Can a Tiger change his spots?

Heard this question before?
What are mental filters? What is habitual thinking? Thinking habits? Can you change the way you make decisions?

I was watching a movie with my wife a few days ago. I don’t think I was paying much attention (nothing new for me…), but I do remember the girl saying that a tiger cannot change his spots. She had my attention for a while (however brief).. Then my thoughts wandered off on how she got to that statement. (I am not going to challenge anyone’s mental capacity here.) You see, everything is wrong with that statement! Tigers have stripes! Leopards have spots.
So, can a leopard change his spots, then?

No… but the phrase generally refers to a person who cannot change his/her behavior, thinking patterns, etc.
Can a person change? I believe so.
But, before you can do that (make a change), you will want to know what to change, and how. Right? A while ago, I wrote about the 4 Survival needs (it was brief, and it will turn out a great discussion in the future). In case you missed it, here is the link.
Okay, so you’re caught up? Back to the tiger’s spots…

Before you (or me) can change in any way, we need to ask: “How available am I?” How available are you to change? What if you discover things about yourself you do not like?

So, now you are rehearsing the answer in your head…

So, why is it that you try to change, but just can’t? You have tried so many times in the past. Every New year it is on the top of your list. You try. You really do. But by day 3 you conclude that a leopard really cannot change his spots.
What if I told you that you are stuck in perceptions?

The way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. The way YOU see life. Life through your eyes. What gave you the perceptions you have about life, people, religion, relationships, business, etc.
I am not going to tell you here that all you ever believed and did is completely wrong. I am not saying you are a bad husband, father, or businessman. (mother, wife, businesswoman).

What I am asking is, what if you understand your own perceptions and those of others better?
What if you can understand how you make decisions in life? Based on what? How will that affect all your relationships (life, people, religion, business, etc)? What if you understand why people make decisions you think is just completely stupid?

Let me explain:
Every person creates perceptions over years of life. Every person is different. Ever hear the saying: “walk a mile in my shoes”? I read one recently that explains me better: Don’t walk a mile in my shoes, spent a few minutes in my head…
Then we will see if you still come to the same conclusions you do now. (And vice-versa off course.)

Thinking Habits

Destructive patterns of Habitual thinking.
I think you should read that again.
Your habitual thinking has formed you over the years. We all know that one guy. The one who sees a big, dark cloud on a silver lining. That Negative Guy. Ever thought why? Why is he always complaining that the sky will fall on our heads? Where does he draw those conclusions from? Maybe you are That Guy…
So, why does nothing ever work out for That Guy? And if something good does come along, like a new job, why does it go sour after a while? More or less the time when everyone around you see your true spots? The complaining, negative you…
Here is how we think… (or rather, come to conclusions)

Mental Filters.
Everything you perceive, gets filtered through your filters. These filters were created by events, words or actions from your past. So, every time you need to act, react, converse, or decide, it runs through these filters. So, right now, you are imagining a filter coffee machine with life (the water) poured in at the top. Now the water runs through the fine sieve filter with the powder of your past.

I can smell this picture…

(So, now that the smell encouraged you to get up and you are back with a cuppa, we can continue. After all, what is a good read (great read) without a good cup of freshly brewed coffee?)

The coffee (outcome) is being processed… It runs through a few of these filters in a very short time to process the outcome. This outcome may be a reaction, words, decision, thoughts, etc. There are a few such filters, but we will discuss one or two at a time to give you time to filter what I’ve said…
In the next few posts, I will discuss each in more detail. If you understand mental filters, I guarantee it will change your life. No, it is not a get rich quick scheme! But the possibilities are endless. What if you can understand people better just by understanding how they get to the things they say and do? In turn, how will that affect the way they see you? (How will that be for business?)
What makes people tick?

The customer is always right.

You and I both know it is as far from the truth as the East from the West. I have chased many guys from my range (yes, I provide firearm training. I am a lead service provider and supply firearm training material to many other centers). We (my wife and I) own a shooting range. Every now and again we will get a guy (sometimes a gal, but they are not generally as arrogant) that will stand in my shop and tell me he has no time to attend the firearms course, he was in the army and can shoot, and he does not have time to write the test. He needs a new rifle before hunting season and will pay extra to attend the course in absentia. Mr. Army usually wears a two-tone Khaki shirt and has a “well-groomed” beard dripping of “beard oil”. (But that is not always the case. Chancers come in all shapes and sizes.)

