Unlock The True Value of Knowledge

Knowledge is great when we apply it to direct our behaviours and actions in our lives. If we do not apply the knowledge we gain then its there but has no real purpose. Applying the knowledge you gain is really your “power tool” for success in your life

Who you will be in the future and what you will become in the future will be determined by the knowledge you gain .This knowledge comes from the books and articles you read, the people who you associate with, the thoughts that filter through your mind and lastly the action you take based on the knowledge you have gained.[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”0521319269″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51b-CHS8%2BqL._SL160_.jpg” width=”106″]

When we make a decision to acquire knowledge that we  take action on then we shall consistently grow and expand. When you commit to acquire the right knowledge and convert this into daily action, you will have discovered how to consistently grow and expand, into the type of person you need to be to attract the type of success you desire.

Let me give you an example. When we moved to Spain in 2010 my husband and I did not speak Spanish. We thought it would be easy to pick up but at our age in our 50s it was not the easiest to learn. Of course we did pick up words here and there but it was more difficult than we thought.

When we returned in 2012 I made a vow that I would take up Spanish classes so that when the kids finished school and we returned to Spain I would have a better understanding of the language. This is an example of acquiring new knowledge that I would put into action to make my life easier on our return to Spain a year or so down the line. In essence acquiring this new knowledge was affecting my future.

How do we acquire new knowledge?

Read for at least one hour a day. Listen to audio recordings when in the car and go to training sessions that are in line with what you want to learn.[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”1412997976″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JfvYRTPpL._SL160_.jpg” width=”124″]

If we want to earn more income then we need to learn more. There are no magic buttons and it has been shown  in many cases that your level of income correlates to your knowledge. Increasing our knowledge will also increase the quality of our lives. Becoming a continual learner will put a light into your life and have a positive effect on your life.

If we only learn something to increase our knowledge by only one percent a week then that is 67% in a year .

Small steps bring major changes and as your knowledge improves you will start to soar to new heights and move forward towards your dreams.

Never be afraid to identify the talents you lack. When I work with young adults and ask them to identify their talents and also areas where they need to work on most of them find this a very difficult task to do .

It is only when I highlight talents I have spotted in the group that the students start to learn how to identify their interpersonal skills they have at present and also the skills they need to acquire. When we can see the talents and skills in other people that are lacking in ourselves then aligning ourselves with those people will enable us to learn from them and increase our own skills

Make sure that you invest some of the time being mindlessly entertained into something of value. This gives you a huge advantage and will equip you for future success. Use your knowledge to equip you for the opportunities that will come your way.

Use your knowledge to direct your future and remember knowledge is never power unless you apply it to shape your life.

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Teach yourself to see Opportunity in Everything

English: Centre for Health, Social and Child Care

English: Centre for Health, Social and Child Care (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something I have concentrated on developing throughout my career and also my personal life is to really try and see opportunity in everything. Now let me take a step back here and say that sometimes it is just not as easy as it sounds but I do still try.

I have tried really hard to instill this quality in my own daughters as well as the students I teach. Life throws at us many challenges and it is important that we are able to recognize the value that a challenges will bring to us. In fact a challenge will offer us the opportunity for personal growth, a new experience and also a new learning experience.
Sometimes when we are faced with a challenge another idea could surface that previously would not have come to the fore had we not had to stretch our mind and get creative in finding solutions to what we have in front of us .

Of course it is important for us not to ignore reality but we can learn the benefit of keeping a positive mindset especially when dealing with negative people and events around us.

When I returned from Spain this August I was able to return to my previous job at the college as they had kept the job open for me for 3 years just in case I decided to come back. I was extremely grateful for this opportunity as I enjoy the age group and the subjects I teach at the college.

What I noticed in my first few weeks back was the number of negative people who seemed stuck in a rut and had not changed from that scenario in the 2 years I had been away .

They are not happy with their jobs and have been there many years so in effect have lost the challenge and spark in what they do. In seems that the job has become something they do towards getting a pension in a number of years time.

This negativity is a daily challenge for me as I know it is easy to get sucked in and dragged down to the point of agreeing with them and joining the negative clan who move around the college moaning about everything.

I decided early that rather than let the negativity affect me  the opportunity in what I was doing would be  transferring my knowledge and experience onto my blog and building up my blog as an avenue to move forward when my daughters have finished school 2 years down the line.

