Jan 18

Ask yourself these questions today

did i liveYesterday I opened my post by quoting from the movie ‘Serendipity’… and then the post took a turn I wasn’t expecting. So today, provided that the winds of destiny don’t move me in a different direction, we’ll get back to what I intended to say.

Our hero, Jonathan, has been searching for the woman he met in series of coincidences in New York City, having thrown the future of their relationship into the hands of fate, so that only if the stars are aligned and destiny smiles down on them will they meet again. Jonathan’s friend, Dean, observes that

“The Greeks only asked one question when a man died.. ‘Did he have passion?’”

I want to be known as a man who had passion. Passion for life, for adventure, for experiences. Passion for joy and a little bit of craziness. Passion for laughter, and joy, and happiness. And passion for love, for caring, for kindness. I don’t want to just sit and watch life go by. I want to leap in with both feet. I want to cry “Yes” to every wild experience that life brings along, to immerse myself in the whole moment of truly living – the mad, joyful passion of it all, the mournful sad grief of the moment – to experience with the whole of my being what it means to live.

Brendon Burchard says that there are only three questions that really count, when we look back on our lives:

Did I live?

Did I love?

Did I matter?

Perhaps we should ask ourselves those questions when we make the decisions of how we spend our time.

Did I live? – did I truly experience life on this planet – did I throw myself into the experience of being truly alive or did I just look to survive, to make it through life intact – to live from safety and not from adventure? Did I truly live this life?

Did I love? Did I care for those around me? Did I look to be a blessing whereever I went, to ask the question ‘what would love do now?’ Did I seek to bring healing, to bring life, to bring hope, to bring peace, or did I just look out for number one? Did I truly love in this life?

Did I matter? Did what I do have meaning? Was there a grand purpose behind my life, or did I just spend it on things with no true cosmic significance? Did I truly matter in this life?

I want to have the right answers to those questions. Don’t you

To know that truly live your life – squeezing every last drop of juiciness out of it – “for life not to be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, espresso in the other, body thoroughly used up and worn out,  screaming ‘WOO HOO – what a RIDE’”

To know that you seek, to the best of your ability, to love those around you – your friends, your family, your colleagues, the people you meet in the street, and even those that you have never even met – that you are an expression of love and tenderness in the world.

To know that somehow, somewhere, and to someone, that what you do matters. That you make a difference in every moment of you being here, and the world is a better place because of the decisions you made.

The world is a better place because you are in it. And when you truly live your life, and when you truly let love flow out – then what you do..matters.


Jan 13

It’s time for heresy . . .

her•e•sy (hĕrˈĭ-sē)

n. An opinion or a doctrine at variance with established beliefs

old bookThe world needs more heretics. The world needs more people to think outside the box, to challenge the status quo. As Einstein famously said:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

We are blessed with some of the most incredible thinkers who have shaped our thoughts and our beliefs. Einstein, Martin Luther King, Carl Jung, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immanuel Kant, Confucius, Lao Tzu… a whole procession of wonderful thinkers who have caused us to look at the world differently, who have explored the possible and helped us see the world the way we do. And, yes, we need to learn from those who have gone before us – and, God bless the internet, and books, and libraries, and the media, we have more access to these people than we have ever had before.

And, yet, we need to stand on the shoulders of giants. We need to form our own opinions, and work out what we believe for ourselves.. not simply listening to what others say. We need to challenge belief systems, whether religious, political, scientific, social, economic. And especially we need to challenge those belief systems that say ‘you can’t do that’.

We need more mismatchers. Mismatchers are those people who when presented with an argument will automatically disagree. Their default setting is to challenge it – to take the concept apart and see if it holds together – and if it has merit, come up with an improved version. My eldest son is a mismatcher. I love him dearly. And he makes me think. He forces me to challenge my own assumptions, my own views and come up with something better.

We need more ‘what if’ people. They’re the folk who, when presented with a new idea, say ‘what if I do this?’ ‘What if I try this at work?’ ‘What if we could get everyone doing this?’ They’re the ones who push the envelope – taking something higher, faster, further, longer than ever before. (‘Pushing the envelope’ was a phrase from the early days of aviation and test flights – ‘the envelope’ referred to the performance boundaries of a plane, and ‘pushing the envelope’ was what happened when the (only very slightly insane) test pilot said “I wonder what happens if . . . .”)

One of Terry Pratchett’s characters in his latest book, Raising Steam,observes

“if I am to be of any use I have to be myself – and that means, I’m afraid, that I have to find the edge of the envelope and put my stamp on it, otherwise life wouldn’t be worth dying for”.