That is my trigger…
You see, it is simple mathematics…
How can I ask God to bless my business if I know I am chasing a quick buck by assisting this guy?

So, my first question usually is: “If you don’t have time to write the test, how on earth will you find the time to go hunting?”
The older guys usually give me an answer: “I was in the bush war while you were still wearing nappies!” Now, his statement is not completely true. I was stuck behind a desk, trying to pay attention in school. (The days I did attend…). Luckily, I did, because now I get to write blogs an communicate with you.

Anyway, I like those answers. My next question will be: “That’s nice. How many terrorists did you shoot?” Can you claim the hit?”
OOPS! By now he is wild with rage, but somehow something is preventing him from launching a full-on physical attack. Then he says: ” I was an instructor in the army!”
Me: ” but the army only trains infantry with rifles. You want to do shotgun and handgun course as well…”

So, before my customer throws the “the customer is always right” card, I provide him with this statement. Now keep in mind that not all who want shortcuts will play the “I was in the army while you were in nappies” card. Some are younger than me. Yes, I am no longer getting out of bed without sound effects.
All these guys think they can just buy the certificate, and everyone has a price. So, before the conversation gets physical, I ask: ” How can I expect God to bless my business if I know I am doing the wrong thing by helping you?”
Guess the outcome…

I have stopped instigating an argument with these guys (even it is fun sometimes). I just ask the above question upfront when the conversation starts turning the “turn a blind eye” route. That question is like a light switch. Whatever hope he has (or had) of getting a certificate for an “in absentia” course, was just switched off. In the darkness, the whole idea just blew out the front door with him normally taking the lead and the idea he had becomes the tail between a dog’s legs in the quick get-away.
So, what makes these guys think everyone has a price? Do you have a price?

What amount will you sell your integrity for?

The simplest explanation of integrity I ever heard, and made my own, is: Doing the right thing, especially when no one is watching.
So, the above story will let you think. How does this guy walk into your shop and think that he can wave his magic wand and get what he wants?
“Do you know who I am?!”
Shame, the poor guy lost his identity… (if he doesn’t know who he is, how is going to get home?)
What filters does his thoughts run through?

Mental Filters:

Over Generalizing:
I think the word Over Generalizing makes a statement of its own. Don’t you think so?
This guy walks into my shop, thinking that he can demand a certificate when he offers extra cash under the table. He thinks that everyone’s integrity has a price. On the opposite side, I tell my staff that everyone is willing to pay the extra under-the-table fee to get things done quickly without having to study. So, who is at fault here?
Me or him?
Both it is then. Although we live in a corrupt world, there are still a few that just cannot be bought. Whatever the price.

Integrity cannot be bought! Or sold. True integrity, I mean. Honesty is also a thing of the past. Nobody speaks the truth anymore. The world has gone to sh……
(No, you thought wrong. You will notice that the SH has 6 dots. So, NO. I did not write the first word that came to (your) mind.
Now stop over-generalizing!
Sh…… ambles! The world had gone to SHAMBLES.

I have a question for you:
How many people have you judged wrong by over-generalizing? How many times have you made the wrong assumptions because of it?
By the way, my statement above of “Honesty is also a thing of the past. Nobody speaks the truth anymore,” is also a generalization. So is “All blacks are criminals.”

How dare we think that? So, all whites aren’t? All whites are honest law-abiding citizens. You read that out loud and hear the sound of the buzzer. You know, the TV game show buzzer sounding the terrible alarm to the audience that your answer is WRONG. I have had many people from many cultures and colors try to bribe me. (Yes, mostly whites.)
Over-generalization is a common judgment tool we use to ‘sum someone up”.

What you can do this week

So, for this week, I have homework for you.

