Category

WELLBEING

Category

Rick thank you for supporting me as I build my relationship with the University. If there’s anything I can do to help you with anything you are doing – just shout. See you soon. M.”

Helen thank you for the invitation for Friday. And for taking the time to chat with me today. It was great to learn more about you. Bye for now. M x”

Carlo thank you for sending me the ‘Shore Thing’ link. That’s interesting. Sometimes, I’ve helped brands to run disruptive campaigns that ‘reposition the competition’. But that’s normally by making a unique claim that raises (implied) questions about what the competition does or does not do. What you’ve highlighted here is pretty amazing! I’d not thought of that. Thank you.”

Debbie thank you for looking after the boys this week. It helped us to get a lot done.”

Katie thank you for popping to see me. It was nice to get closer to your idea. I hope my pointedness about brand was not a complete waste of your time. I suppose I just wanted to point out that, in my opinion, your unique proposition will weaken as more and more people appear in your category with similar sentiments. Good luck with whatever next. M.”

Dean thanks for chatting earlier this week. Your point about the market as a whole not being fatigued by, or indeed tuned in to, what the finer points of ‘doing good business’ actually are – is valid. And it’s a useful and timely reminder for me. See you in a couple of weeks. I do want to help you if I can. I think you deserve to do well, and to be paid well, for who you are. M.”

Gratitude.

  1. Open your diary.
  2. Choose one, half hour block each week and add a recurring meeting – with yourself. At the same time each week. Fridays are good.
  3. Call it ‘GRATITUDE’.
  4. Inside each meeting, simply send a stream of texts to people who have helped you, or who you helped. That week. Aim to send 12. Thank them for helping. Or thank them for listening. Either works. Texts are best for this. So they can read them twice. If they want.

Thank you.

I’m 50.

So I have been ‘friends’ with other human beings for (about) 48 years.

In my first couple of years I don’t think I understood much about friendship.

But in the 48 years after that – yes – I have experience of having friends.

Friends.

The thing that has taken me by surprise recently though.

Is that some of my closest friends these days, I have only known for a really short space of time.

And that, in certain chapters of my life, would have been quite an odd notion.

At school I knew my friends for, say, 5 to 10 years.

At university it was at least 3 years.

In my 20’s and 30’s my closest friendships were with people that I had known for maybe as many as 20 years.

And in my 40’s then, of course, a small circle of friends had been my friend for 30 years or more.

40’s

But in my late 40’s, I have met some great people that have become really good friends really quickly.

I have made myself open to this.

Open to change.

Open to revealing a lot more about me to new people.

Much more than I would have done when I was younger.

And I am really, really interested in new people too.

Learning from them.

Being with them.

Helping them if I can.

And, even though I am quite poor at asking for help actually, seeing if they can help me.

Friends. 

I like how the subject of friendship has evolved through my life.

As I get older – there is room in my life, my head and my heart for new people.

It’s a really nice feeling.

And something I mean to carry on with.

Building new friendships takes a little time and effort.

But it’s always worth it.

Some people think they don’t go to enough events.

Some people think they don’t go to the right events.

I think that we don’t go to enough of the right events.

Events.

I have worked out what makes a great event.

They are events built around The Generosity Economy.

If you’ve not heard of The Generosity Economy it is not surprising.

Because I made it up.

(At least I thought I made it up. Until I searched for ‘The Generosity Economy’ on Google and found it all over the bloody place. But as there are several similar but different definitions of what the Generosity Economy actually is. I am going to make a definition up of my own. Here goes…)

The Generosity Economy is an environment where all people try to help each other out as much as possible. And give value to other people wherever and whenever they can.

As opposed to the economic model where people try to help themselves as much as possible. And get something of value from other people wherever and whenever they can.

Events.

The two events I’ve been to where The Generosity Economy is most prevalent are:

  1. The Do Lectures
  2. Newcastle Startup Week

Both are annual events.

They’re of different sizes.

And in different locations.

Yet both have a similar ‘buzz’ around generosity.

Conversations. 

Many of the conversations at these places start with (something around) what I can do for you.

And not what can you do for me.

