Sunél’s Blog | Sit dit af, sit dit af! (Switch it off, switch it off!)

When Apartheid was at its height, Johannes Kerkorrel created the protest song, Sit dit af, sit dit af! against State propaganda at the time. It’s been ringing in my ears for a long time. It’s how I feel about news these days. The news media has become an endless source of negative noise. Almost every time I tune in, I become enraged at the sensationalist propaganda and the exploitation of news for materialistic gain. Bad news is used to prosper global media companies at the expense of the peace of mind of ordinary people, most whom have no way of fact checking or creating perspective.

The news everywhere around the world now makes us believe that we live in polarised and hateful societies. If you live on social media, this is what your reality is. Vitriolic, racist conversations cascade/retch down Twitter feeds or Facebook posts. We are filled with fear about corruption and crime and the impending implosion of the world as we know it. Endless speculation about the inept public protector or our wicked politicians spill over into our dinner table conversations from our devices and TV screens.

I see my retired clients waiting in anguish for their lives to be engulfed by the bad news. The fixation on bad news blinds us to the good around us and the goodness in our own lives. The unrelenting bad news (fake or real) robs us from experiencing the truth of our own lives.

When we give space to our own experience of everyday life, our reality suddenly becomes very different. We can become more aware of the very real, amazing humans in our country.  We can feel the genuine love and warmth of our cities and towns. Whenever I travel, it always amazes me that people cannot mention South African without mentioning the warmth of our people.

This is what the Springbok World Cup Win and #I’m staying has done in South Africa – point to the existence of the good in our country. We are all aware of the threats and challenges of our country.

When we pay as much attention to the goodness in our lives and tune down the perceived or real threats out there, it helps us to create perspective. So, over the coming holidays, when we will gather with family or friends, why not heed the call of Johannes Kerkorrel. Sit dit af, sit dit af!

Switch off the news, even if only for the holidays, and then open your eyes. You may experience a gloriously good world.

Sit it af, sit dit af! Listen to the song and hopefully the refrain will remind you to switch off. https://genius.com/Johannes-kerkorrel-sit-dit-af-lyrics

Kind regards,

Sunél

//20 December 2019

Sunél’s Blog | What are holidays for?

This will be my last blog post for a month. Not only are we relocating to Cape Town from Johannesburg as you read this, but it is the holiday season for most South Africans. Many make the trek to their home towns, their families or their usual seaside resort. As we all do so, it might help to think why we are doing holidays? What do we want from our holiday? If this is your only long annual holiday, you need to think hard what the purpose of holiday is.

I can tell you what I intend. I intend to rest. Our friends know that we can jam-pack our December holidays with family and friends, braais and swims. We love impromptu get-togethers which can quickly grow to feeding a crowd. It is all tremendous fun, but it frequently leaves me drained afterwards.

This year, I plan to rest. I know that I will need a store of energy to tackle next year – one of the biggest and most daunting transitions of my life. We will face many challenges as a family from settling in at new schools, to commuting and building new client relationships in Cape Town, all will need more than usual energy from me.

I plan to take it slowly, to be more selective about what I offer and entertain and to rather do fewer activities well and with deep connection. I plan to sleep and rest deeply. If you’ve following this blog, you will know that it goes without saying that I will walk along the beaches and the mountain paths but to restore, not to get fit – to clear my head and ponder. I also long to have deep conversations with dear friends and my parents. If I have learned something this year, it is that life is short and unpredictable. I want to treasure the times spent with them, not in frenetic get-togethers but quiet and drawn out visits under the tree in the garden.

I may not get this right 100% but I also know that If I don’t set an intention for myself, it will most definitely not happen.

As you set off on your holiday, perhaps you should consider why you are doing so. In order to be successful in money and life, you need to fill your energy tank. How will you fill your tank?

I wish you all a happy and restful holiday! I hope that you return with renewed energy and hope in 2020. I look forward to many conversations in the new year.

Ps. Look out for one more blog next week – something I wrote some time ago.

Kind regards,

Sunél

//14 December 2019.

Sunél’s Blog | What is the worst thing that can happen?

Last week, I wrote about uncovering the root of anxiety about money, which starts with awareness. But awareness is not enough.

When we worry about money, we often have vague fears about the worst thing that can happen. What if a global recession wipes out half of my capital just before I retire? Experts will placate you and say that it is unlikely but that doesn’t settle your anxiety.

A solution may be to imagine what will happen when your worst fear becomes a reality. What will you do on that day? How will you feel that day and the next? How will you cope practically? If you can face your fear and then live through it in your imagination, you may enhance your perception of how you will cope.

Women frequently fear becoming a bag lady – a homeless woman roaming the streets carrying her belongings in shopping bags. Years ago, I read a book about a  wealthy woman for whom this worst fear happened. Alexandra Penney had invested all her funds with Bernie Madoff and lost everything when it emerged that he ran a Ponzi scheme. The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All, is Penney’s memoir on surviving her worst fear. It is a good read to help you see that you really can ‘survive’ your worst money fear.

Right now, in South Africa, we are facing anxiety over our future. Ask yourself, ‘What is the worst that can happen? How will I survive it?’ Rather than living with that anxiety, face the fear and imagine what you might do to cope. Practical steps may emerge from your imaginary journey that keeps you from the precipice, like saving more money for an emergency fund (even some extremely wealthy families keep too little inaccessible funds).

There may be nothing else you can do, but your confidence in your ability to cope may change. It is our belief in our ability to cope that will battle our anxiety.

Regards,

Sunél

//06 December 2019