  1. Think about the role Over-generalization plays in your life. Can you change the way you see the world, or other people if you can stop doing it?
  2. Subscribe to the newsletter updates on the next blog. (Subscription form on the right of the page)
  3. You are getting a FREE Life Coach and a FREE Cognitive Behavioral Therapy session here (on this site). You will also find much joy and support in the Tina-Marie’s Blog right here on the site. Please share this. Together we CAN make the world a better place. One person’s world at a time.
  4. We have a large variety of accredited online vocational courses and practice exams for many industries available, recognized around the world. Pop in to see what we have for YOU. Please share this website as well. Here is the site:
  5. You may also visit the online shopping mall
  6. Sharing these allow us to keep providing useful information like this site for free.
    In the next post we will continue with the Mental Filters.
    Ever thought about labeling? Or self-labeling?

That is only the tip of the iceberg.
How attentive are you to how people respond to you? How will your employees respond to you if they feel you understand where they are coming from?
Do you get where I’m coming from?
I look forward to seeing you in the next post. The subscription to the newsletter will keep you notified.

Be blessed.

The 4 Needs… what every person wants…

To understand why you think the way you do and make the decisions you do, you need to know the Four Human Survival Needs.
These four Survival Needs affect our thinking and decision making. If you understand these four needs, you will understand why you make the decisions you do. Sometimes, our decisions are just stupid and we end up with poor outcomes. These 4 needs can and does affect all your decisions. But that is not all. Apart from these needs, our minds filter all our decisions through life. Every person sees life different and makes decisions based thereupon. See how these affect you and others. Understand why everyone around you think and act the way they do…

The need to be unique and be seen for who you are. You need to feel that your life has a purpose and meaning, and you are on this earth for a reason. You need to feel important and needed.

Apart from the need to feel significant, you need challenge and excitement. You need surprise and diversity, or you will fall into a trap of boredom, which in turn, may lead to depression. Off course, one will find this by living on the edge and goes skydiving on weekends, while another may find it exciting to shop at a different mall.

You also need to feel secure. This includes financial stability.

Love / Connection:
This is simplified by the need to belong. You want to feel loved and wanted by someone. This is the main reason why people join all kinds of clubs, etc.
All our decisions are based on any one or more of these four above. Our minds are designed to grow. If they don’t, they become stagnant. When this happens, boredom steps in and our minds begin to wonder. When you were created, you were created with a need for love and acceptance. Unfortunately, there are very few people who are totally content with the love they get. This is mainly because we got hurt somewhere in your past. This hurt can be anything but will mainly be due to words or deeds by the people you trusted most. Maybe you lost faith in mankind in general because of the hurt you have endured. You see, every action or every word leaves a trace. Some actions or words have deep scars that last a lifetime.
So, you are afraid of commitment of afraid to trust again, but the need to belong remains. Hence, you join the local bowling club, or the bikers club, or just hang out at the local pub, because there someone listens. They say the bar tender is the most qualified job ever, because he is a barman, marriage counselor, architect, lawyer, psychologist, etc. Everyone tells him everything and expects a solution. Is this you? The guy who tells the barman everything about you?

You work yourself to complete slavery at work and then someone else steels the glory for your hard work!
You are a working mum. Jumping out of bed before dawn. Sorting out the kids and hubby to prepare them for the day. Make sure all get out of bed, with breakfast off course! The make sure all have brushed their teeth, have clean clothes, wipe the toothpaste stain off the school shirt, and on and on and on it goes…
“MUM! Have you seen my….”
“Honey! Have you seen my…”
Sometimes the husband is worse than the kids!
Feeling significant?
I doubt it! Everyone wants a piece of you and just take you for granted. As a mum and dad, you do everything in your power (all legal, off course) to provide everything your children need.
Yes, we as parents make mistakes, but we try our best to teach our children manners, values, respect, endurance, backbone, etc.
Feeling wanted and appreciated?
I do have an answer, but it might not be YOUR answer.
The excitement discussion tends to be more exciting! The problem is, no great stunt ever came after the words: “Hold my salad and watch this!” Neither did most serious injuries due to stupidity!
“Hold my beer…”
Sound familiar?
Do you think that drunkenness brings out the hidden 4 Survival Needs? Just think about…
The drunk person goes through some steps: bravery, violence, sadness / depression, …
All in a few hours or less.
Could alcohol or drugs spike the 4 Survival Needs? Bravery would fall under excitement, violence (picking a fight) under significance and sadness under love and connection.
Apart from the drunk part, I believe that every decision we make is mainly inspired by these 4. Every decision we make can be categorized. Want to start a new business? What categories would you class it under?
Significance? The need to be recognized?
Uncertainty? The challenge?
But, apart from this, our final decisions are screened through mental filters of reasoning. We will discuss this in the next post.
For now, think about the above and reflect on yourself. See if you can categorize the decisions you make…

