Life Is Not A Game


Like many millions of people, I love to play video games. I enjoy them; they’re fun, they’re engaging, they’re distracting. I can easily get obsessed with what level I’m on and how I’m progressing.

It’s good to progress, it feels great to level-up, but lately I realised that I was feeling a sense of achievement, when in fact I’d achieved nothing.

That’s the power of a good game – it makes me feel like I’ve achieved something in my life when, in fact, it’s the opposite. I’ve achieved nothing, or at least nothing that I actually had on my to-do list.

I’m sure many people have things they want to do, things they want to achieve, but getting a certain level on Candy Crush probably isn’t one of them. If that’s what you want, then go ahead and do it. There’s no harm in it. Be my guest.

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Does Selling Exist Anymore?


I’ve been in sales for a long time, so much so that I believe we are all in sales; I’ve written a previous blog about that. I love sales probably because as a consumer I love buying! I love a great sale, when the salesperson really listens to what you want and wows you with their level of attentiveness and personalised service.

I detest bad sales.

And unfortunately, over the years, more of us experience bad sales than good sales. So it’s no surprise that so many consumers view salespeople as possessing some very unsavoury characteristics. Most of us see sales people as pushy, privacy-invaders, cold callers, or those who will go to any lengths to close the sale.

Companies seek to attract and retain people who are ‘hungry’ for the sale, driven, ambitious, entrepreneurial. These are not bad characteristics – I admire them in people – and when combined with someone who is an excellent listener, make for amazing sales potential.

Unfortunately, whilst sales techniques have developed over the years, they perhaps haven’t changed and developed as much as the consumer base has.

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I Don’t Know If I Like It Or Not…



We all have a tendency to play it safe. We don’t want to take risks. We only go to restaurants we know we will like. We only going to the cinema if we are absolutely certain we will like the film. We prefer to engage with like-minded individuals with whom we share similar views or experiences.

If we think there is a risk we might not like something, all too often we don’t take the risk.

In many respects it makes sense to avoid things that you don’t like. But the problem is that when we don’t even try, all we risk is that we might not like something. Perhaps the cost of a meal or a cinema ticket, but in the scheme of your life that’s not a huge expense.

By not doing something because we think we might not like it we could wind up leading a very bland life…

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The Great Average


None of us want to be average, right? Most of us want to be more than average. Most of want to experience more than average. I don’t know anyone who would tell their boss they’re aiming for an average performance this year. I’ve not met the person who would go into a restaurant and expect just average service and food quality.

Our personal aspirations also tend to be more than average, In fact, they’re often closer to exceptional. There are countless role models who remind us how much potential we all have to be exceptional:

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr

We all have our personal role models, those individuals that we would aspire to be like – whether it’s in business, science, arts or sports. They may be a “superstar” in their field or just someone you know or work with personally. Either way, we all have individuals who we aspire to be like – their achievements inspire us towards greatness.

The problem is when we look up to such role models we tend to only focus on the greatness of their achievements, not the accompanying failures they experienced.

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Quick Wins


I’ve heard the phrase “quick wins” used for many years, usually in a business setting, when people refer to the actions that can be done easily and quickly to deliver the biggest results. Is there anything wrong with that desire? I mean, why not get the results you want in the shortest possible amount of time? That’s what we all want right?

It seems we also want this in our lives outside work. We’re always on the look out for a quick win, whether it’s to enable us to lose weight, make money or learn a new skill. It seems that whatever it is we want, we want it quickly.

The problem I have with “quick wins” is that, in my experience, a true “win” is rarely achieved quickly and if it is “quick” it generally isn’t that big a win.

We all have a desire for the best results with the least amount of effort, but I fear we have become lazy in believing that the best option is to always go for the quick win first. We become so obsessed with the concept of quick wins that we never get around to the long term actions needed to achieve our work targets or our life goals. As a result we jump from one quick win to another; seeking short term solutions to long term problems.