The few that try to sell – stand out.

And not in a good way.

Today is an Event.

Anyhow, if you like, you can treat today as an event like The Do Lectures or Newcastle Startup Week.

We don’t need David Hieatt or Paul Lancaster to prompt us to be generous (even though they do, and I am glad that they do).

You can just do it.

If you want.

Today.

Start Now.

So, who will you help?

What will you give today – for free?

For nothing in return.

I hope it’s something.

PS.

Oh, and there’s a PS.

If you do become a part of this Generosity Economy.

At least two things happen.

  1. It’s viral. You will encourage others to be generous to others too. Good breeds good.
  2. You feel great. When you help someone. Expecting nothing back. You just do.

So I hope you give it a go.

I am sitting in silence. 

Apart from the click and the clack of my keyboard.

Hiss.

When I pause from typing, I can hear a dull hiss.

Deep in my ears.

But nothing else.

Music. 

My mind drifts to what music I should put on.

On my phone.

But instead of popping to YouTube, I do something I so rarely do.

Something quite different.

Something that makes me feel a little insecure, actually.

I turn my phone off.

(I paused when I got to the screen that prompted me to ‘slide right’, actually.

Just for a second.

But then.

Slid I did.

And the phone went cold).

Isolated. 

I feel.

Well.

Isolated.

Frank the dog snoozes to my right.

Boats bob on the River Tyne to my left.

And this, the 295th daily 50odd story, is written.

Silence. 

Silence breeds silence.

And that’s a good thing.

Silence in the mind makes room.

For new things.

New things. 

In the silence, my consciousness drifted.

Looking for new things to fill the space.

But I didn’t find any new things at all.

Not one.

I found something far, far better.

I found old things.

Old Things.

My senses were heightened.

All of them.

And, somehow, I tuned in to old things.

Things that have almost always been there.

In the background.

I heard Mickey Chips (our cat) meow just then.

As he chattered at a bird.

Goading him from a boat’s mast.

Out of range.

Then, I looked down into my coffee cup as I sipped.

Noting the coffee’s beautiful, even deep brown hue.

It was such a lovely colour that I inhaled deeply.

Smelling it.

Coffee is such a lovely smell.

And I also noticed that when Frank looked up at me.

He looks, well, a little lonely (see photo: https://www.50odd.co.uk/old-things/).

So I cuddled him.

Frank.

I was reminded that Frank is always there for me.

And that I am not always there for Frank.

Sometimes because it is impossible.

And sometimes because I am doing something pointless.

Looking at utter, utter shit.

On my phone.

Off.

Life is better with your phone off.

Really.

Not because you discover new things.

But because you remember the old things.

I am not sure if I can still do a handstand.

I may be able to.

But I haven’t tried for such a long time.

Fitness. 

I do grown up fitness, though.

With posh, clunking, robust machines in grey, black and red.

With settings that ensure that whatever I lift gets heavier and heavier and increasingly unpleasant to move as-we-go.

And whirring bikes and rowing machines that go nowhere, yet get me somewhere.

Fitter, I think.

Fun.

Grown up fitness is not fun.

That’s why so many people do it in fits-and-starts.

As it happens, I have the nice people from STORM to help me.

So I do enjoy it.

And I stick around.

But the fundamental activities.

Running on the spot.

Cycling to nowhere.

Lifting until you can’t lift any more.

That’s not fun.

Well, not for most people.

Handstands.

How strange it is then that handstands are fun.

And hula-hooping.

And, I imagine, skipping.

And running around trying to catch a frisbee.

There’s a lot to be said for childishness.

Woven into what we grown-ups are supposed to do.

I’d strongly recommend it.

Not just when were are trying to get fit.

But in everything.

To feel good.

And to smile.

Disclaimer:

If you decide to try a handstand.

And land on your head.

It’s not my fault.

OK?

(But do send a picture.

Of the handstand.

Not you landing on your head).

I used to work with a lady called Hilary.

When I was in my late 20’s.

She was really old.

Really, really old at the time.

About 50, I think.

Cats.

Anyhow, what I am about to describe happened more than once…

I have always been an early riser.

And a bit of a control freak.