I’ve found in my personal spiritual journey that I have had to challenge everything – and that’s allowed me to create an understanding of the universe that works for me. And that would probably get me called a heretic by the Christian church, the New Age world, the Buddhists, humanists and even the atheists. And that, I believe, has allowed me to fly higher and live happier than if I had just accepted what I’d been told. It’s brought me peace, and freedom – and the liberty to be me.

So – what about you? You have everything you need to change the world, you really do. Your thoughts matter – because those thoughts affect those around you – and they affect those around them…and one idea can change…everything.

The world needs more heretics. Be one.


Jan 12

Who’s gonna pick you up…

helping hand runnerA couple of days ago I talked about making mistakes – or, sometimes, things simply going wrong… how it’s important to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the game. In life, particularly as you start to make progress towards your dreams, the ability to bounce is essential.

They say that something like 90% of all first time business start ups fail. That’s huge. They also say that something like 90% of all second attempts to create a business succeed. You think they might have learned something crucial the first time around? You bet. Many successful people have been successful and then lost it all. And then built back an even bigger success story.



It’s difficult to make it on our own, though. It’s difficult to bounce. Richard Buckminster Fuller, the incredible engineering genius, once famously said:

“Geniuses are just people who had good mothers.”

By which I think he meant that they had someone to encourage them, to give them great stuff to work with, and to pick them up when they screwed up. Because that’s one of the hallmarks of a genius – a tendency to screw things up.

I loved this video from Procter & Gamble – partly because it showed how many times you need to be fail before you become great at something (you think ice skaters are BORN knowing how to skate?), partly because it shows how to pick yourself up and keep on going, and partly because it shows you how you need someone on your side to help pick you up, wipe the tears away and shove you back on the ice.


I’d encourage you to think about who’s around you. Who do you have in your life that will encourage you, pick you up, dust you down and set you off in the right direction again? I was blessed with great parents. And even more blessed with wise children who are 100% on my side (and not afraid of telling the truth either). And I have some incredible, amazing friends who I’ve allowed to speak into my life. 

I’ve learned to trust the folk around me. Because I know they love me. And I hope I can be that much of a blessing for other people too. Because when we encourage each other to be the best that we can be – then something amazing happens.

So this week, look out for someone who needs encouraging. Someone who needs reminding to get back on the ice. Someone who feels a little lost. You don’t have to give them the answers – they’ve got those already, deep inside them – you just have to remind them that someone cares – remind them that they can succeed – remind them that they are great, that they can win – that they are – like each and every one of us – amazing.


Jan 08

Get back in the game

Brick wallsLife is tough sometimes. There are days when you seem to have been struggling for so long that it’s tempting to quit. Just give up on the dream and surrender to the inevitable failure. You’ve tried – and nothing’s worked out. You’ve fought your hardest, and still got nowhere. And you don’t think you can handle that disappointment again.

I haven’t got any easy answers. I haven’t got a magic wand that will make all your troubles go away. I haven’t got a secret key that will unlock the door that seems firmly shut. I can only tell you one thing.


Get back in the game.


I know it’s tough. I know that it’s hard. I know that you’ve tried and failed. So far. But you’ve got two choices. Either get back on the field and get back in the game… or go find a different game. There’s no point sitting around moping about how you just can’t win – how you always get so far and then you come up against unbeatable opposition. That’s not going to get you anywhere. You’ve either got to suck it up and get back on the field.. or decide that this game isn’t for you.

If you listen to your heart, you’ll know. You’ll know where you need to be. This might be the message that says ‘time to try something different’. And if it is, go try something different. There’s no shame in that. But if your heart says ‘this is what I want to do’ – then go try it again. Get the courage to get back in the game.

Talk to millionaires. They’ll tell you that they tried and failed and tried again – that success came just after they thought that they had failed. Talk to sportsmen (and women) – they’ll tell you that they had to hang in there and deal with failure. When I used to compete in karate kumite competitions, I’d get hit, shake myself down and get back on the mat. Any horserider will tell you that they had to get back on the horse – any snowboarder will tell you they had to pick themselves up out of a pile of snow and carry on down the mountain. The successful person is the one who goes down six times… and picks herself up six times.

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, author of “On Death and Dying”, reminds us that “The most beautiful people we have ever known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have pulled themselves out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

This is where hearts are forged.




Jul 09

Heaven and Hell

Heaven & Hell

Often, it’s not what’s happening to us. it’s the meaning we associate with what’s happening to us. If we look at our lives with gratitude, joy, acceptance and from a spirit of love and peace, looking at what we do have and what others don’t – then this place we live in really is Heaven. If we look at our lives from a place of fear, looking at what we don’t have and what others do – then this really does feel like Hell. I know which I would prefer to experience today – and that’s why I am going to stay happy, stay at peace, stay loving, stay joyful – and stay grateful – because that way I really do get to experience Heaven on earth.