Live In The Moment

Be here now. Be in the moment. The now is the greatest moment of our lives and it just keeps getting better. The bad parts, the boring parts, the parts with high anxiety. Embrace every moment for its greatness. This is life. This is the greatest movie we will ever see.

Kanye West

Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or hustling in order to be successful. Embrace, instead, the reality that rest, recovery and reflection are essential elements of a happy, successful and fulfilled life.

Life is happening right now, all around you. So, stop putting yours on hold, and start enjoying it. Right this moment.

Good Old Pen And Paper

Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up in your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.

Jack London

Everybody nowadays is a technophile, with their own smartphone or tablet loaded with the latest and most popular apps. Technology is wonderful because it can help us communicate more efficiently than ever before, become better organised and become more knowledgeable.

It does have its downside though. Technology can become addictive. How many times have you seen people develop tunnel vision, to the point where they are so focused on their phone as they walk down the street that they do not pay attention to their surroundings and trip over and fall?! Technology can also malfunction, deteriorate over time and needs its battery to be regularly recharged.

This is why I always have one of my notebooks or journals with me at all times. This is something very simple yet incredibly beneficial. It is one of the factors which have helped me in transforming my life.

Instead of carrying around multitudes of thoughts, I write them down. Throughout the day, I write down ideas, make observations, reflect on the progress I am making towards my goals and how far I have still to go and I also write down any decisions which I have to make but am not certain how to proceed. It’s always better to write things down because when you see a decision or situation on paper, it becomes much easier to gain perpective and find a solution.

Notebooks are great for creativity too. When inspiration strikes, just open your notebook and start writing or sketching. Collect ideas or thoughts for your blog or the book you plan to write. Reflect on your thoughts and feelings.

All this means that the humble notebook, if you actually use it, can help you in your quest to make constant improvements in your life.

Give it a go. After a few days, you will find it making your creative juices flow. If, as I was for much of last year, you are battling depression, putting all of your thoughts and feelings into a notebook can help you to make sense of them and see light at the end of the tunnel. Not to overlook the benefits of helping you to organise your thoughts amd gain a deeper understanding of yourself and who you really are.

Inspection Time

As we enter the last full week of the first month of 2018, this is as good as point as any to review and reflect on your progress so far. Whether you choose to make several resolutions once a year, or set yourself goals throughout the year, you need time out to check your progress.

Review and reflection is important because it identifies lessons which can be learned, and questions which you can ask yourself, such as;

  • What has worked well so far, which I could continue?
  • What hasn’t worked well, and what have I learned from this failure or setback?
  • What skills and knowledge have I gained so far?
  • What gaps still remain in my skills or knowledge?

When you review how far you have come since you set out on your journey, you will also find yourself re-energised and with your motivation levels replenished.

Maintaining your motivation and focus is essential, especially now as we approach the point in the year when reality sets in, and far too many goals and resolutions go out of the window.

Why does this happen, especially in January? Well, resolutions are very often made, and goals set, as we approach the New Year. They are declared with a strong sense of optimism and belief, with everyone declaring that THIS year will be their year. The problem with this, is that these promises and pledges are made at a time when people traditionally have a fortnight’s holiday to celebrate Christmas. So, there’s a LOT more free time to get excited and be optimistic when making plans for the future.

Then, we go back to work, and back to reality. You start strongly, before work and family commitments eat into your time. Late nights at work, business travel, spending quality time with your other half and your kids…it all adds up. So you find yourself feeling increasingly tired, and perhaps a little stressed. Not a great way to start the year is it? Something usually has to give, and it tends to be the goal or resolution which suffers. Short on time and always tired? Skip the gym. Your partner decides that you don’t have enough stuff in the house, and wants to go to Ikea to stock up? Skip the reading, journalling or job-hunting time and spend it instead in this hellish labyrinth of Swedish minimalism.

Very rarely are our journeys derailed in one fell swoop by a major event, but rather it tends to happen over time due to a lack of discipline. We miss one workout in the gym. Having missed one session, it becomes easier to miss a second or third. This applies to whatever it is that you are striving for, not just health and fitness. Break your commitment once, and it becomes more likely that you will do it again, and again, until you give up altogether.

This is where review and reflection comes in. It boosts your motivation to keep you moving forward. It highlights lessons to be learned, and how far you have come since you started. Best of all, it helps you to clear your head, refocus and identify how best to move forward.

If you are serious about becoming the best version of yourself, and committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve this, help yourself. Schedule checkpoints throughout the year to review and reflect on your journey so far. Your future self will thank you for it.

 

The Conqueror Worm (Edgar Allan Poe)

Lo! ’t is a gala night
   Within the lonesome latter years!   
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
   In veils, and drowned in tears,   
Sit in a theatre, to see
   A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully   
   The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,   
   Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly—
   Mere puppets they, who come and go   
At bidding of vast formless things
   That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
   Invisible Wo!
That motley drama—oh, be sure   
   It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore   
   By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in   
   To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,   
   And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout,
   A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out   
   The scenic solitude!
It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs   
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
   In human gore imbued.
Out—out are the lights—out all!   
   And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
   Comes down with the rush of a storm,   
While the angels, all pallid and wan,   
   Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”   
   And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.

Why is it that some people need a wake-up call?

This is something i’ve been pondering for a while. Why is it that some people seem to have their lives in order, while others wait for something major to happen before they take stock of their lives?

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a dig at the latter group. I am one of them, after all. Surrounded by people who seem to have their lives figured out, I was the one who didn’t live up to his potential but rather sailed through life. From personal experience, I can honestly say that this was partly due to being comfortable with my circumstances. I felt safe and secure. I did try to improve myself but didn’t try too hard  for fear of failure. I’d prepare to make changes only to begin to be paralysed by all the “what ifs”, for example “what if I leave my full time role for a better, temporary role and it doesn’t work out?” and “what if I make these changes to my behaviour only for my relationships to be affected”. Lastly, there was an element of laziness. It was almost as if I expected success to come and find me without putting in all the effort and hard work which everyone else does. Stumbling through life in this manner will never help you to fulfill your potential and live the life of your dreams.

