The author of this highly rated article is Paul du Toit, CSP.
Author, Mindset Shifter, Certified Speaking Professional
If you want more valuable advice from this expert, click here.

The tsunami sweeping through South East Asia resulting in the loss of an estimated 200,000 lives and many millions losing their homes and livelihoods will ensure that the images of Boxing Day 2004 will remain with the world forever. For the unlucky ones the end came with no warning. Lives were interrupted, some in their infancy and some in their prime. Thriving businesses were demolished. Entire legacies were wiped out. I do not know of a natural disaster that has caused so much devastation and loss of life in less than 24 hours. There is not a country on earth that has not been affected in some way by this tragedy.
There is another side to this. The vast majority of extraordinary heroism and deeds of enormous courage that followed will probably go unreported and unrecognised. We know this, because a handful of these acts have been reported. But there were literally thousands of acts of unbelievable courage, followed by even more of unparalleled generosity. Adversity therefore, certainly has its good side. It brings out the best in us. It gives us perspective on the true value of life, and it shows how ordinary people can do extraordinary things when called upon to do so. The same, my dear friend applies to you. Disaster often triggers a deep heroism in us.
There is another key catalyst for positive action, and it relates to the decisions we make.
Many of us, in our childhoods may have been made to think by others more influential than ourselves at the time, that we would not amount to much or that our aspirations were ridiculous or foolish. Ridicule is enough to put most people off without another thought. But whether your dream is to be a great sportsperson, an example in your community, a world traveller or hold a position of high office, why shouldn’t you? It is from these positions that you can do the most good.
We have entered a new calendar year. South East Asia will rebuild itself, creating employment while it does so and bringing out the best in people. I want you to make the decision to bring out the best in you this year, if only in honour of those who never had the chance to do so. The best way to start is to decide what it is you want. It all starts with a decision or two. Do you want what you got last year? That’s easy. Do what you did last year. If you want to achieve something you never did before, make the decision. I call that goal setting.
I have a short term goal – it’s to run my first marathon ever – in the next six weeks at the age of 46. Before the end of February you will have my report back published in this newsletter – no matter what happens. That’s called a commitment.
I have another longer term goal. As a company, we have committed ourselves to adopting a local charity and providing ongoing support and encouragement to children who’ve had less than a fair start in life. We will be sharing details with you soon.
So you see, goals and dreams can be diverse in nature. Some can be just for us; some can be to do things that will benefit others. And you can have more than one goal at a time.
What are your dreams? What do you want from life starting now? What will you put back into life? At the end of this year when you look back on 2005, will it have been your most rewarding year yet?
In May 2004 we did an electronic survey of our newsletter subscribers. One of the questions was: What subject would most interest you for an upcoming seminar? Goal setting topped the list. People are realising that the only way to reach your personal objectives in life is to plan what you need to do. Success seldom happens by accident. Someone usually has to hatch the idea and do something about it.
And by the way, have an awesome year! You deserve it.