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LOVE & LIFE

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Confidence can lead you to a fearless, happy life.

Once you wake up to a few simple truths.

A life unafraid.

A life where you can just ‘be you’.

Here is insight that will set you on your way to being confident, fearless and happy.

It is part of the story of why confidence comes and goes in life.

The Story of You

  1. Age 0 to 2 – FEARLESSNESS. You’re little. You don’t understand fear. You explore and adventure. Anything goes.
  2. Age 3 to 5 – NATURAL FEARS. You start to recognise bumps and scrapes, needs and wants, friends and enemies, sharing and selfishness, togetherness and loneliness. You start to fear, naturally, not having what you want when you want it. This changes you. You have tantrums. But, largely, you’re OK.
  3. Age 6 to ‘you choose an age‘ –  LEARNED FEARS. You and others begin to shape and make learned fears. Fears that contain you. Fears that hold you back. Fears that shrink you. Others ridicule your quirks and your uniqueness. The things that make you different. They tell others about your mistakes, too.  So everything gets muddled. You begin to question things. You worry. You fear what people think of you. And these learned fears breed more fears.
  4. Age ‘you choose an age‘ to death – FEARLESSNESS (AGAIN). You – somehow – wake up to the fact what others think of you matters only as much as you allow.

Keeping these 4 stages in mind, you just need to remember 3 things if you want to live a more confident, fearless and happy life:

  1. Anything learned can be unlearned. 
  2. Confidence and fearlessness feed into and from each other because confidence erodes fear and fear erodes confidence (you are most confident in stages 1 and 4 above).
  3. You choose your ‘you choose an age’ age. No one else.

There’s this great big block of time in any person’s life, normally between (about) 7 years old and (about) 60 years old – so about two thirds of your entire fucking life – where fear erodes confidence and this lack of confidence results in less happy and fulfilled days.

You know it’s true.

Kids are bonkers.

Older people, once they wake up to the fact what others think of them matters only as much as they allow, are bonkers too.

You’ve seen older people like this.

Bonkers is great!

Confidence. Fearlessness. Bonkersness.

Bonkersness

So, all you have to do to be more confident, fearless and happy – is to choose a ‘you choose an age‘ age (see above).

Suggestion…

… your ‘you choose an age‘ could be whatever age you are now.

If you like.

Endnote: I’ll talk about tactics to help you on this journey in other stories.

Because – I know – it’s hard.

The best way to get the measure of someone is not by what they say, but by the questions they ask.

And not just by the questions they ask, but by how well they listen to your answers.

And how well question 3 links back to question 2.

And so on.

So you know they’re listening to you.

Generosity

I think the most generous things a person can give to you is their time.

Because once that’s gone – it’s gone.

1,000 months.

That’s all you get.

Money comes and goes.

Time just goes.

And if someone gives you their time and asks questions that they’re genuinely interested in having answered, so they can help you…

Well, that’s a good pal.

They’re a keeper.

And until you find one… be one.

Pop to 50odd.co.uk. There’s a photo with this story you should see.

This is what Billy Casper from Ken Loach’s 1969 film ‘Kes’ looks like today.

The last time you saw Billy (David Bradley) he was 14.

He won a BAFTA at 15.

At the end of this wee tale, I’ll tell you something David said that might just change your life.

The Meal

These images are from 16th January 2019 at the exceptional Black Horse Bar, East Bolden, North East England.

It’s owned by original Toy Dolls lead singer Pete Zulu (pictured).

Carlo Navato, Co-Founder of The Do Lectures was with us too.

After the meal we played vinyl (from Pete’s 3,000+ collection) until 2am.

There are 2 reasons I am posting this story.

1. This is me with people that that keep me going. That keep me here. Not because they add value to my life – because they tell me I add value to theirs. This is more valuable to me than anything they could ever do for me.

2. What David said. Here’s a tricky subject… and one that can probably only happen after wine… What the fuck do you do when, at 14, you are THE key character in arguably the greatest British movie ever? What next?! David smiled. A fan of musical genius Keith Jarrett David said: “Who ever said that the crescendo has to come at the end of the song? If it comes at the beginning, we can spend the rest of the time enjoying the symphony can we not?”