On the other hand, there are those who are able to motivate themselves and are constantly striving for self improvement and progress. They don’t need a push, because they are hungry and determined enough already. They put the work in relentlessly, learn from their failures and keep persevering until they achieve their goals. What is the difference between the two groups? Mindset and hunger.

Well, having sailed through life until getting stuck in a rut, I desperately needed a kick up the backside to snap me out of it. And boy did I get it. In hindsight the experience which forced me to re-evaluate my life was a blessing in disguise, although it didn’t feel like it at the time.

In my last post, I described my hospitalisation and near-death experience. For me, this was my much-needed wake-up call. As I was brought out of an induced coma and was recovering, I had hours to think. Between visits from family and friends, I literally had nothing to do so I would have a nap if I was tired, or just think about my life so far. Being unable to sleep at night on the ward, I was never short of thinking and reflecting time. Sounds pretty straightforward doesn’t it? The truth is that it brought up a whole range of emotions.

The biggest emotion was regret, mixed with shock, at how I had lived my life to that point. Just before going into hospital, I had separated with my fiancee, but then while at my lowest point, she was there by my bedside every day without fail. That was unconditional love and a reminder of how stupid I had been. The separation came about because I had behaved awfully and taken this wonderful woman for granted. Seeing her standing by me opened my eyes to what a nasty individual I had turned into and was a painful reminder of what I had lost. As I reflected and played it over in my mind, I knew that I would need to seek help as soon as I recovered. I was disgusted at the things I had done and said and knew that this moment would serve as the catalyst for change. Never would I lower myself to that level again.

It wasn’t all negative though. I got angry as I reflected on my life, and then became hungry. I got angry because I hadn’t fulfilled my potential and pretty much wasted my life by playing it safe. I didn’t get sad or look for scapegoats though, instead I got hungry. The more I reflected, the more determined I became to turn my life around. The thinking time was a blessing because it gave me the opportunity to plan how I would get my life in order. By the time I was discharged, I knew what I had to do and how to do it. As I recovered and regained my strength, I put my plan into action and my life has come along in leaps and bounds in a short time. That cretin who was admitted into hospital is gone for good, because I feel like I have been reborn and have a second chance at life. There is no greater source or motivation. I am a different person and have changed for the better but I am not finished. In the words of Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise”. This has become my motto, and I wake up every day determined to go to bed a better person than when I woke up. Every day I am looking to gain knowledge, become a better person and find my perfect job which will challenge me while supporting my growth personally and professionally.

I needed a kick up the backside and got it. Now my life is improving day by day. It’s a powerful feeling, these small daily accomplishments make me feel unstoppable, like a force of nature. I now understand how people stay hungry and motivated without the need for a push. Steady progress keeps you hungry, and helps you to overcome any obstacles while remaining positive.

The message I would like to share with you is that if you are sailing along in life but crave more, or are stuck in a rut, don’t wait for something to happen before taking action. I was stupid enough to leave it until something bad happened which forced me to reflect on my life. Don’t make the same mistake. You don’t need any super powers or to wait for the perfect time, because neither actually exist. Learn from the always-motivated self-starters;

  • Take responsibility. Your life, so far, is the result of your choices and actions. Understand that it is you who controls your life, nobody else.
  • Take small steps towards your goals every day. No big actions, just baby steps.
  • As you start to see progress, you will find your levels of hunger and motivation grow.
  • Small victories will help you to stay fired up and keep going, even when times inevitably become difficult and challenging.

Book Review: Introducing Entrepreneurship: A Practical Guide (Alison and David Price)

After a week of sharing poetry in the hope that you too find value in it, I would like to start this week with a book review.

I love to read, and I read A LOT. When I want to unwind or need a dose of escapism, I read fiction. And yes, I do love Harry Potter! Most of the time though, I want to gain knowledge, be inspired or given food for thought. For this reason, I read a lot of journals (both trade and academic), biographies of influential people or books related to an aspect of business or personal development which I want to learn more about.

Having a Kindle and an Amazon Prime membership (I know, i’m living the dream!) means that I used to get a free novel each month. This gives me a steady supply of fiction titles, and I have read some brilliant books. There have been some forgettable ones too.

Recently, however, Amazon launched something called Prime Reading. This allows you to “borrow” up to 10 titles and read them on your Kindle for free, with no time limit. The list of titles available is steadily growing, and the book which i’m reviewing today is one of these available as a Prime title.

This is a book which follows the same formula as most business and personal development titles. This means that there is plenty of research and experience-based advice, mixed with a healthy dose of case studies. This book, however, is rather different to the material which I usually read.

What separates this book from the countless other titles available, is not only its realism but also how it gets straight to the point. The language is simple and easy to follow, so you won’t get lost in jargon and buzzwords. In fact, it’s the kind of book which you will initially read from cover to cover,  highlight passages and pages and keep coming back to regularly.

The content is very balanced. Unlike many of the other titles which i’ve read. Normally, a book of this type will be extremely positive in tone, and will convince you that you are capable of anything. While this book does present entrepreneurship in a positive light, it also presents the drawbacks, challenges and questions which you should ask yourself before and during your entrepreneurial journey. Furthermore, The choice of case studies is different, but in a good way. Rather than supporting their research and findings with big well-known organisations or well-known entrepreneurs, the case studies are relevant and recent. Rather than simply motivate, this is a book written to inform, make you think and reflect.

This book is not for everyone, but if you want an informative, thought-provoking short read this is worth your time.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the book about the essence of a successful journey and destination;

“You should aim to experience positive emotions while achieving milestones linked to meaningful goals”

 

Stop waiting, and start creating

“Purpose is that feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself. Purpose is what creates true happiness. JK Rowling got rejected 12 times before she finally wrote and published Harry Potter. Even Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs to get to Halo.The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail. Ideas don’t come out fully formed, they only become clearer as you work on them. You just have to get started.”

Mark Zuckerberg

 

I love the above quote, as it contains so much wisdom in a short call to action. Zuckerberg wants us to just start doing whatever it is that we are contemplating. This could mean writing a novel, making music or starting a business.

