Friday 27 May, 2016
Whilst there are clear benefits of a certain level of self-confidence because it empowers us to take on things without fear of failure, or because it allows us to push ourselves further than we would otherwise go, we should avoid getting cocky (over-confident). Cockiness leads to a loss of focus and we relax too much, thinking we’ve made it. Alternatively, we push ourselves too much, thinking we can do it all. When I was 18 I was playing football and having the game of my life. I felt like I could do anything. Then, 20 minutes before the end, I tried to do too much, tore my cruciate ligament and never played again. That experience, and the constant reminders I received during my training, all help me to remain grounded and not get cocky.
Saturday 30 April, 2016
It can be as simple as making a cup of coffee. That’s the procedure which one participant offered as an example of something he already does whenever he gets stuck or frustrated in his work. He explained that the process of making the coffee changes his focus, calms his mind, and allows him the space to gain enough distance from a particular problem to be able to solve it much quicker than if he were to remain at his desk. It was the ideal example of what this seminar was all about: look after yourself, discover what’s best for you, and use your discoveries to make life easier for yourself.
Friday 19 September, 2014
Five weeks from today it will all be over. I have been working on this blog for almost four years and in just over a month it will be complete. As much as I’m tempted to get excited about it, and as much as there is also a part of me which just wants to reach the finish line, I need to remain focused and I need to be careful. Very careful. It’s a general rule I learnt early in my training, but it’s one which always has the capacity to catch me unawares, because it’s easy to think I am being careful enough. This post is a reminder to me – at a crucial time near the end of a prolonged and intense process – to be calm, focused, alert and safe.
Thursday 21 August, 2014
It is said of Richard Feynman, the great 20th century physicist, that when he lectured, his students understood the subject matter clearly, yet as soon as they left the lecture hall their understanding evapourated. I had a similar experience when I wrote and posted the previous entry, ‘Desperate To Belong’. During the writing of it, I had clarity about the injunction of not being allowed to dream and the reasons behind my struggle of wanting to conform but also go my own way. Yet as soon as I published the post, the sadness I had written of returned, followed inevitably by the familiar doubt that maybe I am making the wrong choice.
Wednesday 13 August, 2014
Once in a while I experience periods of self-doubt. They appear without warning, taint everything, strip me of my confidence, and make me question all that is important to me. It happened to me earlier this year; and last week it happened again. Fortunately, my experience and my writing tell me it doesn’t last forever and there are things I can do to help myself. This post looks at the process of dealing with the doubt, and highlights three aspects which helped to minimise the effect it had on me: (1) the value of recording events; (2) the use of emergency procedures; and (3) the awareness that there is more than one way to deal with things.
Thursday 24 July, 2014
Every day for the last 300 days I have followed a 25-minute exercise routine. It has been a goal of mine for some time to establish such a habit. There have been numerous attempts over the years with plenty of tinkering along the way to get it right. Early routines were dotted with painful episodes because I overdid things. I pushed myself too hard, in too much of a hurry to make progress. Back problems have littered all previous attempts, enticing me each time to throw in the towel. And I did give up. But I came back to it again and again. This current run is my most successful ever.
Friday 13 June, 2014
There were two occasions during the presentation, when the word breathe appeared on the screen. I had put it there for my own benefit, as a reminder for me to take a moment, breathe and calm down. I tend to get excited about my work and any reminder to calm myself is always welcome. After the presentation, my teacher offered me his feedback. He suggested I use more of the breathe slides, adding that they should be the focus of my presentation and the focus of my life.
Sunday 27 April, 2014
It was the third day of his visit and the end of another productive day of silences, conversations, reading, writing and reflection. I had given the TA presentation in Amsterdam that evening and, as part of the process, I had asked the participants for their written feedback. I explained to them that although it obviously helps me, it is more important for them to take a couple of minutes to reflect for themselves. The exercise will bring more clarity to their experience and reinforce their learning. At home afterwards, as I knelt by the open, floor-level window of my apartment and Karaj sat in the armchair, we reflected on how well it had all gone. Outside, the country was celebrating. It was the first King’s Night here in the Netherlands for 122 years.
Friday 14 March, 2014
There are times when even the best intention to succeed is not enough because events or, more commonly, emotions conspire against us. When that happens, it is worth remembering that there is almost always something you can do about it. This post is a reminder of that, and offers ways to facilitate a more effective process away from those unwanted scenarios.
Thursday 21 November, 2013
Two things are likely to happen as we progress with our personal development (actually, as we progress with anything). First we get excited, then we stop doing what worked for us in the first place. This post is about the excitement of progress, how important it is to enjoy it and celebrate as much as we can, but also keep our feet on the ground. It is written primarily for a friend, so I don’t have to keep reminding him to do what he knows he needs to do. But it’s also for the rest of us because when our excitement gives rise to complacency we begin to undo all our good work.
Monday 14 October, 2013
When we forget the simplicity of it all, or we’re convinced there must be another way; when we are stuck, or frustrated by the lack of novelty, this is the post to read. It’s a reminder of the value of repetition and practise. Every day, every minute, every breath. In the end, it all comes down to this:
Monday 19 August, 2013
The final of the 200m at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow was won, predictably, by the best sprinter the world has ever seen. But the man in the next lane was a 19-year-old, running in his first major final. During the introductions Adam Gemili was clearly exhilarated to be involved; his achievement guaranteed and his senses opened wide to absorb as much of the experience as he could. He was having the time of his life and running faster than he had ever run.
Friday 12 July, 2013
What are your goals? What is your purpose? Your vision? When you have answered those questions, the next step is to make everything about them. However, when you do, there is one major obstacle you may have to overcome: the feeling that you are being selfish by making it all about you. Know this: it isn’t selfish.