Five Thoughts on Connetivity

I am on holiday this week. Nestled by the coast of Mid Wales. Lots of long walks with the dogs amidst beautiful scenery. However one thing I am aware of is the almost complete lack of connectivity, broadband and phone. So I had five thoughts on the subject.

  1. Be grateful.  I live in a semi rural environment yet I have great connectivity. I have super fast fibre broadband and although the phone signal can be a little patchy at times as I live in a valley it is rarely completely off.
  2. Plan. If you are thinking of moving to the country and you need to be connected I would plan ahead. On the TV programme Move to the Country they rarely mention connectivity. Yet one of the reasons they decide to move is that one or both of them can work from anywhere because “I am in IT.” Think again.  In much of rural UK you had better find a new career.
  3. The size of your inbox should not be related to your self esteem. I strongly suspect for many of us the number of people wanting to communicate with us is too strongly tied to how we feel about ourselves. It shouldn’t be.
  4. Turning the phone is quite a good thing. People will survive without you.
  5. Relax you’re on holiday. Read a book instead of emails, Facebook and Twitter.


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Five Thoughts on Questions

Apparently the keys to a good story are Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. My thoughts this week are not so much how to construct a story but how to have a few thoughts about yourself.

1. Who? This can be answered in so many ways from the prosaic I am Gordon O’Neill to the metaphysical I am a child of my time. Actually I am not sure I am but you get my drift. Spending a few moments thinking about who you are is not a bad thing. You are probably many different things and maybe not even the person you want to be. Getting to “who” you are means ditching a few misconceptions about who others think you. You probably won’t arrive at a definite answer but you might have a clearer idea.
2. What?  When someone asks you what you what you do they asking for your occupation or your trade. That’s OK except people often judge you on what you do. I am a film maker but it is not the only thing I do. What I do is more than my occupation but it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that is all you are. It’s not you do so much more.
3. Where? We all occupy a physical space and there is nothing wrong with asking if you are in the right space. That could be where you live or work or play. Sometimes we are where we are because of habit and sometimes we need to shake ourselves out of a habit or commit to a change of space.
4. Why? Why are you doing what you are currently doing?  A questioning nature is not a fault. To blindly go along without any questions is the real fault.
5. How?  I make lists, all kind of lists. I write down my daily, weekly and yearly goals. What I have learnt recently is that I need to write detailed steps of how I am going to achieve those goals. What’s more I review them every day and revise them often. If I want to achieve something I need a plan, a how, I am going to achieve it.
As this is five thoughts for Thursday I have only have room for five of the six questions. Except to say “When are you going to ask the questions and do something with the answers?”

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Five Thoughts For Thursday on Selling

If you are in business you are in the business of selling. Maybe not directly but in one way or another that’s what you do. The trouble is most off us HATE selling. We got into the business we are in to do the thing that do. Selling is just a means to end, we sell so we can do the thing we do and get paid for doing the thing we do.

There are people of course who love selling. It’s what they get up for, it’s what energises them. Selling is the thing that they do. In face what they sell is almost an irrelevance, as long as they can sell that’s what’s important.

So most of us don’t like selling but if we want a make a living and want to do the thing that most energises us, we have to at least try and sell ourselves and our wares. So here are my five thoughts on selling.

  1. Remind people of their need. When we are not into selling I think we miss this. We tend to remind them of what we have to sell. If I walk round IKEA I can see lots of things, sofas for example. I can clearly see what they sell.  I need to be reminded I need something to sit on. Something stylish. Something durable. Something in my price range. Something that will in some way, when I sit down, fulfil my innermost “sitting down” needs. Once I reach that point selling is easy and buying is a done deal.
  1. There is a big difference between you knowing the importance of something and a potential client knowing it. Try to think how a stranger thinks. Not everyone thinks they way you do. Just because it is perfectly obvious to you does not make it so to other people.
  1. Work hard at overcoming your fear of rejection. Nobody likes rejection. So when you offer something to someone and they say no it’s natural to feel rejected, as if your whole life has come crashing down. It hasn’t. They have not rejected you as a person, they have just declined your offer and there could be a whole host of reasons why they have done that. The best thing you can do is find out, as dispassionately as possible, why they rejected your offer and then learn from it.
  1. Make a commitment to deliver something to people they value. By reframing your mindset and understanding that your job isn’t to trick or manipulate the buyer into making a purchase decision, you’re freed up to focus on engaging customers, answering questions, and selling the value behind your products.
  1. Engage with people before trying to sell to them. This works in person every bit as much as it does online. Get to know people a little better. Understand what they do. You may come to the conclusion that they don’t need what you have but at least you will save the time and energy of trying to sell to them. I think The Apprentice has a lot to answer for the idea that sales have to be rushed. OK it’s a TV show and not real life. In real life, nurture sales and do not be in an indecent rush to close the deal.


Happy Selling. If such a thing exists.






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Five Thoughts on Stuff I watched and listened.

As summer finally made an extended appearance, well over a week at least, I have been outdoors reading and chatting so TV and radio has taken a back seat. However there were a few programmes I did manage to catch and these are my thoughts.
1. Fixing Dad. Billed as two sons battling to overhaul their dad’s destructive lifestyle. This is available on the BBC iPlayer, here. This is an inspiring story and proves that is never too late to turn your life around. The story of far from plain sailing but I won’t spoil it for you. If I had one criticism of it is that sometimes it appeared more appeared the making of the film rather then subject. So lots of shots of cameras and the like. Maybe that’s just me and, in truth, it didn’t get completely in the way.
2. The Archers. The only time I catch The Archers it usually in the car and I have somehow stumbled across it. Last week I actually sought it out and gave it a listen. Although I don’t listen I seem to have many many friends on Facebook who do. What’s more not only are they avid listeners they are very involved in the story lines. There have been many times when I have wondered if an intervention was required. So having listened to two episodes in one week. I have concluded that you really should use some kind of plate when cutting the meadow. (I really have no idea why that was significant)  There is a character called Rob who, according to my Facebook timeline is a cock.
3. The Secret Agent. Starring the wonderful Toby Jones, Vicky McClure and Stephen Graham this is set in Victorian London. Toby Jones place Soho shopkeeper Verloc a spy of the Russian Embassy on an anarchist cell. He seems a pretty inept spy to be honest but that I think is the point. As the episodes unfold he is forced to take spying to the next level. Great Sunday night viewing  just a shame it is only three episodes long. I am looking forward to the concluding episode this Sunday. Really worth catching up on player. To my mind BBC drama at it’s best.
4.Shawshank Redemption. It doesn’t really matter what time of the year it is, somewhere among the many TV channels you will find The Shawshamk Redemption. On it’s original release it didn’t do that well but has subsequently become quite a hit. If by any chance you have not watched this yet then you should. Brilliant story telling by Frank Darabont from a short story by Stephen King.  I admit there is quite a bit of Shawshank before the redemption but it’s worth it. Great performances from Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. Look out for this on ITV 4, usually late night. Don’t worry if you fall asleep and miss a bit it’ll be on again soon. Worth watching for this shot alone;


5. Dead Ringers. I always listen to The News Quiz and The Now Show but somehow I have missed out on Dead Ringers. Sat in the garden I listened to a couple of episodes on iplayer. Well worth it, great impersonations and satire combined. The writing and the performing team deserve a wider audience. Worth it alone for the Laura Kuenssberg impression, so funny. Listen and catch up here.
Hope you like some of these, enjoy.