Most important of all, though, the above quote describes the process which we must undergo if we want to create something meaningful and achieve success. It is commonly accepted, but often presented in a different order, that there some unmistakable ingredients in the recipe for success;

  • Purpose. This is your WHY. Having a clearly defined purpose will keep you inspired and motivated, even when things do not go according to plan. It also ensures that your work, or message, is consistent. Reflect on who you are and what you value in life in order to discover your own purpose.
  • Embrace failure. Failure feels like a kick in the teeth. It makes us question what we are doing and why. It hurts. We tend to take it personally and feel that we are not good enough. We get tempted to give up before we embarrass ourselves any further. Failure, however, doesn’t have to be fatal to your progression. It’s all in the mind and how you view it. Failure can actually be a very valuable learning experience. Painful as it may be, when you reflect back on the actions taken and decisions made when something goes wrong, you will likely find some valuable indicators as to how you can improve. Whether it be through addressing your decision making process, seeking information or learning a new skill, take that lesson and act on it to move forward stronger and better equipped for success.
  •  Ideas and their development. Overnight successes do not exist. They are a myth, used to sell books, magazines and expensive training programmes. The truth is that before a writer, artist or entrepreneur tastes success, there will have been plenty of drafts, plans, sketches or ideas which fell short and probably didn’t see the light of day. The end product or service, which propels its creator to stardom, is usually the result of learning, adapting and improving after much trial and error. So, be realistic about your expectations.
  • Get started. Once you have the purpose, plan, strategy and ideas you have to take action. There is no right moment or perfect time. You just start. Then, you learn, adapt, develop and grow. This is the process, and it doesn’t start until you take that first step.

To this I would just add reflection, which is priceless in personal development. If you are serious about learning, growing and leading a successful and fulfilled life then regular reflection is essential. After all, you won’t know where you are going or how you will get there without self-awareness.

We all have ideas, passions and a purpose. Without action, they are merely desires or dreams which will lead to disappointment and unhappiness if left unfulfilled. So, as the father of Facebook advises, take action. Learn, adapt and grow but most of all enjoy the journey. Who knows where it may lead?!

What is it that you want to BECOME?!

This is arguably one of the most important questions which you need to ask yourself, but it often gets overlooked. When we think about our personal development, we think about what we want to achieve, the value we might bring to the world in the form of a business, product or service and how we might be able to lead a more luxurious lifestyle.  The time has now come, though, to put your “wants” and desires to one side. The fame, cars, houses, holidays and clothes are not where your focus should be. Of course, they would make for some great posts on social media and attract a lot of attention but they are also just things or experiences. Material goods should not be prioritised over providing value and becoming somebody of substance. When you reflect on your current circumstances and set goals for yourself, reflect also on the kind of person you want to become.

Ask yourself what knowledge you would like to acquire. What skills or abilities do you want to improve? Reputation and personal brand are becoming increasingly important in business, so how would you like to be regarded personally and professionally? What kind of relationships and interactions do you want to have? When you leave a room, how would you like to be remembered?

Our thoughts, beliefs and perceptions of the world around us determine our actions and behaviour. These all impact the decisions we make and the quality of life which we lead. Which ultimately dictate the kind of person we become and what we achieve in life.

I’ld love to hear your thoughts on this, but for now will leave you with a few of my favourite quotes on this topic from Jim Rohn;

“Change starts from within”

“If you want to have more, you have to become more”

“Success is something you attract by the person you become”

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better, then go about becoming better”

The Blueprint

“All you need is the plan, the road map and the course to press on to your destination”

Earl Nightingale

As the weekend draws to a close and we turn our thoughts to the week ahead, I would like to offer two more of my favourite quotes.

The first, is all about the quest for success, and tells you at a glance what you need to get started. The plan is your overall vision, your big goals and the timeframe in which you will achieve them. The road map describes the small goals along the way and your strategy for achieving them. Your strategy, in this case, is simply how you will be making the most of your strengths and resources in order to achieve your goals. The course is the journey which you will be on. This is, arguably, the most important part as this is where you learn and develop. Throughout the journey, you gain knowledge and skills while improving your strengths and addressing your weaknesses. Finally, the destination  is your ultimate goal. This is not the end of the process or the journey at all, though. Once you reach your destination, reflect on the skills and knowledge which you have acquired before starting again. Life is a journey of continuous progression and personal development after all.

There is one element which i’d add to the above, though, and that is the initial reflection. I strongly believe that you should first reflect on who you are and what you want to achieve before you can set goals and pursue them. You have to know what you are good at, and where your weaknesses lie. You also need an idea of what success would look like to you. Without this, how would you know that you have achieved success?

As for the second quote, it’s about taking action now and not wasting time.

Taken together, both quotes offer an important piece of advice. You don’t need much to get started on your journey towards success. Reflect, formulate a clear idea of what you want to achieve, set your goals and get after them. Don’t waste time overthinking it.

I’ll leave you with quote number two from one of my favourite actors, Robert de Niro;

“Time goes on. So whatever you’re going to do, do it. Do it now. Don’t wait”

The Pain and Pleasure of the job hunting process: After the Interview

Arguably the most nerve-wracking part of the job hunting process comes AFTER the interview. This is because it is now out of your hands, and all you can do is wait for the outcome. So far, there was plenty of research and preparation which could be done, but now all that is left is to reflect on your performance.

In the aftermath of an interview, I would suggest some quick and honest reflection. Pick up a notepad, and write down how you felt that it went; what went well and what elements you could’ve handled better. Don’t overthink it, just write whatever comes to mind. If you can remember them, also make a note of the questions which were asked of you. This will help you to prepare for future interviews.

Read and reread the above, and highlight the areas which you can work on and improve. Also note your strengths. It is useful to have a reflection on your interview, so that you can learn from the experience.

While it’s useful to have your own reflections on the event, there is a second element which needs to be added. This is the feedback from the panel. This may not be offered when you get the call which informs you of the interview outcome, and if it isn’t just ask for it. Most interview panels are very happy to provide some short, constructive feedback after an interview’s outcome has been determined. When this is added to your own feedback, you will gain a clearer idea of where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and what areas need more attention.

