Sunday, May 21, 2017

A 100% life. It is possible to have a 10 out of 10 life.

A 100% life.
It is possible to have a 10 out of 10 life.

One of my young clients remarked that his observation among adults is that most people have a somewhat sad, just below the line, twilight existence ….   lives lived in semi-depression in need of anti-depressants and chemical substances to keep them going.  That is sad, but unfortunately too true. 

There must be more to life than this. Something must change - let hear what Moses 6:6 says about this:   "Lord, it can't continue like this!"   (Disclaimer Moses 6:6 = fictional!).
On Facebook , or "Fakebook" as I love to call it, and Instagram etc, people try to create the impression of a good life. The real thing is to create a life that is good on the inside , not only a life that looks good on the outside.

 But let us rather hear what real wisdom says: Believer or nonbeliever, the words of Jesus In John 10:10  makes real sense   ..  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  New International Version (NIV).  Or more poetic in the old King James Version (KJV)  …  I came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Many people aim for longevity:  The problem with longevity is that you only want to live the full length of what is possible. What about the full width , depth and height of it? Is that just as important? I am more interested in a full life than a long life. Or better still - living life fully!

You say I am an idealist and I dream too big? , I say you think too small.  I would like to suggest the following: Ten years from now make sure that you can say you chose, designed and managed your life. You didn't settle for it. Take responsibility to make the best of it. 



  
How?
Here are the steps that I suggest in my “Get a Life in 40 days” programme.
The biggest problem is that people haven’t even defined what a 100% life would look like. And if they did, it was mostly goals of having instead of goals of becoming. A 100% life is not lying on the beach under an umbrella with a drink in your hand with a small little umbrella in it! It is finding your life purpose and living it to the full!

Here are my short and sweet, steps to design the 100% life for yourself:
(For the full program: Enrol for one of my “Get a Life” workshops close to you. )
Cape Town : 31 May 2017  https://gustavgousonline.com/collections/seminars/products/get-a-life-seminar-31-may-2017-cape-town
Pretoria : 9 June 2017  https://gustavgousonline.com/collections/seminars/products/get-a-life-seminar-09-june-2017-pretoria-gauteng 

Steps to a 100% life: 
Step 1: Accept life as the greatest gift of all ( do not curse it – use it!)
Step 2: Take 100% responsibility for your life and your own outcomes
Step 3:  Ask and accept help from parents and coaches. A person of faith will enjoy the help and guidance of God.
Step 4: See life as something you have to create: Write the life story/book, paint the canvass, write the movie script. Decide if you want to write a love story or a tragedy, and act accordingly.
Step 5: Get the design or definition of what a 100% life consists of at your life stage. Do it according to your values and according to your life purpose. 




Step 6: Do a gap analysis how far you are from your 100% life
Step 7 Get the steps in place in priority order   (The GPS of your life: Goals Priorities and Scheduling) 
Step 8. Enjoy the journey and find peace in being en route!

If you do that then you will be able to say in years to come you chose, designed and managed your life, and steered it in the right direction. 

f you want more information on how to make counselling/coaching appointments or book dr Gustav Gous for motivational talks, contact admin@gustavgous.co.za 
If you want  interventions for your team: Contact +27 12 3455931   0r  0845138312 (Speak to Karen) or email gustav@gustavgous.co.za to discuss possibilities. 

Disclaimer:    Important notice to you as the reader:  Although the life coach (dr Gustav Gous) provide certain recommendations, the sole and final responsibility for decision-making remains your own and that the life coach or anybody associated to him and his company Short Walk Seminars Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any of your choices and reactions. You, the reader, must take full responsibility for your life, reactions and choices.  


www.gustavgousonline.com 

Dr Gustav Gous  is an International Motivational Speaker and Executive Life Coach with experience on 5 continents. He 
was the in-house counselor for the petro-chemical company Sasol for 9 years. He is known for his Transformational leadership programmes on Robben Island, titled the “Short Walk to Freedom”. 