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Five Thoughts For Thursday about the heat

I know it’s been a while since we had any really decent weather but why, when it does come, it drives us all into a frenzy.
  1. Why do people incessantly complain about the heat. Yes it’s hot and no one likes to work in this heat but I really don’t need any more people to tell this.
  2. People who complain about how cold their office is because they have air conditioning.  You shouldn’t be complaining you should be smug, really smug. At the very least you should exude an air of gratitude that your employer bought something that will lie redundant the rest of the year.
  3. Where is an ice cream van when you need it and why do they never take cards?Even if one came I would almost certainly not have any change. We live in a cashless society don’t we?
  4. I know we all wanted a summer but do we have to have it all in one go? If we have to have a two day summer can we  possibly have say, at a weekend. (Apologies to the thousands of people who have to work at weekends).
  5. Why do keep fans in the most inaccessible part of the loft? I know it’s not been used for two years but why did I throw it to far end of the loft. I’d have been much better sitting down and cooling off rather than working up a sweat in the hottest part of the house.
Have a lovely summer.

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Five Thoughts on Thinking

It seems strange that I have been doing Five Thoughts for several months now and this the first time it has crossed my mind to do five thoughts on thinking.  As with most of these blogs my thought process was triggered by something I read. My current morning reading of choice is Dave Trott’s One Plus One Equals Three.

If you have read any of Dave’s Trott’s books you will know that he is both thought provoking and entertaining. Half way down a page something he wrote had me reaching for my notebook and make these five observations about thinking.
  1. There is a difference between thinking and daydreaming. Daydreaming, that moment when you let your mind just drift. You are not really thinking, you probably can’t even remember what crossed your mind, if anything. Daydreaming is an aimless activity, nothing wrong with that but it’s not thinking. Thinking has a certain creative and critical element to it and, to my mind at least, it leads somewhere.
  1. “It’s the thought that counts.” I have no doubt you’ve heard that expression actually you’ve probably said it. Normally it’s said when you are given a totally inappropriate gift but you are grateful that at least they thought of you. Not very well obviously for such a crap present. Thinking has to be more than just a fleeting recognition. Thinking must surely lead to doing and some form of doing that makes a difference.
  1. Thinking has surely got to be positive and not negative. The problem with thinking, well over thinking really, is that it can quickly turn to negativity. You think about all the reasons  why something can’t be done. Sometimes just going ahead without over thinking something is the way to go. I am not advocating recklessness but sometimes you just need to think on your feet, solve the problems as you encounter them not as your think about them.
  1. Do less thinking. I have read so many top class performers, actors, athletes, artists etc talk about how they feel at their best when they just do stuff without thinking. When they over think something it all seems to go wrong. Of course they are not making it up as they go along, far from it. That level of achieving without thinking comes from hours and hours of practice and dedication but in that moment of high achievement everything comes naturally. It just flows without conscious thought. What a place to be. If you think you could never reach that level  just remember you probably drive your car without much thought. Not carelessly, it just becomes second nature, natural like breathing.
  1. Think differently. The way we think is probably the result of years of practice. We all get into a certain way of thinking about the world and the way it works. As human beings we like routine. There is safety in routine and I have no doubt we develop thought patterns along the same lines. We think a certain way because that is the way we have always thought. We have always thought that way because we have been taught and have learnt that is the way to think. Maybe we need to UNTHINK. To find another way of thinking. Not sure how you do that but it’s a thought, isn’t it?
The passage from Dave Trott’s book is on age 71 – When Thinking gets in the way

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Five Thoughts on Mentoring

I was listening to a podcast the other day. I was struck by a phrase, “we all need to find our personal Yoda”. I presume he meant find someone who can mentor you rather than find a mythical character who utters wise words in an almost incomprehensible fashion. In another life I had a sort of mentor and I have had people in my life who, from time to time, have offered advice and direction. I have also had people who didn’t so much offer advice as tell me what a worthless piece of….but that’s best forgotten and I don’t think it come under the broad category of mentoring.

So what are my thoughts on mentoring.
  1. A mentor should be someone who is willing to share their skills, knowledge and expertise. Should mentors have the skills that are directly applicable to your industry? Personally I don’t think so.It might well help. If if they come from the same industry background they may possess a certain amount of insider knowledge but in any business arena there are transferrable skills. Someone might know nothing about how to edit a video but would know how to deal with people, how to stay focussed and a whole host of other skills that could benefit me.
  2.  A mentor should hold you to account for what you do but not be judgemental. Too many are fearful of seeking help and advice because they feel they will be judged. Helping you see where you can do better rather than pointing out where you are going wrong seems to me to be one of the prime skills of a mentor.
  3. Good mentors remember what it was like to start out and will understand where their mentee is on the growth curve.
  4. A mentor needs to guide and offer direction but not be controlling. It must be tempting to live life vicariously through one you are mentoring. Maybe even to the point of taking the credit for their success. It takes quite a person to mentor someone and then to take a step back and allow others to take the glory. Humility is surely a key trait of any mentor.
  5. A mentor needs the ability to reflect on their own journey. A mentor will have ability and knowledge but alongside the how of their success they will know the why of it as well.

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Five Thoughts For Thursday on The Referendum

As much as I would like to avoid it I can’t do a weekly blog and not have five thoughts on the referendum. So tin hat on and off we go.