If you are unsuccessful, rather than dwell on it, get to work and fast. Search for more vacancies and start applying. This will keep your mind busy, and ward off the temptation to start feeling sorry for yourself and lose motivation. Furthermore, from your reflections and the feedback from the last panel, you have plenty of information which can help you to create a very interesting personal statement. Obviously, this is done with the aim of securing another interview, for which you will be in a much stronger position because of everything which you have learned during your recent experience.

If, however, you are successful take a moment to enjoy your achievement. Then revisit your reflections to determine what you need to work on in order to be successful in your new role. This will help you to hit the ground running, and make a positive impact very quickly.

After an interview, relieve some of the anxiety by reflecting on the event. Request some feedback from the interview panel too, once a decision has been communicated to you. Finally, act on this reflection and feedback regardless of the outcome. If you got the job, use it to start your new role strongly and make a positive impact. If you were unsuccessful, act on the feedback to improve your personal statement for future applications, and better prepare yourself for future interviews.

In the wake of an interview, do something. The time will pass anyway, so rather than worrying try to reflect on the experience and see what can be learned from it

Carpe Diem

Seize the day. The time is now. There is no time like the present…

These are phrases which we hear all too often, but despite being overused they remain relevant. We all start out with big dreams, goals and ambitions which we chase relentlessly, until we reach a point where we become comfortable and content. So we stop. From there, we fall into a routine and stop striving for constant growth and development because we are happy as we are. Our lives become a cycle of work, play and home life, which is not a bad thing as long as you are not only happy, but also confident that you won’t be filled with regret later. For many people, though, daily life continues merrily until they wake up one morning feeling as though something is missing. This is followed by reflection on time misspent and opportunities missed.

The good news is that it is never too late to put that reflection to good use. Rather than dwell on what may have been missed out on so far, identify what it is that you really want and go after it. Regardless of your age or current circumstances, anybody can set themselves goals for personal development and chase them with vigour and determination. If you want something bad enough and are prepared to put the work in, you will find a way to make it happen. Anybody, absolutely anybody, can make minor adjustments to their daily lives which will help them to take steps towards their goals. These steps may be very small, but each one gets you closer to what it is that you’re aiming for. Darren Hardy calls this “The Compound Effect” and it really does work.

Ideally, you will be carving out a few minutes each day for a little reflection, and acting upon it. I find that this works best for me at night, just before bed, when I look back on my day and ask myself;

  • What have I got to be grateful for (usually 3 things) ?
  • What have I learned today?
  • Did I take any steps in the direction of my goals? Could I have done more? Tried harder? What do I need to work harder on?
  • Did I make a difference to anybody other than myself? Did I pay it forward? Did I help anybody or provide a service? If not, why?
  • What steps can I take tomorrow to get me closer to my goals? Where are the gaps in my skills or knowledge which need to be addressed?

With this done, I get a more restful sleep with a clear mind, and wake up energised and ready to continue my journey towards my goals.

It is by no accident that I post this call to action today, a Friday in August. August is traditionally a month of downtime, when people take holidays to unwind and recharge their batteries. Furthermore, Fridays tend to be quieter days as people switch their focus to the weekend. So on this quiet Friday in the quiet month of August, I would like to ask you this; What if you were to take a different view? What if I told you that there was a golden opportunity to be had if you didn’t follow the lead of others?

A large number of people right now have turned their attention to rest and relaxation while on holiday, or their plans for the weekend. If, however, you chose instead to take action in the direction of your goals, you could gain a huge advantage. Success is not just a matter of hard work and determination, but also having the ability to sense an opportunity and seizing it.

So, while others are working on their suntan or planning their weekend shenanigans, use this to your advantage. The more headway you make now towards your goals, the harder others will have to work to catch you or reach your level when they return from their break.

On confronting the past and learning from it.

America has recently seen a number protests and debates taking place regarding the removal of Confederate statues, and it gave me food for thought. It’s about time that the issue was brought up and discussed because this is a conversation which is painful and uncomfortable, but necessary. Why am I writing about this, though?! I felt compelled to write about it because we are all fighting a similar battle in our own personal lives. Everybody has a past, and within it there are many instances which we now look back on with regret, embarrassment, anger or disgust. The question is; do we confront these events and look at what led to their passing so that we can learn from them? Or do we simply pretend as though they never happened at all?!

With regards to the statues, I understand both sides of the argument, and both parties have valid arguments. Those who want the statues removed argue that they are a painful reminder of a very dark period in America’s history. The interests of the rich and powerful led to a race of people being brutally enslaved and suffering unspeakable pain and suffering. Greed and the pursuit of money took priority over empathy. Furthermore, there are a minority of warped individuals who glorify and celebrate the atrocities of this period, and actually believe in racial superiority. Words fail me as to how people like this still exist, but they crave attention and we mustn’t give it to them. The other side of the argument is that the statues provide a warning and a lesson. The Confederates fought to preserve the status quo and protect the oppressors committing these unspeakable acts on other humans for a profit, so their statues are painful to see in public places. It is important, however, that every trace of them is not removed and forgotten about, because as long as the statues remain their victims have a voice and are remembered. They provide a warning as to the dangers of prioritising profit over people, something which is still relevant today. They also serve as a memorial to those who suffered during this brutal period.

The past is often littered with painful reminders but I don’t believe that shying away from them is healthy. They needs to be confronted if we we are to make sure they never happens again. If we are able to look at a particular period in a nation’s, or our own personal, history and identify the actions and decisions which may have led to whatever happened, we become better equipped to ensure that it never happens again. We become aware of certain triggers or warning signs, which we can act on to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. Failure to confront it only leads to the same issues potentially arising again later.

It is important not to dwell on past events too long as this will hinder us as we try to move forward. We do, however, need to reflect on our past before we try to bury it and move on. In this way, we move forward stronger and wiser.

In order to provide the best future for its people, a nation must confront it’s past, no matter how painful.or uncomfortable. There are valuable lessons to be learned. Much is the same with us and past events. Doing our best to forget about the bad times, or pretending as though the events never happened, is certainly the easiest path to take but it really doesn’t help us to learn and grow. If we want to lead fulfilling and successful lives, we need to confront our pasts and learn from them. In this way, we learn from our mistakes so that we can avoid repeating them in the future.