He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and past President of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa and a member of the APSS (Asia Professional Speakers Singapore).  Currently he is heading up the Diversity Intelligence Institute, specializing in rolling out Diversity Intelligence interventions for 
international companies. His leadership caps does for leadership what De Bono's thinking hats did for creativity and problem solving. His Coaching programme on national Radio in South Africa RSG FM 100-104 "Fiks vir die lewe" touches the lives of many South Africans.  gustav@gustavgous.co.za    drgous@iafrica.com     www.gustavgous.co.za , www.diviin.com ,
Follow him on Twitter: @GustavGous  or on Facebook and LinkedIn .  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Get going: The GPS of Goal setting. Master the art: 10 steps

Get going: The GPS of Goal setting
Master the art: 10 steps 

We all are at point A in your lives. My question is – how happy are you at point A? If not 100% happy, then you must make a plan to go to point B that stands for Better or even BEST. 
If you stay at point A there will be no improvement in your happiness rating. It is common sense. But common sense is not yet common practice. Most people sit at point A and complain, moan, or make excuses. 
The successful people among us have discovered: It is better to make a plan, than to make an excuse. It is better to get a goal and  GPS to go to a better place. Bill Copeland said: “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

Lazy people have too few or no goals. They just drift and bemoan the beach they end up on. Intelligent people have many goals – too many. The problem is, that they are paralyzed because they have too many goals. They try to aim at 20 things simultaneously and hit none.  Four rabbits in sight, ... none in the pot. People with too many good goals feel a bit overwhelmed and then  they start to procrastinate:  They waste time on a really unimportant goal, instead of the first thing they actually have to do first.




Get a GPS: 
To go in real life from point A to point B you need a GPS. Not the normal GPS (Global Positioning System) that we nowadays use on road trips. Rather a GPS that stands for GOALS , PRIORITIES, SCHEDULING.  You must not only clarify all the goals in your life to take your life to the next level, but also arrange them in priority order. You determine the priorities through the following question: Which goal, if achieved, will result in the highest improvement of my happiness rating. And then the second goal resulting in the second highest improvement, and then the 3rd …, 4th, 5th, etc.

The way to do it, is to do it in the context of your overall life plan, with the help of a coach. Sports coaching is easy: The goal is clear: The Cup the World Cup or the Medal. It is all about implementation coaching to go from a state where we don’t have the Cup , to a situation where we have it!

Life coaching is a twofold process: You first have to clarify what point B (the better future) is, and only then put the steps in place to get there. It is first (i) clarification coaching (within the context of an overall life plan), and then (ii) implementation coaching.

The best way to do clarification coaching is the one day “Get a Life” workshop where you redesign your life, plan your next chapter, and walk away on that day with a GPS: a clear cut picture of exactly what to do to go to a better B:  The GPS list the top 10 Goals in Priority order, which you can Schedule into your daily activities to move step by step to your better future.

Welcome to join me on one of these workshops in the near future:
Pretoria 9 June 2017  https://gustavgousonline.com/collections/seminars/products/get-a-life-seminar-09-june-2017-pretoria-gauteng   , or any subsequent date in South Africa or other countries elsewhere in the world.

The outcome of these workshops is your GPS: Your top 10 list of prioritized goals. Once you have this top 10 list, then you must master the art of Goal setting.

There is the short methodology, and the 10 step methodology.

The short methodology is easy : You describe where you are (A), you describe where you want to be (B), you list the action steps to get there, you remind yourself of the benefits of achieving this goal, and you list solutions to all the obstacles that stand in your way in achieving this goal.


The longer, more detailed 10 steps of goal setting can be used for more complex goals:

1.      Action step 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOAL  ( They must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible)
Here you clarify the goal crystal clear.

2.       Action step 2: ALIGN YOUR GOAL WITH YOUR PERSONAL VALUE SYSTEM
Is it in line with what you stand for? You want money, but robbing a bank may be against your value system.

3.       Action step 3: IDENTIFY THE BENEFITS OF ACHIEVING YOUR GOAL
List all the reasons ‘why’ you want to achieve this goal. The bigger the ‘why’ the easier the ‘how’.