  1. For decades voter participation and engagement, across all elections, has been dropping. Voting for X-Factor and Strictly consistently out perform voting at elections. Although you can vote more than once in TV talent shows. I do wonder if, in the perception of some at least,  the model for democracy is more akin to these shows than the reality of our parliamentary democracy? I don’t watch X-Factor but I do see the debate across my social media streams. There are cries of foul play, vote rigging and how can anyone choose them and in the context of recent events, many a statement about the stupidity of those who voted for someone other than their favourite. There is also this simple fact, the best singer or dancer does not always win. Why? Well maybe because…
  2. Voting is rarely done rationally. We vote for all kinds of different reasons. Party loyalty, family loyalty, a whole host of different narratives will often outweigh any investigation of data. It happens in all walks of life and I have no reason to believe an election or a referendum is any different.
  3. The vast majority of people who voted leave are not racist or stupid. Likewise those who voted remain are not unpatriotic appeasers. Sadly there will be a minority who will believe that a majority of people think and believe and think the way they do. Racism in any form is wrong. It is wrong in any country not just ours. We should all unite to condemn it and work for a better society.
  4. Are referenda a good way to decide anything? Just maybe our parliamentary democracy and the sovereignty of parliament  has been dealt a significant blow by this process. I am not sure it’s been dealt fatal blow but the I think it’s been lessened. It seems Parliament does not now whether to debate the result or not. After all the people have spoken but they were elected to speak and act on our behalf just a year ago. I’ll be honest I have no clear and unequivocal answer to this but I think it’s a question that should be debated. Has the referendum irrespective of the result damaged the standing of our parliamentary democracy.
  5. Most MPs are alright your know. They have to balance loyalty to a party with personal morals and convictions. Deeply held beliefs with pragmatism. The cartoon depiction of MPs probably does not stand up to scrutiny. Most work hard with the right motives like the rest of us. There are times when they get it wrong just like the rest of us.




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Five Thoughts on Travelling, well commuting.

They say travel broadens the mind and I guess if the kind of travelling you are thinking of involves backpacks, local cuisine and many many air miles then I guess that would be true.

However the travel the majority of us indulge in is usually of the more mundane kind. The regular commute to work, travelling to see a client or a relative. I am writing this on a tube train. It’s the eighth one I’ve been on today. By the time I get home over 4 hours of my day will have been spent on this metal tube or waiting to get on one. So my five thoughts on the more mundane travel experience.

1. Commuting is hard. I am glad I don’t do it every day. I doff my virtual cap to all of you hardy souls who endure it every day. Once upon a time I guess people moved out to the suburbs for a better quality of life. You would put up with the misery of the commute because it would all be worth it just to live in leafy suburbia. OK you don’t see that much of it but worth it. just think if you had to sell your inner London home now, you could probably retire. Instead you’ll be back to the commute dreaming of the better life that lies, somewhere, in the future.

2. The number of broken down escalators is in direct proportion to a) how knackered you are on any given day and b) the amount of stuff you have to carry up said busted escalator.

3. The man or woman who has placed their bags on the only spare seat next to them is always asleep. Not dozing. Really, really, deeply asleep. Because surely the guilt alone of taking up a seat that could be used by someone else would prevent you from sleeping.

4 Fast food always smells so much better when you catch a whiff of it when the doors open at a station. I think it’s something about it being unattainable yet so close.

5. London Underground always operates.a good service. That is until you get on a train. Within two stops the whole system has ground to a halt and you are left train-less on a platform of a station you have only ever glimpsed through a window. A station incidentally that has no amenities whatsoever.

Happy travelling, it certainly broadened my mind.



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Five Thoughts on Failure

No one likes failure but it is an inevitable part of life. You’ll win some, you’ll lose some that is life in a nutshell. I am sure there are people who have experienced way more successes than failures but even they will have to look failure square in the eye.  You may have noticed failure has cropped up a number of times in recent Five Thoughts For Thursday blogs. It’s not that I have had a spell of unremitting failures but my recent reading including the excellent Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed has made me re-evaluate failure, so here are my five thoughts so far.

1. Failure is inevitable. Whoever said “failure is not an option” clearly knew very little about life. There will be times, far more than you’d like, when things just don’t work out. I think accepting failure will come your way is actually a better way to deal with it. If you live a deluded existence where “failure is not an option”, when it does cross your path it is more likely to be a crushing blow. As Rudyard Kipling wrote in his famous poem If,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;…

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

[Clearly this advice applies to everyone not just the male of the species]

2. You fail you are not a failure. Pretty hard to separate yourself from your failures but failing at something does not make you a failure. It just means you failed at one thing, one time. Next time may be very different. Many people, successful, well rounded people, have failed on numerous occasions but no one would call them a failure. The reason for that is..

3. Failure is an opportunity to learn. Athletes fail all the time. That is the essence of their training. They try something, to run faster, to jump higher or further and most of the time they fail. Each time they fail they learn something new about what it takes to succeed.

4. True success is built on trail and error. Theory is all very well but in the end you have to try something and see if it will work. You may have 100 failures but each one of them will contribute something towards the eventual success. Read any biography of any inventor and you will soon learn that the fantastic product they ended up inventing was really the product of many, many failed attempts.

5. A fear of failure will mean you never really advance.   Some people, maybe even you, are too scared to try anything, to advance anywhere because of the fear of failure. Fear of the failure itself or fear of what people will think of you because of your failure.   I genuinely believe it is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried.  The inevitability of failure is not a licence to be reckless. I am not suggesting you go “gung ho” into a situation. There is still a place for research, planning and, yes, caution but to dwell on all that can go wrong can have a paralyzing effect on you. Anticipate the obstacles, plan how to hurdle them and, most importantly pick yourself up when you’ve hit one.

Here’s to your future success, from one who has failed to another.  Definitely not from one failure to another. Maybe one learner to another.



FOOTNOTE: I send this blog out via email to my Five Thoughts Mailing List, which you can join by the way. Just fill in your details in the box on the right. Imagine my horror when my copy popped into my inbox with nothing in the email. CLICK HERE TO SEE  Frankly I should have left it as the perfect example of failure, but I learnt my lesson corrected the mistake and sent out the newsletter again. I suppose I should just have left it as a prime example of failure, it’s inevitability and a lesson learnt.


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Five Thoughts on Systems

A system is merely a framework to make something or somebody work better.

I think the appeal of a system, any system, is the offer of something that will lead to success but with little input from us. You follow the system rules and hey presto there you go, success. If only.

As anyone who has tried to follow a recipe from a cookbook will know success is not guaranteed. You follow the steps, you measure carefully but somehow yours doesn’t even remotely resemble the glossy picture in the book. I am not against any particular system or method but here are my five thoughts on the subject.

1. Systems should not be ends in themselves. Personally I love Miracle Morning. It has brought so much into my life, but a few weeks ago I realised that it was becoming more important to me than the goals it was designed to help me achieve. Ticking off another day done was the achievement. Sticking to the system should not be the goal, the goal should be beyond the system. Where it is designed to take you.

