3 Tips On Supporting Those Who Are Hurting

Life is an interesting journey of winding roads, hills and valleys, night and day. The obstacles are many with some more difficult than others. What guarantees success in overcoming is the support systems around you.

Sadly, in today’s society, those systems seem to be disappearing fast leaving vulnerable hurting individuals “bleeding on people who didn’t cut them.”

It is during those seasons when we forget that the people who are seemingly strong, always ready to help others in their moments of distress are the ones who need help the most. They smile bravely and soldier on as they weather life’s storms, never complaining, never burdening loved ones. They suffer in silence and as a result nobody feels sorry for them.

Such people often find that they receive very few infrequent visitors or none at all. There is no one there to advise them, counsel them, comfort them, encourage them or help them recover from their struggles. Unlike someone who is ill and in hospital there is no one there to oversee their care, prepare meals for them or bring any food for them.

They are on their own.

They are left to take care of themselves because, well, people have their own problems to deal with… right?

If allowed to go on for too long such situations can have a domino effect leading to those people experiencing struggles in all or most areas of their lives. Emotional trauma can lead to mental unwellness. It can even end up manifesting as a physical ailment which can in turn affect them financially.

1. Pay Attention

Next time someone who is “seemingly okay” casually mentions that they need help with something or that they are struggling with a particular issue don’t ignore them. Pay attention to what they are saying. Pay attention to what they are not saying. Watch their body language. Pay attention to their environment and any signs of neglect. Ask if they need help with their grocery shopping, if there is anything you can fix, any laundry or ironing that needs to be done. Offer to take them to the hairdresser or cut their grass for example.

If you are in different locations you can still offer other forms of help.

2. Never Make Assumptions

Don’t assume that all is well because of your perceptions. People who are hurting or suffering in silence do so because they may feel like they are a burden to others. Some of the ways to deal with this is to maintain frequent, meaningful communication. Listen to what they say more than you talk. Guide the conversation back to them if they seem like they want to hear about what is happening in your life. Allow them to talk for as long as they need to, until they have nothing else to say. It’s during such meaningful exchanges that the extent of their pain or challenge is revealed.

3. Take Appropriate Action

Pay attention and take appropriate action BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

There are occasions when it is inappropriate to impose yourself on someone who clearly states that they do not need your help. That is not an excuse to then do nothing. In such cases make an effort to do something nice for them on special occasions such as birthdays or festive seasons. If it is help they need you can share resources about where they can access help and support. Even a little help can go a long way.

Genius – How To Figure Out If You Should Really Have An Emergency Fund

Emergency – what thoughts do these words conjure up in your mind?

  • Health and well-being issues
  • Boiler breakdown
  • Car repairs
  • Life crises

Whatever it is I am certain just the thought sends shivers down your spine. Infact, you probably don’t even want to think about it. Yet most finance gurus encourage us to have an emergency fund. They cushion you through those unexpected situations especially  if you don’t want to dip into your savings pot. It’s certainly better than having to borrow. I agree. But I disagree with the concept of calling it an emergency fund.

 Infact, I scrapped “emergency fund” from my learned words.


We will get to that but, first, let’s talk about what causes or qualifies something to be an emergency in the first place and what can be done to minimise or eliminate these situations. What is an emergency?

According to Google an emergency is defined as “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”

Someone once said that important things are rarely urgent but postponing important things can turn them into urgent things or emergencies.  For example:

  1. You choose an unhealthy diet and one day your heart decides it’s suffered enough abuse and ceases to function.
  2. Your boiler breaks down. But of course it’s not your fault except you neglected to take out insurance on it or you preferred spending money on nights out rather than a new boiler. Now it’s an emergency.
  3. You see the red light flashing in your car but you ignore it. Then on a cold winter’s day your car stops in the middle of the motorway.
  4. You leave the heating and the lights on even when it is not necessary and when the bill comes you have insufficient funds to cover it. And if you don’t pay it your services risk being terminated. Now you have an emergency.

You get the idea.

The most distressing thing is that these emergencies tend to happen at the most inopportune time.

So I have a proposal and here’s the reason why I scrapped “emergency fund” from my learned words. In my life experience and observations it seems that labeling a fund “emergency” seems to attract emergencies.  How about we start using a different vocabulary which is more empowering and puts us in control? Why not have an “Improvements and Upgrades Fund” instead? 

What are your views on Emergency Funds?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!