Forget the mistake but remember the lesson

People-Watching..

…Is something which I love to do. I find that it not only helps to pass time, but also inspires creativity If you are suffering from writer’s block, as I sometimes am, it helps to go and sit somewhere with a coffee and a notepad, and for every person you see, imagine their story

The pace of modern life is ridiculously fast.  Our minds are switched on and racing almost incessantly throughout the day. Technology and social media are constantly fighting for our attention. So much so that we become fearful of what we might miss out on if we don’t check in regularly. We forget how to switch off which affects our health, mental wellbeing, ability to function and the quality of our sleep. Once our sleep is affected, then our mental and physical health suffer as a result, locking us into a vicious cycle. 

It shouldn’t be like this. Life is more than just a race from goal to goal and achieving as much as possible in the shortest time. Life is to be enjoyed, experienced and savoured. Slow down to smell the roses. Take time to appreciate the beauty of life and acknowledge that which we often take for granted. Calm your mind in the process. 

Find somewhere quiet to sit and watch the world go by. As you watch the human behaviour and interactions taking place, create a story in your mind or on paper. It is tricky at first, but also a lot of fun. After doing this for a few days, you will find yourself becoming more observant and more appreciative of the world around you.

Regret

“When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”

Jeff Bezos

When you reach a ripe old age and are reflecting back on your life, what would you rather be filled with; the satisfaction of a life well-lived and full of achievement? Or the regret of unfulfilled potential and missed opportunities?

Regret is a very powerful emotional state, but also has within it the potential for good. It is far too late if you wait until you are approaching the end of your days to reflect on how your decisions and choices affected your life. Regret, in this case just intensifies as hindsight reveals missed opportunities which time has now left you unable to take advantage of. If, however, you are self-reflecting regularly as you go through life and setting goals to be aimed for, then regret can be used to your advantage. 

When you reflect back at regular intervals (monthly, for example) on your progress, it is inevitable that you bring to mind elements which fill you with a sense of regret. These could range from a missed business opportunity to an interaction which you could have handled better. Regret is uncomfortable, and our default reaction is to pretend as though it never happened. You can, however, choose to confront the source of your regret. In this way, regret is a positive force as it can spur you into action. It provides a learning opportunity, so that you may handle a similar situation better in the future, but it can also motivate you to search for a way to rectify the error or salvage the situation. The key message to take away here, is that you have a choice whether to let regret motivate you or defeat you.

The life we ultimately lead is the result of our choices and the limits that we have placed on ourselves. Of course, there are always outside forces and unforseen circumstances which may force us to change direction. It is, however, up to the individual whether they allow these challenges to derail their progress and force them to give up, or they find instead the courage to keep going. 

Reflecting on your life’s direction regularly and taking action is one of the most effective ways to fight off regret in later life. Stop letting outside influences dictate how you live your life, but rather make the choices and decisions which take you closer to your dreams, ambitions and goals. If your reflections do reveal sources of regret, don’t shy away from them but muster up the courage to challenge them.

Know your worth..

..and the value you bring to the world. People only respect us to the extent that we value and respect ourselves, and this applies to all areas of our lives from our personal relationships to our businesses. 

When we lack confidence and self-awareness, this is reflected in our body language and interactions with others. We then get treated accordingly. The negative behaviour of others towards us affects our confidence further, and it becomes a vicious cycle. Furthermore, there will be unscrupulous and manipulative individuals who will be looking to take advantage of a weakness which they perceive in us. This is why knowing our worth and having a healthy amount of self respect is so important, as it provides an effective defense mechanism against these situations and circumstances. 

If, however, we think and behave as though we are confident and know our worth, people will behave more positively towards us. “Faking it” has its limits though. If we really want to live the lives of our dreams, we need to work on becoming more confident, more self-aware and having more self-respect. In order to achieve our goals and taste success, we need to know our worth, our strengths and the value which we bring. Then we need to let the world know about who we are and what we can offer. 

How can this be done?

  • Reflect, then take action. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Determine where your passions lie, and define what success looks like to you. Set goals, make a plan of action, and get to work. As you make progress towards your goals, you will become more confident and more aware of your worth which will show in your behaviour and speech.
  • Learn a new skill. As you master a new skill, your confidence will grow. Furthermore, as you master new skills, you become better equipped to provide value to the world around you.
  • Invest in yourself. Read books, attend training courses or go to conferences. However you do it, invest some of your time and money in your personal development.

As you reflect on yourself and identify your strengths, as you learn new skills and take steps towards your goals, your confidence will grow. In turn, there will be a positive shift in your behaviour and how you carry yourself. In turn, people will respond to you in a far more positive manner and you will find more opportunities presenting themselves to live a more fulfilling life.

“No” is not a dirty word. Embrace it.

Wherever we look, there is a battle going on for our attention. It’s big business. There is a whole array of books, seminars and programmes devoted to it, because attention is priceless. Once someone is granted your attention, they can use their sales and marketing techniques to try and manipulate you into buying something you don’t want, or doing something you don’t want to.

Most of the time we don’t realise that we are being manipulated into doing another’s bidding . Even when we do, it’s only after the event, or because we feel unable to decline or picture any alternative and therefore just go along with it. The downside to all of this is that time, focus and energy is taken away from our own lives. We stop doing whats important to us. Our progress slows and our relationships become strained, all because somebody else convinced us that their need was all that mattered. This is why we should start saying no, and stop putting the wants and needs of others before our own. Of course, there must be give and take in life but we need to be careful of just how much of ourselves, our time and our energy we give.

If it sounds a little selfish, that’s because we sometimes have to be. In this case, putting yourself, and those you care about the most, first is absolutely necessary if you want to be happy. If you handle the situation respectfully and with tact, people will respect your decision to say no. What form this “no”  takes will differ from person to person. For me, I prioritise my own journey and the goals which I am working towards, alongside spending quality time with my family. As such, I say no to things which can divert my energy and attention away from what is important to me, such as resisting the temptation to check work emails at home. When you say no to things which you don’t want to do, strange things happen, such as an increase in productivity. You find yourself getting fewer requests, and having more time to do what makes you happy. Most significant of all, though, you get to focus on what’s important to you. Your confidence also gets a healthy boost as you take back control of your life and stop being led by others.

