My Writing

My Writing

I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.

I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure.  As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.

Enjoy…

The window for change is closing

The window for change is closing

“The window for change is closing”

I came out with this phrase earlier this week when talking to a client I am working with to make changes to some deeply ingrained ways they run their business. As with so much, those patterns had slowly and gradually evolved over time, but however they happened, they are now “the way things are” and are not best for the business, their staff or their clients.

Why hadn’t they changed? Inertia, humans tend to like structure and dislike change.

However, with the world having been forced suddenly into many changes with Covid-19, as we emerge out of lockdown there are many opportunities to look at doing things differently, often radically different.

But, and it is a big but, when patterns are deeply ingrained, many people will want things to “go back to the way they were before”, so it is key to act fast, hence my thought: “The window for change is closing”

If you can see radical changes you want to make, make them now, soon.

In order to help you with that, let me give you another insight linked to this.

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If you can’t change the lens, change the language

change the language - Ed Percival
the late, great, “yoda”, Ed Percival

Today is the fifth anniversary of the passing of my greatest mentor in life, Ed Percival. Naming a core page on this site BeMoreYou was done is in his memory.

Ed was a real master of language, so I thought of him yesterday when in conversation with a fellow devotee.

The wise friend I was talking to was reflecting on how sometimes it takes time to change perspectives, views, behaviours. They then reflected on how they had learned over the years of the power of language, then said:

“If you can’t change the lens, change the language”

I paused, felt the power of this, then added that perhaps Ed Percival would have replied:

“When you change the language you use, you will change your lens”

Thank you for continuing to look down upon us, oh Jedi master x

An overnight success is ten years in the making

"An overnight success is ten years in the making" ~ Tom Clancy

Yesterday I wrote: “Nobody wants to get rich slow“, focussed on what it takes to build something of lasting value. In short, it takes patience as you work on the “source” elements that will build the foundation for the “outcome” you seek.

Later that day, having recently discovered an amazing bicycle service shop in range of where I live, I went to collect my bike from being serviced and having an annoying noise (bike owners may know this phenomenon!) addressed.

I was blown away by the speed, quality and (low) price of the work, but even more so by the passion and drive of the owner of the business.

Hugely busy with the boom in people now cycling in the city, he was able to take a breather when I came to get my bike. I asked him a little about his business, reading that he is now “in a great place, you have lots of choices as to what you do with it now!”.

He agreed, then said: “Yes, and it took ten years to get to this point”

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“Nobody wants to get rich slow”

get rich

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Warren Buffett

Also, upon being asked: “You’re one of the richest people in the world, and how you explain what you do, it’s so simple. Why doesn’t everyone just copy you?”, Warren Buffett answered:

“Because nobody wants to get rich slow”

Today, clearly, I want to anchor on the power of being patient, on building the core foundations at “source” that will drive the “outcomes” you are seeking.

I’ll also close with a special announcement on something new and “rich” that has emerged from the slow and steady build indicated by the image above.

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Innovate with what you have

Sunrise at Callanish – (c) https://www.saga-photography.de/

Innovation is simply doing things differently and doing different things

My simple definition of innovation.

It can be as easy as working with what you have available to do things differently. Today let’s look at some simple opportunities for you to do that, highlighted by two thoughts:

  • the amount of daylight we have
  • the recent shift in mindset around remote working
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Everything depends on the individual human being

My favourite Frankl quote

At this time of crisis and division among people, a Sunday morning is often a time where I reach to great thinkers for wisdom that both makes me think and reminds me to have hope.

As I have written about before, the book that has means the most to me is: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, a book I have written of numerous times on this blog, including this post.

Today I share a piece of timeless wisdom that leapt of the page for me, one that truly resonates for me in these times.

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A cautionary tale for your weekend pleasure

cautionary tale
from “Cautionary Tales“, a podcast series by Tim Harford

“A cautionary tale for your weekend pleasure”. Language is fascinating, eh? Am sure that title felt like an odd combination to you, perhaps compelling you more than usual to open this particular daily post?

Anyway, today I am on an all-day road trip by car out of London to help someone out, so posting this in advance for you to enjoy on your weekend.

In: “Tim Harford and the secret to creativity“, written back in early 2019, I shared his secret of “slow-motion multitasking”, an idea relevant to our times, as well as my current and “soon come” future offerings. Eventually, I’m going to write a book, but for now, I’m at ~1000 daily posts and soon launching “WhatComesNext.Live“, another outlet I hope is of value to you.

Now, late last year, Tim started a podcast series called “Cautionary Tales”, and he has just brought it back with new stories, with shorter stories focussed on relevance to where we are right now living in, through and beyond the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic. As of today, he has published two, with, I hope, more to come each week. Each one is also only 25 minutes, so perfect for listening to over a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning.

Always entertaining, always thought-provoking, I encourage you to listen now to the latest from Tim, his podcast: “Cautionary Tales

The opposite of love is indifference

"It's better to feel pain, than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference."
The Lumineers

Yesterday I wrote “I didn’t know“, really asking fellow white people who do indeed care enough about anti-racism to question why they “didn’t know” up until recently about the true history and how it is the foundation of so many of the systems and institutions of western society.

