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LOVE & LIFE

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There will come a day when you would give anything at all to feel how you do today.

In fact, you’d give everything.

Today.

This applies whether you are having a great day.

Or a truly awful day.

You know the kind of awful day I mean.

Those days where nothing goes to plan.

Toast falls butter down.

You shout at the children and it hurts you more than it hurts them.

You growl at your partner for no good reason.

And you can’t find your keys.

These are bad days.

But as I say, there will definitely come a day when you would give anything at all to feel how you do today.

In fact, you’d give everything.

Goodbye.

The day you have to say goodbye, when it comes, (and it will, of course) is your worst day.

Because on that day you have no need for plans.

Or buttered toast.

On that day, shouting at children will feel completely foreign to you.

As will growling at your partner.

In fact, you’ll know at that very moment how wasteful the shouting and the growling really was.

And you will care little for the whereabouts of your keys.

You don’t need keys today.

What Matters.

Whilst I (probably) don’t know you, two things I do know are these.

First, if today really was the day you had to say goodbye – nothing I have mentioned here would matter to you.

And second, what I also know is that whatever things do matter to you on your last day should also matter more than anything else in your whole world – today.

Only you know what those things are.

And only you can, today and every day, treat them with the importance they deserve.

From now, if you like.

Think.

I’ve thought about what would really matter to me on my goodbye day.

And I’ve change a few things straight away.

You can too.

If you want.

Because – let’s face it – who knows when your goodbye day is?

See you tomorrow.

Probably.

50odd isn’t for you.

It’s for me.

Tourettes.

It is daily Tourettes.

It is what the world looks like from here.

My world.

Mornings. 

Morning glory for me is a head full of ideas.

Notions.

Opinions.

Thoughts.

Before I had 50odd to help me, these things had nowhere to go.

And I felt they were being wasted.

So I created 50odd as the receptacle within which they now live.

For me.

For ever.

And, I suppose, for anyone else that cares to visit.

Thank you

So thank you for popping by.

And whilst I can never deviate from the focus of creating these stories just for me.

(Because if I did they’d lose their authenticity.

Their freshness.

Their rawness).

I do peep at you out of the corner of my eye from time to time.

Mischievously wondering how you might react to what I write.

Encouraging you to comment at www.50odd.co.uk.

Or to pass a story on.

Or for you to be changed.

Terms.

So now you know.

These are the terms of 50odd.

There was something missing in my life.

So I filled the gap.

Thanks for being a part of my journey.

And for allowing me to be a part of yours.

If you run a businesses, it makes sense to build your brand around something people care about.

That means listening hard.

Because if you care about what they care about then, in theory at least, they’ll care about you.

Care.

But is it not also true that, as a businesses, you have a responsibility to make people care about what you care about?

Assuming the thing you care about is good for everyone.

The answer – is yes.

The Wrong Kind of Shareholder. 

Lots of businesses have the wrong kind of shareholder.

The shareholder that only cares about making money is the wrong kind of shareholder.

The shareholder that only cares about the short term is the wrong kind of shareholder.

The shareholders that pretends to care about something important because it gets them onto the latest marketing bandwagon is the wrong kind of shareholder.

The shareholder that does not see their and their teams talents as an opportunity to do something good for everyone is the wrong kind of shareholder.

And the Founder can of course be the biggest baddie of all.

Because it is she or he that let the shareholder in.

Responsibility.

There are lots of things that need care in the world.

Lots of people, too.

A great way to start a business, I think, is to pick up a cause or two that you care about and weave them into what you’re doing.

The Rules keep changing.

All our lives.

And it’s sometimes tricky to work out what behaviour is OK and what isn’t.

Narratives formed in different times seemed OK ‘then’ but – clearly – they never were.

How on earth could we have been so stupid?

The Rules.

I’ve said silly and inappropriate things all my life.

Sometimes out of innocence.

Sometimes out of ignorance.

Sometimes out of drunkenness.

And sometimes because I was just being a dick.

I am better these days as I have matured, slowed down, become more considerate, caring and rounded as a person.

We learn The Rules as-we-go.

Nursery.

I was reminded that we learn The Rules as-we-go, today.

At Izobel’s nursery.

Because, as she and her friends are 2 years old, The Rules are less clear.

Izobel and I were waiting in the corridor for 7.30am to come.

7.30am is a time that sends Izobel wobbling into her classroom.

Smiling broadly.

Looking up and deep into the eyes of her temporary carer, hands outstretched to receive her red cereal bowl.

Waiting.

As we waited in the corridor, parents and children strode past.

As each of them paced the corridor, Izobel held me tighter.

Shy.

Safe in my arms.

But still watching intently.