The more you try to help others  and accommodate their wishes, the more they will ask of you. However, if you say no to whatever you don’t feel to be a good use of your time, people will soon get the message and leave you in peace. Say no, and watch as your happiness, time, confidence and productivity all get a healthy boost

Perspective

Too often, people unwittingly sabotage their own success and fall short of their goals. They fail to fulfill their potential, but the problem is that most don’t even recognise that they are doing it. This is because the cause is not openly visible for them to see. The sabotage comes from somewhere internal and hidden from sight; the mind. Your own worst enemy can often be found in the space between your ears.

The mind is as wonderful as it it complex. In good times, its positive voice can keep up the momentum and keep us motivated and inspired. It can identify opportunities for more success, or just identify things which we should be grateful for. In short, when times are good, our mind instills in us a positive outlook and we become happier and more determined to do well. This has the ability to attract more positivity and good results into our lives. Today I would like to focus, however, on the negative voice which can sometimes take over and bring our progress to a screeching halt.

When things are not going so well, though, our mind can also work against us. We find ourselves almost paralysed by fear or insecurity, being held back by thoughts of what others will say or do. We also tend to dwell on our misfortunes, or get so accustomed to a certain lifestyle that we are filled with terror at the thought of losing it.

The difference between these 2 scenarios is perspective, and the ability to take a step back and look at the overall situation, not just the snapshot in which we find ourselves. Whether times are good or bad, we should still be reflecting on our journeys. This helps us to keep everything in perspective. In times of success, maintaining a sense of perspective is what keeps us focused and motivated, but also humble. We realise that, in order to maintain our momentum and stay ahead of our competition, we need to keep learning from our experiences, putting in the work and taking steps forward.

In bad times, a sense of perspective is what can help us to turn the situation around. Again, you need to reflect on your current situation and identify opportunities for learning. Ask yourself where it went wrong and what you could’ve done better. Identify areas of weaknesses which need attention, and areas of strength which need to be taken advantage of. Use this reflection as an opportunity to learn, but also as a chance to rediscover your hunger, motivation and passion. This is how you put a setback into perspective, by using it as a chance to learn and bounce back wiser and hungrier to succeed.

Focus on the important aspects, such as your journey and progress, and not on things which you can’t control, from the approval of others to the lifestyle you wish you had. This is how you will develop the ability to put situations into perspective, and stop a bump in the road from totally bringing your progress to a halt.

 

The good thing about bad decisions…

..is that they can provide a valuable learning opportunity. IF you heed their lessons, that is. As with failure in general, bad decisions should be regarded as a necessary inconvenience which have in them the power for good. This is all on one condition though, that you not only learn from these mistakes but also put that learning into practice so that it doesn’t happen again.

Hence the importance on reflecting on your journey, and the direction in which you are headed. When you have a positive outcome, reflect on the decisions, actions and behaviours which led to the successful result. This will allow you to identify which aspects of the decision making process and behaviours to continue, or seek to improve, in order to prolong success. On the other hand, reflecting on what may have led to a negative outcome is just as valuable. It highlights flaws in the decision-making process and behaviours which can be avoided in the future. Rather than just blaming everything on bad luck, ask yourself if there was anything you could’ve done differently; are there resources at your disposal which you could’ve used to achieve a more favourable outcome? Could you have devoted more time, attention or effort? Are there warning signs which were missed?

Reflection is not easy, especially after a negative outcome, but the benefit is immense. When you are able to identify areas for improvement in your decision-making process, and address them, you develop a more proactive approach to life. Life is no longer something which just happens to you, and to which you react. You have, to a certain extent, ownership over your future and no longer leave everything to chance. In turn, you become resilient and feel in control of your destiny. You also feel better able to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Self-awareness also increases as a result of reflection. You become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears. Not only that, but with time and effort, alongside the ability to identify decisions which were good or bad, you also come to understand what drove you to make those decisions. This stops your ego from driving you to continue chasing losses or making bad decisions.

Improving your decision-making process is as important in business as it is in our personal development. Don’t just take my word for it though;

Part of making good decisions in business is recognizing the poor decisions you’ve made and why they were poor. I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’m going to make more. It’s the name of the game. You don’t want to expect perfection in yourself. You want to strive to do your best. It’s too demanding to expect perfection in yourself

Warren Buffett

Love your haters.

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks”

Winston Churchill

Haters. Doubters. Naysayers. Critics. We all have them. Most have good intentions and mean well; just family and friends urging caution as we chase our big goals and dreams. They urge us to be realistic, play it safe and think smaller. They do it because they care, though. They want to see us succeeding and doing well, but fear that we might overreach and fail. It comes from a good place and they mean well, but it’s also a reflection of their own limitations. Perhaps they too chased big goals once, only to fall short, become discouraged and give up. Out of respect we should listen to what they have to say, as their experiences could provide priceless opportunities to learn from, but be careful not to let your spirit and passion be dampened.

Sometimes, however, criticism can come from a more sinister place. This is a dark place inhabited by curious lifeforms known as trolls, where the air is thick with the pungent smell of spite and jealousy. These people seem to exist solely to discredit, discourage or abuse people online. Maybe they resent the happiness of others. Perhaps they are jealous of the success of others. Perhaps they are unhappy with their own lives but too weak to address the cause of their misery. After all, it is easier to point out another’s flaws, weaknesses and shortcomings than to admit that you have your own and tackle them. Or maybe they were never taught kindness, respect and compassion. Who knows?! It’s not your responsibility to diagnose their ills and try to fix them. If you have worked on becoming more resilient, then this is one area in which it will pay off handsomely. With the increased self-awareness and confidence which you have developed, you will be able to see trolling as a cry for attention. You will neither take it personally nor give them the attention they so badly crave.

If the criticism is constructive, welcome the opportunity to learn and develop. If it isn’t, just do your best to ignore it and move on. In order to succeed, you need a thick skin. Most important of all, though, is not to lose your focus, passion, desire or drive. In order to persevere and stay on course in the face of criticism;

  • Remain open to constructive feedback, and act on that which you feel is relevant.
  • Keep reflecting on yourself, your journey, your work and your progress. Keep updating your targets and adapting to circumstances wherever necessary.
  • Just keep going.

