Category

WELLBEING

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I have a recurring dream.

I live in a big house in this dream.

Rather like, but not exactly the same as, our last house.

That was big.

But this dream house is so big that I think I know how many rooms are in it but I am not exactly sure.

I remember feeling that, because I don’t know exactly how many rooms I have in my house, I feel rather good (in a shallow kind of way).

The Room.

I also remember that there is this one room in my house that I am frightened to go into.

I know the room is there.

But I will always procrastinate about going into it.

Stacked furniture blocks the entrance to it, you see.

And it is troublesome to move it.

This room, the one I am frightened to go into, is at the back of another room.

A bedroom.

At the back of this first bedroom, the ceiling slopes downwards towards this other, unvisited room.

I feel somehow glad that I have this other, unexplored place.

Comforted.

Yet I remain fearful of what is in the room beyond where the ceiling lowers.

I have never been there.

Yet.

Jill knows she is inferior, therefore she is superior to anyone who thinks she is superior to him.

My friend David Bradley bought me 4 books last month.

One of them is called KNOTS by R.D. LAING.

It’s a mad book, containing observations by the Oxford Professor of Poetry that he describes as,

…remarkable insights into the ways human beings behave to one another.

Things People Think and Say.

I like the book because it contains just a few pieces of dialogue and prose over it’s 90 pages that I can dip into and out of.

I like books that I can pick up and put down.

My attention is rarely held for long.

However, with this book, the reason I dip out is because with more than half of it I don’t know what the hell it’s going on about.

This isn’t a book review.

Yet.

Because I haven’t finished the book.

Because I don’t understand most of it.

But one or two bits of it are really amazing and explain big chunks of the human psyche really efficiently.

I recognise the behaviours and thinking in me and in people I know or knew from what I am reading.

Take the quote at the beginning of this little story.

The quote is simply saying that if you think everyone is better than you, and someone thinks everyone is not better than you, and because of this they like you, then you are better than them.

(You might want to read that again).

And so it might follow that they are not therefore good enough for you.

Because they couldn’t even fathom that everyone is better than you.

If this is describing you now, or in the past, or anyone you know or knew, then that person:

  1. Will never allow themselves to love anyone because anyone worth loving would not be hoodwinked into thinking that you are lovable.
  2. Will never allow anyone to love them because anyone that would entertain the idea of loving them is clearly not good enough to love them because they think you’re lovable, and you aren’t.

There’s a simple lesson I suppose.

And it’s an old one.

It’s that lesson about loving yourself being really important because, until you do, you cannot be involved in a truly loving relationship with anyone else.

I have always sensed this is true.

I think.

But I never really understood why it’s true.

I think I do now.

And by the way, I am sober as I write this.

Just in case you were wondering.

Read this again if you have 5 minutes.

I haven’t explained this brilliantly I don’t think…

But the quote at the beginning – I like it!

I think it really does explain why loving yourself is important.

Your life can only get better, or worse, one day at a time.

In fact everybody’s life gets better, or worse one day at a time.

We are all the same.

From the richest to the poorest.

On this subject – we are the same.

Important.

This is really important because, sometimes, we panic about everything being shit or everything being dark or everything being awful.

That’s natural.

But tomorrow, thing will either get better – or worse – just one day at a time.

That’s how time work.

That’s how life works.

Worry.

So worry less.

Even if tomorrow is worse, it is just one day worse.

If the following day can be better, so the previous bad day is cancelled out.

And if the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that are all better too then, well, that’s a trend.

Better or worse. 

This is an empowering notion.

You are just like everyone else.

We are either on your way up.

Or on your way down.

Sometimes you know.

Sometimes you don’t know.

But you are only ever one day from up, or down.

Grateful.

So if you’re on the up – be grateful – and keep the trend going.

And if you’re on the way down – be grateful too.

Because it need only be for one day.

Most of what you need to know to help you in life can be found on the internet.

You just ask Google and the websites that it points you to.

To get fitter.

To run a better business.

To find a partner.

To learn how to speak French.

To learn how to make a fish pie.

To help you through deep feelings of depression.

To keep you here.

On the face of it, help is readily available, relatively cheap or free.

Help.

There is however a much much more powerful help out there.

It’s a much more valuable kind of help and it can only come from another human being.

That person has to be genuinely engaged, ask the right questions, listen properly and then mix all of what they learn from you with all of the knowledge, experience and caring they have inside – or that they can get access to.

The good news is that this is most people.

Ask.

I am making this distinction (between Internet help and people help) because lots of people, including me, don’t ask for people help.

They may ask Google instead.

It takes a lot to ask another person for help.