4.       Action step 4: IDENTIFY ALL THE POSSIBLE OBSTACLES THAT YOU MAY HAVE TO OVERCOME IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

5.       Action step 5: IDENTIFY THE STRATEGIES AND SOLUTIONS FOR OVERCOMING ANY POSSIBLE OBSTACLES

6.      Action step 6: IDENTIFY THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO OBTAIN YOUR GOALS
It can be people and things. It is about the ‘where’, ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘with what’ or ‘with whom’.

7.       Action step 7: LIST THE AFFIRMATIONS TO SUPPORT YOUR GOALS.
Affirmations are positive self-talk where you state a future reality as a current reality: I am the best mother in South Africa, or the best cricket player in the school,

8.       Action step 8: WRITE DOWN YOUR INTERMEDIATE OBJECTIVES
Here you write down the action steps one by one. What must I do first, in order to be able to do the next step. This is the important scheduling part of goal setting. In big projects this is the detailed project plan that must be managed.

9.       Action step 9: PRACTICE VISUALIZATION FOR YOUR GOALS
Awaken your sub-conscious mind through imagery. Visualize yourself achieving the goal. It is important not to only visualize the end result, but especially doing the actions that will result in achieving the goal. Do not only visualize yourself on the podium at the athletics meeting. Also visualize yourself in the gym and exercising on the track, come sunshine or rain.

10  Action step 10:   SET A DEFINITE COMPLETION DATE
There is nothing like a deadline to focus your mind and help you to choose your action in a specific moment.




This is the example on how to do goal setting  form my book “Get-a-Life in 40 days”  page 48.

I close with a few inspirational quotes:
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” —Bill Copeland
“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” —Orison Swett Marden
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” —Earl Nightingale

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” —Zig Ziglar

Get Going - go for your goal!



If you want more information on how to make counselling/coaching appointments or book dr Gustav Gous for motivational talks, contact admin@gustavgous.co.za 
If you want  interventions for your team: Contact +27 12 3455931   0r  0845138312 (Speak to Karen) or email gustav@gustavgous.co.za to discuss possibilities. 

Disclaimer:    Important notice to you as the reader:  Although the life coach (dr Gustav Gous) provide certain recommendations, the sole and final responsibility for decision-making remains your own and that the life coach or anybody associated to him and his company Short Walk Seminars Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any of your choices and reactions. You, the reader, must take full responsibility for your life, reactions and choices.  


www.gustavgousonline.com 

Dr Gustav Gous  is an International Motivational Speaker and Executive Life Coach with experience on 5 continents. He 
was the in-house counselor for the petro-chemical company Sasol for 9 years. He is known for his "Get-a-Life Workshops and his  Transformational leadership programmes on Robben Island, titled the “Short Walk to Freedom”. 

He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and past President of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa and a member of the APSS (Asia Professional Speakers Singapore).  He is the founding President of the Professional speakers Association of Namibia. Currently he is heading up the Diversity Intelligence Institute, specializing in rolling out Diversity Intelligence interventions for 
international companies. His leadership caps does for leadership what De Bono's thinking hats did for creativity and problem solving. His Coaching programme on national Radio in South Africa RSG FM 100-104 "Fiks vir die lewe" touches the lives of many South Africans.  gustav@gustavgous.co.za    drgous@iafrica.com     www.gustavgous.co.za , www.diviin.com ,

Follow him on Twitter: @GustavGous  or on Facebook and LinkedIn .  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What’s wrong with a rut? When and why to get out of it … if necessary!

What’s wrong with a rut?  When and why to get out of it … if necessary!
Dr Gustav Gous

What’s wrong with being in a rut – as if it is a bad thing? We all create ruts - routines, behaviour patterns, habits - to produce results. We cannot live without ruts.  The dictionary definition of a rut is :   rut 1  (rŭt)  n.  1. A sunken track or groove made by the passage of vehicles.


If a rut produces good results, or the rut, road or track takes you to good places, why get out of it?  

But a ‘rut’ also gets bad press in the dictionary:   It is  2. An uninspired routine or pattern of behavior that one continues unthinkingly or because change is difficult.

A rut is therefore just a bad name for a routine, behaviour pattern, or a habit. In this blog I will give you the guidelines on when and how to get out of your ‘rut’.  “Ruts’ must be evaluated in conjunction with results. The problem is not ruts, the problem is that your current rut, routines, behaviour patterns or habits, are perhaps not producing the results you want to get out of your life.