For that reason I love what I do and see in the college a great opportunity for me to develop on my own. When I am faced with negative people I take it as an example of what happens when we fail to embrace change and see opportunity in what we do .

In fact we should really thank the challenging people who cross our path for teaching us about ourselves and also allowing us the opportunity to learn the benefits of keeping a positive mindset.

In my position as coordinator of health and social care in the college I am faced with challenges every day coming from all directions. I have students coming to me with their problems and unable to see a way out. When I sit with them and we discuss the angles around the problem it is mostly the student who comes up with the solution.I am just the facilitator who tries to help them see that there are other ways to look at the situation in front of them and see a way forward.

When it comes to the end of their two year course the only difference between the student who achieves distinctions and the student who manages to pass is the ability to take on a challenge and not see it as a set back. All of us are faced with challenges throughout our lives and it is our decision on how we approach them as an opportunity to learn or we use them as a reason not to try.


As tonight brings us into 2013 we must remember that what ever way our life unfolds will depend on how we respond to the challenges and roadblocks which come our way and they will be there I can assure you.

Rise up and face them head on, recognize the value in what they offer you and have a wonderful year ahead !

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What is in it for me?

Just last week in college I reflected on an incident that occurred as regards a computer room .

The college where I work is in a relatively new building less than 5 years old . Since moving into the building the class and course numbers have grown and so there is a lot of pressure for rooms and especially computer rooms.

This scarcity has led to a kind of “Rabbit Burrow “mentality where people are very protective over the room or space they  have managed to acquire. It was an aspect of working in the college that I noticed very quickly on my return from Spain in September this year

On this particular day I had an Anatomy class for a 3 hour stint and made a decision to teach the first half and have the students type up their work the second half.

As there were various classes out on trips I had been informed by my senior colleague that a certain computer room would be free for the day.

When we arrived at the room at 1.15 there was a member of staff there who also was not usually booked into that room and also who had been there since 9.00 am in the morning. Seeing as it was now 1.15 I explained that we would like the room for 1 hour to complete the students work. I presumed that since the lecturer had also taken advantage of this free computer room but had already been there for 4 hours with one class then there would not be a problem.

I was wrong.

I was informed by this lecturer that the students were settled and working and she did not want to move them and intended staying there until 3.00 that afternoon.

At this stage I had to step back, take a deep breath and reflect on where this person was in their life right now and where they were headed.

This also happened in front of 25 students waiting outside the door and so I knew they would be watching my reaction.

We moved off to another non computer room and I proceeded to start a lesson on personal development and the ways in which we attract success in our lives.

Just how many of us  need  to make that crucial shift and stop selfishly looking around our world for ways to make things better for ourselves and instead look around our environment and discover ways in which we can help others to get what they want.

As the late and great Zig Ziglar said “The more people you help to get what they want, the more people will help you to get what you want”

I believe that when you turn your focus away from yourself towards others or a cause bigger than yourself, you open your mind up to possibility. This shift helps you to invite meaning and fulfilment into your experience and allows you to live according to your highest and most joyful purpose.

Would I have given up the computer room?


I have learnt a long time ago that by extending myself towards the spirit of giving, I am able to shift the stress and attention off myself and look around your world with a calm and easy set of eyes.

.I know that I am never looked at as a person who is looking to profit at any cost, even at the expense of others and I also know that when we become like this then people mirror our behaviour and we are supported in return.

We remove our ego from the situation and instead of it being all about you it is about us.

People see you genuinely offering service without any expectation of receiving anything in return. The only reward you should ever expect for your giving, is the good feeling, giving itself brings to you.

This  good feeling, which comes from giving freely of yourself, is far better than the discomfort and distress, which comes from focusing exclusively on yourself, always selfishly looking around your world, for “what’s in it for me”.

When we foster and nurture kindness towards others, everything in my world changes for the better. As my mind is focused on compassion, exactly that is what I receive from others in return and this allows me to live in a far friendlier world.

Remember that you attract success by the person you become and that you also live in a world, which is a reflection of who you are.

So if you want any level of success in your life and you want to live in a wonderful world with meaning and fulfilment, you can never get what you want, you can only get what you are.


I think the students got the message!



The Generation of Obese Teenagers

 There are many articles in the press about obese teenagers and even obese younger children and so my article on this issue is nothing new but the fact that it is something I have in front of me everyday motivated me  as something I just had to write about

So I decided to write a series of articles on this particular issue. I see it everywhere,  in the classroom, on the streets, in the shops, the village where I live …… just everywhere. It is also an issue that really stood out to me when I came back from Spain some months ago to return to my position as lecturer at the college.