Why Us?

A life coach needs to know life, right?
How can you trust someone who does not understand you? Right?
How can you trust someone who has not experienced the hard knocks of life come and tell you how to live yours?
How does a qualification and a printed certificate proving you are a life coach give you the right to tell me how to live MY life and how to overcome MY obstacles? RIGHT AGAIN?
You are absolutely right!
That is why we, my wife and I, can honestly say, “We understand.”
Here is why, in a nutshell…

A few years ago, I was completely down in the dumps, sitting on the beach with my only possessions being the clothes on my back. Today I am married to a beautiful wife, who is also my business partner. We have several successful businesses. Here they are in a nutshell:

My wife and I started a business from the ground up with ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY! I am a successfully published author on crime and criminal behavior. I am the author and supplier of a full range of firearm learning material to several training providers across the country. This makes me one of only a handful of lead service providers on firearm training providers across the country. I provide guidance, motivation, mentoring and a full accreditation plan to new and existing providers. due to our professional value added service, we are the sought after provider by some of the major security companies in the country. We worked hard to establish a successful business with many facets in just over 4 years. Today, we are the directors of 4 companies, among others, the International Shooters’ Network. Both my wife and I have been through a lot of bad spots in our lives, before and after we met. This in turn, allowed us to grow into the people we are today. Successful in all areas of our lives. Yes, we do have hiccups and stumble blocks, but we works through them to achieve success at the other end. Many people cross our path on a regular basis, and since we are oozing positivity, no-one leaves unchanged. Not even us.

So, why should you trust either me or my wife as your life coach?

We know the hardships. We have experienced most of them. (One day we will tell you our story). My wife and I both have counselled many who knocked on our door over the years. Today, we are both qualified Life Coaches as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapists and Ordained Ministers. Our extensive client base stretches far beyond borders. Many of our clients communicate via phone or email. We are not saying that we are better than anyone else (or any other life coach or psychologist, doctor, etc.) What we do know: We understand depression, Post Traumatic Stress (So this is where you ask: “What does he know about PTSD?” Let me answer you like this: ” In short: Trust me, I do. Without all the La-di-da and impressive or hair-raising stories, I do. Yes, my journey over the last 30 grown-up years have a couple of those, but this is an open blog to guide you, not the next box-office hit horror.

You might ask yourself: “But do the memories ever go away?” Not completely? Who would want to forget the good times? But, the haunting does go away. The hurt from the past, negativity, and many more. If you have the right support. They do go away. That depends on you. Are you going to dwell in the past and hold on to those memories? Good or bad?

We have overcome them all! None of the above has held us back!

The new ones? We will overcome them too. Our journey with you will be an exciting one, for all of us. Journey with us as you discover the person you are meant to be!

If I ask you right now: Who are you?

Do you immediately dwell in the past? Do immediately tell me that you come from this or that? Or will you tell me where you are going?

Will you tell me of the stumbling blocks in your life, or will you tell me of the mountain in your path that you climbed to the summit to reach even higher? !!

Are you getting left behind, dwelling in the past, or are you going to get up on the mountain and see the future? Learn from the past and DECIDE to make a difference.

This is going to be an exciting journey!

The Reflection in the Mirror…

You rub your eyes and stumble out of bed. It is Sunday morning. No need to rush anywhere. You walk to the bathroom with eyes almost open. A glimpse of light catches your eye and you turn to see your reflection in the mirror. What do you see?

Are you content?

I mean, are you satisfied with what you see?