 

Monday. Your Time To Shine

“Everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others”

Winston Churchill

Monday. Its mere mention is enough to instill fear in some of us, while filling others with eager anticipation. Why the contrast? In a word, outlook. Whether a person regards Monday positively or negatively, is largely dependent on their mindset, vision and attitude. Those who welcome the first day of the working week, are those who sense opportunity. These are the people who view the traditional working week as a chance to make progress towards their goals. Those who dread it, however, see the working week as a necessary evil. To them it is simply a means to an end; they suffer through the drudgery of the week so that they can enjoy themselves in the evenings and weekends.

Social media, and Instagram in particular, is slowly working to change Monday’s bad reputation though. How?! Through the humble hashtag, #Mondaymotivation. People are starting the week by sharing positive quotes which motivate them, or by simply declaring their determination to work tirelessly towards their goals. This, in turn, inspires others to change their attitude towards work and strive for more. After all, who wants to be left behind when everyone else becomes successful?!

Here are a few truths i’d like to remind you of. If you work hard enough, smart enough and for long enough you will succeed. If you are patient and persistent you will succeed. If you can bounce back from setbacks and bumps in the road without a loss of enthusiasm you will succeed. With self-awareness, passion, drive and purpose you will succeed.

Your time will come. If you want it badly enough, visualise it so well that you can reach out and touch it, and are constantly striving to learn, grow and improve, it will happen. For some this might last for no longer than a fleeting moment, but for others it may last much longer. There are various factors which can affect this, many of which are outside of our control, and there are no guarantees that we will be able to extend our 15 minutes of fame when it comes. That said, there a few steps that we can take to help prolong our success;

  • Keep going. The hard work and effort which brought you success…keep it up! All too often, people ease up when the good times come and turn their attention to enjoying their time in the spotlight. We should, of course, celebrate our successes but this is the perfect opportunity to make even more headway. If we stop innovating and making progress, we allow our competitors to catch up and overtake us.
  • Keep evaluating. Even when your hard work and effort is finally recognised, the work doesn’t stop there. In order to remain successful and relevant in your chosen arena, you need to keep reviewing and reflecting. You need to reflect on yourself and decide whether you need to set new goals and targets for yourself. You also need to reflect on your work, and what you have learned so far; is there anything that can be improved upon? how do you move it forward?
  • Keep networking. Markets, trends and fashions are constantly changing and evolving. What was popular yesterday might be seen as cringeworthy and to be avoided at all costs today. You need to stay relevant in your chosen arena if you want your success to be lasting. You need to do what you can to ensure that people continue talking about you, and the best way to do this is by networking. Connecting with your clients, suppliers, stakeholders, industry insiders or fanbase will help you to keep abreast of developments which may affect you.
  • Keep telling your story. People relate to each other best through stories. It’s our oldest form of communication. The way you tell your story, or market yourself, is crucial. As other competitors challenge you in your chosen industry or area of expertise, your story will help you stand apart from the crowd. In selling a story, people will feel as though they know and understand you better. This in turn fosters a sense of loyalty in your consumer or fanbase which can in turn translate into lasting success.

If you don’t take control of your life..

…someone else will. This is why I feel so strongly about why we should become more self-aware, set goals in life and pursue them. It’s why we need passion, purpose and drive, or else life can become uneventful, dull and repetitive.

That is not to say that we need to have it all figured out, but we do need a certain level of direction in our lives. We need to know, roughly, where we are headed. With this awareness, we are less likely to be led astray or manipulated by others. We become stronger mentally, more focused and wiser. We are, essentially, better able to position ourselves to live the life of our dreams.

We also need to have interests which we are passionate about, as this gives us a break from the stresses of life. Being in control of our lives means that we will be immune to the doubts and criticisms of others, and have the strength to do whatever it is that makes our hearts sing. After all, when we follow our passion and share that which we create, we are inspiring others to have the courage to do the same.

Humans are creatures of habit, though. We like that which we know. Hence we develop routines which feel safe and also provide a source of comfort. We also don’t need to think too much when something is familiar. But there is a downside to the comfort of habit and routine, which is best summed up in a quote from the inimitable Charles Bukowski;

“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so? ”


Passion, and doing what you love

“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing”

Hunter S Thompson

Passion is a powerful emotion and, when it’s controlled, it is a beautiful thing. It can bring untold joy and satisfaction, or simply provide an antidote to feeling lost or unfulfilled. It can inspire and motivate us, or provide a welcome respite from the trials and tribulations of daily life.

Passion is more than just an emotion, however, but also a very popular topic for conversation and debate. Business books, journal articles and blogs are increasingly advising us to chase our passions. After all, if we are passionate about something, we will be more inclined to devote a large chunk of our time to it, as it won’t feel like work. We are told that we should think like entrepreneurs and find a way to turn our passions into businesses. Many people are doing exactly this and have become incredibly successful in the process, but it’s not for everyone. It’s not easy, either.

Not everyone wants to turn their passion into a business. Some people just want to enjoy the benefits of doing something which they love. Their rewards come from the happiness, inner peace or adrenaline rush which they may experience. Monetising your passion and turning it into a business, on the other hand, can take away some of its shine and enjoyment. Your passion then gets tied up with the added pressure of financial gain and this can blur the lines between work and fun. That thing which you did simply because you loved it, you are now doing it for money.  Some people are successful in this pursuit, but others find themselves unable to turn their passion into a sustainable or scalable business, or simply lose interest.

Before you even get to the stage of deciding whether to turn your passion into a business, you need to know what it is that makes your heart sing. Many people just don’t know. Their lives become routine and comfortable, and almost seem to run on autopilot. This is why we need people to rediscover their passion, whether it’s to become a business venture or just for personal enjoyment. Passionate people are, after all, happy and can create wonderful things. This all starts, as with most things, with reflection and becoming more self-aware. You have to know yourself, in order to know what truly makes you happy.