When we returned from Spain My daughters who are 16 and 17 set about catching up with old friends after a 2 year absence and we all noticed that most of them bar a few had put on substantial amounts of weight during those 2 years. Now let me step back here to assure you …I was not being judgmental on these teenagers as people, it was just impossible not to notice the difference that this period of time had made



 My job as a Health lecturer and also the fact that I have lived a large proportion of my life so far out of the UK in South Africa allows me the liberty of being able to look at different cultures and their eating habits and way of life. When I returned from South Africa to the UK in 2001 I immediately noticed the deteriorating eating habits of the younger generation and had a hard time convincing my daughters of the benefits of healthy eating. When we moved to Spain in 2010 and returned in 2012 some 2 years later ..I think they got what I had been talking about all those years earlier!



 The message really hit home when they were able to compare the eating habits and weight issues in the UK with a different culture where the eating habits were more healthy and overweight teenagers were infrequent and not common place


So lets get the information right from the start.

Many  people think that being overweight is an appearance issue. Not so of course none wants to look “fat” but being overweight is actually a medical concern because it can seriously affect a person’s health.

All of have body fat and a few extra pounds are not going to do us any harm but when experts use the term overweight they are talking about much more than just a few pounds.

There are very few people who are not aware of the health problems like Diabetes and heart disease that come with people overweight but the problems range much further.

Being overweight can affect a persons  joints, breathing, sleep, mood, and energy levels. All of these problems can impact a person’s entire quality of life.

More people are overweight today than ever before. We are experiencing an “obesity epidemic.” So younger people are now developing health problems that used to affect only adults, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.


So how does one become overweight?

its actually not as simple as you think ….but then it never is .

My next article will discuss the issues that result in weight gain.

Poor Girl ..Eczema is irritating!

As we all know the new school year and college year is upon us with new courses, new friends, new lecturers and new challenges ahead !

This morning as I filled out the electronic register for a second year Health studies class that I had just met I was informed of someones absence because of a hospital visit for Eczema.

I was assured by the students that it was not that bad really as it was just all over her arms and legs but not all her body!…poor Girl.

One of my past colleagues in Spain also suffered from Eczema and there were many days that she was just in pain all over her body and struggled with getting through the day.
Now I do not know about you but that is quite a thing to carry around on a daily basis.

Having Eczema was also one of the reasons why this friend of mine was living in Spain as she believed that exposure to sunlight helped to alleviate the condition.

So what exactly is Eczema?
Well if you do a search on Google, many website will pop up that will tell you that Eczema symptoms include
dry skin that may become itchy, red and inflamed. It’s most commonly found in children, although adults can get it.
  There are different types of Eczema. The most common is called atopic eczema…     or atopic dermatitis.

There also seems to be a relationship between stress and flareups of Eczema.
When I relayed this observation to the class it was greeted with much amusement and I was assured that the student concerned was the most laid back girl in the class.

Well I think maybe I will be the judge of that !

Eczema is often caused by an allergy, which occurs when your immune system overreacts to something that is normally harmless.

It is these allergic reactions, that make your skin itchy.

Conditions, like asthma, hay fever, and food intolerance, are also caused by allergies.

As I mentioned about my colleague in Spain who was living there because of her Eczema…. there is a belief that
low vitamin D may be linked with eczema and other allergies. Ultraviolet light causes the body to make vitamin D and so areas with high sunlight produce more Vitamin D  and so the occurrence of Eczema should be lower.

If this is clinically true then it makes sense that exposure to more UV light might lower the risk of these conditions,
I know that my friend definitely had an improvement in her Eczema while living in Spain but at the moment there is not really enough evidence to  be sure

To investigate this further, research Studies have been done on 7,643 children aged 4 to 5 and 8 to 9 in different regions of Australia,where the amount of daylight sun varied greatly,
They looked at how common food allergies, eczema, and asthma were in these areas, to see if there is a link between sunlight and these conditions.

The results showed that eczema, peanut allergies, and egg allergies were more common in those who lived furthest south, where there was the least sun

In  fact the rates of occurrence  of cases was twice as likely with peanut allergies or eczema, and three times as likely to have an allergy to eggs, compared with those who lived far north in the areas with more sun.