2. Systems are nothing without commitment. You can’t make anything work unless you are committed. No technique, no rule, no system will achieve anything unless you put in the hard work and commitment. People buy into systems because they want to succeed but they want to succeed without the hard work that usually accompanies it.

3. Systems are best when you use them to evaluate failure. Surely we follow a method to be successful? I am reading Matthew Syed’s book Black Box Thinking. It is a really good read especially when he talks about evaluating failure. Failure is the gateway to success. It seems to me systems work best when they enable you to assess where things went wrong. The safety of the aviation industry is based on the systematic evaluation of the, thankfully, few failures.

4. There is no golden key system, seriously there isn’t. There are methods that work for some people and not for others. It is easy to get sucked in with the sales patter that tells you, “follow this and you will earn thousands and be the person you want to be.” am sure there are people who have used a system and made it work for them but that does not mean it is foolproof.

5. Find what suits you. I have found a method or a system that works for me that doesn’t mean it will work for you. We are all individuals and it make take some trial and error to find something that suits you and your aspirations.

However you choose to move into your future, whatever method or system you choose to get you there, it can only work if you put in the hard yards and are committed for the long term.



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Five Thoughts For Thursday – Five things changing my life

In early 2016 I reached a point where I decided to work towards a considerable improvement in my health and general well being. Here are the five things that are changing me for the better.


  1. Miracle Mornings. I had seen the book, Miracle Mornings by Hal Elrod mentioned numerous times  on social media. I had also heard about the concept from a Ted Talk I had watched. I decided to buy the book and see what all the fuss was about. I don’t think I had any intention of doing anything about it, after all, I was not a morning person. It’s not a long book and it’s a good read. The basic premise is that you get up earlier than you normally would and practice a number of disciplines. Through this discipline  you will change your life around. I won’t go into all the details, you can buy the book for those, but suffice it say it has turned my life around. I would need another much longer blog post to explain how it has but take my word for it, it has. I have read many self improvement book but this is the first one I have read and put into practice.
  2. The Eight Week Blood Sugar Diet. Another book this time By Dr Mike Mosley  I read a newspaper article which mentioned this book. The article was the story of a man with type two diabetes who used this diet not only to lose weight but reverse his diabetes. i was sufficiently intrigued to buy not only this book but two other related books. I needed to lost weight and I wanted to kickstart the process.  At first glance this diet seems really severe. It is backed up by solid research and evidence and has worked for countless people. So I embarked on an eight week diet. Not only am I losing substantial amounts of weight I am learning about how I can eat better in the future.
  3. Yoga. One of the disciplines of the Miracle Morning is exercise. I had already begun taking my dogs for a brisk morning walk but I wanted something more. Something that would help me build muscle and give me some much needed flexibility. Following the example of Ryan Giggs I chose yoga. I was offered all kinds of books and DVDs and the odd class but I decided I wanted to plough my own furrow, I searched YouTube and came across Sean Vigue and his Yoga for Dudes workout. Perfect. I found the perfect beginner routine for me. The exercises have improved my posture and flexibility and I can’t imagine starting the day without my ten minute yoga routine.
  4. Fitbit. I initially bought the Fitbit to monitor my heart rate but now I use it for so much more. Not only does it record my exercise but it motivates me to do more. There is a saying, “What can’t be measured doesn’t exist.” It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you have been more active than you have. My Fitbit encourages my by showing me how much exercise I have done and motivates me to walk that little bit further or take the stairs rather the lift.
  5. Reading. I have been an avid reader for most of my life but for some reason I stopped reading quite as much. I decided to change this and made reading part of my morning routine as well as making time for reading at other times of the day. It’s amazing how quickly you can get through a book when you set aside time time to read. I make a point of reading a chapter or two a day rather just when I have the urge to read. I also take notes and when I have finished a book I go back through them. I do this to review what I have read and see if there is any action I should take as a result. All to easy to nod in agreement with a section of a book and do nothing about it.

So there you have it, five things that are changing my life. They are all interlinked of course, one wouldn’t really exist without the other. Without them my life would be very different.





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Five things to get needlessly mad at

There are many things we should all be justifiably upset with. You know, world poverty injustice and the like. How is it then that there a host of other trivialities that make me seethe. Things I shouldn’t even give a monkey’s about but somehow get my goat. If using too many animal based metaphors annoys you are probably about to give up reading right about now but bear with me. Here are five things that for no apparent reason make me angry. I really should try and just roll with the punches and get on with life but I need to get these off my chest.

1. People who stand in doorways. Doors are for going through. You know, in and out. So why is it so many people begin their journey through and then stop. Why can’t they get through the door step to one side and then do whatever they urgently need to do at that point? Do they not realise people behind them are slightly addicted to using doors for their proper purpose? This happens to me just about every day. I don’t get angry enough to confront the offenders and tell them to get out of the way but angry enough to squeeze passed them, sigh loudly and very quietly mutter, “some people”.
2. Being surprised at having to pay at a supermarket checkout. You stand patiently in the queue. (This is not something that has yet made me angry.) The person in front loads their shopping on to the conveyor belt. They load their shopping into their bags. Hand over a bundle of,largely out of date, coupons. Then and only then does it occur to them that they might have to pay for the goods. You have had all of that time waiting in the queue to prepare for the relatively simple act of paying for your shopping. Yet you choose to wait and then, and only then, do you go delving in search for whatever it is you have chosen to use to pay your bill. I am desperately trying to avoid the word, purse, in case I should be accused of gender bias. I’m not. Payment blindness affects all genders. Why O why can’t you be like me and have your card and loyalty card at the ready when you reach the packing area?
3. Shop assistants who seem reluctant to engage with you. I am not talking about those who simply tell you how much to pay, take you money and hand over your change and say thank you. Actually I quite like those. Nothing worse than the shop assistant who embarks on a , usually pre-scripted, chat with you about your day. No I mean those who are on the phone, or talking to their colleague and break stride only to thrust out a hand for payment. Hello, please pay some attention to me, I am a customer.
4. Complete strangers who are over familiar. It’s probably the reverse of number three. How many times on the phone and in person have I been called mate or even worse, matey? When did we become friends that you feel you can address me as your mate? I’m tempted to ask them when we are next going for a drink as we appear to be bessie mates. I don’t of course because I’m British.
5. When my headphone leads get tangled. There I am already to go out, spend some time walking my dogs and listening to some inspirational music or podcast and I have to spend five minutes untangling my stupid headphones. In the meantime I have missed five minutes of what I was going to listen to because I foolishly pressed play anticipating just putting my ear buds and going. I want to know who it is who each night goes around and tangles up MY headphone? Last time I used them I left them beautiful untangled and furled ready for immediate use.

