Monday Musings 13 June: Winter musings and the mid-year reset

Did you know that the word ‘winter’ originates from an old Germanic word meaning ‘time of water’? It refers to the rain, snow and sleet experienced in the Northern Hemisphere during this season. For this part of the world, winter officially begins on the 21st of December, the winter solstice, the day with the shortest period of daylight. The world slows down, quietly gathering its strength for the spring to come, while many animals go into hibernation.

Scientists now believe that early man may have done like a bear and overwintered in caves as well. This is according to fossil finds in a cave called the ‘Pit of Bones’ near Burgos in Spain, an apparent mass grave.

The arrested bone development in these remains, for several months a year, as well as the pattern of lesions in them, seems to imply that our ancestors were hibernators. This is because the same can be found in the bones of hibernating mammals like the cave bear.

Many moons later, when people had been walking upright for quite a while, they were still going to great lengths to survive the winter, from cuddling up with farm animals, heating up the bed with a pan of coals, to imbibing a little too much home brew just to stay warm.

Some rather strange traditions also emerged like the Kukeri monster parade in Bulgaria, where people wear terrifying masks and dress in fur and belts hung with huge bells. They then dance to frighten away evil spirits.

For many countries in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is synonymous with Christmas, New Year and carnival season; the celebrations that mark the end of the year, a period of revelry or herald the birth of spring. 

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, winter’s a little different – falling in the middle of the year, it’s when we retreat and cocoon. Our winter lends itself perfectly to a time of introspection and offers us an opportunity for a mid-year reset.

How to do a mid-year reset

Life coaches recommend we take stock of where we are in our lives once or twice a year. Those among us who still do New Year’s Resolutions are pretty much doing that on 1 January, but perhaps with less depth than a reset requires. Which makes six months later the perfect time to review.

As for the rest of us, there’s no time like the present for a reset, right?

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The benefits of writing down your feelings, goals, and problems have been well-documented and researched. Also called journaling, it helps you focus, prioritise, express yourself in a healthy way, process and release. For our mid-year reset, we’ll also be writing things down, but using lists to guide us.

Cultivate an ‘attitude of gratitude’

Yes, I know, it’s a buzz phrase, but it really works in practice. This is as simple as listing all the things that are working for you and that you’re grateful for, like having a wonderful circle of friends or being able to pay off some of your debt. While you may be aware of these things in your life, seeing them listed is an excellent reminder of how much good there really is.

Some people I know make a daily habit of gratitude – every day on waking, they write down just three things they’re grateful for in a journal. Whenever they’re feeling meh, they look at their three things and it becomes their reality check.

Break the cycle

As human beings, we tend to keep looping and repeating patterns and then wondering why we’re stuck in a rut or unhappy. We make the same choices, have the same reactions, or simply don’t know what to do differently to turn the tide. And while we believe we’re being limited by our circumstances, we’re the ones limiting ourselves.

This next step takes some serious soul-searching, though.

List the main things no longer working for you, like a friendship perhaps, an eating plan or even where you are in your life. Don’t get bogged down by listing too many – choose just a few. Mark each item according to:

1) what you’re able to let go of
2) take control of
3) transform

For example, if a friend is draining you with ongoing negativity or criticism and it’s an issue you’ve addressed with them but to no avail, then as hard as it is, maybe it’s time to let them go and make space in your life for positivity and positive friendships.

Find the courage to let go of what you can’t change – Anonymous

Is it your job or your living conditions causing you anxiety and if so, how much is in your power to change or control this situation? Be brutally honest with yourself as you consider these questions and write your answers.

Have you procrastinated in taking control or making a change? Are you fearful? What’s the worst that can happen? And the best?

Map out the steps you need to take. Make them baby steps. And remember… you’re the artist and the architect of your life…

Your work is your craft, your life is your art – Robin Sharma

If your ‘winter of discontent’ is something that’s not in your hands and you have no power over it, all you can do is transform it. Look at it differently, from another perspective. Put on your ‘X-Ray goggles’ and see if you can find one tiny grain of positivity in it. Home in on that and hold it close. This is something you can TOTALLY control, and it can TOTALLY shape how you feel every day. It’s hugely empowering and transformative.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change – Wayne Dyer

Lean on resources

Expand your mind and learn how others did a reset by listening to podcasts, TED Talks, and reading great books. A wonderful resource for clever hacks, courses, videos and plain ol’ common sense, is lifehack.org. The article on starting over and the free life assessment quiz ties in perfectly with our mid-year reset theme. And now that I think about it, the whole website ties in beautifully with last week’s Monday Musings by Brenda Walters.

May your mid-year reset bring you an early spring…


Mindful Musings

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Marketing Musings

by Steph Reinstein

MARKETING ‘DAD

Oh no, another Hallmark holiday… Did you know Father’s Day was founded in 1910 in the US by Sonora Smart Dodd for her own widowed father – a Civil War veteran and a farmer? It was a flop until 1938. That was when she decided to approach manufacturers of goods that would benefit most from it: ties, pipes, and tobacco. Consolidation and synergy among the players led to the success of the commemoration we know today.

Nowadays brands are competing for market share and coming up with ingenious and quirky campaigns.

Like Gillette, for instance, playing on the concept that Dad is better than a YouTube tutorial.

Some campaigns are emotional, like the one from Belgian beer brand Stella Artois, which achieved more than 4 million views and 33 million impressions.

Lastly, the quirky one from Durex.

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SUCCESSFUL FATHER’S DAY MARKETING

When marketing your Father’s Day offering, follow an agenda and have a purpose.

Choose the right product & offers

If your persona is well defined, then it’s relatively easy to reach him/her and have the right message and product.

Choose the channels

From your own channels such as your website, social media pages, and newsletters to paid advertising and media buys.

A nod to networking

As Sonora did in 1938, network. Approach non-competing brands with a joint offer. Think: stronger together.

Plan in advance

Last-minute can work for some but when it comes to marketing, careful planning and execution are crucial.

Learn & tweak

Learn from past campaign results and tweak where needed.


What the world was musing over this past week

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Comair goes into liquidation

The biggest tragedy for the travel industry this week. After 80 years in our skies and two years in business rescue, the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) could not save the operator of British Airways and Kulula. This ‘despite their best efforts’ to raise the capital needed, according to a statement the BRPs released. What’s devastating is that around 2 000 employees will now lose their jobs.


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The Cape Wheel at the V&A Waterfront rolls on

The massive observation wheel that is the Cape Wheel will be closed on 19 June and relocated. But never fear, it’s all for the better – better position, better views, and better performance after undergoing some maintenance that’s also on the cards. Find out where this iconic, 40m high landmark will now put down roots.


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Miracle twin ellies born in Kenya

It’s rare and it’s a miracle. An elephant in the Aberdare National Park in central Kenya has given birth to twins. Experts say only 1% of all elephant births are twins and when it does happen, often one of the calves dies. But these little ones are going strong. Cute baby photo alert.


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Mushrooms more magic than we realised

A study has revealed that ‘shrooms communicate. Yup, they do, with up to 50 words, nogal. Scientists say they do this via electrical impulses that alert one another of dangers and food sources.
Leaves us wondering about fungi’s feelings…


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Japanese octogenarian sets record for solo sail across the Pacific

He’s 83 and this is not even his first solo crossing. But now Kenichi Horie has set a world record as the oldest solo yachtsman to sail non-stop across the Pacific Ocean. His motto? “Don’t let your dreams just stay as dreams.”