Life Coach? I don’t need a Life Coach!

You: “YES ! You heard me! Who needs a life coach? DUH!

Me: “Are you sure?

You: “Off course, life coaching is for losers!”

Me: “Oh, how wrong you are! Here is why:”

When I say: “Success”, what is the first word that comes to mind?


Money makes the world go around.

Money = status

Money = influence

I suppose that is true, in a sense. But what if there is more?

What about your relationship with others?

What about the emptiness you feel inside even with all the money?

Are you content? Let me rephrase… Are you satisfied with your life right now? ALL OF IT?

Why a life coach?

Why should you get someone to tell you what to do, right?

Have you ever thought about what you will see if you had to look at yourself from the outside? From another point of view?

What would you see?

Yes, you are in a CEO position and money is good. What about your relationships with your family at home? Your spouse? What about your relationship with your staff? If your relationship with your staff improve, will that boost their performance?

And in turn, how will that relieve stress at work, which in turn leaves you more relaxed to come home in a better mood? How will THAT affect your relationship with your spouse?

Maybe you are standing at the crossroads of life with one the biggest decisions you must make.

Am I good enough?

Maybe you are sitting in the gutter right now and the side is to high to climb out. Maybe you are in a long tunnel without light. You do not see any exits, no escape… and the only light you will see is probably a freight train coming from the front.

Is your marriage falling apart?


So, why am I here?

Maybe you are divorced and now need to pick up the pieces. Will God forgive you? YES!

You need to put your life back together, whatever the reason, right?


You need to breathe NEW LIFE into your hopes and dreams. You need to rekindle those hopes and dreams.

We are here to journey with you to develop yourself to become the ACHIEVER YOU WERE BORN TO BE!

Are you content with your life right now?

My wife and I (that’s right. She is my partner and an achiever with the gift of motivating others in the worst of times) are here to walk beside you when you need support, walk in front of you when you need guidance, and walk behind you when you need a push or a boost to carry on.

Maybe you are already successful, and you just need a little tweaking, sanding or refinement to grow into the achiever you were created to be. YES, everyone is born to achieve.

Now, to achieve and be an overcomer does not necessarily mean MONEY. It means a lot more…

  1. You can see your goals and know what they are, but it just remains out of reach…

Setting a goal is just a thought (like buying the seed from the market), now you must take the next step and prepare the soil, plant the seed and water it. The goal? Apples! An apple tree! Sometimes you just need the assistance and guidance to help you plant the seed you have in your cupboard. You will never harvest apples if the seed remains in the cupboard. We are here to inspire you, guide you and encourage you.

There is no YOUTUBE video on how to be YOU. So, you cannot just go on Youtube quickly to see what you should do next. But we are here to help you figure YOU out.

  • Am I good enough?

How many times have you asked yourself that question?

Or don’t you dare?

Throughout life you have heard that you just aren’t good enough. Not good enough for your spouse, hence the divorce. So, he/she told you it is your fault.

You could never really get out of the starting gate, because something in your past has been holding you back, but you just can’t put your finger on it.

  • Anxiety and stress

Stress is probably one of the sneakiest “illnesses” ever. It will slowly cling on to you at first, small, unrecognizable. Almost like an empty backpack. Then it starts to grow. It starts to fill up with small pebbles. One by one. Then, the pebbles themselves start to grow in the   backpack. Pebbles: work, spouse, kids, time, tick..tock…tick…tock, time is money, tick..tock.   Deadlines! Meeting sales targets! Children! Dinner! Tick…tock…tick…tock… Does it ever stop?

                Why is a day only 24 hours!?

 You need support. Groups aren’t your thing. You need encouragement and a plan. You need to find YOU in this whole mess.

  • Where do I start?

How many times have you asked that question in the past? You had a plan but are blinded by the stumbling block in front of you that looks like Everest. The odds seem overwhelming and giving up is much easier. Yes, giving up is easier. But living with the regret for the rest of your life is not! We give you the nudge to take the first step toward the exciting journey of climbing the mountain.

  • Have you pushed your own goals and dreams into the corner cupboard so you can focus on everyone else’s dreams?