Beautiful.

You need to see the image at the 50odd website with this story. So please click here.

This is a test.

To see if we’d get on.

I do spend a lot of time running around to get things done.

I’m busy.

And I imagine you are too.

Very occasionally these days I have to post something.

It’s a right nuisance.

But there we go.

Birds. 

How would you feel if you were faced with this sign?

I’m not asking what you’d do.

I’m asking how you’d feel.

If you’d feel inconvenienced and grouchy, we’d not get on.

If you’d feel warm, reminded that life is much more than the treadmill of what’s in front of us, we’d be fine.

Life.

I like little reminders of what really matters in life.

Life itself.

Is this obsessive?

I watch the entire box set of ‘Cheers’ – every year.

That’s 275 episodes.

I still can’t remember everything that happens.

And I still laugh at the things whether I remember what’s coming or not.

As much as I enjoy Cheers being on, I also think it’s a test for Lisa.

She does one of those smiles that is really only with the mouth (not the eyes) when I say I’m going to put Cheers on.

And it’s often when it’s Lisa’s turn to make tea.

So she may very well be stood in the kitchen holding a knife as I pop the DVD in, my back to her.

It’s the thrill I like.

She’s very tolerant.

For now.

Nick Cave was asked this question by a fan called Cynthia, in October 2018.

I have experienced the death of my father, my sister, and my first love in the past few years and feel that I have some communication with them, mostly through dreams. They are helping me. Are you and Susie feeling that your son Arthur is with you and communicating in some way?

Nick Cave’s son Arthur died in 2015, aged 15.

This is Nick’s reply to Cynthia, in an open letter:

Dear Cynthia,

This is a very beautiful question and I am grateful that you have asked it. It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined.

Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence.

It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence.

These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

I feel the presence of my son, all around, but he may not be there.

I hear him talk to me, parent me, guide me, though he may not be there.

He visits Susie in her sleep regularly, speaks to her, comforts her, but he may not be there.

Dread grief trails bright phantoms in its wake. These spirits are ideas, essentially. They are our stunned imaginations reawakening after the calamity. Like ideas, these spirits speak of possibility.

Follow your ideas, because on the other side of the idea is change and growth and redemption. Create your spirits. Call to them. Will them alive. Speak to them. It is their impossible and ghostly hands that draw us back to the world from which we were jettisoned; better now and unimaginably changed.

With love, Nick.

Izobel is 2.

I am amazed, having never had children before, how much a 2 year old can know and process at such a young age.

How deeply they think.

Earlier this week, as I sat on the settee watching the television, Izobel was sat – still – to my left.

After a little while, her fidgety legs lifted her and – quite suddenly – she jumped clean over my lap and landed to my right.

I was concerned she’d fall on the wooden floor of course.

But I smiled as she paused to considered this new game.

Then, Izobel jumped back across my lap and landed once more to my left.

There was a pattern now.

And it continued.

Dizzy.

After 8 or 10 if these jumped, I called her name and began to explain something.

“Izobel” I said, “You might fall. You’ll get dizzy.”

She listened silently.

She was looking at my eyes.

Thinking.

“You’ve not fallen yet…” I continued, “…but you surely will, the dizzier you get.”

“Now – what are you going to do? Slow down and be safe here at my side? Where there is no chance at all of you falling. Or getting hurt?”

“Or are you going to continue to make your self dizzy? To bounce and fly?”

Two seconds passed before she flew across my lap once more, laughing.

Then back again.

And again.

“I have just seen the future”, I thought.

“And I have just seen a little bit of me, too.”

Winter is my favourite season.

I think it’s because it’s the season I can wear most clothes.

I like clothes.

Layered.

Then throughout the day peel them off if I feel like it.

To reveal a different uniform.

I find that interesting.

Overcoat… jacket… sweater… shirt… undershirt…

All at the same time.

Snow. 

And I like snow too because it simplifies everything.

It hides the detail.

And the mess.

