January 2019


What are you most frightened of?


Or change?

Regret versus Change.

I think the answer to this conundrum is easier than we at first may think.

If we think short term, we are more likely to fear change than regret.

Because change is right in front of us.

If we think long term, we are more likely to fear regret than change.

Because of things that we know we will think about as we get older.

Like doing what we were born to do.

And legacy.

Two Things.

Here are two things to help us to embrace change and minimise the potential for regret.

  1. Remember that you are going to live for about 1,000 months only.
  2. Think about the things you can no longer do because of the age you are now.

With number 1. – there is little we can do about this.

Stop smoking, drink less, eat better, run around more etc. yes.

But whatever you do you are going to die at around 80 years old.

Man or woman.

Give or take 10 or 20 years.

With number 2, think about it, there are not that many things you cannot do any more actually.

No matter how old you are.

If you get your mindset right.


There is no rewind button.

So if you’re going to do it, you should perhaps do it now or soon.

Regret is NOT inevitable .

Change however, is.

Being in a groove sounds great!

It sounds relaxing.

It sounds like I’d be walking like I’m dancing and clicking my fingers.

Or if I was in my car, I’d have one hand on the steering wheel, an elbow out of the open window and I’d be waving.

Being in a groove sounds like a good place to be.


If you do get into the groove in business or life though, I think you need additional antenna.

So that you stay aware of what’s going on around you.

There are, for example, lots of businesses that batten down the hatches in a recession.

They stay in the groove they’re in and wait for the storm to pass.

However recessions, in recent history, never pass.

They create new norms.

And those that stayed in the groove they were in – die.


Roy Evans was Liverpool manager from 1994 to 1998.

He didn’t win lots.

But he did stabilise a wobbly Liverpool coming out of a bad set of performances.

And the once said:

You can’t win the premiership by Christmas.

But you can lose it by thinking you can.

I like this quote.

It’s a verbal kick up the arse.

It should create focus and kill complacency.


This season, Liverpool were comfortably top of the Premiership at Christmas.

And Klopp (Liverpool manager for those that don’t know) said to those that are predicting Liverpool for the 2018/2019 Premiership title:

What’s the point in winning half a race?

I’m not a Liverpool supporter.

But I do like this kind of thinking.

I suppose it manifests as a football team only being as good as their last match.

Or their next performance.

And for businesses and brands – it’s the same.

The Groove.

Staying in the groove can be relaxing.

But it can also be terminal.

Stay alert.

I wonder if someone will come and rescue me?

I really do wonder this sometimes.

When I’m feeling down.


Then, I play it through…

If my rescuer did abseil down the side of my house, the soles or his or her boots crashing through my patio doors to rescue me, I’d have to ask him or her to pause for a second.

You see, I don’t want to be rescued from everything.

I’d be selective.

So I’d have to make my rescuer a list.

On a little bit of paper.

Yes; rescue me from boredom.

And bills.

And uncertainty.

(But not all uncertainty.

Because I like some uncertainty).

And don’t rescue me from Lisa and Izobel of course.

I need them.


Life can be bloody hard.

But I don’t need to be rescued from it.

Naturally, I will occasionally crave ‘the other’.

There will always be an (apparently) better ‘other’ – no matter where am.

So the best tactic is to stay where I am and rescue myself, I think.

One by one, removing the things I don’t like.

And showing more love for the things that I do.


I don’t want to be rescued.

I just need to find the strength to stop comparing, and take a bit more responsibility sometimes.

I consider myself to be expressive.

And I imagine that many people would consider me to be expressive too.

But I am not unflinchingly so.

I have dials and filters because, I suppose, I still worry about what people think sometimes.

Notwithstanding politeness and thinking about people’s feeling – I think I’d benefit from being more expressive.

Many interesting, impressive and creative things happen when we just ‘let it flow’.


My friend Pete is very often unflinchingly expressive.

Probably not all the time.

But most of the time – he is.

He just can’t help himself.

His expressiveness is balanced with him being caring and kind and thoughtful… so it is a very attractive thing.

Here’s an example.

When Pete’s young son went abroad for an extended period, tens of years ago, Pete continued to paint.

Pete is a chef/musician/artist/photographer so clearly he is very creative.

But in the immediate aftermath of his son going abroad for quite some time – years in fact – Pete could only paint one thing.

Sad boys.

It’s what came naturally.

The paintings were expressing… something.


All Pete could paint was the same thing over and over and over.

This new invention coming from somewhere inside.

Sad boys.

Three of the images are pictured here.

In my house.

Pete gave them to me for Christmas in 2018.


As I experience more of life, I value authenticity, spontaneity and raw expression much more than even the most beautifully constructed and planned artistic statement.

Something from the heart, I find much more interesting that something engineered.

And in an increasingly 3-D printed, AI, AR and algorithm world – I’d predict that unfiltered, spontaneous creativity and ideas will become increasingly valued.

Because they’re much more interesting.

Instead of working out how something was created, I’d much rather just look at something for the purity of what it is.

Sad boys.

To find out how lovely something can be, you have to actually experience it.


Singing live in front of people.

Loving someone.

Allowing someone to love you.

Running your own business.

Having children.

Fostering children.

A friend of mine explored this idea of ‘experience’ with me very recently.

It was David Bradley, who played Billy Casper from Kes.

David stayed with me when he was visiting the North East last week.


David referenced rainbows.

David asked us to imagine trying to describe a rainbow to someone that had never seen one.

One could take the ‘meteorological phenomenon’ approach.




Or one could talk about colours and how they hang in the air.

There… but not really there.


In the end, we agreed that no number of words can describe some things.

If you really want to know…

… you have to experience it.

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.


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


… 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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.

I like Sir Billy Connolly.

Years ago I didn’t like him much, actually.

Because I thought he was one of those people that you’re supposed to like, as opposed to really like.

So I stayed away.

It was my loss.


Anyhow, here’s a 12 word quote from a poorly Billy Connolly.

He’s not well at the moment.

He’s older and wondering how long he will be around.

Well I want to thank him for these 12 words that he said in a recent TV programme.

It helped me.

And it will help you.

In fact, it is much more than a quote.

It’s a test.

For those wondering if you are creative (believe me, you are) and if it is worth doing your DAMNEDEST to get your creativity out and do your best work, not giving a toss for what others think or say about it, here’s what he said:

When you’ve created and created well, it is good company for you.


Sometimes, we are alone.

And those that put you down or laughed at your creativity and your bravery and your beautiful self-expression will not be there for you then.

But whatever it is that you have created – will.

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.


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.