So, as you ponder your passion and what it is that makes you tick, i’d like to leave you with a few prompts for reflection which might help;

  • What did you enjoy doing when you were younger?
  • What do you feel that you would be unable to live without?
  • If money were not an issue and you were finances were comfortable, what would you spend your days doing?
  • What would you be prepared to do full-time without being paid?
  • What subject could you read 20 books about without getting bored?

Well… what are you passionate about?

 

What is your driving force?!

You may have heard of it referred to as your “why” and if you want to lead a successful and fulfilled life it is important that you know exactly what it is. Everybody has goals and dreams but it is your “why” or reason for being that has the power to set high-achievers apart from the crowd.

Your why is your purpose. It’s your reason for being. It’s a cause that you believe in deeply, to your core. Furthermore it’s a source of inspiration and motivation which will help you to rebound strongly from setbacks and problems and keep you going when times get tough. When you know why you are doing what you do, and find yourself on your chosen path, there is less likelihood of becoming disheartened and quitting when faced with adversity. On the other hand, it also keeps you grounded, humble and focused when you do start to make real progress.

There is a catch, though. I can’t tell you what your why is. Nobody can. For every individual it will, of course, differ. Only you can figure that out for yourself through honest reflection. There are, however, some questions which anybody can benefit from asking themselves;

  • What does success look like to you? Before you embark on your journey, you must know what it is the you are aiming for. If you don’t know where you are headed or what you are aiming for, you can’t possibly know when you are making progress. What does the end result look like? What do you want to achieve through your journey? Are you driven to bring about social change? Are you looking to start a business? Are you looking to strengthen your personal relationships?
  • What issues are you passionate about? What motivates or inspires you? What keeps you up at night, occupying your thoughts? What is the burning question that you want to answer, or change that you want to bring about?
  • If money were no object, what would you do? Put aside the pay check for a moment and the bills which need paying. If your finances were comfortable and you were in complete control of your destiny, how would you spend your time? What would you focus on?

Your why is your mission. Use the 3 questions above as prompts to help you find your own. It gives you strength in testing times and keeps you humble and focused when things go well. Find it and you will discover strength and ability which you may not have realised that you possess. Coupled with a deep belief in what you are doing, and a dogged determination to succeed, you will soon find yourself on a journey through life which is as fulfilling and meaningful as it is successful.

Taking responsibility.

Also referred to as accountability or taking ownership, taking responsibility for our decisions and actions is crucial if we want to lead lives which are happy and fulfilled.

There are times when we find ourselves in bad situations only to realise that, after some honest reflection, that those circumstances were a result of our decisions, actions or lack thereof. These instances, although less than ideal, have the power to become a force for good, IF we act upon them. Firstly, we need to accept responsibility for what has happened. This should then be followed  by some introspective reflection,  exploring where we may have gone wrong and what lessons can be learned. Then comes action. Having turned the undesirable situation into a learning experience, we take action to address it and get ourselves back on track. Sounds simple when described in those terms, but there is a lot of hard work involved as well as difficult questions.

Today, however, I would like to discuss taking responsibility for times when bad things happen through no fault of out own. Unfortunately, it happens and there is little we can do about it. Sometimes it happens as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, sometimes we become the victims of the manipulations and machinations of others. It’s our response to when things go wrong which are not our fault, that shape our character and determine whether we will make progress towards our goals and a fulfilled life.

The truth is that when these setbacks are viewed with a pessimistic eye, or we adopt a victim mentality, it breeds further unhappiness. We become disheartened and our progress towards our goals screeches to a halt, which can create a cycle of negativity, potentially ushering in anxiety and depression.

On a brighter note, research has shown that there is an alternative. A very good one. This one involves a combination of positivity, hope and confidence that you have the strength and ability to overcome this setback. When you realise that failure is not permanent or fatal, unless you refuse to take action, you are on your way to making a comeback. Buoyed by this realisation, as above, the next step is to reflect on yourself and your goals and plan your recovery. Finally, you need to take action, which will get you back on track. In this way, the setback becomes not only an opportunity to learn from, and reassess your efforts, but it also builds resilience. Overcoming one obstacle gives you the strength, courage and wisdom to either avoid further obstacles on your journey, or bounce back from future bumps in the road.

What happened to you is often not your fault. How you respond to it, however, is your choice. You can choose to stay down and blame everyone and everything else. OR you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and fight back.

Which will you choose when the time comes?

If you want to be happy, be true to yourself

Recently, we have looked at authenticity  and being yourself from several different angles. Why do I feel that it is so important to address this issue? In short, I am sharing my reflections on authenticity because I strongly believe that knowing who you are and behaving accordingly has the power to lay the foundations for happiness in your life.

Too many people live in fear of the judgement of others, be it the disapproval of a parent or sibling, or a negative comment on social media. As a result, people live their lives seeking acceptance and fearing rejection. In effect, people are allowing others to dictate their lives, and their happiness. This breeds frustration, misery and inner conflict. 

The time has come now to stop complaining and making excuses for your unhappiness and why your life may not be  progressing as you’d like. The truth is that you alone have the power to address this. Once you have progressed far along enough on your journey of self discovery to have a good understanding of who you are, act accordingly. There may be some resistance from friends and family at first, but that will fade and they will accept the new, happy you. If social groups reject and ostracise you this is a sign that it wasn’t meant to be, but another group will welcome you with open arms and accept you as you are. After all, as one door closes another will open.

We only have one life. Wouldn’t it be a terrible shame to spend it living up to the expectations of others while denying our true selves?! This has the potential to breed regret later in life, which is a powerful and painful emotion. The good news is that this scenario is avoidable if you can find the courage to be yourself. It’s not easy, discovering and accepting who you truly are, but the rewards make the  effort and hard work worthwhile.

I’d like to end this post with some food for thought from the philosopher Carl Jung;

Whoever looks into the mirror of the water will see first of all his own face. Whoever goes to himself risks a confrontation with himself. The mirror does not flatter, it faithfully shows whatever looks into it; namely, the face we never show to the world because we cover it with the persona, the mask of the actor. But the mirror lies behind the mask and shows the true face.

“Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious” (1935). In CW 9, Part I: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. P.43