Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  


Recommended Posts



Immigration is a challenge which requires will, determination, resilience, innovation, motivation and more. Somebody said, ‘Immigration is not for sissies.” On the one hand there is the process of disposing of possessions and saying goodbye. Then the process of settling in the new country starts: the new home, the new job, the new environment, getting accustomed to so many things, such as the new way of life, the traditions, the history, the culture and the weather of the new country.

Immigration requires a positive attitude, the ability to see the bright side in everything, to see the opportunities and to see the solutions. Even after a number of years in the new country there are bound to be negative situations where a positive attitude is necessary. A positive approach to life is not only helpful to overcome challenges. It fosters health, wellness, better relationships, enjoyment and efficiency in the work place. Being positive is the basis for real happiness.

We do not always realize that, subconsciously, there is a process of grieving over the loss of the known, the beloved, the heritage and everything that we left behind. I remember two instances during our period of waiting for approval to immigrate to Canada when my subconscious grieving surfaced unexpectedly. The first one was when I was driving past the University of Pretoria, my alma mater. Looking up at the Administration building I suddenly had a lump in my throat which I could not swallow. The second case was when I had to take my Africana book collection to an auctioneer to be sold. When I took the first book from the shelf to pack in a box there was the lump in the throat again. This lump remained throughout that whole day of packing more than 1000 books into boxes. Each book had a story about where I picked it up, on a flea market, in a Swop Shop, in a pawn shop or received as a gift. Each book also had a story inside about either the fascinating history of South Africa, the endless variety in the culture of South Africa or the beautiful nature of South Africa. To all that I had to say goodbye.

I said to Adeline, my wife, that we need a motto to help us through the whole process of immigration. After about a week I came up with a motto that carried us through the rough spots and which, even today, helps us to overcome a problem situation. The motto is: 'Canada is fun!.

A positive approach to life is not only helpful to overcome challenges. It fosters health, wellness, better relationships, enjoyment and efficiency in the work place. Being positive is the foundation for real happiness.

My book, THE POSITIVE DICTIONARY, is a contribution to helping people to develop a positive approach in life. It is a dictionary conteining only positive word. Every word is explained in the form of an action which one can practice to become more positive. For every word there is also a deeper thought, motto or slogan which can be followed in life.

The Positive Dictionary is especially helpful for immigrants to handle the rigors and challenges of immigration with confidence, courage and fun.

In THE POSITIVE DICTIONARY I explain the word 'positive' as follows:

Positive: Be positive about everything in life, and life will treat you positively.
* A positive attitude causes positive things to happen.

It is just amazing how many good things happen when one is positive. Even in a really negative situation one can say to yourself: 'This is now a real negative situation. How can I turn this into a positive situation?' Immediately one sees the opportunities, the solutions. Acting on these ideas brings results. A negative situation has been changed into a positive situation. And that is great fun.

For further information about the book and to order it, click on the banner above or on the address below.

Please share with us your experiences of the need to be positive when immigrating to your new country. We will all learn from that.

Phil Minnaar
Paid: 2007
Edited by Hendie

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I gave it some thought (at least 30 seconds) and this is what I thunk:


If there was a dog, living in a drain, underneath a highway, sleeping cold every night, scavenging for scraps of old, cold food every single day, come rain or shine, and this came to be the dogs life, and the dog realized that this is what it has to do and go through to survive, then the dog will do it. Just by realizing that it is the life that he must live to survive, the dog will know in the back of its mind that an easier life is out there, a warm bed at night, nobody kicking it in the ribs, no rainwater wetting its bed at night, but the dog also knows it is completely unable to change its own circumstances.

Then, one day, along comes an old man, and he sees the pitiful plight of the dog. He might not feel touched by the dog's life, but nevertheless, he takes the dog home, washes it, delouse it, gives it a dry bed to sleep in and a meal every day.

For the rest of the dogs life, something has changed, but also, some things will always remain: one, the dog never forgets its previous life, and two, the dog is forever grateful to the old man, and here is the magic word: unconditionally. The dog is unconditionally grateful for what the man has done for him. This means that whatever the man does, the dog is grateful. If the man is in a good mood, the dog is grateful. If the man is in a foul mood, the dog is grateful. If the man scolds at the dog, the dog is grateful. Unconditionally.

