Sunday, 25 November 2007

How not to do things

The Inland Revenue have been in a lot of trouble recently with all this missing personal data. It seems to me that there is a real problem in British business at the moment, and it is as follows:

A problem arises, and a group of people meet to try to work out what to do. The person who discovers the problem states it's scope and the risks. All of the members of the meeting are responsible for different areas of the solution. But instead of volunteering solutions, each member asks searching questions. Questioning another person is a skillful way of avoiding responsibility. Every member of the meeting backs away from the problem by asking more and more questions, and with every question, they further remove themselves from the problem, until the person who brought the problem to the meeting is left with no support and 30 difficult questions to answer.

Believe me, this is happening in boardrooms and offices up and down the country. It is a british middle management disease that needs to be eradicated. When you want something done, nothing beats swift and massive action. Avoiding hard work, blame and responsibility will not fix anything.


Friday, 23 November 2007

Cynics of the world... don't bother.

Cynicism is just an excuse to not bother. 

Most people with a cynical attitude are unhappy.... I mean seriously unhappy. The trouble with that kind of attitude, is that it can be very amusing and charismatic. Some of the funniest people are cynical to the core. It is so cool to knock people down when they are doing their best. 

I think it is a cancer that is seeping into our society. It is undermining democracy, environmental causes and every charity that is trying to help people. It destroys lives, inhibits workforces, damages relationships and strangles personal growth.

If you find yourself taking a cynical stance, take an honest look at yourself. Are you trying to cover up your own fears? Are your beliefs serving you in this instance? Are you using cynicism to avoid hard work and rewards? What do you stand to gain from being more optimistic?

Be happy,


Wednesday, 21 November 2007


I heard on the radio that a company in America has banned gossip in the workplace. What a masterstroke. Sign me up, right now!

Because gossip at best is criticism that the person does not want to give to the other person's face, and at worst is a form of character assassination. 

Reasons why people gossip:

1. Insecurity.
2. To influence situations.
3. To convince others that they are right about a situation.
4. To strengthen alliances (which comes from reason 1).

So these are my rules about getting free of gossip.

1. Only deal in facts as they happen.
2. Ignore what is said about people.
3. Recognise that there is no such thing as criticism - only feedback.
4. Do not question another's focus/motives (i.e. he/she only did it because.....)
5. Be confident.
6. Be honest about your limitations.
7. Don't try to predict the future.

If you work in a gossipy area, there's no need to make any big gestures. Simply change your attitude as above, and lead by example. If people are smart, they'll follow you. The rest.... well..... give them enough rope, and they'll hang themselves.

Be happy,


Sunday, 18 November 2007

Age is no problem!

I was with my parents recently. They are both in their late 60's and have both bought motorbikes and ride them all over the place. The weather is not so good, so it gives them less chance to ride them.

Many of my friends parents act a lot older, even though they are nearly ten years younger than mine. And it's easy to see the difference.

My parents are still learning. 

We all marvel at how quickly my daughter is learning, and it's easy to associate learning with youth. But you're never too old to pick up a new skill that might enrich your life. 

My friends ask me if I'm worried about my mum and dad being hit by a bus. I think back to the time when I used to go sky-diving and what I used to tell them when they worried about me.: If I die doing something I love, don't be sad. I accept the risks and the consequences that go along with them. It's worth it for the experience.

So to keep young, put aside your fears and learn new things....

and be happy.


Sunday, 11 November 2007

Got the Sniffles?

A particularly virulent cold is ravaging my family. It started with my wife. She probably caught it from the kids in her primary school (she is a teacher). The cold has now - predictably enough - spread to my Daughter and I.  So while this cold has forced us indoors, I would like to share my thoughts on the common cold. 

The common cold is one of the cleverest things on the planet. It will never be eradicated, because as soon as we learn to fight off one strain, a new one evolves. This is the key to it's success - evolution. If nothing else, while you are fighting the symptoms, you can accept that you are playing host to one of nature's true survivors.

I also have a theory. We need colds. Just like an early morning jog, or a great aerobics session, the common cold is a regular workout for your lymph glands and immune system. I wonder how weak our defenses would be without regular colds to keep their response times up. 

If you are feeling the effects of a cold, try changing your approach. You can do all the usual things (plenty of water, throat sweets etc.), but remember that your internal energies are focusing on fighting the cold. So don't expend yourself physically. Use the cold time to relax and turn your focus inward. A cold tends to blur your senses, so go with it. Let it wrap you up for a while. Enjoy the slight buzz it gives you. And use it as an excuse to put off some of the jobs you hate to do. 



Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Can't stand your job?

If you spend 8 hours a day at your job, that's a 3rd of your day. If you can't stand the company, that's an enormous amount of your life that you are going to be miserable for.

Let's face it. Life is just too short to be messing around doing a job you hate. If you bring a bad attitude with you, you're bound to pass it to your colleagues. Your colleagues then avoid you, and you feel more isolated.

How do you break the cycle? The key to most people's problem with their job is down to their values. Values are the principles or rules that a person holds as important to living their life correctly. When a person is unhappy at work, it's generally due to their values are being compromised. 

If you are a high achiever who values recognition, you are generally going to get upset if your efforts are ignored. If you have pacifist values, perhaps working for the Ministry Of Defense is not a good idea. 

These are simplified examples, but exploring your values will give you a clearer idea as to any problems you are having with your career.

If you want to know more about your values, email me.

Be happy,


Saturday, 3 November 2007

Chinese Philosophy in Medicine

I was admiring my daughter's boundless energy, and she reminded me of the chinese philosophy about health, life and age. It simply stated that stiffness was the enemy of life. When children were born, their bodies are soft. Even their bones are flexible. As they grow up, the bones get gradually more hard into adult life. As a body gets old, the muscles, sinews and joints stiffen; and bones become increasingly brittle. 

The Chinese solution to getting old is to exercise to keep the body supple. Tai Chi was particularly prized for this. 

Taoists also believed that a person was allocated a limited amount of breaths to breathe. Once their allocation was up, the person would die. To combat this, they devised breathing exercises to extend the length of breath - making each breath last longer and extending life.

It is easy to see how the concept of limited breaths evolved. People with healthy lungs and relaxed breathing (longer breaths) are bound to live longer because it is an indication of a healthy cardiovascular system. 

If you wish to know more about health and exercise, please email me.

Be happy,