In that post I asked people to consider that if, after all of this time, they “didn’t know, then a part of this is because, somehow, it was “doesn’t matter” to them up until recent weeks.

I guess I keep using the medium of my daily writing to keep hammering home ideas for awareness so that we don’t all drop back into comfort zones and behaviours.

So, today, some further thoughts linking to “I didn’t know” and doesn’t matter, a thought around love, hate and indifference.

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“I didn’t know”

Taking a knee and "I didn't know"
Today we learned that the UK Foreign Secretary “didn’t know” what “taking a knee” meant

When I was in my last year of high school, some friends and I were chatting after a Physics class where we had been learning about anti-matter. We then came up with the idea of a third type of matter, “doesn’t matter”, which I wrote about in: “Matter, Antimatter, Doesn’t Matter“.

Now, in that 2017 blog I used the idea as a way to focus on eliminating from your life and work the things that are “doesn’t matter“.

Today, though, let me link that to a phrase I’ve been hearing over and over again from white people in recent weeks, and that is: “I didn’t know“.

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A simple idea that could change so much

simple idea and commuting
Ah, the joys of commuting

Today I’m going to share with you one tiny and easily accepted change that has the ability to radically change and ease the way you and those you lead do your work.

Why now? Well, we have known for years that there are so many entrenched behaviours around the world of work ripe for change through technology. Now is the time to do so, before people “go back to work” after lockdown and settle back to old ways.

What to do to create this change though? Well, let us first recognise that often the biggest obstacle is human behaviour, it is companies, organisations, managers that fear change, including (gasp) trusting their people to work independently.

If we want to see radical change, then, we must start now, and in ways that don’t throw up roadblocks such as the six most dangerous words in business, you know: “we’ve always done it this way“!

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The story behind WhatComesNext.Live

WhatComesNext.Live

Today marks 89 days of solo isolation, within which I’ve had one or two challenges for sure! However, every challenge is an opportunity to grow and learn and I’ve had more than a few “Lockdown Learnings”.

Out of these learnings, several ideas have emerged, one of which I’d like to tell you about today, “WhatComesNext.Live”.

Although this new show won’t launch for a couple of weeks (we are still fine-tuning a few things!), I love to share stories, so today sharing my process of seeing an idea, developing and launching it. So:

  • Where did the idea come from?
  • What is the show format and focus?
  • Why watch/listen?
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The immense value to Freedom of Place

Freedom of Place

Covid-19 has taught us the value of something we never noticed before. There isn’t only a value to freedom of time. There is also immense value to freedom of place.

Rory Sutherland, writing in The Spectator “Have you caught the remote-working bug?”

As the world of work seeks to adjust to “going back”, thank you to Farnam Street for guiding me to another thought-provoking piece by Rory Sutherland around the behavioural aspects of this shift.

Nearly two months ago I was writing on this, with posts such as: “Connected Working“, “What can you do better online than offline?” and “What comes next – will you go back to the office?“. In those articles I talked about the benefits of applying the learnings from so many being rapidly forced to work from home, work remotely etc.

I also touched on behavioural aspects, so naturally I love Rory’s article. He is one of the top behavioural thinkers I know. Often curmudgeonly, always curious and always, (underneath it all) overwhelmingly positive about the wondrous possibilities of we humans!

His latest Spectator article is a wonderful example of this, starting with some grounding on how complex we humans are and how behaviour change is often difficult and unpredictable, yet at the end finishing on a positive note:

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“the least racist is still racist”

Awareness is the greatest agent for change.

So many white people suddenly waking up the last two weeks and educating themselves. Would that more had chosen to be open to uncomfortable truths earlier, yet grateful so many are seeking to learn and listen and more at this time.

“the least racist is still racist”

Dave, extra lyric to “Black”. Brit Awards, February 18th, 2020

On February 18th this year, Dave stepped up to perform his hit “Black”, on stage at the Brits awards. Along with millions of others, I watched it live on TV, already so blown away by his brilliance and the power of the song, and then….and then Dave stood up from the piano and unleashed a tirade of incandescent genius, then smiled, knowing he had given every ounce of his being to that performance, turned, walked off stage.

No applause, the live audience and the millions watching sat, stunned, deeply feeling what they just witnessed.

The line above is from the first verse of the extra lines he added that night.

Watch then read for more.

Awareness is the greatest agent for change.

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A weekend pause

weekend pause Ferris Bueller

There are long pauses such as the world being on pause for about three months of lockdown.

There are also micro-pauses such as when we think of something to say when listening to someone else, then check ourselves and remember the maxim from Stephen Covey of “listen with the intent to understand, not to reply”.

Right now I am on a “weekend pause”. I have several really significant, positive and exciting changes about to happen personally and professionally, however none of them will take place this weekend.

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Tell the world why you are doing what you are doing

Why

This morning I woke up to a tweet from Do Lectures asking us to:

Tell the world why you are doing what you are doing

My purpose is #MakingPotentialPossible. It has always been deep inside me to see the potential in people, businesses, organisations, then I sit with them as they choose and act to realise it. I love in particular when this inspires bravery.

This was my instinctive answer

I feel privileged to know this is my Purpose, my “Why”. What’s yours?

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