I know I really shouldn’t get angry with things like this but I do. I’m flawed, what can I say.


What makes you mad? Comment below


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Five Things I Love to use

You don’t have to be on Facebook very long to see a post asking you what five things you would rescue from a fire. Generally speaking the answers are pretty predictable. Partner, children, pets, photos. I am always surprised no one says Insurance documents. OK Just me then. Well the following are five things I could well live without but I choose not to. They contribute to and enhance my own life. Like most people I live a life straddling analogue and digital. Fads have come and gone in my life but these are the ones to which I keep returning.

1. Youtube. It probably comes as no surprise, as a film maker, YouTube is an ever present in my life. I do have a business channel showcasing my work but that is not the reason YouTube is important. I use YouTube in all kinds of ways. Sadly watching kitten or puppy videos is not one of them. I recently started Yoga. All kinds of DVDs and classes were recommended but I found the perfect workout for me on YouTube. Yoga for Dudes

If I am researching an item of equipment it’s the first place I go for reviews and unboxing videos, always good to know exactly what you are getting. I do watch the official manufacturer videos but I love real world reviews. The manufacturer might say it does this or that but does it work in real life? Software issues then it is off to YouTube. In the past month I have found and used tutorials on goal setting, visualisation, Evernote, Adobe Premiere, learnt how to repair a dishwasher and found the perfect Smartphone for me. All with a bit of effort and smart searching.

2. Podcast addict. I may be a film maker and therefore predisposed towards the visual but I do love a good podcast. Those of you on IOS will probably be wedded to iTunes but I’m an Android guy and having tried several podcast apps I settled on Podcast addict. It’s a free app but there is a paid version (£2.19) that removes adverts. (I admit it I’m cheap). I find it easy to search for the podcasts I am interested in. You can stream them or with one click download them. You can subscribe to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Be careful when downloading you don’t accidentally tell Podcast Addict to download them all! 384 episodes of Zig Ziglar didn’t go down well with my phone.

3. Journal/notebook. Despite loving my apps and technology I am still pretty much in love with my notebook. I try to carry one with me everywhere I go. I have just started using Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning Daily Journal. I like the discipline of it, writing something everyday however short is really therapeutic. Before anything ever sees the light of day on here it is most likely written in a notebook first. When I plan a shoot I often sketch out my ideas and storyboard in my notebook and then transfer to a format I can share with people. I have tried using online methods but nothing works better for me than my little old notebooks. I have several I am particularly addicted to Moleskin notebooks.

4. Evernote. I signed up to Evernote years ago. Trouble was I really didn’t use it. Every business blog told me I should have Evernote. The turning point was getting an Evernote Notebook. This enable you to take analogue notes and transfer them via your smartphone to your Evernote online account. The notebook was a present and it came with a six months subscription to Evernote premium. From this point on I started using Evernote, I mean, really use it. I use it to collate web pages for future reading and research. I keep all of my notes and emails of current projects, (you can forward emails to your account) in separate folders. I can tag, and classify just about anything and Evernote is smart enough to know which folder to put it in. I could go on. Evernote enables me to bridge the gap between my analogue and online lives. There are loads of video tutorials on YouTube on getting the best out of Evernote but this guy is my favourite.

5. Camera. Shouldn’t really come as surprise but having a camera with me at all times is an essential. Of course the Smartphone has enabled us to have to a camera with us at all times. I also try to take one of my smaller production cameras with me, my current favourite is my Sony A7s. You never know where an opportunity might present itself. Often the video or stills never make it into the public domain but I have enjoyed snapping or filming.

I am sure you would have a different list and I’d love to know your list. Just leave a comment below.

Happy Thoughts for Thursday


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Five Thoughts about Twitter

I have been on Twitter 7 years and 2 months. I joined twitter because so many of my then clients where tweeting. Interestingly many of those early advocates are either no longer on twitter or only tweet sporadically. Such a change from their early zeal. My first tweet was unsurprising more of a broadcast. Hey, I was finding my way. Since then I have tweeted almost 20,000 tweets. Twitter trends have come and gone as have a number of followers. Still there are things that annoy about twitter. Actually not about twitter just the way some people use twitter. So here are my five thoughts this week. In short they are the five most likely reasons I will unfollow you.


  1. You insist on telling me your twitter stats, daily, weekly and monthly (I don’t care). I realise this is an automated service you have signed up to. I admit the stats the service offers can be very helpful but I cannot understand what is to be gained by you telling me you are looking forward to reading my tweets, have gained x followers today, this week, this month. There may be some strategy to using these type of tweets but I struggle to see what it is. You are indeed visible. Annoyingly visible.
  2. You are still using  Seriously does anyone ever read these curated piles of….. The only reason anyone opens one of these links is because they are mentioned. Ego and hubris are might drivers on twitter.
  3. You post links to websites I cannot read. Mainly to paywalled news sites. It so frustrating to see and link you might want to read and find you cannot read it unless you subscribe. Not frustrated enough it has to be said to sign up. Fortunately some tweeters let you know it is to a paywalled site. Saves me a click at least.
  4. You never engage with anyone. Not even a RT or a like for anyone or anything. All you do is tweet your own message, usually buy my stuff. I can only imagine that somewhere, someone believes this is the correct way to “do” social media. More likely they have convinced some fee paying client or their bosses that this twitter thing really works, look I have tweeted 100 times today.
  5. You have been a bit quiet on twitter lately and the way you decide to remedy this is by tweeting link after link to various websites. Sometimes not even different ones.
If you ever find me doing these things then feel free to unfollow me immediately but don’t tell anyone it’ll be our secret.

