Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Work Song

This month seems to be flying by! I've just been so busy being so busy in recent weeks. So busy in fact that I haven't had a chance to play with my blog.

So it seems apt that the inspirational comments that came over my email today was as follows:

"Are we there yet? How often do you find yourself anxious to get 'there'? Are you over focused on the destination? How about enjoying the journey and not just the destination."

Time to enjoy.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

It Only Takes A Minute

I've been reading a fascinating book called ‘59 Seconds’. In a nutshell it packages itself as a personal development book with a difference. It bases its wisdom and insights on scientifically-underpinned results. These are simple ideas that can be learned within a minute (hence the name). Social psychologists are always doing tests on something and this book aims to synthesize the outcomes of all kinds of experiments on human lab rats. And interesting stuff it is too.

I’ve read a lot of development books in my time and I've often wondered how much of the advice is the genuine article or simply old wives tales, half truths or simply regurgitated stuff that people kind of believe is true without even testing the water. Yes, you can still question causation and coincidence with some of the experiments outlined in this book but it did get me thinking.

One of the tests revolved around how children behaved when they are given the option of getting instant reward in the form of a chocolate or accepting a better reward in the form of two chocolates. The theory is that some want gratification now rather than to wait for something that will turn out to be better. A bird in the hand types to some degree. The research behind the tests suggests that those that show more patience have tended to be more successful over their lives. Naturally, it got me thinking about how I've lived my life. Too often I've had a need to get results in the now, which has provided my ‘sugar rush’ but hasn’t had a lasting impact. Playing the long game has not always been a strong suit. But the boffins have a view on balancing up the instant fix with the benefits of playing the long game. I’m definitely being more conscious about thinking and shaping ahead. It's not too late to plan for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Only You

I was walking down the street when I heard the old Platters song 'Only You' belting out of a shop doorway. It's one of those oldies but goodies you rarely hear, even on old school radio.

But here it was talking to me. I say talking to me as I was having one of those early-year, post-resolution-setting moments of aaaggghhh!!!

The day's gym effort had been pretty feeble even in the context of recent less than stellar efforts. The plan to push on with more life coaching had hit invisible speed bumps. My guitar heroics hadn't quite turned me into the next Eric Clapton. And, quite frankly, I was getting nowhere fast really. I always had excuses. It was the weather, the water, the whatever. And then I heard the song and remembered it was all down to me:

Only you can make this world seem right
Only you can make the darkness bright
Only you and you alone
Can thrill me like you do
And fill my heart with love for only you

Only you can make this change in me
For it's true, you are my destiny
When you hold my hand
I understand the magic that you do
You're my dream come true
My one and only you


Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Boxer

Yesterday I heard the sad news of the tragic passing of ex-British heavyweight boxing champion Gary Mason. He was only 48 years old.

His was a story of a man with so much unfulfilled potential who didn't quite get the luck he deserved. As British champion he fought in a unification bout with the then European champion, Lennox Lewis. At the time Gary had an unblemished fighting record and was favourite to win against the relative upstart. It was winner takes all - and little did we know how this was to play out. Lennox won the fight by technical knockout and never looked back. Because of eye injury Gary's career started to wind down, despite him never losing again. 37 victories, 34 of which were by knockout, and that one solitary defeat. Quite a boxing career.

Why do I have such an interest in him? He was my next-door neighbour in South London for a number of years when I was growing up. That, and the fact he was genuinely a very generous, humble, articulate and decent guy. And with a smile on his face. I still remember setting off early every morning to do my paper round only to see him already putting the hard graft into his training. He was committed. He tried.

After his career ended he tried his hand at a number of ventures - I still remember his "Punch and Jewellery" shop. If the initiative didn't work out, and more often than not it didn't, he'd try something else. And so he continued. But still with a smile on his face and with a positive expectation out of life. I've flicked through quite a few tributes over the internet - some knew him, some had just been inspired by him. He wasn't part of the badaaass, gangsta heavyweight merry-go-round that served some boxers; nor did he play pantomine dame for public adulation. He was just good at what he did and let that do the talking.

He could have been more than a contender (and had he being plying his trade today there would be no doubt. But he was sandwiched between the Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis eras. It just wasn't to be.

So farewell, big man. Keep that laughing large and loud wherever you are.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Begin The Beguine

Happy New Year!

It's that time of year again - fresh promise, new inspirations and bold aspirations. Everything is possible over 2011... Okay, we've all been here before. In fact, it only seems like so many of us were having these thoughts about 12 months ago - and it didn't quite pan out as planned... Regardless of previous efforts, once in a while we still need to be able to re-set our dial to point us in a direction we feel is right for us.

Personally, I like to think that this could take place at any given time within the year, rather than package it in the hype and pressures of New Year resolutions. But an unexamined life isn't worth living (or something like that), so any calendar mechanism that allows us to re-think how and why we you are doing what we are doing can only be a good thing, particularly if it helps us to undertake positive change.

I'm taking on a few more focused goals for 2011, including making more out of this blog. Hopefully some of you will join me on the journey this year - or join me with my dance, as a "beguine" apparently is.

Hopefully we can all start the year as we mean to go on...