And because of the lack of rules, Izobel thought it totally acceptable to completely ignore the lovely, ‘Good Morning Izobel!’ and, ‘Hello Izobel, how are you today?’ chatter.

She also thought it totally acceptable, as one particularly friendly looking dad crouched on his haunches to say, ‘Hello, Izobel!’ to say nothing at all, look him in the eye, flare her nostrils and let one continuous 3 to 4 second pump.

Without blinking an eye.

Nothing.

He rose, smiled, and wandered off to work.

Relax.

I am going to relax a bit more.

Judge less.

Because the world is not all filled with bad people saying and doing bad things.

It’s – sometimes – just people that haven’t learned The Rules yet.

And a less judgemental world might be quite a nice thing, I think.

To find out what you’re great at, you have to do shit.

Not ‘do shit’ as in ‘do things badly’ you understand.

I mean you have to actually do things.

Rather than just talking about them.

Perfectionism.

Perfectionism is self-sabotage.

It just is.

Waiting around for that perfect opportunity.

Or that perfect moment.

The thing to know here is that, perfect opportunities do exist.

But you don’t know if they’re the real deal until you take the step and actually do them.

Because some things that you’d bet your life on being perfect – aren’t.

And some things that look imperfect – once you start them – turn out to be perfect.

Things People Say.

Ooh, I’m a perfectionist me.

So I’m not doing it until it is perfect.

Really means

I’m scared.

And that’s fine.

Doing any great thing has to be a bit scary.

Do Shit.

So, if you want to be shit hot.

Do shit.

Because – no shit – it’s the only way to know.

I don’t look at ‘Fried Egg Clock’ that hangs on our kitchen wall to tell me the time.

I use to for something far more important than that.

Fried Egg Clock.

We were in Blackpool not so long ago.

My little (immediate) family plus my brother and his little family.

We chose Blackpool because it’s good, plasticky fun.

Ambition.

Now, it’s good to be ambitious.

To set goals.

Even on holiday, I think.

So Lisa and I set our sights on some lofty goal that we happened upon in Blackpool.

We wanted to win enough paper tokens from the slot machines and arcade games that we could win Fried Egg Clock.

Determined.

We determinedly began.

Soon, we were joined in this important challenge by my brother Sam and his wife Sara.

You see, there were two Fried Egg Clocks.

Background.

I run Business Communications businesses and clothing brands in the North of England.

We’ve won awards all over the world and we sell all over the world.

Sam runs a training company called Thynk.

He works for some of the biggest brands in the world, delivering training all over the world.

And today, we as businessmen and brothers stood side-by-side.

Fists fat with palm-staining 2 pence pieces.

And a stern expression.

Today was not about global business.

Today was different.

Today was far more personal

Today was about Fried Egg Clocks.

Time. 

So as I said at the beginning.

I don’t look at ‘Fried Egg Clock’ that hangs on our kitchen wall to tell me the time.

I use to for something far more important than that.

I use it to tell me about all time.

Not just what hour it is now.

It tells me the time I have is precious and personal and as plasticky as I want.

It tells me that the times we make with the time we have are everything.

That is why it is the most important clock in the world.

Lots of people look but don’t really see.

They don’t take in the details.

And that’s such a shame.

Because you can miss so many lovely things.

Look.

Don’t go through life with your eyes closed.

Taking things for granted.

Not looking at things properly.

Not absorbing the fine detail.

Because the fine detail is normally where the magic is.

If you have a great tasting meal, be curious as to how the flavours were made to work together.

Or how it as cooked, maybe.

Be inquisitive and try to find the magic.

If you wear something super comfortable or that feels super sturdy, it’s because of the care and attention throughout the design and make.

And how the materials were chosen too.

When you are buying clothing, try to get into how and where it was made too.

I think these things matter.

Look at the care with which it is finished.

All these things will help you to appreciate value and to understand why something costs what it costs.

Or, if you look for the beauty in the detail and it’s not there, maybe it will help you to understand why it is so cheap.

And why, ultimately, you may be left feeling cold and disappointed as a consequence.

Observe. 

You can do this little test to prove that we all, all too often, look but don’t see.

We just don’t absorb the fine detail properly.

Or question things as we should.

AIR WAIR

Have you read the words ‘AIR WAIR’ before?

If you think that you have, do you remember where?

And if you do remember where, and had to write it down, would you spell it like this?

This is spelled correctly by the way.

Life.

For me, life is too short to fly along at breakneck speed all of the time.

Pause occasionally.

Take in the detail.

It’s lovely.

And lots of the little magical things in life are free.

Just like the little AIR WAIR tab that might sticking out of the back of the Doc Martens you are wearing now.

Or the pair or pairs you have at home.