9 Quick Fixes For Short Story Writers Who Run Out Of Ideas

First Edition Design Publishing - a hybrid publisher

It is Short Story Africa Day on 21 June each year! It is the shortest day in the southern hemisphere.

To celebrate, we’re sharing ways to find ideas for your stories. If you are a short story writer and you’re looking for a quick fix, try one of these.

1.  Find Out What Lies Behind The Lyrics

Choose a date. What song was number one on that day? Do some research about the song. Who wrote it? Why did they write it? Who inspired it? Use what you find out as inspiration for your short story.

2.  Use A Writing Prompt

Sign up for a daily writing prompt. Follow people who share them on social media. ‘A prompt can be anything. A word, a line from a poem or a song, a name or even a picture. Anything that gets you writing. Find ones you enjoy.’ (

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3 Tips On How To Make Good Decisions

As long as you are a living, breathing human being you have to make decisions every day of your life. Some decisions are easy. Others are a lot more challenging. Challenging because there is no right or wrong answer. I once worked in an organisation where I was sent on a course that was to teach us how to make good decisions. It was all very mathematical so we had to take our feelings out of the equation. The idea was to help us learn how to be objective. There were some good tips and strategies. However, I felt that taking emotion out of the equation just didn’t work. People are not objects. Whether or not you ask them to be objective is inconsequential because there will always be an element of emotion attached to the decision-making process.


1. Vision

Good decision making starts with having a vision. Your vision – not the Jones’ vision, not your mother, father, not your friend or boss, not your uncle’s or cousin’s vision. This is your REASON WHY? Why are you being called to make a decision now? Are you debating whether you should continue living in the city or move to the country? Is it because accommodation in the city has become unaffordable or do you want to raise your children where there is lots of space for them to play, to be close to family? When you picture the ideal environment how do you feel? Does is make you happy, are you drawn to the vision or not? As the good book says. “Where there is no vision the people perish.”

Your vision may be to look and feel good in your own body so you may see the future you being well-toned, having bulging muscles, slender or being a specific weight.

2. Strategy

Strategy is the train that will take you to your vision – where you want to be. But there is an essential requirement. You have to board the train and it must be sound, i.e. in good working order. You never set off on a long journey without preparation. If you are driving you want to ensure that your car is serviced, has fuel and all that is needed for the journey. If you are using public transportation – be it road, rail, sea or air – you want to make sure that the service you are using is reliable and  is going where you want to go.

What will it take for you to bring the vision into realisation? Will you change your diet and opt for healthier options, go to the gym, watch Youtube videos on exercise? Your strategy must be one which you can follow or implement with enthusiasm otherwise nothing will happen. Let’s say for example, you were offered a well-paying job 20 miles from home but you would have to walk there everyday – would you take it? What if the job came with a chauffeur driven car?

Most people end up making poor decisions not due to lack of vision but due to lack of good strategies. Everyone has strategies for doing different things but you need to learn to develop good, proven strategies that you can use. I deal with this topic in a different post.

3. Accountability

You need to take responsibility for your actions or decisions. If you are not prepared to live with the consequences then it is not a good decision for you. Forget about what Peter or Jane or your boss thinks. Good must be good for you not anyone else. This is where people start blaming others for their failures. “If it had not been for such and such then I would not have suffered this misfortune… etc.”

It is always a good idea to have an accountability partner who can help you stay on track and remind you of your big WHY when the going gets tough.

Ultimately though, the right decision is the one whose consequences you are prepared to live with. Make yourself accountable to yourself if you can’t find an accountability partner. If you are prepared to live with ill-health due to bad eating habits or being the subject of rude comments because of your looks then that decision is good for you. Have you noticed how people at death’s door due to poor lifestyle choices usually change when they decide, “I want to live long enough to see my children grow up/see my grandchildren.”

Everyone knows about the risks of smoking. Cigarette packets carry warnings but that does not stop people smoking. External factors will not change a person. It has to come from within.

The #1 Reason You Cannot Remember Your Dreams

Do you remember your dreams when you wake up?

If not there could be a perfectly good reason why this is so.

Are you a snorer? Well, fact is – humans apparently cannot dream whilst they are snoring! So there is a good chance that you are snoring the nights away rather than dreaming into the night.

The main cause of snorers not dreaming is this. You can only dream when you are in the REM (rapid eye movement) state. When you snore you are not in REM. Remember!

Conclusion? Snorers are not dreamers!!!

Problem solved.