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Five Thoughts For Thursday about Creativity

On most of my online biographies you will see me described as a “creative”. There are, of course, those who would say creative is a verb and not a noun. You can be creative, you can be a creative. I describe myself as a creative because I create in video form. I pursue a life of creativity, which sounds unbelievably pompous. I did though begin to think about what it means to be creative and what does it mean when people ask you to “surprise us, be creative”.
  1. Creative Carte Blanch. When a client gives you an open brief and asks you to be creative and surprise almost certainly that is not what they want you to do. Go ahead, create something completely out of left field and see their reaction. It probably won’t be the one you were hoping for. Coming up with something completely new does not mean abandoning their, no doubt hard won, brand recognition. It’s about being creative within what is already known and exists.
  2. Creativity is not plucked out of thin air. No doubt somebody somewhere has been hit with the metaphorical lightening bolt of inspiration. Coming up with an idea that has truly never been done before. I think that scenario is as rare as hens teeth. People who are really creative are those who are immersed in creativity in general and the creativity of their chosen discipline in particular. If you want to be a good writer you must read, to be a good film maker you need to watch the masters of the art at work. No creativity takes place in or emerges from a vacuum.
  3. One person’s creativity is another shrug of the shoulders. True, there are some objective criteria on which something could be judged but generally we respond subjectively. “Do I like it” or in the words of ex England manager Graham Taylor, “Do I not like that.” If some people do like your effort or indeed hate it, it does not mean what you have created is without merit. Just not to them at that moment.
  4. No one has a monopoly on creativity. I describe myself as a creative but there are people for whom creative is a job title. “I’m the chief creative at XYZ Agency”.  Having a creative does not mean other people can’t be creative because they can. There are some people who would be quick to say they haven’t a creative bone in their body.  It might not be their prime skill but they can still have creative thoughts. People say they could never write a book because they have no imagination. Yet millions of people every week construct an elaborate story of wealth, super cars, large houses and holidays every week. Only to see it dashed as soon as they checked heir lottery ticket.
  5. Creativity is never easy. Brilliant ideas emerge from the battlefield of creative hit and miss.

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Five Quotes that inspired me this week

I have started reading a self improvement book. The title is a little bit immaterial but generally speaking it involves getting up early and having a good long look at yourself. For a variety of reasons I needed to get my life back on track, or at least back onto a different track. Inevitably I have come across a number of quotes from the great and the good of self improvement. So here are the five that stood out.

  1. Life’s too short” is repeated often enough to be a cliche, but this time it’s true. You don’t have enough time to be both unhappy and mediocre. It’s not just pointless, it’s painful  Seth Godin. Having has a glancing blow with my own mortality I decided I didn’t want to be either, unhappy or mediocre. It’s a good job this quote was at the beginning of the book as it inspired me to read the rest of it.  
  2. “Thanks for being on my team.” – not a quote I found in a book but in an email to me. Encouragement is so important in life. Six words and the sentiment behind them made my day. I felt I belonged, my work was validated and it inspired me to look further up the road.
  3. “You gotta get out of the boat” This was the main message of an address I heard many years ago, when, in another life I was a Baptist Minister. I will write a longer blog explaining the wider story behind the boat but essentially it means getting out of the comfort zone and taking a few risks. The sea may be choppy and deep and the boat secure but you’re not going to achieve anything be remaining in the boat.
  4. “the first hour of the morning, is the rudder of the day.” ― Henry Ward Beecher. For me the first hour of the day was a moveable feast. I work from home so what did it matter how long it took me to get up, shave or not, as long as I got stuff done. Well I have learnt it does matter. If the the start of your day is lazy and unfocussed then the rest of the day will surely follow in the same vein.
  5. “Everything is difficult before it is easy.”  Hal Elrod.  We would all like the easy way out, the magic bullet, the one easily implemented strategy that leads to wealth, health and happiness. Of course it doesn’t exist. Anything that is worthwhile comes with its own struggle. 

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat



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Five thoughts on getting older

Hospital visits always make me ponder on my own mortality. My years are advancing faster than I’d like but am I growing old or just growing older. Here my five thoughts on the subject.

  1. There is a difference between getting older and growing old. We can’t help getting older it starts the day we are born. Getting old is more a state of mind. “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”  Samuel Ullman
  2. It is said old dogs cannot learn new tricks. I have two dogs and they can learn new tricks.  As you grow older it may well get harder to learn new skills. There is a lifetime of ingrained habits and mindsets. Some of these have to be unlearnt in order to move on to new skills I also think that the lifetime of ingrained habits and mindsets can be an advantage. An advantage called experience. Use that experience to continue to grow and develop no matter what age you are.
  3. Remember getting older is a privilege not given to vast numbers of people throughout the world. As many are attributed to have said, “I don’t mind getting old especially when you consider the alternative.”
  4. Remember old age is always fifteen years older than you current age.
  5. Try not to make contracts in your mind that your body can’t fulfil.

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Five thoughts on beating the creative roadblock

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I think just about every profession goes through a creative block at some time or other.  That feeling when you don’t seem to be able to do anything.

Often called writer’s block but it affects artists of all kinds, indeed anyone who is trying to create something. It might be a book or a blog, a painting or a sculpture, a new concept or a different way of working. All of us in one way or another have reached that point when no matter what we do the page, canvas, notebook or screen remains stubbornly empty.  So here are my five five thoughts.

  1. Keep a storeroom. Always seek inspiration from others. Reading, watching, listening and recording are, in my opinion, essential to creativity.  Keep a notebook, scrapbook or online gallery of things that have inspired you or made you think or you just liked. When barren times come wandering around this storeroom will, I promise, spark your creativity. You will find stuff you had long forgotten, dusty and neglected that will trigger new thinking. If you are not already doing this start today, it may be a while before you see the benefit but it will help. This blog would not have been written without visiting my storeroom.
  2. Try a bit of demolition. Any task can seem daunting and overwhelming. Being overwhelmed is not good for the creative juices. So break the project down. Find elements you can do right away. Start with small bricks and soon you will have a wall and eventually a temple. I might have pushed that metaphor a touch to far but you get the idea. War and Peace starts with one word, then one sentence.
  3. Get on with it. Work anyway. What stifles most creativity is the screwing up of paper and throwing it in the bin. Whether metaphorically or in reality. Get some stuff done, it might be utter rubbish but you will have done something and once you get over that hurdle you’ll be surprised how ideas start to flow. Keep everything and then come back to it. It might be days, weeks or even years later. Some of it will still be crap but there will be others things you find are actually little gems.
  4. Listen to music. The theologian Karl Barth said he did his best work to Mozart. Music can lift the spirits, get the blood pumping and inspire you. Play something that lifts your spirit and if you can play it loudly.
  5. Realise great work comes from great struggle. There are times when things just flow. You can barely keep up with the creativity coursing through your brain. Hey, savour the good times but don’t beat yourself up when it doesn’t come quite so easily. Sometimes it is the struggle that makes it all worthwhile.

Gordon O’Neill




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Five Thoughts on Being Busy

How many times does someone ask you, “Busy?” They shorten it because they are so busy they can’t possibly talk in full sentences.  What do you say?  If you say no they assume you are work shy or useless at your job or both. If you say yes they will follow up with “well shan’t keep you” or “busy is the best way to be”.

1. Anyone can have a big to do list. I read of someone with a four page To Do list. All this says is you are are exceptional at making a list and convincing yourself you will get it all done.

2. When someone tells you they are too busy for you, it’s not about how busy they are it’s about the value they put on your place in their schedule.

