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Insights: Living in an Uncertain World
September 30, 2008

Living in an Uncertain World

The uncertainty that exists in today’s world is, I believe, one of the primary reasons why the life coaching industry is starting to boom in South Africa.

Read on to find out why I make this claim.

Unnerving events

The events of the past few weeks have been particularly unnerving, or at the very least unsettling, for many people.

The oil price, on which the health of the word’s economies are so dependent, returned to levels in excess of $100 a barrel, smashing hopes that the brief downtrend in September could be sustained.

In the world’s economic powerhouse that is the USA, the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the related fall out on the financial markets, has been nothing short of tumultuous with the Dow Jones index shedding more than 6% today as I write!

In the UK, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing rebellion from a growing band of MPs as the UK’s economy slides, house prices continue to dive and supposedly solid banking institutions fold or face nationalisation.

After seventeen years of economic growth, the Australian economy looks to be susceptible to catching a bad cold from the US as it ponders the huge problem of burgeoning foreign, private and household debt built up during the boom years.

In New Zealand the government there had to face the ignominy of being one of the first of the world’s developed economies to fall into recession.

Back here at home, we have thankfully been spared the worst of the turmoil in the world’s financial markets.

Our uncertainty at present, derives not so much from our economy but from the rollercoaster politics of our ruling party who, virtually overnight, ‘recalled’ President Mbeki and replaced him with Kgalema Motlanthe for at least the next seven months until elections are held.

The presidential heir apparent, Jacob Zuma, has a dark cloud hovering over him in the form of fraud and corruption allegations. More worrying than that is the concern of some that, as future President, he may escape facing his ‘day in court’, effectively depriving the public of their democratic right to know the truth behind the serious claims leveled against him.


Ok, at this point I can ‘hear’ you ‘screaming’:

“Whoa, Bill. Stop! This is supposed to be a newsletter that inspires, not depresses us!”

Quite right. So here’s the good news.

Your true, authentic power lies within you. It is not dependent on the external world! So quit worrying about something you don’t control.

What do I mean by this?

I mean that you have freedom of choice. You have the free will to do whatever you desire.

You can choose whether to live your life reacting to the vagaries of the external world or to live your life the way you want it, proactively ‘forcing’ the external world to accommodate you!


Let me offer you a simple example to make my point.

The following stories feature two fictional characters, both of whom were endowed with similar situations, backgrounds and resources.

Joe’s story:

Joe is an admin clerk in a big corporation. He earns a reasonable salary is married, aged 40, with two children.

For many years Joe has been thinking of leaving employment, taking a year off to travel the world and then setting himself up with his own business in import/export, something he has a deep passion for but knows little about.

Joe’s frustration is that the time never seems quite right for what he wants to do. Now, in particular, he is facing a situation that renders the achievement of his dream impractical…

His kids are in high school and need to finish their studies. His wife doesn’t work so he figures there’s no way he can resign his job and keep bread on the family table. The stock market has plunged and his nest egg in unit trusts is no longer worth what it was. He can’t possibly risk unemployment at a time like this. In any case, the world’s in a bit of a mess right now so he reckons he’d probably struggle to make ends meet while traveling the world.

“I always knew this dream was nothing more than that. After all, I have a modest job that doesn’t pay a fortune and I need the money I’ve saved just to get my children through the last year of their schooling. Then, somehow, I’ll have to find the money to get them on their feet in the real world.”

Though he’d always wanted to travel to exotic locations and find exciting goods to bring back to kick-start his dream business, Joe feels that external circumstances are such that he should keep his feet firmly on the ground at this time.

“I promised myself that by this age I would start to live my dream. But the truth is the world’s in a big mess right now. My savings would barely cover the cost of the trip and given the instability in our current government I’m sure all the red tape of starting an import/export business would be devastating.”

As he reflects on the uncertain world around him, the demands that his current job places on his time and the pressing needs of his wife and children, Joe decides to scupper his plans – at least for now.

“When the world economy gets better and my unit trusts are worth some real money – and when my kids are finished school and my wife’s bad back improves, then I’ll think about it again. Right now, I won’t even mention any of this to my wife and kids – they might think I’m a bit of a nutter!”

…And one year on nothing much had changed.

Joan’s story:

Joan is married to Dirk and has two children at high school. She works as a supervisor in a call centre. On the occasion of her birthday she wakes up with a spring in her step.

“Right. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I promised myself that I would celebrate becoming 40 by embarking on my lifelong dream. Watch out life, here I come!”

Dirk, who shared his wife’s yearning for travel, protested briefly:

“Where will we find the money, Joan? I have been a stay at home Dad for the past ten years.”

But Joan was having none of it.

“I have enough to kick-start the change in our life. The rest will come to us, you’ll see, we just need to stay positive and follow the dream.”

Joan got to the travel agents minutes after they opened. She proudly presented them with some of the money she had saved from past bonuses with her company and she did what she said she would – booked a round-the –world trip for herself, her husband and her two children.

After eight months had passed and her daughters had completed their matric schooling, the family waved goodbye to Cape Town and hello to an amazing journey that took them through some of the most beautiful and inspiring places on Earth.

Wherever they went Joan and Dirk attracted good friends and part-time jobs to help them pay for their board and lodging. Their girls chipped in too making money from part-time teaching and baby-sitting jobs. The experience served to bond the family even more tightly together.

A year later, after an experience of a lifetime, Joan and her family arrived back home. Feeling buoyed from the fabulous time she had had and inspired by the many memories of the amazing people she had met and who had transformed their own lives, she wasted no time in pursuing part two of her dream.

Using money saved from letting of the family home and the inspiration and knowledge gained from many of the wonderful people she had met and places she had visited, Joan set about developing the business plan for her online travel consultancy.

Within three months Joan had secured a low interest loan and was well advanced with the marketing of her new business ‘Family Dreams’. Dirk was a great help, using his large network of friends to assist with all matters pertaining to the start up. Her internet savvy girls had committed to take another year out to help Mum set up the business. Both worked wonders designing a great new website using stunning pictures from their trip.

A year later, Joan found herself being interviewed by Cape Talk radio after being awarded a prize by the Cape Chamber of Commerce as ‘most promising entrepreneur of the year’.

Asked to explain her amazing success she replied:

“I’m really not sure how it happened. It all started with a rather audacious dream. I felt inspired to take action to make it come true. When I did, it all sort of fell into place, rather like magic!”

Moral of the story?

So what’ the moral behind these stories?

If you live life reacting to the external world you will end up at the mercy of the external world.

However, if you follow your inner voice and take inspired action to be, do and have what you deeply desire, the external world will submit to you.

Life changing

Life coaching is the art of teaching people to take control of their life and stop giving their power away to the external world.

It is, quite simply, life changing.

If being a life coach is your dream – or you simply want to learn how to take full control of your life, New Insights is here to help. Our acclaimed home study programme is both powerful and affordable.

Please, contact me today!

With warm regards


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