If the dog is sad, it doesn't matter. If the dog is happy, it doesn't matter. If the dog is angry, it doesn't matter, because beneath its own emotions, there is always the unconditional gratefulness towards the man that took it from the drain pipe, and offered it a better life. Something every dog deserves.


I am the dog. The drain pipe is where I came from. America is the old man. I do not need to tell myself to be positive, because even if a situation in the old man's house gets me down, I am still grateful. I will do what the old man wants me to do, even if I never liked, or never wanted to do it. Why? Because I am grateful. I think of the other dogs that are left in the cold, wet pipe, sleeping in the rain, and I go over to the old man, and I lick his hand, because I will never forget, and even if he should hit me with a cane, I will still be grateful. As long as he doesn't send me back to that dreaded pipe.


This is just me, though. :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

JohanB, that was a really lovely story, a nice thought amongst some of the more complicated and painstaking moments that we experience when we move here.


I didn't leave South Africa because I hated living there, I was fortunate enough never to have to face the crime that some of my countrymen have faced, and still face. I listen to Highveld every day at work and listen to the continuing crime wave that is sweeping our old home, and yet, I still yearn for Sunday morning going to church with my mum, going home and helping her cook Sunday lunch. I miss the South African sunsets, the culture, even if at times I'm painfully aware that it is barbaric.


I am, truly grateful for being able to live here, I am not however unconditionally grateful. You can't just roll over and accept the negative stuff that makes living here unbearable at times. We all have limits, not putting those limits on yourself sets you up to for 'abuse' that you wouldn't otherwise tolerate.


The mutual respect from your colleagues, friends etc is vitally important, we cannot lose who we are, what makes us tick.


One of the hardest things I find here on the forum is that there ARE difficult days, there are times still today that I long for what was, moreover, its ok to feel that way. We come here. as JimNBoss commented on another thread, to vent amongst people that do understand who we are, where we've come from and where we're trying to go. To blatantly shoot someone down in flames because they long for the drainpipe can be quite daunting at times. We can't all experience things the same way. I believe this forum is vital to our survival here, I know, for I speak from experience. I know some of you "fled" SA, I know people like myself, Creature, and others, are here because our spouses happen to be American. I do strongly believe that your reasons for leaving SA have a direct impact on how you experience your new life here.


Lets not forget why we're here on this forum, that while its fabulous that we can share, in awe, our new experiences, that there are days when some people, myself included, need to come here and be told that its ok to have a bad day, that its ok to still get homesick, that its going to be ok.


I am very very grateful to the old man, but at times I do miss my drainpipe :)

Edited by Deedz

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear JohanB


Thank you for your very interesting anecdote about the dog and the old man and the whole concept of being grateful. There is a lot of truth in that.


I absolutely agree with you about the concept of being grateful to the new country for opening its doors to us. In fact, in my book, The Positive Dictionary, I have explained the word, ‘Grateful’ as follows:


Grateful: Be grateful for what is bestowed on you.

* Gratitude is a reflection of appreciation for what you have received.


We all have much to be grateful for what we receive in our new country.


Where I differ from you is that the dog did nothing to improve its situation. It did nothing to seek the old man’s approval or offered some form of service to the old man, like keeping watch over him. You on the other hand, identified the old man. You made a conscious decision to obtain his approval to enter his house and to give something back to the old man, in the form of work, for accepting you into his house.


We tend to think that a positive or a negative attitude is like a switch, just on or off, just positive or just negative. The reality is that there is a whole range from very, very negative to very, very positive and each one of us is somewhere on that range. We may be somewhere on the negative side or somewhere on the positive side. To be very, very positive is actually abnormal. Wherever we are on that range, there is room to become more positive in our relationships, in our work, in the goals that we have set for ourselves, in our communities and in the overall enjoyment of life.


We have a choice. We can decide to stay where we are or we can decide to become more positive in everything we do and receive even more from life. Gratitude is a part of being positive but being positive is far more than just gratitude. Gratitude within a positive attitude makes us truly grateful.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



The word: “begin”.


The word ”begin” is explained as follows in The Positive Dictionary:


"Begin: Begin a task with enthusiasm.

* The beginning is the starting point for success."


The word "begin" also has deeper meanings. In our lives we continually have new beginnings. As a baby everything is new. Every grade in school, every further stage in life, studies, work, marriage, parenthood are all new beginnings. Even retirement is the beginning of new experiences.


New beginnings create new visions. They refresh and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. But new beginnings are not limited to the big milestones in our lives. Life is experienced in the moment, this second. This is where we have a choice. This is where we can continuously create new beginnings, new things to do, new ways of doing things that we have to do, new relationships, new enjoyments.


All projects or tasks consist of smaller parts. Each of these parts is a new beginning.


Why wait for New Year to make New Year’s resolutions? Create continuous new beginnings with enthusiasm and life will be a continuous renewal.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is now a new website specifically dedicated to positive words from The Positive Dictionary.


The words are classified into five main categories with their subcategories as follows:



basic values

spiritual values




positive thinking











community service








The Positive Dictionary is touching people's lives. People from all walks of life are buying The Positive Dictionary to become more positive in life or to help them in difficult situations.


Get The Positive Dictionary. It will be an investment in you future!


The web address is: http://www.thepositivedictionary.com

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Some time ago I had my first fall on ice in Canada. I was walking from my car in the open parking lot of our condominium complex towards the building. I treaded carefully on the snow to avoid the patches of hard ice.


Suddenly I slipped and fell head over heals on the ice, hitting my hip and my hand on the hard ice. Fortunately nothing was broken but that evening I was sore and stiff and even the mattress was too hard to lie on.


I reflected on this experience and realized that life is full of high and low points, of reaching summits and of falling and failing. It is the falling and failing that make us stronger. When we fall in life the only thing to do is to stand up and go on with our lives, enriched with a new life experience.


Phil Minnaar


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Starting with the letter C, the word: ‘Courage’.


The word ‘courage’ is explained as follows in The Positive Dictionary:


Courage: Display courage in moments of danger.

 To be courageous is to be brave and fearless.


Courage is normally associated with dangerous situations, for example when someone disregards his or her own safety to save a life.


Courage, however, entails far more than physical fearlessness. Courage is needed to overcome difficult situations and setbacks in our lives. Courage is also needed in the small steps that we take in our every day lives.


Courage is displayed:


• when we say what we mean and mean what we say;

• when we say ‘thank you, but no thank you’ when requested to do something for which we do not

have time to do it properly;

• when we stand up to defend our values;

• when we keep smiling when in pain;

• when we stop procrastinating something that has to be done;

• when we start with a new project;

• when we say ‘I am sorry.’


Phil Minnaar

Author of The Positive Dictionary






Any feedback or comments on the monthly positive words and their meanings will always be welcome.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Starting with the letter D, the word: ‘Decide’.


The word ‘decide’ is explained as follows in The Positive Dictionary:


Decide: Decide after careful deliberation.

* A decision creates certainty.


From the moment we wake up till the moment we fall asleep we are continuously making decisions.


Many of these decisions concern our daily living activities, like dressing, eating and driving the car. These decisions do not require serious deliberation and are often made automatically.


Other decisions, like in the work situation, require more focused concentration. Wrong decisions may have serious consequences.


Major decisions are those with long-term implications. These decisions require serious, concentrated thinking, gathering of relevant data and information, identifying possible options, weighing the options and deliberating the possible consequences of each option.


Once we have gone through this process a firm decision can be made with much greater certainty. We should then not doubt our decision but believe in it, start planning, stick to it and work on it to achieve success.


Phil Minnaar


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Starting with the letter E, the word ‘Embrace.’


The word ‘Embrace’ is explained as follows in The Positive Dictionary:


Embrace: Embrace that which has enduring value.

To embrace is to accept, adopt and promote that in which we believe.


Embracing, or hugging, a loved one or a friend is a show of affection. By encircling people with our arms we bring them into our space. With that we have accepted and adopted the person and are promoting the relationship.


Embracing also applies to a cause. We can embrace, for example, the cause of positive living. Once we discover that we can decide to be more positive in life we can accept that we can do something about negative thoughts and feelings.


Once we have accepted it we can then adopt positive living to make it part of our lives. We can practice it, we can use it to handle problems and we can apply it in negative situations. We can make it our own.


We can then promote it by spreading goodness around us, by being compassionate in our relationships, by working hard to attain worthwhile goals, by motivating others and by serving the community.



Phil MInnaar

Author of the Positive Dictionary

Website: http://thepositivedictionary.com


The website http://www.thepositivedictionary.com contains more information about the many benefits of a positive attitude in life. It is worth a visit.


Comments about the Word of the Month will be welcome.

Edited by Phil

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Starting with the letter F, the word ‘Finish.’


The word ‘Finish’ is explained as follows in The Positive Dictionary:


Finish: Finish what you have started.

* Three things finished are better than thirty left unfinished.


We all carry a load of unfinished tasks in our lives. There are always more things to do than what we have time for. Before a task can be completed something else comes up which may be more urgent, more important or just more interesting. Some days we are plagued by interruptions, the telephone, a visitor, coffee time. At the end of the day we are tired and stressed and more unfinished tasks have been added to the trail of unfinished tasks.


Some days are different. We have a lot to do but we focus on something, think it through, do what has to be done and finish it. Then we tackle the next task and finish it. Even interruptions are handled effectively. At the end of the day we have enough energy left to keep on until midnight.


What is the fundamental difference between these two types of days? The essential difference is that on our effective days we have an inner calmness. Nothing can rush us. The only important thing is the task that we are busy with.


Calmness focuses the mind on this moment. We think clearer and time seems to pass slower. Calmness does not mean relaxing. On the contrary it helps us to finish our tasks more effectively.


With calmness our trails of unfinished tasks are transformed into finished accomplishments.


Phil MInnaar

Author of The Positive Dictionary

Website: http://www.thepositivedictionary.com


The Positive Dictionary is touching people's lives.[/b

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting used to my monthly inspiration, keep em coming :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Deedz. Feedback like that is inspirational for me.


Positive words are very powerful. There is so much deeper meaning behind every word.


I will certainly keep on sharing the deeper meanings of positive words from The Positive Dictionary.






Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Positive Dictionary


Only words with positive messages


by Phil Minnaar


The ideal gift for Christmas


This pocket size book, The Positive Dictionary, is the ideal stocking stuffer for Christmas. It can be a gift to yourself and to your loved ones.


Please see the availability of the book at the end of the background information.


The Positive Dictionary is unique. It contains only words with positive connotations. The meaning of every word is explained concisely in the form of a positive action or activity which can be practiced on a daily basis. Every word is also explained in the form of deeper thought, a motto, or a slogan which can be followed in life.


The Positive Dictionary can be used to cultivate a positive outlook on life or to find inspiration in difficult times. One can work systematically through the book by choosing specific words and deliberately putting them into action for a week or two or more.


The Positive Dictionary will be very valuable in learning the meaning of words and to foster an attitude of positive living. The book covers positive actions and thoughts in the following areas:


Basic values, Relationships, Spiritual values, Goodness, Thinking, Enjoyment, Work, Effectiveness, Goals, Learning, Motivation, Health and Wellness,

Community Service and a positive outlook on life.


The Positive Dictionary:


• explains the meaning of English words;

• fosters a positive outlook on life;

• inspires in difficult times;

• improves communication;

• assists in writing a card or a letter.



The Positive Dictionary is not a book that you read and you are finished with it. It is an investment for a lifetime.


Phil Minnaar searched through thousands of words and carefully selected only words with a positive connotation. With this book he is sharing the message of the benefits of a positive attitude towards life.




The book can be purchased from Phil’s website at




The website contains more information about The Positive Dictionary and about positive living.


For more information phone Phil at (403) 247 1720 or e-mail him at philminn[at]shaw.ca.


A positive attitutude causes positive things to happen!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...