You sometimes you must ask: Is’nt there more to life than wake up, work yourself to death, go home,  eat, watch TV, sleep, repeat 5 days in a row, and over weekends watch sport and have a party with friends?

The solution is not to do away with ruts.  We cannot live without them – we are creatures of habit.   The solution is:

1.        First to determine what do you want out of life.  Reconnect with your ‘why’ in life.
2.       Then you ask: How happy are you with your life? Are you fulfilled?  Give yourself a percentage. Or a mark out of 10.  If it is not 100% then  you must ...
3.       Understand cause and effect:  Your current patterns, ruts, habits, behaviour patterns produce your current results.  Is your current habits serving your purpose or bringing the happiness that you long for?  Dr Phil, of Oprah fame, has this nasty way of unmasking bad habits: He always asks: ‘And how’s it been working for you?’  If not, then discontinue the habit.  You must realize: “If I continue to do what I do, and think what I think, I will continue to have what I have”.
4.       Then identify and make a choice:
-          Which ruts serve my purpose? Then keep them . but even with good patterns you must ask? Isn’t the good the enemy of the better? Improvement must be continuous.
-          Which ruts does not? Then throw them out and replace them by better ones
-          Which one’s are half good but cause problems or are incomplete?  Then tweak them or
-          adapt them.
5.       The, get a plan or a program to help you redesign your life,
6.       Then start doing it.  In doing so you will cement behaviours into benevolent patterns (not uninspired ruts)  that will serve your life purpose and produce the outcomes you long for.  It starts with new thinking:  New thoughts are the seeds of deeds:  Sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny.

The bottom line is:  There must be a balance between a winning recipe and “when last did you do something for the first time”.!

Live according to two principles:
(i)                  Connect your ruts or patterns to outcomes / results.   Current ruts – current results.  If you are not happy with current results, then change your patterns.  
(ii)                The way to change your patterns is to Get a Life plan,  a plan to redesign your life , habits for better outcomes. The Get a Life one day workshops that I do serve this purpose!

 If you want more information on how to make counselling/coaching appointments or book dr Gustav Gous for motivational talks, contact admin@gustavgous.co.za 
If you want  interventions for your team: Contact +27 12 3455931   0r  0845138312 (Speak to Karen) or email gustav@gustavgous.co.za to discuss possibilities. 

Disclaimer:    Important notice to you as the reader:  Although the life coach (dr Gustav Gous) provide certain recommendations, the sole and final responsibility for decision-making remains your own and that the life coach or anybody associated to him and his company Short Walk Seminars Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any of your choices and reactions. You, the reader, must take full responsibility for your life, reactions and choices.  


www.gustavgousonline.com 

Dr Gustav Gous  is an International Motivational Speaker and Executive Life Coach with experience on 5 continents. He 
was the in-house counselor for the petro-chemical company Sasol for 9 years. He is known for his Transformational leadership programmes on Robben Island, titled the “Short Walk to Freedom”. 

He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and past President of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa and a member of the APSS (Asia Professional Speakers Singapore).  Currently he is heading up the Diversity Intelligence Institute, specializing in rolling out Diversity Intelligence interventions for 
international companies. His leadership caps does for leadership what De Bono's thinking hats did for creativity and problem solving. His Coaching programme on national Radio in South Africa RSG FM 100-104 "Fiks vir die lewe" touches the lives of many South Africans.  gustav@gustavgous.co.za    drgous@iafrica.com     www.gustavgous.co.za , www.diviin.com ,
Follow him on Twitter: @GustavGous  or on Facebook and LinkedIn .  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lousy apology? How to apologize and when to forgive.