The unnecessary fuss and nonsense.

The uncut lawn and the beautifully manicured lawn look the same.

When I see freshly fallen snow, to me, it’s like someone hit the ‘reset’ button.

It reminds me that we don’t need this car or that car.

Because when all the cars in the street are covered in the same whiteness, I am reminded that cars are for getting you and me from here to there.

And how strange it is then that this car costs £5,000 and that one costs £50,000.

Under snow, they look so similar.

Children.

And then there are the children who, universally, love the snow.

Because it is new and fresh and – somehow – theirs.

Children elbow you and the rest of the world out of the way when their snow comes.

They want the first footprints in the snow to be their footprints.

Pause.

We grownups have a lot to contend with.

Snow somehow gets in the way of all these things that we adults have to do.

But we don’t have to think like that…

Winter’s gift of snow is your opportunity to stop.

Pause.

Relax.

Smile.

And watch the children.

Not much that the children do in the snow is for anything.

It’s very momentary.

And as we all know, the snow won’t last.

But for those short few minutes hours or maybe a couple of days, the snow – to them – is all that matters.

There’s a lot to be said for living in the moment.

And one of the greatest reminders of this, I think, is snow.

There is a difference between knowing that something is true and really believing that something is true.

I have known this for a while, but it is only recently that I started to believe it.

(You might want to read those two sentences a few times. I had to. And I wrote them). 

Belief. 

Here is how this is affecting my life at the moment.

I have known for some time – absolutely and unequivocally – that listening to other people is stupid.

It crushes creativity, creates self-doubt and can slow life to a crawl.

But I still do it.

Not as much as I did.

But I still do it.

However – just recently, I have started switching my phone off for 2 or 3 blocks of 4 to 6 hours per day.

Every day.

I react to ‘stuff’ in small, 10 minute gaps between these blocks.

And believe me, the longer I do this, the more I dislike these gaps.

I just want to get on with life.

This is a great example of taking action because, somehow, I have moved from knowing to believing.

And I sense that I am now moving from ‘believing’ to ‘habit’.

Knowing. Believing. Habit.

When I started writing this, I didn’t know how it was going to end.

But now I do.

Here goes…

To make life more fulfilling. So you achieve more. So you race towards your dreams and ambitions more effectively. Try to work out how to move from knowing something to believing it enough that you take proper, meaningful action. Then, make that action a habit so that it becomes automatic. Then get on with your life and follow this process over and over so that you develop a whole raft of brilliant, healthy, automatic habits. All of them plugged in to helping you to achieving your goals and dreams.

There’s no ‘how’ in this story.

I haven’t worked out ‘how’ yet.

But this is a great ‘what’.

Honestly; it’s working for me.

Moving knowing… to believing… to acting… to a habit.

PS  I think you already know all of this.

PPS  But do you believe it?

There is a lot to be said for being gentle.

And calm and attentive.

I spend too much time twitching and buzzing around.

Never elbowing or bullying.

But always busy.

On duty.

Looking for the edge, sniffing out the angle, counting what’s been accumulated, grieving what’s been lost, waiting for the breaks, hoping for the tipping points.

Life is fast.

Gentle. 

I notice that some men blink slowly.

I am drawn to men that blink slowly.

I like them because they appear gentle.

And kind.

I try to remember to blink slowly.

People that blink slowly always seem to be somehow more attentive.

Like they are really listening.

Their eyes on yours.

Silently.

Chess.

The film at the end of this story is called, and is about ‘The Last Chess Shop in New York’.

You will take from it what you will.

What I took from it was that there is a lot to be said for being gentle.

For looking after people.

And one more thing…

The other thing I took from this 6 minute film is this.

In life, there are (we are told) many different groups of people. Men, women, old, young, black, white, friends, enemies, the just, the thieves, the Brexiteers and the remainers.

In this film, I see only two kinds of people.

Strangers and friends.

And I also sense that, in this tiny corner of the world, The Last Chess Shop in New York, there is a minuscule yet steady drip, drip, drip of the former – becoming the latter.

And that’s lovely.