talent and love of child performers or do the producers genuinely want to offer youngsters an opportunity? That's the first debate- the second is; are these programmes of real value to children?

In some ways society seems to embrace talent above and beyond other more basic values. To be a star is a common dream and always has been, but today there are many more avenues to fame, so all children have to do is keep dreaming and keep practicing! Many youngsters have grown up in the talent show era and the only thing they have ever wanted to do is get on the Xfactor or similar. It could be deemed sad given that the vast majority will not make it beyond the auditions, however ambition is a better choice than lack of ambition and gives children something positive to work towards. The Xfactor has a track record of producing huge stars- not so with The Voice, but at the same time it is very cruel; the nature of the business is cut throat so unless your youngster has a steel core they will endure heartache.

There have always been truly talented children who are destined for fame and these children will naturally be obsessional about their dream, rightly believing them to be their destiny. The majority of children on The Voice have musical backgrounds, attending stage school or having experience of gigging and singing in public. They really want to make this their career. But children are susceptible to suggestion and trends, so how many just jump on the band wagon and see this as their escape from what might be considered a less glamorous future? Years ago children wanted to be policemen or air hostesses- thanks goodness we have moved away from gender stereotypes; so is this really any different or do these shows fill a generation with false hope?

Children's pageants have been running for years and we are often horrified by compulsive, driven parents who deprive their children of childhood in order to live their own dreams and drag their children around the country. Children have always been pushed if they show talent; gymnasts, footballers and ballerinas come to mind- but how does this equate with new TV opportunities? That will depend upon the parent, but what is the reality in households where dreams such as these are prevalent and the children are not being coached? Coaching is the key difference here however you could say the application process will weed out the no-goers and acts as a safety net. You could also say that these programmes provide free tuition for children with potential and give them the kind of contacts and opportunities they cannot otherwise access.

Social history is interesting. Years ago the average teenager admired pop stars and had countless posters on the wall, dreaming of meeting their idol, but now huge numbers want to be the star. Is reality TV a good thing or a bad thing? It's definitely not a trend having continued to grow  rapidly over more than a decade. If you have children, it's something to think about. We need to encourage ambition and ambition is born of dreams so it's a difficult balance. Children grow up fast physically and have more emotional pressure than they did a couple of decades ago, so we need to be clear as to our own family values and create as many care-free hours for our children as possible. Keeping it real is key. Family, friendships and school should come first and your children should benefit from using their leisure time as they choose.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

Saturday, 10 June 2017

How well do you handle criticism? Reject Criticism~ Reject Growth-


All of us face criticism at times within our personal and professional lives. Dealing with criticism requires a level of self-confidence and maturity coupled with understanding. When criticism is dished out on a regular basis it can impact upon the individual's confidence and personality, creating self doubt and acting as a barrier to natural positive energy. In the long run constant criticism can lead to low self-esteem in both children and adults, who often become easy to manipulate as they begin to doubt their capacity to think for themselves and make good decisions.

When does criticism become intrusive? People who consistently criticise a particular person are actually abusing them through an insidious form of bullying. Sometimes people do this through their misguided belief that repetitive criticism will spur people into action. It doesn't work. People who are constantly told to do something such as lose weight or stop smoking rarely respond to criticism especially if they are made to feel badly about themselves.

Now let's good consider 'good' criticism, the type designed to help us move forwards. When people are very skillful criticism can come across more as suggestion. Example: When shopping, you might pick up a top that seems to drain the colour from your complexion. Rather than saying- that top's dull and does nothing for you, a sensitive person might just offer a couple more tops for consideration. Where this technique is used you create a win-win situation. Even if the person sticks with their original choice, you have presented an opportunity to expand their thinking; the aim of critique.

When we have what we believe to be brilliant ideas it can be hard to accept criticism, especially when we feel flushed with success, but we are all students in life and learn great things from one another. I was criticised by a friend last night and yes, I naturally felt defensive however I have learnt to listen patiently, go away and digest the information. Sometimes I will seek other opinions or research for myself before making a decision regarding the advice received.It is this process that leads to growth. If you receive criticism from an expert, realise that experts usually get it right due to their wealth of experience.The times people refuse expert advice on programmes such as 'Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares,' or 'The Hotel Inspector,' are rare. People often put up resistance initially, especially as people such as Gordon Ramsey deliver their critique likes bulls in a china shop, and barriers may need to be removed before advice can be actioned. If you feel really upset by a criticism, ask yourself why. It might just be they way the criticism was delivered. Alternatively, it could go a lot deeper especially if viewed as personal. Uncomfortable feelings usually point us towards issues needing to be resolved or suggestions that might go against our integrity. Past experiences can be the underlying issues that create a defensive stance. Of course, experts aren't always right so just understand the reasons for your decisions and allow gut instinct to have its say.

 At work we receive performance reviews to help us identify our strengths and weaknesses. SWAT analysis are essential tools for large and small organisations, enabling them to constantly monitor goals, input and output. Achievement is key. Ultimately strengths and weaknesses occur in everyone and everything. Pause for thought: the beauty and strength of the flower lie in it's roots, colour, shape and scent however the stem is usually it's weakest point and if bent, can destroy the flower. It's worth remembering that weakness is natiral, especially when feeling vulnerable.

We often criticise ourselves, but how many times have we done something a certain way for years and suddenly discovered an easier way to do the exact same thing? It's part of our purpose as we are here to develop and expand, not to stay still! Good bosses encourage employees to assess themselves and good bosses seek criticism regarding their own performance. This is why organisations send out questionnaires and sales assistants often ask you to go online and comment on their service. Evaluation is an everyday tool so we should embrace criticism, but not be overly critical and too harsh on ourselves- that can create fear of failure.

Criticism activates the mind. We often pay to be criticised- does that sound strange? If you pay for tennis lessons your technique needs to develop so you will be criticised whilst you're learning- and at world class level when you make a mistake! The question is, how well do you give and receive criticism?

Once we accept criticism and decide to act on it we create new momentum in our lives- change activates momentum. People notice when we do things differently and often comment on our growth. As we improve new opportunities reveal themselves leading to more choice and control over our lives.

Be wise- actively encourage criticism and open the doorway to growth and opportunity- alternatively, stay where you are and critise those who critise you, keeping the ball of negativity rolling!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk