Category: Life Lessons

So what if I know? – A pointless rant about others views and attitudes

So the sun is shining as I write this but I find myself drifting toward some useless thought patterns.

I am not too sure what is going on at the moment but I sense a real atmosphere of angst and what could be described as hate in some cases. Luckily I living in the United Kingdom and there is one thing us UK dwellers do well. Being two faced.

There seems to be a real need for me to stop smiling or in fact stop doing anything, which of course in not going to happen any time soon. People who were friendly before are friendly no more. A real air of dark-hearted mood modification.

It is hard when things in your life are not going your way or that you are not getting the feedback, be it good or bad, that you wish to receive but trying to off-load and make others “feel your pain” is about as possible as being able to go into the crushing darkness and silence of death with a helping partner. Some things are solo missions. Even twins are born one at a time.

With this in mind I have a choice. Carry on giving energy to people who do not want it or move on in a massive way and reconnect with the rest of the planet and see how that works out.

Times are hard at the moment but the times are also “a changing…” and at a pace most cannot keep up with but now it is the time to redefine how the rest of my life will pan out and I would advise anyone in the same position to do the same.

Look around, review, revise, edit, cut, edit some more and then renew. Most importantly stick with the choice you make be it good or bad.

Because to be quite honest, me writing about such feelings is a complete waste of time and thinking about such matters an even bigger waste.

New Year…New Rules

(Part one of what I am sure will be a very short series)
So, this is 2015. Interesting no? Age is not the only thing that is nothing but a number. However change can be instantly achieved regardless of the date.
A prime example of this happened recently (I know….at the time of writing we are only seven days into the year). I received a friend request on Facebook.
No big deal I hear you cry. Get them all the time the vain people at the back are mumbling to themselves. This time however I had to think about it for a moment before deciding if this ‘association’ should be added.

You see I was at a course/function/gathering about three years ago when I was less cynical about a lot of professional pursuits and more in a tune with the real me. I met this person there and I gave a lot of time and energy making sure he did not feel left out in life. Being a person who loves connecting with and hearing the stories of those of us who are more experienced in life is the one thing I know feeds my intellect and my sprit. That is just the way I am wired. I thought we got on great.

Anyway, a few years go by and I see the person again but this time they are dismissive, un-engaged and full of themselves (it was their night to shine apparently) and in my customary way I left it right there where it belongs.
So, I fire up my newish grandad sized iPhone this week and opened Facebook only to see a request from the very same person. Had they forgotten who they ignored last time? Do they feel they will gain some career advantage by sending this request at this time? Do these questions matter?
The last one is very easy to answer. No. These questions and many more should not even figure in your minds and in truth do not matter at all.

We all have choice. We can surround ourselves with likeminded people who may not agree with you all the time but at least you both feed each other’s sprit in a way where some level of positivity will emerge. I no longer engage with energy vampires or professional destructive hate talkers .

So the request has been deleted. I hope they forget about the request in the same way they would forget about their behaviour. That way balance is restored to my universe which, hopefully, will spill into your universe.

The day my father died and the lesson he left me

It was a year ago today that I received a call that we all may come to expect but is still a shock. The voice down the line was my stepmother from America, crying and screaming. “He’s dead, he’s dead! Your father is dead”. “How?” I first asked without realising that how he died was of little consequence. I set about the task of telling the rest of my family here in the UK.

After the calls and with a good measure of rum in a glass I sat down and started to think about my father life. He had made a choice not to be with my mother when I was 15 and that had made me mad and bitter for quite a long while. Nobody could understand the choice at the time and we were not in an emotional and financial position to just pick up the pieces and start again. But over time I came to forgive my father and find peace with the situation. I had gone through worse and was still going to go through other times that would test me so holding a grudge was never an option and in life it never should be.

At the times that I met with my father he always seemed far more happy, adventurous and settled as a person. In fact far more than he had been in his time here in the UK.

And then the penny dropped. He was doing exactly what he want to do without fear or judgement. It had seemed as if he found the kind of freedom that we all crave. That balance we all talk about but do not quite reach because of our fears.

My stepbrother Mark summed it up perfectly when he said to me last year that my dad “…did it his way…” and that is the one lesson I strive to take from all of this.

At some point we all need to do it our way. Walk from the toxic if it cannot be silenced. Stand tall everywhere in everything you do. Make sure your voice is heard however you may express yourself and keep on keeping. Forward motion everyday no matter how small that movement seems.

One day we all will be stopped in our tracks. Never make that day the time you are enjoying on earth. And enjoy it, for all of its waves of happiness and hardship, we must. It is our duty.

Rest in peace dad. Here’s to doing it our way.

Post holiday truths – How to use your ‘stop and think’ time.

Post holiday truths – How to use your ‘stop and think’ time.

Writing this on the plane back from the yearly family getaway I was struck this year by how calm I have become over the 10-day period. Somehow I don’t think my favorite drink had anything to do with it.

No, it was much deeper than that. This year I had decided long before we traveled that I would have some ‘stop-and-think’ time. It was time to take stock of everything but not to stress too much about an action plan when I got home.

The more I ‘stopped’ the less I was thinking and I found that, without much work on my part, answers and ideas came, not more frequently but more creatively, free from any time constraints. I feel, for me, that the more I try to think my way out of any situation the more false urgency arises about what I need to do and when it needs to be done. Yes, there are things we need to do and organize in a timely fashion but if you do not have a viable and creative plan of action the circle of failure you are trying to escape will become larger and larger, increasing the time it takes to finish your task.

“Just do it!” is great if you are a person who enjoys risk without planning but I would like to add another soundbyte-ready slogan. “Just stop it!”

Also “Just think it!” could work as well at the same time.

The one mistake I will not make is to come back from holiday assuming that I have all the answers. The one thing I will assume is that I have a new set of questions ready for a number of scenarios and challenges.

To stop, or not to stop? That is the question. When do we get the time? That is simple. One less Facebook post. One less soap episode. One less gossip-filled telephone conversation. One less over-priced coffee and the time spent queuing for it and believe me you will have the time (and a little more money in your pocket if you like coffee as much as I do). Just stop. And just stop long enough to think.

Also keep a notepad handy. You will be surprised at how much a good brain clear-out can do for your week.

You don’t have to go on holiday to do this either. If you have a lot going on and none of it is working particularly well then you do have the time to stop. A lack of success in any area is normally accompanied by long periods of nothing and nowhere moments. If everything is working out just fine for you then congratulations! You are officially too busy for any problems because your life is working exactly the way you want it to. Go have a drink. Or maybe not – as it may hinder your progress!

I am constantly reminded that thoughts are things and that even when they look as if they have not produced a physical result, there is some physicality to what those thoughts do. Even if it is just to stop you in your tracks with fear or some other useless or incorrectly used emotion.

How will I track my personal progress and growth with my newfound open plan approach? I will track it with how happy I am with the results or even lack of results I obtain. I say happy with the lack of results because sometimes, letting a moment or opportunity pass you by maybe exactly what you need to do.

I know what you are thinking – Does it matter if I do?

We spend an awful long time thinking about how we are perceived by others. How do I look today? Did I say something wrong? What if they don’t like me? So on and so on. The list seems endless.

What if you knew the answers? Would you feel better armed with the truth?

The trouble we face is that in real terms amongst all of your peer groups, trusted or not, the truth is in extremely short supply and when you are faced with it the effects can either be liberating or devastating.

Being aware of yourself is the best way to assume what others think of you but this has to be done with a large degree of balance. Over-estimating any personal flaws will deflate you to a point where change (if needed) is hard and under-estimating means that you may miss out on changing a behaviour which will, ultimately, help you improve not for others but for yourself. A perfect example of how you can over- or under-estimate your behaviour is when you meet any of your personal heroes. I was once warned to take care which of your heroes you meet. Some may fall short of your own personal expectations.

I say take care which of your heroes you meet because at the 2013 BVE expo I had the opportunity to meet one of my creative heroes who shall remain nameless. Prior to meeting him I’d built a mental picture of how I imagined that person to be and that picture was of a kind and sensitive person. Nothing could have been further from the truth. When we met he came across as suspicious, awkward and, to be harsh, soulless. This was in stark contrast to the benevolent image of them in my mind. I understand they had limited time but there are ways and means to extricate yourself from any meeting or conversation and as an older person they should have known this. I see this pattern again and again and wonder if it is me or my projected perception of myself based on the behaviour of others. And then I had a revelation. I was not mapping my own behaviour; I was actually mapping the behaviour of others.

Using the term “all human behaviour mapped” it can be said that through the thousand of years of written human history conclusions can be made as well as recommendations. It is the recommendations where the best chance of any improvement should be found. But how to choose which recommendations are suitable for you?

As you will hear me say time and time again on this blog I can only draw from my own experiences and I have been known to be wrong but strangely very rarely. What I will say is that most of us presume and judge but very few of us analyze and question our own thoughts. One way to analyse is to stop, move away from the phone, TV, mobile device or computer right immediately, remove all distractions and think independently (even if you are reading this blog – give yourself a moment).

Allow the space in your head to be filled with whatever social and relationship issues, good or bad, you want to think about right now.

Sometimes we may feel that the world around us is not working towards our best interests but does this matter if it is or not? What matters is this. Are you working towards your best interests?

Once we all learn to analyse ourselves in a non-judgmental and targeted way, removing conclusions we may have about ourselves that do not tally with the way we feel during our high moments of joy and usefulness, maybe, just maybe, we can see beyond the presumptions.