3.  Being busy should not be an end in itself. The key question is what are you busy with?

4. I can manufacture busy. It’s easy. Just rearrange your office, make a few lists, read a few chapters on organising your life. I guarantee you will have occupied a whole day. Busy doing nothing.

5.“Never be so busy as not to think of others.”  Mother Teresa




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Je suis lost for words.


Given the events of this week I was, to be honest, lost for words.  In a sense I have not written five thoughts for Thursday this week just five hastags and there could have been more.

# Pray for Paris

# Pray for Ankara

# Pray for Istanbul

# Pray for Brussels

# Pray for Peace




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Five Further Thoughts in Email

As promised last week another five thoughts on email.

  1. Send an email with the title “email is definitely dead” and see how many opens you get.
  2. Remember email is a whole lot easier than writing and sending a letter. For fun why don’t you write an email, print it off on some really good quality paper, sign it and put it in a top notch envelope. Spray with perfume/cologne (not compulsory). Address the envelope, after you have searched high and low for the address, pay a fortune for a stamp after you have searched on the internet for what price you should pay for this size of envelope. Try to remember where you last saw a postbox and then post it. Sit for several weeks waiting for a reply and then write an email asking if they got your letter. See email is so much easier.
  3. WhatsApp might appear quicker than email but people will learn to ignore it and make up excuses as to why they didn’t receive your message. Chief among these will be, “I get so many messages I can’t read them all”. You will then embark on a quest to clear WhatsApp of messages. Same old, same old and repeat with…….(insert latest messaging app name here).
  4.  People who give out an email address and then tell you they never check their email! Come the revolution.
  5. In the end it’s all about communication. Email is just a tool and like all tools it can be used well, badly or not at all. People will use and misuse anything. Remember “the cheque is in the post”  or “it must have been lost in the post”.  The language may change with the platform or service but the excuses for lack of communication remain pretty much the same.

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Five thoughts on email

Ray Tomlison, the man who put the @ in your email died this week and many tributes paid to him. Many people have a love/hate relationship with email. We love the ease with which we can send messages and we hate, nay loathe, seeing our inbox fill up.  I had so many thoughts about email that Five Thoughts has extended to ten so there will be a second five thoughts on email next week.

  1. Sign up to a newsletter using the the first name Sexy, the second name Beast. It really does lift your day when you get an email addressed to “Dear Sexy” or “Dear Sexy Beast” and occasionally from those who don’t know who to work an email list very well, “Dear Beast, Sexy”.
  2. For persistent emailers, reply asking if you can at least have a date with them as they seem to know you so well.
  3. If you receive an email, probably a newsletter, you are pretty sure you didn’t sign up for. Unsubscribe. Delete.  Forget it. Life’s too short to get angry about it.
  4. Remember people who email you are only doing what you are doing, trying to earn a living, promoting a cause dear to their hearts or trying to connect with you.
  5. An empty email inbox may seem like a great achievement but is it? Climbing a mountain is an achievement, battling with a chronic illness is an achievement, staring at an empty inbox may be pleasurable but it’s really just a tick off you to do list.  You will be very disappointed if your inbox is empty tomorrow. Boasting about the size of your inbox is not big or clever.The fullness of your inbox is not a sign of your inherent popularity, just of how widespread your email address is.

Five more thoughts on email next week.

By the way I hate spam as much as the next person.




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Five things I should not say – Five Thoughts For Thursday

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All of us use words and phrases we don’t really mean.Hhow many times have you heard the word “literally” used? Literally thousands of times and apart from this one occasion, used incorrectly. So it got me thinking.
  1. Upon thanking me for a hug I say “Don’t worry it’s what I do best”. Which isn’t true. There are a lot of things I do better than hugging. In the grand scheme of thing hugging is not really a skill is it? I have yet to come across a self help book that seriously addresses the skill of hugging*
  2. “It’s a pleasure” – which it wasn’t really.  The phrase is just a full stop. A notification that the conversation is over and I wish to move on to a new chapter in my life that involves genuine pleasures like sex or coffee.
  3. “No problem” – actually it is a problem.  Probably plenty of them, but I am too polite to point them out or I am sufficiently egotistical to believe I can defeat any problems put in front of me.
  4. “OK, just one more, if you insist” – this is never a good idea. Be it alcohol, sweets or another portion of food, it is never JUST one more.
  5. “You must tell me more” – what I really mean is, “you must tell me more at a future convenient date, i.e. the 12th of never.”


*I have no doubt such a book or books exists and that some loyal reader of this blog will inform me of the price and location on Amazon. I mean a serious book on hugging not jokey ones. If there is a bona fide serious book on hugging I will buy a copy for the first person to let me know.

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Five Thoughts For Thursday – The One about The Referendum #FTFT

With David Cameron returning home triumphant with, no doubt, hundreds of pieces of paper in his briefcase. All love letters from European heads of state saying please don’t go I felt I had to have five thoughts on the referendum*

  1. So it’s In or Out – quite a thought in itself.
  2. If, perchance, I declare my allegiance to one camp or another on social media please do not assume that I am naive/thick/uniformed/LibDem (delete as applicable). I am perfectly capable of weighing up the evidence and making a decision for myself. You really don’t have some “hidden evidence” that if only I read it I would change my mind instantly. I suggest if you this amazing evidence you contact Julian Assange c/o the Ecuadorian Embassy, 3 Hans Crescent, London.
  3. Isn’t the video for the Grassroots Out campaign just…well words fail me. See for yourself here . What next? David Cameron releasing a cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”?
  4. To the bloke I overheard in Costa coffee. No England, Wales and Northern Ireland won’t have to pull out of the European Championships if the UK votes NO and the fate of Eurovision is unlikely to be affected by the vote either. Greece will not suddenly vote for us even if our song is crap. They will reserve that for Cypress. (And the Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom, the clue is in the name, so they wouldn’t have to come home anyway.)
  5. I’m bored already, can we do this next week, I’m free at least.

*Disclaimer – this in no way reflects where I might put my cross on 23rd June, only that I will.


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Five Thoughts For Thursday – The One about The Voice

Along with many people I watch The Voice on BBC 1 on a Saturday night. Well I say watch, it’s more audio visual wallpaper. You know it’s there but you don’t really notice it until you glance up and see the bit of edge that is curling up or the inexplicable tea stain two thirds of the way up the wall. How?

Well it got me thinking.