Are you trying to silence the inner call for being who you were meant to be?

  • Relationships

The referee calls you to the middle of the ring…Your opponent is staring you down. He is much bigger and stronger than you. The incredible Hulk looks like a toddler compared to him. Life! He is a worthy opponent.

Relationships… The one thing that affects all you do, become or achieve.

Who is in your corner?

The relationship with everyone around you has a great affect on YOUR LIFE! That’s right, it does, at the end of the day also affect your work, performance, income, achievements and EVERYTHING ELSE. How is your relationship with:

  1. Yourself
  2. Your spouse of partner
  3. Children
  4. Colleagues or employees

Can you fix it? Let us guide and support you. Is it better to break off a relationship in any of the above? Sometimes. If so, when should I and how? Let’s find out what is best together. I cannot tell you what I did and guarantee that it will work for you. That is why it is called a journey.

  • Remove the clutter from your life.

 Clutter has a nasty way of complicating your life. Just try and find a lid to the Tupperware container in your cupboard. Is there some clutter or noise you need to get rid of? What is it   that prevents you from achieving?

  • Hope is a hopeless word…

NO, it is not!

It all depends on who supports you in your quest to finding YOU. Hope is real! Hope is a starting point! Hope is your friend, encourager, support. Hope is your biggest fan!

All hope lost? Let’s find it. Together…

Why us?

Because we are us. My wife and I take great joy in seeing and sharing the success of others. All through our life, we both believed in climbing the ladder to success. BUT, not by stepping on the heads of others, but by climbing one step at a time and then reaching down to pull up the others. We thrive on the success of others. You see, your success water our seeds. We constantly plant seeds and nurse each one to success. Unfortunately, some landed on poor soil or got pushed out by weeds. But we need to do the homework, we need to find the good soil, the right time to plant and the right time to water.

We are different, my wife and I. You see, every person is uniquely and wonderfully made. That includes every life coach and Cognitive Behavioral Therapist or psychologist out there. Everyone is different and unique. Every one of the above has a different and unique way of guiding and doing things.

It is because of this that we can say we are different and do things differently.


People want a difference. Here is what you need to know… You cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results each time! We are also not here to stand on the side-line and cheer on your same thing routine. We are not here to sugar-coat everything you need to hear. We are here to help you become the achiever you were born to be!

Want to make a difference? Start with YOU! TODAY!

We are with you all the way. We can be only a blogpost, email or phone call away. Your choice. Either way, we are by your side. Or behind you. Or in front of you.

Join us now. Become part of your winning team.

People come to us asking guidance at work (or other)… and transform into achievers in all parts of their life!

Stay with us…

I am not saying that, as a life coach, I am Mr. Know-it-all. Nor am I saying my wife has all the answers. BUT…

Apart from the school of life, we studied for life coach and Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (and still study more and more so that we are able to assist you better and understand better). Yes, we study continuously so that we can grow continuously. I also have a passion for adult education and am a successful author in other subjects. We both are also Ordained Ministers. We serve internationally. You are welcome to verify our credentials at the Christian Leaders Alliance here: . That’s correct, but we do not serve only a specific doctrine or a specific denomination. You see, the outcome is more important to us. We are not going to shove religion down your throat! We are not forcing you to believe one denomination and reject the other. We are not here to judge you if you are any other religion. What I am saying is; we understand the spiritual side. We constantly study “the spiritual side” of life to know more about the forces that we (you and I) cannot control, (and be able to change what we can) and how it affects your life, whether you are Christian or not. We strive to understand how certain behaviors of our ancestors, word spoken in the past, history, and the truth (the real truth and nothing but the truth) affects who we are and why things happen or don’t happen in our lives. Apart from just ordained ministers, we strive to know more. We seek the truth. We fight in the front lines!


So, apart from all this: ordained ministers, cognitive behavioral therapists, life coaches, blah-blah-blah.. we strive to understand how you think and why. We strive to know what forces (and other things) affect your thinking and behavior, and so understand better how to accompany you on the most exciting journey ever…

The journey of being YOU and who you were born to be!

So, do not forget. JOIN NOW. See here for details.