All posts filed under: thinking out loud

You’re rich, connected and loved

If you’re reading this right now on a phone or a computer, you’re rich. If you have somewhere to go today, you’re connected. And if there is anyone, anywhere, who for any reason knows where you are at this moment, you’re loved. This landed in my inbox a couple of months ago. I usually delete subscription emails but kept this one because I knew I would want to re-read those words again. And I did yesterday when it snowed in London for the first time in five years – like, properly snowed, with snow lasting long enough to create a white wonderland out of the grey winter streets. It had been forecast, but everyone was still surprised to see snowflakes waltzing in the air. Why anyone was surprised about the travel chaos that followed is another story, because it always does when snow happens. Most people were genuinely excited because who knows when else you’ll be able to build a snowman, but some were grumpy. And you know who was the grumpiest of all in my …

Declutter

I have been in a decluttering state of mind for the last few weeks. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but I could almost physically feel the weight of all the useless stuff in my life, and it’s been driving me mad. I needed to clear my space to get rid of the oppressing feeling, both physically and mentally. To be fair to myself, I’ve never been a hoarder so it’s not like I have heaps of stuff lying around and collecting dust, it’s just in the back of my mind I am always aware of how many things around me have no purpose. For whatever reason I bought them – and most likely, the only reason was an impulse – I don’t use them, and they don’t bring me joy. Luckily, unlike many people, I have no trouble throwing or giving unwanted things away, and I dismiss all the ‘maybe one day it’ll be useful/fashionable/interesting to me again’ thoughts. The same rule goes for – gasp! – presents. I do not keep useless presents, however …

Mistakes I am proud of

Ask anyone about what makes them the proudest about their lives, and you’ll hear all kinds of answers about success and achievements: having a degree from a prestigious university, getting a promotion, winning an award, making enough money to buy something big, running a marathon in under 4 hours, sending their children to a great school, and so on and so forth. But no one will ever talk about their mistakes that they are proud of. Wait. What? Proud of mistakes? Mistakes are something to be ashamed and discreet about because they mean you failed and why would anyone be proud of their failures? Because they mst often achieve and succeed exactly because of their mistakes and failures. If you’ve never failed in life, you’ve never challenged yourself to be someone better and do something bigger. No one just stood up and walked, everyone tried for months before they mastered the balance of standing on their feet. No one made it through school without struggling with difficult subjects. No one sent a rocket into space …

Good reads for bad times

Everyone has their own ways to pull themselves through the bad times. Mine is simple: get away from the source of the problem, allow myself space and time to let it out and unwind, listen to calming music and read books. Well, wine usually happens somewhere in there, too. So if reading is your cup of tea on a rainy day, too, today I will talk about the three books that brightened my recent dark days. “The chimp paradox: the acclaimed management programme for confidence, success, and happiness” by Steve Peters (available on Amazon here). Summary: there are two minds in your mind – one is of a chimp, and the other one is a human – and the two make you think and do different things. The chimp mind is animalistic and acts on instincts and emotions. The human mind is analytical and logical. And the trick is to tame your inner chimp to be a better human. For example, if you drive and someone cuts in front of you, you probably will want …

Allow yourself to fail

Failures happen. And they suck. But when they do, allow yourself to fail. Allow yourself to admit you’ve failed. Whether it was something you did or something someone did behind your back. It happened. It is painful. It’s here. Allow yourself to be humble and vulnerable through this time. You’re human, you have feelings, so exercise your right to feel. You have a right to feel down and unhappy. Allow yourself to feel hurt. To cry. To unleash your pain. Somehow, when you cry in pain if you break an arm, everyone is sympathetic, but when you cry when your heart is broken, many shrug their shoulders. “It’s just a heart”. No, it’s not “just a heart”. IT’S A HEART, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!! Allow yourself to be lost. When life hits you, it’s normal to lose a sense of who and where you are. You don’t need to rush to make it out of the woods. Instead, sit down and acknowledge your situation. When you’re ready, stand up and start walking. Tiny steps first, but they …

Dog and cat people

So I came back home yesterday after three weeks of nearly nonstop travel, and my husband welcomed me with the news that he was a cat. Erm. Ooooh-kay? It turns out he had a team training by Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art, and the trainer started the day by saying that most people behave as either dogs or cats. About 70% of the people are dogs, which shouldn’t upset the cat people – there are still over 2 billion of them in the world (not that, as cats, they would care much anyway). If “curiosity killed the cat” is true, then I knew right away that I must be a cat, because asked for a checklist out of, well, curiosity. So. Dogs’ golden rule: treat people the way I want to be treated. Cats’ golden rule: treat people the way they need to be treated. My husband and I both agree that the only thing that doesn’t make us 100% cats is “love intrigue”, but then again, I don’t know if anyone genuinely loves intrigue. …

You have to leave on your own terms

Two years ago, one of my best friends moved to Sydney after eight years in London. “Are you sad to leave?” I asked him. “I am,” he replied. “London has been great. It’s the city where I’ve met my now wife, made a lot of friends, had a great career and just grown as a person. For all that, I’ll always be grateful to this city. But I’m ready to move on. Because you know what? You have to leave on your own terms. Before things get too complicated and before you feel like you’re pushed out, by house prices or career limitations or whatever. I’m leaving with a feeling of gratitude, not resentment. And it’s a great feeling.” You have you leave on your own terms. This phrase has stuck with me ever since. All too often, when I was younger and when I found myself in stressful situations, I would give myself dozens of reasons why I couldn’t walk away – from “they will suffer without me” to “what will the neighbours think?”. …

“I want to say to all the young women out there…”

I’m neutral about Taylor Swift’s music, so the only thing that made my day when she won 2016’s ‘Album of the Year’ at Grammys was her acceptance speech. I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday, when you get where you’re going, you will look around and you will know — it was you, and the people who love you, who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. As a young woman, I can relate. It’s daunting sometimes to push yourself to keep going when your environment tells you that you’re not good enough or makes false promises. But you have to. Not to prove them they’re wrong.but to prove yourself you’re right. But to prove yourself you’re right.

“The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey – animated book

Whoever you are and whatever you do, “The 7 habits of highly effective people” is a must-read for everyone. It’s long and it’s tedious, but it’s worth your time and effort. I read it many years ago, and if I analyse my successes they happened when I applied all / most of the habits listed by Stephen Covey. If you read the book and need a reminder of what those habits are or if you haven’t and want a small glimpse into the content, there is a great short video on YouTube that sums it up nicely. However good the short video is, please do read the book if you haven’t. There’s a reason why nearly 400 pages cannot fit into a 7-minute video, and that is because those pages are a fount of wisdom that a snapshot can never be,

If only the dodo had learnt to fly

“In the early 1680s, at just about the time that Edmond Halley and his friend Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke were settling down in a London coffee house and embarking on the casual wager that would result eventually in Isaac Newton’s Principia, Henry Cavendish’s weighing of the undertakings that have occupied us for the past four hundred or so pages, a rather less desirable milestone was being passed on the island of Mauritius, far out in the Indian Ocean some 1,300 kilometres off the east coast of Madagascar. There, some forgotten sailor or sailor’s pet was hurrying to death the last of the dodos, the famously flightless bird whose dim but trusting nature and lack of leggy zip made it a rather irresistible target for bored young tars on shore leave. Millions of years of peaceful isolation had not prepared it for the erratic and deeply unnerving behaviour of human beings. We don’t know precisely the circumstances, or even the year, attending the last moments of the last dodo, so we don’t know which arrived …