  1. It’s not really all about the voice, despite what the producers say. It only really works because we, the viewers, can see the person singing and we wonder how anything good is going to come out of their mouth. Or in a Susan Boyle like epiphany we marvel at the outstanding voice coming from a less than outstanding looking person. Judgemental I know but the programme doesn’t work without it does it?
  2. It’s not a talent show it’s a light entertainment television show.
  3. Boy George looks genuinely crestfallen when rejected as a coach by one the singers.
  4. The way in which they communicate the back story to the judges is incredible. The show is as dependent on heartbreaking sob stories as The X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent. What I do admire is the way they manage to shoehorn it in. All the judges need to ask is “what’s your name and where are you from?”  That’s all. Still they manage to add that they have lost 11 stone, overcome crippling fear or any other of the many obstacles life throws in our path.    The more heartbreaking the story the more the judges look like complete bastards for not turning.
  5. Appearances are everything and then again they’re not. Generally speaking all of us have to interact with other people. Appearances do matter, you can’t avoid it. Your opinion of someone, especially a first or second one, is largely based on how they look to you. I say how they look to you because how they look to you is largely based on your preconceptions. I dare say all of he judges, past and present, have their own misconceptions about people based on how they look.



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Five Thoughts For Thursday – the one about change.

Last week I was in an environment where there was a great deal of talk about tradition, what is and is not traditional and whether change was good or bad, necessary or avoidable. So, guess what, I’ve had five thoughts about change

  1. Change is only bad when don’t like what is being changed.
  2. Change is going to happen, it’s the way life develops. You can’t avoid it so better to embrace it.
  3. “Change for change’s sake.” Does this exist? Surely all change is done for a reason. Some people say, “If it ain’t broke don’t change it.” If we had taken this attitude in the past children would still be sent down mines and up chimneys.
  4. We resist change because change robs us of a past in which we feel more comfortable. However resisting change or taking refuge in sentimentality doesn’t bring the “good old days” back, it just stops you living in the present.
  5. “Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes Turn and Face the strange” David Bowie


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Five Thoughts For Thursday – the one about Wogan

Terry Wogan was a fixture in mine and just about everybody’s life. From radio to TV he was there with his charm, wit and consummate professionalism.  Much has be written so here are my five thoughts, lessons from the great man.

  1. Speaking to one person is more effective than trying to speak to many. His great skill as a broadcaster was to make you feel he was talking to just you.
  2. Being a skilled professional does not mean you have to take yourself too seriously.
  3. The apparent ease with which something is done belies a lot of hard work done out of the spotlight. The seemingly “making it up” as you go along vibe that Terry exuded was due to a lifetime of experience and learning.
  4. Understanding your audience is the key for effective communication.
  5. The way he observed and commentated with wit, charm and insight is a gift few possess in the way Terry did. At no point did you ever feel he crossed the line into cruel ridicule of the person or an event.

Goodbye Terry, you will be missed but you have left a lifetime of memories.



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Five Thoughts For Thursday – the one about promotion

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Five things that occurred to me as waded through the internet this week.


  1. It’s OK to blow your own trumpet. Why would you want to blow someone else’s anyway’?  It’s probably not that hygienic. Remember though not everyone is a trumpet person, some are violin people others are piccolo people. Make sure your message is suited to your audience.
  2. Big yourself up by all means but visiting a couple of places does not a tour make. “By popular demand” does imply a demand beyond you, your friends and your dog.
  3. You are most certainly a unique person but it’s unlikely that your business or your offering is. Don’t claim to be the only one and only, leave that to Chesney Hawkes.
  4. Don’t make a claim to be a leading something or other unless you can back it up with hard evidence. Make sure you are the leading expert in your own house before claiming it for your street, town or world.
  5. Don’t promise what you have no idea how to deliver.  Stretch yourself by all means. Remember, what you don’t know you can learn.  What you can’t do someone else can and collaboration is a strength not a weakness.

Happy Thursday!


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Five Thoughts For Thursday – The One about STUFF

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We are assaulted on every side by information, misinformation and stuff.


Yesterday one of the top stories on the BBC website was the death of the actor Leslie Nielsen. This was followed by a host of tweets and Facebook statuses mourning the loss of this fine comic actor. Many reflected on how cruel 2016 had been so far, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman etc. Bizarrely the Airplane actor died in 2010 yet his death was reported as if it were yesterday. I have no idea why.
The lesson is clear. There is so much information out there just how do we process it and, perhaps more importantly, filter it?
Here are my thoughts on the subject.


  1. Save the good stuff but don’t hoard. Read it, if not read in a week, delete it.

  2. Forget the useless stuff.

  3. Enjoy funny stuff.

  4. Share the good stuff.

  5. Remember not all stuff is equally valid.


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Five Thoughts for Thursday – Being Organised or Getting Organised?

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I would love to know the sales figures for Moleskin notebooks, To Do pads and organisational apps in the first week of January. There is something about the New Year that makes us all want to be better organised, me included, so here are my five thoughts on the subject.


1. Getting organised is not the same as being organised. So much effort is put into devising systems, writing lists and planning and not enough into actually doing. Organising yourself with journal entries, to do lists and bullet points is just another form of procrastination.

2. Organisation is a means to an end not and end in itself. Organise yourself so you can be productive and you life has some balance.

3. The size of your To Do list is no reflection on how good or how busy you are.

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled4  “While we complain that our ‘to do’ lists are endless, let us not forget that we begat those lists; no one from outer space came when we weren’t looking and implanted ‘the list’ in our brains. Okay, let’s say we really do need to jot down a few things of importance, like needing to buy milk or to have a colonoscopy, but when that ‘things that must be done’ list goes into the hundreds per day, we should be concerned. Maybe we keep adding new things in the the fear that, even if we ever got through our list, we’d have no purpose, no reason to take another step. If you were suddenly list-less, would you just grind to a halt? What happens when that happens?”  Ruby Wax from her excellent book A Mindfulness Guide for The Frazzled, available now.

5.  Seriously, no one is interested in the size of your To Do list. Honestly, we’re not. Stop tweeting and sharing your list and get on and do it.  Then post a picture of you enjoying a cocktail or cup of tea because you’ve finished your list.



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Five Thoughts For Thursday – The One with New Year Ramblings.

  1. People are thinking about new beginnings, new ventures and new directions for their lives. Now may be the time to approach new collaborators and clients.
  2. Don’t make resolutions – set a to do list and list the “baby” steps needed to achieve it. Big hairy audacious goals are all very well but only ever achieved one step at a time.
  3. “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.”  Paul Arden.  Read this book, it’s relatively short and really good. It’s available on Amazon.
  4. 2016 will not be all plain sailing. The road will not always be straight or easy but it is your road so prepare for your journey as well as for your destination.
  5. STOP and take in the views. Traveling headlong towards you destination is ultimately unrewarding. Take time to look at the view along the way.


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