Lousy apology? How to apologize and when to forgive.


by dr Gustav Gous

Many of my clients ask:  What must I do if my spouse, partner, child (or even my business partner or local politician) offers a lousy apology.  Must I accept it and forgive? Or assert my right to ask for a better apology .
 In this very short blog I want to share the basic elements of a good apology. If you messed up – make sure to use it as guideline on how to offer a good apology.  If you were on the receiving end of wrongdoing, then you can use it as a grid to know what to look for in a good apology.
A good apology should include;
1.     1. A direct reference to the behaviour, wrongdoing at stake and a detailed account of what happened.
2.     2. An acknowledgement that it had negative effects (damage, loss or hurt)
3.     3. Taking full responsibility for the action/behaviour
4.     4. A full apology and statement of regret
5.     5. Specifically asking for forgiveness
6.     6. A statement on what is different? - and that it will not happen again (a promise is not good enough). If nothing is different, it will just re-occur.  
7.     7. An explanation on what he/she will do to rectify the situation and what restitution will be involved.
 When any of these elements are missing, or talked away with flimsy excuses, the apology is not complete.  General references like: “Sorry for what happened”, or “I am sorry that it turned out this way”, is not good enough and not sufficient. Any conditional apology is also not making the cut: “I’m sorry but …. It wasn’t actually me” or “I had this or that reason …”. The worst is: “Sorry that you took it up in this way”.  

The best way to look at it is to ask:  If my child came to me offering this lame excuse, how would I have reacted. Obviously pointing out where it was not yet done in the correct way.
A very recent example was the President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, offering an apology to the nation, after being found guilty of violating (failing to uphold) the Constitution of the RSA.
The Church can be said is to be in the forgiveness business.  But when the Anglican archbishop, and the South African Council of Churches, said they think it is a lame apology and that they do noit accept it, it created quite a furore.     I include the web-link to the full text of the President’s apology   http://ewn.co.za/2016/04/01/Full-text-of-President-Zumas-speech-on-Concourt-Nkandla-judgment.  Judge for yourself if his apology fulfils any of the requirements of a good apology. According to me it doesn’t even come close.
The basic message is:  Before you forgive: Listen carefully to the apology addressed to you. Even the bible says repentance and forgiveness must go hand in hand with the changing of your ways.

Furthermore it must also be debated if repentance must always lead to reconciliation – which is another matter.  


If you want more information on how to make counselling/coaching appointments or book dr Gustav Gous for motivational talks, contact admin@gustavgous.co.za 
If you want  interventions for your team: Contact +27 12 3455931   0r  0845138312 (Speak to Karen) or email gustav@gustavgous.co.za to discuss possibilities. 

Disclaimer:    Important notice to you as the reader:  Although the life coach (dr Gustav Gous) provide certain recommendations, the sole and final responsibility for decision-making remains your own and that the life coach or anybody associated to him and his company Short Walk Seminars Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any of your choices and reactions. You, the reader, must take full responsibility for your life, reactions and choices.  




Dr Gustav Gous  is an International Motivational Speaker and Executive Life Coach with experience on 5 continents. He 
was the in-house counselor for the petro-chemical company Sasol for 9 years. He is known for his Transformational leadership programmes on Robben Island, titled the “Short Walk to Freedom”. 

He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and past President of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa and a member of the APSS (Asia Professional Speakers Singapore).  Currently he is heading up the Diversity Intelligence Institute, specializing in rolling out Diversity Intelligence interventions for 
international companies. His leadership caps does for leadership what De Bono's thinking hats did for creativity and problem solving. His Coaching programme on national Radio in South Africa RSG FM 100-104 "Fiks vir die lewe" touches the lives of many South Africans.  gustav@gustavgous.co.za    drgous@iafrica.com     www.gustavgous.co.za , www.diviin.com ,
Follow him on Twitter: @GustavGous  or on Facebook and LinkedIn .  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Rumour has it … that gossip has been killed! The Art of killing gossip.

Rumour has it … that gossip has been killed!  The Art of killing gossip.

Our national sport is not rugby, soccer, football or cricket – it is gossip. We all partake: You either (i) do it; (ii) don’t do it but enjoy it privately; or (ii) felt the pain of gossip caused by others in your own life.  This blog will give practical advice at the end on how to handle gossip in these three situations.

You say: It’s harmless – what’s wrong with a bit of gossip news? You say with Alice R. Longworth: ‘If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody … come sit next to me’ … and I will tell you a thing or two!  

