A great many people have, over the course of their lives, been influenced to a certain degree by  attending seminars presented by motivational speakers, or others professing to have the secrets of personal success and financial independence at their fingertips. Strangely enough, if one were to conduct an extensive, world-wide survey it would probably become apparent that the only people who really have become financially independent through these seminars are those who are themselves the presenters and/or motivational speakers. Their wealth has often been the result of their international  presentations  as well as the sale of their books and videos, (in the past it was tapes) which attendees had been encouraged to buy.  Humans are often vulnerable and open to brainwashing in one form or another, and when the financial aspect of their lives leaves a great deal to be desired, it stands to reason that it would be fairly simple to fill the halls where a well renowned  speaker is going to impart the secrets of his success.

The hype which accompanies the actual seminar is often extremely euphoric and attendees are still fired up with optimism and enthusiasm as they leave the conference centre. However, to take what they have heard, and to read the books and implement the theories which are often outlined, is not a simple matter. Life has an uncanny knack of interfering with the positive plans which have been emphasised by the motivator. Notes have been taken down during the session, books have been  purchased and possibly even personally signed by the presenter of the seminar and now it’s all going to fall into place. Or is it? It would be cynical to say that no-one benefits long term by these ra-ra sessions as there are often some incredibly meaningful messages coming out of such events.

There are many successful motivators or experts on improving one’s self-esteem, or current situation, and Dr. Brian Jude was a well known motivational speaker whom I was privileged to hear  when I attended one of his seminars in Johannesburg, whilst being involved in direct selling. Several of his anecdotes have stayed with me ever since. One was GOYA – get off your  arse!  Only by getting off your butt and putting thoughts into action will there be any change. Another one was WIIFM – what’s in it for me. When dealing with potential customers it’s necessary that the person you want as your client sees that you are giving him a good deal, or excellent service. Taking yourself out of the equation and putting your client’s needs first makes him realise that you have his interests at heart. Both of these anecdotes could assist in growing one’s income potential.

Changing one’s attitude and becoming more successful in various areas of one’s life is a journey which involves so much more than merely attending a talk, and reading the right books. They can certainly help in gaining perspective but believing in yourself and seeing the glass half-full as opposed to half-empty can be extremely difficult for many people and there are so many factors which play their role.  Confidence, self-love, feelings of self-worth, encouragement, are all words which come to mind when this subject is broached.

Whilst being involved in the training of young staff whilst owning a restaurant, an exercise which I found very useful in encouraging them to feel more confident  was to ask each of them to list 6 things that they liked about themselves. It was distressing when there was one teenager who just could not come up with anything at all. In a situation such as this, the intervention of a qualified counsellor could have surely assisted in building his self-esteem.  Just a thought?

We all thrive on positive input from friends and family as well as business associates and clients. However, it is very easy to become disheartened and to start doubting one’s capabilities when we receive negative comments. Very easy to say “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, but as humans most of us have fairly fragile egos especially when our capabilities are being questioned. This is where one’s childhood and upbringing come to the fore. Where parents have built self-esteem from a young age, then in adulthood it is usually easier to handle criticism. However, a child who has constantly been demeaned and put down by parents may never really have the confidence in the big bad world to reach their full potential

To keep positive in a world full of negativity and stress, it is certainly a good idea to surround oneself with material which can regularly be used to help improve one’s state of mind. Amusing videos, books which lift the spirits, friends who make you feel happy when you speak to them, and never forgetting  the importance of good health and regular exercise in the maintenance of a positive self image, are all important factors to bear in mind. Yes, motivational seminars can provide one with good ideas which one can try to implement, but ultimately maintaining a healthy mental attitude to life and oneself is a constant work in progress.


 That dear, familiar face I’ll see no more,

Nor hear the voice I loved so well.

You’ve gone from me now to that place far away

Where time will have no meaning,

And pain will be a stranger you once met.

Thank you for your love – and my life.

How can a Mother ever be repaid?

The joy you brought us all

Will stay in our hearts forever.

When the pain has eased and we laugh once more,

We’ll remember the pleasure we gained

From our times spent together.