To make myself think about asking for help, I try to remember how nice I feel when I help someone else.

So if I choose not to ask people for help, I am denying them the nice feelings they afforded me when they allowed me to help them am I not?

Reach.

If you need help with something, ask someone.

And don’t be fed up if you ask the wrong person the first few times.

Help is out there.

All you have to do is be patient, reach out – and ask.

If you’re not weird; that’s weird.

I mean it.

It’s weird because you’re definitely hiding something.

(Something GOOD).

Or complying.

Or toning it down.

And that’s weird.

Why would you do that?

Weird.

It’s weird because it is such a bad decision to hide your weirdness.

Your weirdness makes you so much more interesting.

And (just so you know the rules) being weird is not, say, being a Goth-weird.

Or a Punk-weird.

That’s just choosing a different uniform than the one you have now.

Proper weird is you being the unique you.

James Victore

James Victore knows this best.

And he knows where to fine your weirdness, too.

James says:

Things that make you weird as a kid will make you great tomorrow.

This is so true it hurts.

Just because you’ve grown up does not mean you should stop being weird.

In fact, because you’ve grown up means you should definitely think back to what made you weird, and being it again.

Before it’s too late.

Bigger.

Better.

Weirder.

Listen to James.

Because he’s right.

Without any exaggeration, if I have a lager from the fridge at (say) 7pm, I’ll have 1 or 2 more and from 7pm to whatever time I get up the following day I do nothing productive at all.

I just watch telly and bugger about.

If I don’t drink, my mind is capable of doing things (writing these little stories for example) until about 11pm with ease.

So, conservatively, if I say that by not drinking, I have 2 extra hours of sparky, productive time on my hands every single day – then if I don’t drink for 365 days a year I have 365 x 2 hours = 730 extra productive hours each year.

That’s 30.4 days per year.

Or 1 month.

For free.

To do with as I please.

Action.

I have not processed this properly yet.

Because I don’t know what I am going to do.

I don’t know what action I am going to take, if any.

I have great plans, lots to do and I do need a little more time.

But how much do I want it?

I’ll let you know.

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?

If you would like to give yourself the most valuable gift in the world, bar none, do this.

Off.

I’ve started turning my phone off.

For large parts of the day.

I smile a lot… because I keep picking it up and staring at a blank screen.

It’s like a drug currently, mauling the lifeless metal and glass brick as I get through the cold turkey phase.

Reacting. 

The reason I do this is because I spent days… no, weeks… no, maybe even months in 2018 reacting – immediately or very quickly – to something that happened on social media, email, text or as the result of a phonecall.

I also started to rely on the dopamine that the good stuff on social media released in me. (If this sounds weird, I know someone that is/was almost certainly similarly dependent… you).

Question.

To finally instigate the change I asked myself a question…

How would life be different if I didn’t react to anything that happened on social media, any email, any text or any phone call within, say, 4 hours throughout the whole of 2018?

The answer is – it wouldn’t.

So I am going to turn my phone off for 1, 2 or 3 blocks of 4 to 6 hours every single day from today.

Weird.

I feel a bit weird.

And my neck aches a bit from looking forward so much, instead of down.

And I’m not even joking about that.

How embarrassing!

The Gift.

The gift that you (and your family, children, other loved ones, business, etc) will get by doing this can’t be bought.

No matter how rich you are.

It’s time.

I don’t think that anything you do should be everything you do.

The stakes are too high.

I’ve made this mistake more than once.

Obsessing about one thing and letting it take over my life.

Going All In.

This doesn’t mean not going ‘all in’ though.

Committing to your dream properly is important.

You have 1000 months – then you die.

So if you are going to do something, do it really, really well.

Balance.

But like I suggested at the beginning, I think we should fill our lives with other things as well as our dream.

So that family and friends still see us and know us.

So that we still know ourselves.

So we still learn and experience things outside of our core activity.

So yes – I don’t think that anything you do should be everything you do.

It’ll only make you miserable.

And the thing you’re supposed to love might just end up becoming the thing you hate.

I watched ‘The Snowman’ over Christmas.

5 times.

Steady. 

I will take this quote from the 40 year old classic with me into 2019:

The snow fell steadily – all through the night.

It will remind me that, sometimes, things simply must take time.

Sometimes, there’s nothing to force.

You just have to be patient for things to work as they should.

I love snow because when it first falls it is a great leveller. Everything is white and clean and bright.

But it takes time to happen. Silently and slowly.

Millions of snowflakes dancing together over hours to create this blanket.

Patience.

So this David Bowie quote will remind me to be patient.

To sometimes just watch and wonder and let things happen.

Great things take time.