Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Talent + Values is a Powerful Equation

Talent is something we are gifted by our parents.

Our parents also provide an environment where our talent may be allowed to develop.

Decisions are made on our behalf that assist including the schools we attend, the teachers we have, the examples we are exposed to, the encouragement we receive and the reinforcements we are subjected to.   

The values we develop, adopt and practice influence how our talent is displayed and used.

We all have a talent for something and sadly, this is not always able to come to the surface.

Where talent is allowed to prosper, it is the values that are associated with our talent that reflect any success that may come our way.

An extreme example, may be someone with a natural talent for applying numerical analysis to matters economic working successfully and valuably in Government or industry. Alternatively, if values are not instilled, they may become successful in the dark art of embezzlement.

Once developed, how we express our talent is determined by the associated values we develop from those who influence us, business cultures we are exposed to and the communities we belong too.

More important than all of those influences are the values instilled in us by our parents.

The values we possess impact how we respond to diversity, our self-awareness, behaviours and manners in all we do. Our values are demonstrated by the respect we show others and the respect we earn in return.

Roger Federer and Bernard Tomic were both born with extraordinary tennis talent.

Both developed this talent and were provided the support networks to allow them to do so.

I can think of few things less alike than how each express their talent and my assumption is, this is all to do with the values they were each exposed to during their formative years.

It is no different in business. Consider the Leaders and Colleagues you admire most. Consider the people that inspire you and those you respect and respect you in return.

All your work colleagues will have their unique talents. My bet is those who came to mind when reading the previous paragraph are those who also possess fundamentally sound values.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Three Secrets To LIfe

We do tend to complicate what is really a very simple recipe for happiness and fulfilment.

We over analyse, over complicate, over stress and I guess, seek to over please.

Is the never-ending chase we have embarked upon aimed at the real destination of our choosing, or is it a destination deemed necessary by others or by a demanding society?

I was reminded yesterday of the pressures to conform, or to do what we perceive is expected of us by a TV commercial advertising an alternative to beer. In short, a group of men confessed to not actually liking beer but believing they had to pretend. You may well know the add.   

An item came across my Instagram feed that was so simple to be useful. However, that does not mean it is also easy.

 The Instagram Post had 3 components.

1.       Find a hobby to make you money

This is perhaps the most challenging. A hobby by popular definition is something we inherently enjoy and look forward to doing.

We make our money via the work we do, the skills we sell and the services and goods we provide.

For one of more of these things to be deemed a Hobby, they would have to be something we look forward to, gleam satisfaction and pleasure from while also earning an income.

I have a friend from school who works in Commercial Real Estate and just loves it and always has. To him, it is a Hobby.

Interestingly, our attitude and health play a significant role in how we view our work and how much we enjoy it.

While making a career change to something that could be classified as a hobby, simply addressing items 2 and 3 below can make a huge difference to how we feel about our current work.

That aside, only you know if you are doing what you do to satisfy factors other than your own and if you are being authentic to yourself. If you are not, the solution is simple and singular.

2.       Find a hobby to keep you in shape

Many of us would like to be fitter, lighter, healthier and more energetic.

Further, on more than one occasion we have probably decided to become more active, to walk, run, swim, trek, gym or cycle. Many of us have then waivered when we find it a struggle or unenjoyable.

We also may find we have followed the current trend, or worse still, made a machine purchase having seen an info-commercial on TV.

Get back to basics. Start slow and build up. It may start with five laps of the local pool with a 2 minute rest between laps, 5 times a week.

Check out your nearest Parkrun. This is a great community event and very inclusive. It caters for all shapes and sizes, speeds and ages. Many walk with their dog or push a pram. It is also free.

It may become a hobby.

3.       Find a hobby to express your creativity

Write, read, paint, photograph, sketch, design, knot, weave, potter or print.

Having a creative outlet is very important.

The biggest barrier to starting, or re-commencing a creative pursuit is a fear of being critiqued. Our fear of what others expect of us comes through again.

How good we are doesn’t matter nearly as much as does having a creative outlet.

As with anything and everything, the biggest hurdle is the first step to starting.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Tricky ABC Radio - Or so it seems

Disclosure – I am inclined to default to the ABC for my radio content.

Until recently, I also have tended to listen via a radio, be it digital or analogue, but a radio none the less.

I have been an ABC advocate as much for the content as the lack of advertisements.

The ABC has been an innovator in providing or repeating content via, their Iview and Listen App for phones and tablets.

I am forming the opinion the ABC has embarked on stage one of a strategy to cease all traditional radio broadcasting in Queensland.

Radio is a medium that delivers “immediacy”.

The ABC Brisbane Radio Station (call sign 612) broadcasts about half its daily content in delay.

In addition, ABC Radio National (RN) broadcasting in to Brisbane is all in delay.

I assume it is the same for Triple J, ABC Jazz, ABC Classical and other incarnations of the National Broadcaster.

Back to ABC Brisbane, it seems to me there is a lack of transparency as far as broadcasting in delay is concerned. It appears there is a deliberate intention to shield us from knowing we are effectively listening to a Podcast from 10pm to 6am each day for example. As far as I can determine, we also have delayed content between 11am and 3pm and again between 6.30pm and 7pm.