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The Nearness of Now


There is nothing closer to you than the present moment – the right now – and it connects you with every other human being on the planet. It doesn’t matter if they are on the other side of the world or sitting right beside you; billions of human beings are existing, living, hoping and dreaming, just like you. Right now. Geography divides, making us feel distant and disconnected, but time brings us all together. Consider how everyone can remember where they were when…

There are so many ‘whens’. Celebratory and happy ‘whens’, such as the turning of the millennium or seeing a particular nation triumph in the World Cup, as well as sad and sobering ‘whens’, such as acts of terror or natural disasters. Whatever the ‘when’, such moments in time have the power to unite us. We experience life together, not separated by geography and immediate concerns. Those moments stay with us throughout our lives; they shape who we are and who we become.

We often think of time as flowing like a river, on which we travel from the past through the present and into our future. But perhaps it’s more that our boat is anchored to the present, and the water passes beneath us. We don’t move, we always remain in the moment.

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Too many clouds in the sky block the sun, but too few and we burn. Clouds may frustrate us sometimes, but the right amount of cloud cover is just what’s needed to create the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises.

I was flying into Warsaw recently and a cabin crew member peeked out of my window to see what the weather was like. We were still above the clouds so we really had no idea what it was like below. From our vantage point the sun shone brightly against a pure blue sky. I took the picture above at that very moment.

But, as we began our descent, we quickly sank into the heart of a thick cloud.  As all visibility seemed to fade, I began to wonder how dense the cloud was. For a while it seemed that we were stuck, suspended mid-cloud. I didn’t know where I was, or how far from the ground I was, or what it would be like when I finally emerged from the cloud.

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10 + 10 = ?


I’m sure that even those of you who profess to be terrible at maths came to a pretty quick answer to the above equation, right? I mean, 10 + 10, you can’t get much simpler than that. You have an answer.  And when we have an answer our minds stop. Answers represent endings, they represent winning, concluding, game over. No need to think about it anymore – problem solved!

It’s how we’ve all been taught; our education system teaches us to find the correct answer and move to the next question. Remember something, repeat it under test conditions and you are good to go. Well done! A gold star!

The current education system was developed over a century ago to provide industry with competent workers – people know how things work, they know right from wrong, they know what fits in the box. That was great, then, but not now.

Now, more than ever, businesses need people with creativity because change is the new norm. You never know what the competition will come up with next or what new products will emerge that offer the customer something easier, better, different. Something that doesn’t fit in the old box.

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The Dark Side of Motivation


One of the darkest and most disruptive emotions we can encounter is fear.  But can fear be a force for good? Can it be a motivator to push us towards better things?

A health scare might motivate someone to change their diet, quit drinking or smoking or start exercising. That’s good, right? Or, out of fear of losing your job, you push yourself to hit your targets at work. That’s also good, isn’t it? I mean, you not only keep your job but may even get a bonus for hitting your targets!

Does the end result justify the means, if fear is the means? Why does fear work so well as a motivator? Surely those people who quit smoking or adopt a healthier lifestyle or hit their targets at work have proved that they can do something now that they could have done earlier – before the fear set in…

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The Least You Could Do


Have you heard about the new Prayer app for your mobile device?

It’s great, whenever you need to pray to God you just click on the app. Or, if it’s a really important prayer, you can simply tell the app how many prayers you want – one click can equal 10,000 prayers.

The app will also connect with your camera, so that you can take pictures of those in need in the hope that you can get them some ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on Facebook or, if you’re really lucky, maybe even get them trending on Twitter.

How simple is that? How easy and accessible?

You can pray on the go, no need for a church! No need to clasp your hands together – you don’t even need to believe in God!

Obviously, and thankfully, there is no such application. However, I see on a regular basis Facebook posts of desperate situations that tell me to like or share the post ‘equals a thousand prayers’ and that ‘scrolling past is a heartless act’. Of course, scrolling past is not a heartless act, in the same way that ‘liking’ or ‘reposting’ a status does not equal a thousand prayers.

If you want to pray, then pray… Continue reading “The Least You Could Do”