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It’s a free country - isn’t it?

You can listen to the audio version of this blog via Spotify.

I was chatting to someone recently who was bemoaning the fact that although we are told we live in a free country in the UK, that’s just nonsense. I responded by saying that you can do what you like in this country provided you have two or more options to choose from, that there is no physical coercion and that it’s possible to do whatever it is - unlike flying without some external aid or running a mile in under two minutes.

She disagreed and proffered some examples:

“You can’t build a home extension without planning permission.” - “Some people do”, I said.

“You have to pay your taxes.”- “Some people don’t,” I replied.

“You can’t murder people!” - “Some people do,” was my answer.

“You have to look after your children.” - “Some people don’t,” was again my reply.

“You have to drive...

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Are you dreaming your days away on Someday Isle?

And then what…?

The school holidays have started – yay! NO MORE HOME-SCHOOLING!!! (cue banners, party poppers and those party blowers!)  Having said that, working from home and with no school work to fall back on to keep them occupied, what do I now do with my children to ensure they’re kept amused – and that doesn’t involve a digital device?!

And those school holidays will be over in a flash and we reach what I consider to be the next milestone of the year – a new academic year. The New Year, Spring and September are very often markers when you feel that extra impetus to re-evaluate where you are, what you have achieved and what you want going forward; maybe looking for a career change (it is possible, even in this climate)/starting a business/planning the next adventure/experience/learning opportunity.

I personally feel that without goals and a sense of purpose, we’re a bit like a ball on a pinball machine – being knocked...

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Why we find some people SO annoying!

To do or not to do…

With Lockdown easing there comes a change in behaviour. After seven weeks, people were bound to begin to feel a bit cooped up and with restrictions on where they could and couldn’t go having been so (understandably) strict, once those guidelines were altered (and some say lacking in clarification), is it any wonder that people were heading to beauty spots and beaches in their droves?

We had a dilemma in my house. My father-in-law lives on the coast, about an hour from us. He lives alone and has been going stir crazy during Lockdown. He’s a social fellow so has found the isolation very challenging. So, with the changing guidelines, we could go and see him. But could we? One person from one house could see another person from another house. So that meant we couldn’t all go and see him. Right? And as he lives on the coast, that’d be five of us trollying off to a coastal town and news articles had said tourism chiefs were urging...

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Don’t always trust the SatNav because there’s always the chance you’ll go off-piste.

Play it again Sam

Chi-chi Nwanoku has a very interesting story as to how she became an internationally renowned double bass player.

Nwanoku, the eldest of five siblings from hardworking Nigerian and Irish parents, fell in love with playing music at an early age. At seven years old, whilst round a neighbour’s house, Nwanoku heard someone playing the Boogie Woogie 12-bar blues and insisted she be taught the song. Every day she’d return to play until in the end, the neighbours wheeled the instrument to Nwanoku’s house and said she could have it as a gift. Clearly her talent, dedication and determination were obvious, and Nwanoku’s dedicated parents worked overtime to pay for piano lessons.

Chi-chi Nwanoku’s talents didn’t end there. At the age of 8, she was spotted by an athletics coach and started training as a 100-metre sprinter. She describes the feeling of running fast as being ‘free as a bird’. And Nwanoku was fast. She excelled in...

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Why we’re all inherently selfish (but that doesn’t mean bad news for everyone else)

You don’t bring me flowers (except when it’s 14th February)

Apparently, February is the month of lurve… Personally, I am a real humbug when it comes to Valentines Day. I don’t see why we need a specific date to remind us that we need to tell people how much we love them. Why do we not show this love and affection to our loved ones all the year round? Are they not worthy of this? And if your significant other needs a special date as a reminder to tell you how much they love you, does it not rather take the shine off – because you know they’re only doing it because they’ve had a massive prod from Clinton Cards/supermarket displays/Funky Pigeon.com/Interflora and all other retailers who capitalise on the fact there’s a special day to say ‘ps I love you’.

I like to think I give thought to and make the time to show my appreciation and love to my family and friends all year round (I sound such a goody two shoes and obviously my...