How would you feel if your medical doctor, psychologist, life coach, local pastor, confession priest, best friend and confidant, has a secret gossip problem – spilling the beans about your sexual habits/diseases and deepest inner insecurities? Not nice anymore?  I thought so. People start to dislike gossip, when you gossip about them.

Remember the story about the 3 pastors/priests having a confession session about their secret sins? Pastor 1. ‘I secretly obsess about other women and even had a sexual relation with one of the parish members’. Pastor 2: ‘Mine is money - I have helped myself to the church offering money’. They turned to the last one and asked: What is your secret sin?  Pastor 3: ‘Gossip – and I can’t wait to get out of here to tell everybody….!‘

You would rather have a coach or counsellor who will go to the grave with all the incriminating things that he/she has heard over the years, keeping confidentiality. (PS: One of the greatest compliments I ever received as a life coach, was at a farewell function after 9 years as the in-house counsellor for the petro-chemical company Sasol: They said that in 9 years there was no breach of confidentiality of any personal information shared in private counselling.   In corporate counselling, the principle is that only process information may be shared with HR or leadership, but no content information.) 

What is gossip?  It is sharing selective information and half-truths about the behaviour and personal lives of other people, in order to put other people in a bad light. Professional gossipers master the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid (Walter Winchell). Gossip is dangerous:  “It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” - James 3:5-6 in The Message (MSG). Perhaps it is true that gossip is carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.

The difference between gossip and normal news or investigative journalism is: Newspaper editors or Investigative Journalism TV editors take their journalists through the rigorous discipline of verifying facts before they go to press. They don’t want to lose money being sued for character defamation or crimen injuria - a wilful injury to someone's dignity. The gossiper doesn’t care about character defamation or half-truths. They just spread the news and don’t mind causing hurt.

Why do people gossip?  Inquisitiveness? Is it because people don’t have interesting lives themselves and focus on the lives of others? Is it because people are insecure, so they point out flaws in other people to make them feel good about themselves? Is it because they don’t have courage to confront a person directly?  Is it plain shallowness?  Henry Thomas Buckle (not Eleanor Roosevelt) said: “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

Let’s look at the 4 kinds of gossip and the reasons behind them. 

1.    1. Negligent gossip:  Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true. Mindless, third-party conversation with loose lips and tongues on truths or half-truths about a person not present. You negligently throw in all sorts of unnecessary information to spice up the conversation and tint the character of others:  “Oh yes, Sandy, the one who got pregnant before marriage’, or ‘Pete, after his extra marital affair, he started a new job, at ..’.  

2.    2. ‘Nose in my business’ - gossip. Sometime you are tempted to tell the proverbial town Gossip: Here is your nose – I found it in my business.  We all live in neighbourhoods, surrounded by voluntary spies, where news travels at the speed of boredom (Carlos Ruiz Zafón & Jane Austen). This kind of gossip is conducted by people who don’t have lives of their own, and they find the meaning of their existence to be voyeurs in, and broadcasters of the lives of others. Gossip columns fit in here. Interesting that no successful actor or sportsperson runs a gossip column on the secret lives of famous people. They have a life and success of their own. 

3.    3. ‘Character murder’ – gossip. This type of gossip is when you have malicious intent to deliberately harm another person with any bit of juicy truth or half-truth you can lay your hands on. The intention is to throw mud on a reputation. It is the dangerous type because the purpose is to commit character murder.

4.    4. Full-blown planned political plotters of planned misinformation: The Propaganda politico’s or character snipers. This is serious stuff.  It is more than Goebbels-type War propaganda. We know the first casualty in war, is the truth. But here the intention is to eliminate political foes. It works according to a predictable pattern. Three examples:

