It’s the beginning of a new week and if you’re not careful, and a little bit intentional, before you know it it can suddenly be Friday and the week will have snuck by like just another week. i wanted to do my little bit to hopefully help you stop that from happening by suggesting five very different ways you can be intentional about make this a week of Significance. Don’t try and do all five, but maybe there is one or two of these that jump out at you as something you can plan to do this week to make it a better one than if you had just breezed through on Autopilot:

[1] Educate yourself better on #FeesMustFall. If you are a South African and have not engaged deeply in the #FeesMustFall conversations and movement that were happening all over the country, then i encourage you to follow this link and spend a little bit of time trying to educate yourself a little more on what happened. If you don’t understand what it was all about or the whole thing just felt like a bunch of disruptive hooligan students making a mess, you should really choose to listen and learn and seek to understand – this is deeply significant for the future of SA and it would be a pity if you missed out on being whatever part of the change is available to you.

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[2] Plan a time to stop. When tbV and i were working through the book ‘Free’ one of the assignments was for five minutes a day to simply stop. Turn off the phones and the screens and the tv and hide from people and just be. If you can create one block of thirty minutes or head out to the beach or local park for two hours then even better. No agenda. Simply just being still and listening and reflecting and trying to slow down the pace of the week and your life.

i used to sit on our front steps in Oakland when we were there and just listen to the birds and the traffic [and the occasional gun shot] and try and clear my mind of duties and responsibilites and deadlines and just be. It is terribly therapeutic but it won’t likely happen by itself so how about planning a time or time in the next 6 days to have one or more of these.

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[3] Invite a different voice into your life: If you are someone who reads or follows blogs or listens to podcasts, then intentionally choose someone different to listen to. As someone who used to typically read Christian books by white middle-aged males, that choice is something i intentionally have as one of my values now. So there are a number of women whose blogs i follow ranging from Austin Channing [African-American] who writes some super helpful stuff relating to race issues, Sarah Bessey [Canadian] who writes gently subversive stuff on God and feminism and living life to the full and being engaged with societal issues and then for the completely out of the box there is the self-proclaimed Jamie the Very Worst Missionary who writes a no holds barred, sarcastic and witty, say-it-like-it-is no-nonsense blog about all aspects of life and some aspects of human trafficking.

My recent book-reading has mostly been black authors as i try to understand the history of South Africa through different eyes and words and so from Robert Sobukwe  ‘How Can Man Die Better’ to Steve Biko’s ‘I Write What I Like’ and ‘No Life Of My Own’ by Frank Chikane [whose son was one of the young people arrested this past week for activising] there have been a variety of thoughts and ideas that have helped to shape my present understanding with regards to how things are and could be.

So whether it’s a blog or a podcast or ordering or picking up a book by someone of a different colour or background or gender or faith that you normally read, this is a great way to diversify the sameness of the voices that might fill your head if you are less circumspective. It has been a phenomenal journey and i am not going back!

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[4] Say sorry. As you look back over what was an incredibly difficult week for South Africans, perhaps there is a status or a comment or an attitude that you showed to someone or a group of people that you now regret. Maybe something you felt was Truth was not spoken with the maximum of Love and maybe there is an apology that needs to be made.

Perhaps it is not related to the situation in South Africa at all, but looking back over this last week there is someone you hurt by your words or with your actions [or perhaps lack of action?]. This is something we could all do well by doing every week, but ask the question, ‘Is there someone i need to apologise to?’ and then as much as it is possible, do it by looking them in the eyes. If online is the only way you can conenct with them, consider a phone call or a Skype so it can be more in person or if it has to start smaller then drop them a note. But be sincere. Be genuine. Let them know exactly what you are apologising for and make a commitment to be better at that particular thing.

This seems to be something that is so hard for so many of us, but it can be the most powerful thing when someone comes to you with a genuine, ‘Man, i was wrong, can you please forgive me?’ offered in humility with no justification. Who needs to hear that from you and me this week?

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[5] Make a quick list of things you want to accomplish. i imagine some of you [like tbV] are excellent planners and you don’t need this, but for someone like me, the paper list i just made next to me as well as some items i added to the whiteboard in my Man Cave office space already mean that this week is likely to be more productive.

There are a lot of things i can and need to do. But there are some things i really should and would love to do. By making a list at the start of the week i find that i plan better and make time for all of the things on my list rather than doing some last minute scrambling or skipping some of the things altogether. From X Gym visits this week to ‘Hang out with [name of friend’ to ‘Start reading that book’ to ‘Clean up my desk’ i find that if it gets on the list it is more likely to be done.

Why don’t you stop what you’re doing now for literally two minutes, grab a paper and a pen or open a word doc and write down a list of five to ten things you’d like to see done this week.

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i hope you found that helpful. There are literally tens of thousands of things you could be doing this week and sometimes it helps to just have someone highlight a couple of options.

Oh, and on Wednesday if you have any free time between 12 and 2 and are on the Twitterer, come and play this week’s @afrikkinhashtag [say it out loud], Hashtagging game, the new phenomenon sweeping into South Africa, one week at a time. This week is going to be a fun game. Hope to see you there.

Have a most excellent week.

Let me know in the comments which of these five you are planning to tackle…

brett fish