Use Whatever You Learn

Wednesday 9 May, 2018

Using the same example as the previous post – creating a new habit of early morning exercise, meditation and writing – this post is a reminder of the benefit of using everything you learn to make it easier for yourself. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t always what we do. Look at your own life and examine how many times you had to make the same mistake before you learnt the lesson. At the time, we swear we won’t forget, and we assure ourselves (and others) that it won’t happen again, but then it does.

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Creating A New Habit

Tuesday 1 May, 2018

How easy is it to create a new habit? That depends on the habit. Bad ones are a breeze and can develop without us noticing. Good ones, on the other hand, always seem to involve some discipline, effort or sacrifice – those not-so-magic words which can immediately put people off. This and subsequent posts will follow my own attempts to create a new habit, offering insights into the process so that you can see for yourself what happens, what is necessary, and what to look out for.

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Outside & Inside

Friday 20 April, 2018

As explored in the previous two posts*, we need regular reminders in order to remain on track with the life we prefer to lead and the person we wish to be. Those reminders can be simple instructions; or they can take the form of retreats, where we immerse ourselves in our lifestyle of choice and gain some momentum to take back with us into our regular lives.

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The List

Wednesday 16 August, 2017

What follows is a list of many of the most important pieces from this blog. The list makes it easy for you to understand at a glance what is necessary in this work. It takes you through the process of self-development and self-realisation – from awareness, observation and reflection, and back to awareness – offering you guidance on what to expect along the way and what you can do to help yourself.

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One Thousand Days

Thursday 23 June, 2016

Every movement is a sign of the progress I’ve made. With every step I take, I can feel the difference. There is greater balance, greater control, and greater harmony than before. Not to mention the alleviation of pain. And all because of a short, easily achievable programme of exercises, repeated daily for the last 1000 days. My success is rooted not so much in the workout itself, but in its persistent, long-term execution because, beautifully, the more often and focused we exercise, the more the subtleties of our physical form reveal themselves.

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Reaching For The Sky

Friday 1 April, 2016

I hardly ever look forward to going, but I’m always glad I went. My weekly yoga class awaits me every Tuesday with its store of frustration and disbelief. How is it that the easiest of positions are so childishly difficult to attain, let alone hold for any meaningful length of time, whilst also maintaining a smoothness of breath? Furthermore, for two days afterwards, those sessions have also been known to haunt me with an incredulous amount of muscle pain. Why does everything hurt so much for those 48 hours? (The pain, I must point out, is the satisfying discomfort of having worked muscles in a way which they usually don’t get, but clearly need, and are obviously built for.)

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Novelty & Repetition

Tuesday 23 September, 2014

I’m in Northern California for a few weeks, and last Friday a friend took me on a visit to her home town; an idyllic place where coat shops don’t exist because the sun always shines. We drove past the local cinema, outside which a long queue of people had formed. As I was wondering what movie could possibly cause such an extended line of eager people, my friend realised there was a particular technology store a little further down the road. Renowned for their quality and design, and masters of expectation, on this particular day they happened to be selling their brand new phone.

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Self-Responsibility

Monday 11 August, 2014

Thirteen years ago I spent four days bed-ridden in the accident & emergency department. There were insufficient beds to move me upstairs, so I remained among the organised chaos of A&E. I witnessed all kinds of people arriving at various times of the day and night, with a multitude of complaints; every one of them attended to by doctors who were often baffled by their symptoms. This post follows on from the previous two and makes the point that one of the best ways to prosper is to take care of your own well-being.

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300 Days

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.

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Separate Out The Emotions

Tuesday 8 July, 2014

Recent journal posts (from 11 years ago) highlight my inability to verbalise effectively or even appropriately. It had been a constant theme throughout my training and yet here I was still unable to do it when I really needed to. My Englishness, shyness, and please others driver were all limiting factors in this endeavour, but that does not explain how, after years of training, I was still struggling to voice where I was. Reading those entries again, it’s clear to me that the main problem was always the emotions.

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Make Your Own Tools

Saturday 26 April, 2014

I gave a talk at Amsterdam University’s Business School yesterday. Near the beginning I spoke of the importance of writing things down and the necessity of seeking feedback from others on our behaviour and blind spots. It was at this point that one of the participants asked if there are any tools I could give him to help him with his personal development. I was privileged to have my mentor, Karaj, with me who easily became involved in the two-hour interaction with the students and alumni. He talked of people’s obsession with having tools and that the shelves of bookshops are full of books which offer tools. What is actually needed is the experience of the journey and knowing that patience, discipline, awareness, feedback, observation and (written) reflection are the elements you will have to come back to time and time again.

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No Past, No Future, Just Today

Tuesday 15 April, 2014

I was woken last Saturday at 06:30 by a phone call from a good friend on the other side of the world. We caught up on the recent events of our respective lives, re-connecting with a familiar ease and appreciation. As our conversation drew to a close he told me to have a great day, adding the simplest of instructions: ‘No past, no future, just today.‘ His words reminded me of the book I am reading; a book I was prompted to pick up again after another recent contact with a different friend.

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Patterns, Procedures & Routines

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.

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Discipline

Thursday 23 January, 2014

I admire those who have more than I do, and I revel in exercising my own. Discipline is one of the core requirements of personal development. Without it we achieve very little. However, if we have it and we use it, not only does it produce results, it is also a source of empowerment. This post looks at the simplicity, versatility and necessity of discipline. As with any ingredient of success, discipline can be practised. Anywhere. We can hone our skills wherever and whenever we want and then bring them to bear on other areas of our life. Every little helps. We can even draw on disciplined episodes from our past to help us increase the amount of control we apply in the present, saying to ourselves: ‘I did it then, so I can do it now’.

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