(i)            It was used in South Africa and Namibia during the liberation struggle against inner competition inside the movement/political party. Three to four people conspire and start spreading lies about a person. ‘We saw him with the enemy …”.  The rumour starts: You are a spy. Then you got killed in Quatro camp – one of the notorious camps where so-called dissidents got ‘disciplined’. Purpose achieved: Opponent eliminated. This pattern was graphically described twee weeks ago by the Namibian author and political analyst, prof Diesho during a talk in Windhoek.
(ii)           In the spy-vs-spy sage in South Africa, opponents were found fabricating evidence (full emails fabricated and sent out in the name of the other person to implicate the opponent). In other cases people in the intelligence industry stand accused of using the state funded security apparatus (intercepting emails and telephone calls, etc.), to try to uncover ‘dirt’ in the lives of opponents, to use against them.
(iii)          Another pattern was recently used against the Public Protector in South Africa, advocate Thuli Madonsela: She gives politicians a hard time unmasking their wrongdoings. They don’t like her and have tried everything to discredit her, with no avail. The only thing left, is the age old revolutionary trick of calling somebody counter-revolutionary and  a spy. So, coincidentally,  just before the elections, where her evidence could have been damaging to the ruling party,  an ‘anonymous’ source with a pseudo name, posted on social media (such as Twitter) that she is actually a spy for the CIA. It gets picked up by the media and the instigators are happy that they started a run-away fire. She (the Public Protector) unmasks it, ‘nonsenses’ it with a public statement, and put out the fire. Then the instigators persist and start a commission of inquiry, trying to paralyze the person and distract attention from what she is saying against the wrongdoers. Then the ‘disciplinary action’ either disappears in history without outcome, or the perpetrators persist, and will even fabricate more information to cast a shadow of doubt over their foe, in this case the legal Public Protector in South Africa, tasked to protect us against the wrongdoings and the abuse of power by people and politicians who think they are above the law. 

Once you see the pattern, it becomes predictable, and almost boring (and laughable, if it were not so serious), if you see it being repeated all the time. 

Here is another message for you from The Message (MSG):  “You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” Matthew 12:34-37  in ‘The Message’ (MSG) translation of the Bible. A person of faith believes there is a higher authority that even Kings and presidents must account to. If only they knew that.

George Harrison sings that “Gossip is the Devil’s radio” because twisted truth and knavish speech is the hallmark of the devil.    
“Gossip, gossip, I heard it in the night, Words that thoughtless speak, Like vultures swooping down below, On the devil's radio ….That soul betraying so and so , The devil's radio  … Pollution of the highest degree   .. Like a weed it's spread, 'till nothing else has space to grow, The devil's radio.  Oh yeah,  I heard you on the secret wireless,  Gossip, oh yeah You know the devil's radio ..”
The message is: The tongue must be controlled:  ‘Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.’  James 1:26  New International Version.

Practical advice:  

Let’s get practical. What are we to do in the following three situations: 
1. If you gossip yourself, 2. If they gossip about you, 3. If they gossip in your ear?   

Here is a practical plan against gossip, even a plan to kill gossip and stop it in its tracks. 

1.    1. If you do it – stop it.

  • ·         Get a life. Stop talking about the lives of others. Perhaps you will achieve more in life working yourself up instead of pulling others down. “Isn't it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?” –according to  Sean Covey, in  The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens.

  • ·         People see through you: They know you can tell more about a person by what that say about others than you can by what others say about them. (Audrey Hepburn)

  • ·         Marie Curie, the first women to win the Nobel Prize and only woman to win twice, said: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” She did the pioneering research on radioactivity and brought us X-rays. The more time you focus on other people – the less time you have to focus on achieving your own goals.

  • ·         If you are really inquisitive - channel your energy in the right way.  Become a scientist or investigative journalist – we need more of these.

  • ·         And for the “Propaganda politico’s / character snipers”. Sorry :( – we’ve seen through you and know your ways. If you don’t change, we will reject both you and your methods at the next polls.


2.    2. If they gossip about you – reframe it, confront it, ignore it, outlive it

If you experience it and is on the receiving side of gossip, you can:  