What was interesting was the figures showed no difference between regions in how likely children were to have asthma,or the other food allergies the researchers studied, which included allergies to cow’s milk, soy, sesame, and wheat.

The researchers felt that this could be because these allergies develop in a different way to eczema and other food allergies.

Ok… so can we say this is conclusive results?

The  data comes from a large number of children, which usually makes results more reliable. The researchers also studied  children who lived in different areas, but within the same country with the same health system and similar social background.

However they used used questionnaires to ask the parents of the children about the conditions and allergies, and we can’t be sure how accurate the information was. It may have been more reliable to collect information from the children´s medical records,where one could have looked only at allergies that had been diagnosed by a doctor.

Also, how can we be sure that  the children in the high sun regions had a lower risk of these conditions because of their sun exposure. There could have been other variables involved such as diet and family history and  also other factors in the environment

So yes it does suggest that high sunlight is good for keeping Eczema at bay

Of course we must also remember that more exposure to sum increases the risk of skin cancer …

there we go again …….can,t win can we ?

Eczema Free Forever

When People Power is lost

When People Power is lost.

As I sat through a three hour meeting listening to a system about student placements being explained that was so complicated and boring it was amusing …then I just had to put pen to paper and record the way I felt.

In the last 2 years I have taken a career break from lecturing in a college and have taken myself off to teach in an International school in Spain.

A private school with 300 pupils and 30 staff.

Now having arrived back in the college in N. Ireland and getting ready for the new academic year after 2 years away, it has become increasing clear to me that people no longer talk to people.

Ok …let me explain what I am trying to say. When I joined the college 8 years ago it was a college that served the local community. Systems were not so computerized and many messages and requirements were relayed verbally from one person to another. The college was small enough that we could do that. To be fair it did present a few challenges but we muddled through, had a few laughs and generally achieved what we had set out to do.

Then some years ago the college joined with three other colleges to become a larger identity and of course more efficient than the local version that had gone before.

So did that happen?

Well let me elaborate and then you be the judge.

Everything is now computerized… we take on board one system after another, we email each other which saves time as we do not have to find each other and verbally communicate the problem or ask the question. Forty emails a day is normal.

So I sit in this meeting for three hours listening to this very sophisticated system being explained and I am wondering why I have been back at the college for three days and still have not been able to get a password to log onto my account?

Three or four emails sent from my head of school to another staff member in some other campus, in some other room on some other floor, then roughly 3 or 4 messenger emails and still no password.

In the school in Spain to get a password for my account I walked down a flight of stairs to the ground floor, spoke to Jero the IT technician and it was set up in 30 secs…..Hooray for Jero!

As I sit in this terribly boring meeting listening to this complicated and lengthy system on organizing placements I make a decision on the coffee break to hunt down one of these techie people and get them to set me up a password .

There was a rumor going round at coffee that one was in the building.

So off I head and a few floors down managed to find one behind his computer.

Viola! I had a password set up in 30 seconds and even more than that …it works!

So back to the meeting room to listen to another hour of…. ticking off this box here, choose this from the drop down menu here, typing this in here and if you take a breath make sure you record it

I drifted off into a daydream wondering

When did people stop talking to people?

Has this organization now become so large in an effort to become efficient that the core elements of human communication are being eroded?

While we sit for hours listening to the complexities of the latest system that someone has dedicated their life to, it has taken me three days, many emails and messengers to set up a simple password!

Something that was achieved very quickly in the end with just with a little verbal communication.

I know what you are thinking?

The word “old fashioned” or “old school” may have crossed your mind and I forgive you for that but you are wrong…… I love technology.

As a Biology and Health lecturer you can imagine that my subject is very visual and I use all sorts of media to get the message across to my students. Technology and particularly media has made a massive difference to my classroom teaching, I would say it has made my teaching easier.

That is not what I am talking about here. Where I am going with this is the fact that there seems to be a race on to see how many systems can be created for tasks that were initially done manually. Tasks like filling out a form, making a telephone call and talking to someone or meeting them in person.

Tasks that are no more efficiently done by making them complicated computerized tasks which in the final analysis only succeed in creating a greater administrative workload for the educator that has to do them.

When I relayed this observation to my colleague ..I was enlightened by her response with the instructions from “the top”

“If you are under a lot of pressure and it comes between the administrative task and the teaching task then make sure you do the administrative task”

Guess that says it all!

Spain I miss you !!!