If you do or did own a pair of Dr. Martens shoes you’ll have seen this tab hundreds of times.

But you may not have questioned the technology it relates to.

Or even know how to spell it.

Slow down.

Slow down.

There’s loads to see…

One Friday in the summer of 2009, at about 2pm, I received a telephone call.

I was at work at the time, leading the biggest business (to date) that I have created.

It was called onebestway.

A Creative Agency.

The telephone call went something like this:

Hello, onebestway, Mike here. How can we help?

Hi, can I speak to the owner please?

Yep; that’s me. How can I help?

I’m calling from Virgin 1. The digital TV station. We’re looking for a team to take part in a television programme. We’ve researched you a little. Can I explore this with you?

Sure. Go ahead.

We’re relaunching the channel. This summer. And the flagship show for the launch is called The Naked Office. Basically we are looking to place a psychologist with a team. He will bond them so closely that, after a week, they’ll all be comfortable coming to work together – naked.

I paused.

It was a Friday as I say.

So this was a mate being silly right?

No.

It was a producer from a production company called Shine .

And the invitation was real.

Moments.

So this was one of those defining moments.

We all get them.

Maybe not exactly like this.

But we get them.

I had already said yes in my mind.

But I had to ask the team.

All but one said yes.

So we did it.

The Naked Office. 

The Naked Office aired in the autumn of 2009.

About 5 million people saw it in the UK after the repeats and the interviews.

Globally it was more.

Adventure.

It was great fun.

An adventure.

Some of our industry thought we were brave and ballsy.

Some thought we were sensationalist and crackers.

Both were right.

David Taylor.

David Taylor was the psychologist in the television programme.

David has authored 5 books now.

And David and his wife Rosalind became good friends of mine.

Here they are.

Saying yes. 

Anyhow, do I regret it?

100% no.

Would I have regretted it had I not done it?

100% yes.

When In Doubt.

So.

My advice when faced with whatever weird and wonderful opportunities might arrive in this too-short life of ours.

When in doubt…

Say yes.

If you are reading this story in your email, there’s a photo you might want to see with today’s story at 50odd.co.uk.

But then again…!

David Taylor (nice chap): www.nakedleader.com.

Do this next time you are with the people you love the most.

Take a look at them all.

Look left.

Look right.

Then watch ‘Up’.

Up.

Carl Fredricksen’s wife Ellie died early in Pixar’s animated film, ‘Up’.

Leaving Mr. Fredricksen, a balloon salesman in his late 70s, alone.

However the movie tells us of the dreams of exploration and adventure that Mr. and Mrs. Fredricksen had in their younger years.

They wanted to travel the world.

Together.

They even made a scrapbook.

A scrapbook that imagined their journeys.

Journeys that never happened.

Because they waited too long.

Adventures. 

In actual fact, Carl and Ellie had many lovely adventures closer to home.

Picnics.

Parties.

Holding hands.

But they didn’t travel.

Scrapbook.

The scrapbook that Ellie left for Carl had a little message written, by her, at the back.

A message for Carl.

Watch the 3 minute film at www.50odd.co.uk to see what she wrote.

And in the meantime, have a think about your plans.

Your plans for adventure.

Whatever they are.

And whoever you want your adventures to be with.

But think most of all about when you are going to do them.

Because you can make that decision today.

And the day will come that you cannot.

Watch the 3 minute clip at www.50odd.co.uk.

Rik Mayall is an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Exeter.

The 9 minute video showing his acceptance speech from 2008 can be found on YouTube here.

Rik.

Rik Mayall died in June 2014.

It was a heart attack.

He was 56.

He’d just been jogging.

Then – just died.

Performer.

Rik Mayall was a performer.

On camera certainly.

Off camera probably.

In his early years, he spent time failing exams, drinking a lot, bobbing in and out of lots of relationships and – by the sound of it – having a bloody good time.

Five Mantras.

Rik said he had five mantras for life.

They are:

  1. All men are equal therefore no one can ever be your genuine superior.
  2. It is your future. It is yours to create. Your future is as bright as you make it.
  3. Change is a constant of life. So you must never ever lose your wisdom.
  4. If you want to live a full and complete human life, you have to be free. Freedom is paramount.
  5. Love is the answer.

Rik further summarised.

  1. Equality.
  2. Opportunity.
  3. Wisdom.
  4. Freedom.
  5. Love.

Presentation.

Rik’s personal presentation of this is important though.

Because I love Rik Mayall’s uniqueness.

Such talent and couldn’t-care-lessness is so rare.

And for it only to have been on this earth for 56 years, or just 672 months, is a travesty.

Let’s see if his legacy impacts you.

Because it impacted me.

Here is the video on YouTube.