  • ·         Reframe it:  See it as a compliment and entertainment:  Oscar Wilde said: “If there is anything more annoying in the world than having people talk about you, it is certainly having no one talk about you.” Thank those who gossip about you for making you the centre of their world. It is sometimes fun to give boring people something to discuss. Gossip can also be entertaining: Occasionally you hear the most fascinating things about yourself you never knew.  Also recognise the jealousy of others:  Those who gossip behind your back are behind you for a reason.    
  • ·         Confront it:  Immediately confront the person, summons them to repeat what they have said in front of witnesses. Challenge them to bring provide proof. Immediate action will kill most of all gossip uttered in its tracks.  
  • ·         Ignore it:  Sometime it is so ridiculous that you must just ignore it. Reacting to it can just perpetuate the story. Don’t spend all your time to manage your public persona - the view others have of you. “Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us”.
  • ·         Outlive it: First of all: Live a life that prevents gossip. Live clean and make it impossible for people to get anything on you. Live in such a way that even if people throw dirt, that it will not stick. -     Will Rogers said: “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”  Secondly: When they really go after you: Then outlive it. Deeds speak louder than words.  Live above it. Truth always finds a way to reveal itself. Keep your cool – if they deal in lies – don’t do the same. Don’t descend to their level.   
  • ·         Protect yourself legally: If you are in the middle of an political onslaught or a personal vendetta against you: : Be aware, and protect yourself legally where possible – even get an interdict if necessary.
  • ·         And lastly: Live preventative: Do not entrust information to people who cannot handle it.

What if you are really guilty and every word of gossip about you is true? Then change your ways, and do not try to kill the messenger as current politicians in South Africa try to do. Focus on changing your ways – not zipping the mouths of people or muzzling the press. Like the ridiculous law Robert Mugabe got passed in neighbouring Zimbabwe – believe it or not - that nobody is allowed to criticize the president.   

3.    If they gossip in your ear -  be careful, test it, stop them, walk away, let it die with you, and dis-associate

What if people come to you to gossip about others?

·         Be careful:  Be wary: He/she who gossips to you will gossip of you. Tell them your policy is to talk to people – not about people. 
·         Test it:  Ask them if the information is verified? Is it true, is it necessary, is it kind? If not urge them to only share necessary verified information. There are two sides to every story. Try to see both .  
·         Stop them: If they say: “I do not want to gossip, but …” then stop them and say, I am glad you don’t want to gossip. The best way to kill gossip is to turn a deaf ear.
·         Walk away: Sometimes you must walk away. Don’t silently concede – then you are part of it and perpetuate it.
·         Let it die with you:   Gossip dies when it reaches a wise person’s ear. Mercedes Lackey said; ‘It's only gossip if you repeat it. Until then, it's gathering information.’  Then sift through the information and reserve judgement. If you don’t see it or hear it first-hand, or test it to be the truth, then don’t share it.

·         Dis-associate: Don’t hang out with people who gossip. This one is radical but it is the Biblical advice in 1 Corinthians 5:11 not even to associate with slanderers:  “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” (New International Version).
-           

My closing advice:  I have learned not to even believe everything I think, and more so especially not everything I hear. Make this your motto, and you will kill gossip in its tracks.  

If you want more information on how to make counselling/coaching appointments or book dr Gustav Gous for motivational talks, contact admin@gustavgous.co.za 
If you want  interventions for your team: Contact +27 12 3455931   or email gustav@gustavgous.co.za to discuss possibilities. 

Disclaimer:    Important notice to you as the reader:  Although the life coach (dr Gustav Gous) provide certain recommendations, the sole and final responsibility for decision-making remains your own and that the life coach or anybody associated to him and his company Short Walk Seminars Pty Ltd cannot be held responsible for any of your choices and reactions. You, the reader, must take full responsibility for your life, reactions and choices.  




Dr Gustav Gous  is an International Motivational Speaker and Executive Life Coach with experience on 5 continents. He 
was the in-house counselor for the petro-chemical company Sasol for 9 years. He is known for his Transformational leadership programmes on Robben Island, titled the “Short Walk to Freedom”. 

He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and past President of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa and a member of the APSS (Asia Professional Speakers Singapore).  Currently he is heading up the Diversity Intelligence Institute, specializing in rolling out Diversity Intelligence interventions for 
international companies. His leadership caps does for leadership what De Bono's thinking hats did for creativity and problem solving. His Coaching programme on national Radio in South Africa RSG FM 100-104 "Fiks vir die lewe" touches the lives of many South Africans.  gustav@gustavgous.co.za    drgous@iafrica.com     www.gustavgous.co.za , www.diviin.com ,
Follow him on Twitter: @GustavGous  or on Facebook and LinkedIn .