So I’d always, always be in the office first.

By about 7am.

Then, at about 7.30am.

Hilary would arrive.

She’d always look slightly dishevelled.

I imagined she would have fallen asleep the previous night whilst crocheting.

And woke up the next morning covered in cats.

Then just licked her fingers.

Rubbed her hair down.

And came to work.

Two coffees.

Anyhow, this is what she’d do.

She’d ask me if I wanted a coffee.

I’d say ‘no thank you’ and she’d shuffle off to make herself one.

She’d still be talking to me about something as she left the room.

It’d be a mumble though.

So I’d never really hear.

Then she’d still be mumbling a bit as she came back and placed her cup of coffee – with a great degree of precision – right in the middle of her coaster.

Then she’d sit down.

Then she’d stand up as if she’d suddenly just remembered something and she’d laugh out loud.

Then she’d mumble something at me again and she’d shuffle out of the office once more, processing the thought that had arrived quite suddenly into her head.

She’d laugh as she thought about whatever it was.

A very pleasant lady Hilary.

Quirky.

Not least because, maybe 5 minutes later she’d bowl back in and look across at me and start chatting once more.

About what, I was never sure.

But the funny thing was, she’d have a second cup of coffee in her hand.

Spilling bits of it as she smiled and chatted incoherently at me.

Before stopping, lowering it slowly down towards where she automatically knew where her coaster was, and then suddenly – as the first cup of coffee came into view – let out a startled, “Oh!”

Her head would tilt to me at this point as I sat there silently.

Looking at her.

The sight I saw was Hilary stood there.

Bent over slightly.

With coffee number two hovering just a couple of inches above coffee number one.

Her face was stern at this point.

I wondered if – in her head – I was being blamed for this situation the first time it happened.

But after 5 or 6 seconds she’d break out into some Mr. Bean like mumble-laugh and take the second coffee cup back out to the kitchen.

Hilary. 

Hilary was great.

Mad as a fucking fish.

But great.

50odd is me.

It reflects my mood.

This is because I spit out stories ‘Tourettes-like’ on a daily basis.

Every single day.

No matter what.

It’s automatic.

So I have started to watch the tone of what I am creating.

Because moods spread.

Tone. 

I don’t want to moan (too much) when I am writing.

I want to read my own stuff and, occasionally, laugh.

I am one of those people that laughs at their own jokes.

Not all the time.

But sometimes.

Happy.

I want to feel happy when I read my own stories.

Uplifted.

Emotional.

Occasionally punching the air because I have captured a feeling really well.

50odd reflects my mood.

And I don’t want to moan.

Because moods spread.

Viral. 

When I ran big teams of people.

Teams that I had interviewed and offered jobs to.

Teams that I had bonded and inspired.

Teams that I had invested in for years.

I had to watch my mood then, too.

Because, as my co-directors used to point out to me, moods spread.

And in never a more marked and powerful way than from those in a leadership role.

It is amazing how years and years of bonding and building can be broken in an instant from a leader or an influencer whose mood is not right.

So I watched my mood.

It’s important for leaders to do that.

Because moods spread.

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 live in a skinny three story town house.

And I have 3 toilets.

3 Toilets.

The first one is on the ground floor.

Which we need because we spend most of our time there.

The other two are on the top floor.

The second one we need because it’s got a shower in it and it’s accessible from the landing.

So if we have people staying on the top floor they can use it.

And if people stay on the middle floor they can use this second toilet too.

The third one we need because it’s adjacent to our bedroom.

En-suite I suppose.

So yes.

We need 3 toilets.

Need.

It’s weird isn’t it?

What we persuade ourselves that we need.

1 toilet would, of course, be absolutely fine.

1 freezer (we have 2).

2 or 3 pairs of shoes (I have many).

As I do coats, pairs of jeans, pairs of trainers and every other category of clothing and footwear too.

Want.

The best things in the world – I think – genuinely satisfy a big need and a big want.

Both at the same time.

A strategy you can adopt to try to achieve this, if you want to, is to buy less and buy better.

So that’s what I’ll do from now.

Anybody want a toilet or two?

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.