Rest in peace Mother.

Judy Binns Nemeth –
 This poem was written several years ago for a friend whose mother had died suddenly whilst spending a holiday with him and his family.


Feeling Good About Yourself?

Very few people are totally content with their physical appearance. Although most learn to accept slight imperfections, sometimes these flaws can lead to bullying in childhood and low self-esteem.  With professional help much can often be done to alleviate the problem.

A child who has prominent ears may be laughed at and called Mickey Mouse or Dumbo. Pinning back the ears by a plastic surgeon is apparently a fairly common and not an overly complicated procedure. It is probably somewhat easier for a girl to disguise her ears with a particular hair style than for a boy, but that is not always possible.

Nowadays the wearing of glasses is a fashion statement so it doesn’t appear to be as much of a problem as years ago when a short or far sighted chid was called “four eyes” and made fun of.  It would appear that more children are being prescribed spectacles than in previous decades, possibly due to computer usage or an excess of television viewing.   However, with the advent of contact lenses, the wearing of glasses may become a matter of choice.  In adulthood there may be the option of surgery to correct the short sightedness, by a qualified ophthalmic surgeon.

Anything which makes a child stand out as different can have long lasting psychological effects. A big problem these days is obesity. Even though there are more and more fat children, they still are often a target for teasing. Often the reason for the obesity is psychological. An unhappy home life, sexual abuse, and generally a poor self esteem can culminate in a child finding comfort in food – and the wrong kind of food.  The rolls of fat may offer the child a barrier to the world of misery in which he finds himself. The bigger he becomes, the safer he may feel. However, it is a catch 22, as the bullying and verbal abuse from other children may continue unabated.

Sadly, the damage to a person’s self esteem during the childhood years may not disappear once one is an adult, even though the person may be seen to have succeeded in their chosen field.  However, it is possible to get help in correcting the problem, which in turn can give back confidence and a feeling of self-worth. If a problem is allowed to continue, depression and even suicidal thoughts may result.

So much can be done nowadays to help people gain confidence and to feel good about themselves, but it is imperative that the professional one chooses to help alleviate the problem comes well recommended. Attending seminars hosted by motivational speakers can point a person in the right direction as far as building up a positive self-image and therefore self-esteem.

Areas which seem to cause adults misery can be ugly teeth which were not corrected in childhood, unhappiness with the size of one’s breasts, a perceived unattractive backside and more commonly nowadays, sagging skin from having been morbidly obese and then losing a huge amount of weight.

Worldwide there are top class professionals in all the medical fields who could be approached to help rectify the problem but, unfortunately, it is usually up to the patient to foot the bill, as anything deemed to be cosmetic is generally not covered by normal medical insurance options. If the condition needing to be rectified can be proved to be causing serious psychological problems, it may be that certain types of medical insurance options might be more amenable to covering some of the costs of the procedure.  Obviously, there would have to be psychological assessments done to prove that this is in fact the case. If there are seriously deep-rooted psychological problems, then cosmetic surgery to increase or reduce the size of one’s boobs or to gain a Kardashian-type butt may just prove to be a total waste of hard-earned cash which does not alleviate the negative self-image. Seeking psychological help may have been a better option than enduring the painful surgery!


Living in today’s world with all its technological advances seems to have created a situation whereby people tend to be less satisfied with themselves and their lives than their parents  or grandparents ever were. For example, social media, whilst having many benefits and allowing people to keep in touch with one another instantaneously, has a dark side as well. Spending time on viewing the lives of others can result in feelings of failure, insecurity and low self-esteem. After all, by nipping and tucking photos with the help of photoshop, even the most ordinary looking person is suddenly able to look like a movie star.  It is also a way to brag about one’s life – wonderful holidays, great social life, amazingly happy families. The list goes on and on.

There are many reasons for having  poor self-esteem or poor self-image and one could write reams on the subject and many people have already done so. My hope is to discuss some of the factors which can have either a negative or positive influence on the way in which people perceive themselves. There will be several articles linked in some way to the first one which concentrates on self-esteem.