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Why we are held hostage to the emotions our values create – and how understanding this puts us in a powerful position

Taking matters in to your own hands

There’s an app on the iPhone called Find my iPhone (similar apps on Android phones are available), which helps you to locate and protect your mobile should it be lost or stolen.  I once read in the news about a couple of people who have used this particular app when their mobile was stolen and located their device and then confronted the thief. A ‘don’t try this at home’ warning is issued at this juncture…

In one case, a young woman reported her phone stolen but were told the Police didn’t have the resources to help. So, the victim took it upon herself to locate the phone and persuaded a couple of friends to come with her to get the phone back. They caught up with the perpetrator and realising he was outnumbered, he told the woman to follow him to his flat to get the mobile. Despite feeling unsure about the whole situation, she followed, with her friend as back-up. The second friend sensibly hung back and...

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Five steps to knowing what you want out of life and how to get there

Making sense of it all

Does thinking of what you want out of life feel a tad overwhelming? Do you feel a bit like a pinball being buffeted around by the flippers and springs of life with no sense of direction? You’re not the only one.

Setting goals – it can seem a big concept can’t it? When someone asks what your goals are for the future, or maybe the next 12 months, perhaps five years ahead, it can sometimes feel like making it through the day with your sanity intact is a goal in itself! So, how do you work out what it is you really want out of life and how do you go about achieving it?

Let’s face it, the possibilities are endless, so it’s about identifying for you what floats your boat, what will get you out of bed in the morning and motivated to keep going towards the achievement of your ambition.

This will depend hugely on your desire for said achievement. As last week’s blog explained, the amount of energy at our disposal is in direct...

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Why it's an easy game from the touchline

Who wants to be on my team?
My brother-in-law Jon manages and coaches a football team with 8 to 9-year olds. He’s done this for almost three years and it’s got to the point where he’s just about had enough. It’s not the kids driving him nuts. Well, yes, they can be boisterous, over-excited and not listen to a word he says but that’s what it’s about for him – the kids having fun, learning a skill, teamwork and running off a bit of steam.

Initially, Jon started the team because there wasn’t one in the area for his youngest son’s age and gradually, more and more children have joined the team, which is a great thing. What isn’t so great is the lack of support from fellow parents. Jon runs the team and that means doing all the admin, planning the logistics, as well as taking the training sessions and being present at all the games. He’s repeatedly asked parents if someone will assist but no one ever comes forward.

I...

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How knowing one simple, yet fundamental thing puts you with the elite thinkers.

What do you do and who do you know?
Are you living your life being true to yourself, or are you constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’s? Maybe it’s about the salary you think you should be earning by your age and stage in life, living in the house that befits someone of your standing, sending your children to the ‘right’ school, holidaying in the latest ‘in’ destination and being seen at the popular social functions etc. Sometimes it’s all so exhausting!
 
Ed Sheeran’s song Beautiful People is a great social comment on how so many people strive to fit in rather than be themselves and happy with who they are. The video depicts two ‘ordinary’ people arriving at an airport and then to their surprise, being ushered into a limo. There they sit, drinking out of their apple juice cartons, eating a packet of crisps, watching bemused as Lamborghinis and Hummers stream past. The whole video plays out with them at a pool...

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Advice for a younger self

Friday lunchtime musings

The average lifetime in the Western world is said to be around 80 years so if asked to guestimate how many days that would be, what would be your answer? No calculators or frantic mental maths allowed! 30,000? 50,000? 75,000? 100,000? 150,000 or 200,000? It’s actually 30,000 days, so that’s an average of 4,000 weekends, which, if you think about, you’ve probably already had a fair few of already…

To put it another way, for ease, if you take the biblical allotment - 3 score and 10, therefore 70 years, and equate each decade of your life to a day of the week, you can work out which day of the week you’re on. So, 0 to 10 years is Monday, 11 to 20 is Tuesday and so on… which day are you on? I’m on Friday lunchtime which certainly gives me food for thought and is my motivator to keep pushing myself forward - to constantly think about what I want to be and achieve.

On the Winning Edge, we talk about the day of the week...

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