I like my Radio live, immediate and in the moment and accordingly, I am forced to support the apparent drive by ABC to have us listen via their on-line platforms.

I do understand that Queensland not having daylight saving is an excuse for the ABC. However, I would much prefer live content and multiple time calls to cater for different time zones. Alternatively, call the time as AEDT and let us use our intelligence to know what our local time is.

At the very least, be clear and upfront about more than half the content on Brisbane 612 ABC being in delay.

As it stands now, it looks like you are being “tricky” and as a result, not deserving of our trust and loyalty.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Radically Re-Thinking 26 January

I propose we no longer have a holiday on 26 January each year to celebrate Australia Day.

Further, I propose we have a holiday each year on 26 January in honour of National Family Day.

National Family Day will have an emphasise on bringing families together and provide a day where focus can be on celebrating Family and reconciling, forgiving and reconnecting family members and groups within families.

All business will close for 24 hours. This includes restaurants, fast food outlets, pubs, bars, clubs, casinos and convenience stores.

Food and drinks will be available for guests actually staying in hotels, and their families.

Service Stations will open for 3 hours only on a roster basis unless the distance between service stations exceeds 75 kilometres in which cases longer hours will be allowed.

The 3G and 4G networks will be turned off meaning data related services on mobile phones won’t distract communication between people, between family members.

There will be no organised sport. No cricket, racing, soccer or cycling etc of an organised, competitive nature.

Gyms, including those offering 24 hour access will close, disabling access codes for the day.

Newspapers will not be printed and on-line versions will not be updated during this time.

There are two reasons for all the closures.

The first is so as many people as possible will be free to spend time with their families.

The second reason is the removal of as many distractions from intra family communication as possible. Conversations may actually take place.

Radical? Perhaps.

However, it would be a day totally devoid of political, ethnic, culture, gender or any other bias. It would be a day of neutrality, or emphasis on Family and relationships.

I would like to also close down television and radio transmission for the day however the internet would also have to be shut down too and that is perhaps going to far.

Think about it for a moment.

It may well be a day of equality and neutrality, of inclusion and the celebration of each of us, equally.


Perhaps, but everything is crazy until it becomes reality and what is more Australian than that?

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Men in Business, Politics, Sport, Charity and Church - This is wrong

I am writing this as the clock ticks over to 4 am.

I have been awake about 20 minutes and as usual, have checked how the overnight markets are progressing before having a look at breaking news.

I am not often angry, bewildered, annoyed or flabbergasted at this time of the morning.

It is also rare to feel frustrated and deceived at 4 am.

Today is an exception.

I wake to a report of a recent function at London’s Dorchester Hotel to raise funds for “worthy children’s causes”.

It was a “men only’ event and the opening dialogue by the Master of Ceremonies stated it to be “the most un-PC event of the year”.

360 so-called elite attendees were served by 130 female hostesses all fitting the brief of being “tall, thin and pretty” and all required to wear “black sexy shoes, black underwear and short tight black dresses”.

Madison Marriage, journalist with the Financial Times, successfully applied for a Hostess role and reported her findings.

Her allegations are summarised in this article and her full report is here.

This function was attended by British and International Business Leaders and key players in Politics, Finance and Entertainment.

Or, to put it another way, senior and influential people from within the areas that have been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards Woman attended.

These are the type of people who have decried the allegations of abuse of Women levelled at well-known entertainment, business and political figures.

These are the people we would reasonably expect to lead the way in the enforcement of proper behaviour and respect.

These are the very Leaders who have stated a commitment to improving behaviour to towards Women and to achieving equality.

I am left disillusioned by what I have read.

I am left feeling all the words of support and commitment to change are nothing more than lip service.

I am left believing there is no real commitment to change.

It is not uncommon for a woman accusing a man of predatory behaviour to be told they should have just “left”.

The only way there will be sustainable change is if Men speak up against the behaviour of their fellow male at the time inappropriate behaviour is taking place, and then leave.

Us Men appear shallow and gutless in such circumstances.

Too many of us remain beholden to the “brotherhood” and addicted to a role of acceptance under the disguise of being a good bloke or one of the lads.

What was never acceptable was too often tolerated.

Man up, grow a set, speak up for and set an example of what we all know is right.

In respecting Women, we also re-claim our self esteem, something as a collective, we cannot currently claim to have.

It is now 4.45am.

Change starts today, and it starts with you as it does with me.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Quality - What it Means (To Me)

They always produce quality work.

This is a quality product.

The food here is quality.

Feel the quality in this.

That is quality advice.

What does any of this mean?

How about we start with a clothing item.

The high end brand of shirt that attracts a price reflecting its status will be also considered a quality item.

In reality, the way worldwide manufacturing takes place now, it is not impossible that it comes out of the same factory, the same production line and the uses the same material and threads as does the budget store branded item available at a fraction of the price.

The inference from this is that quality is associated with a perception, packaging, an image and a price point.

Is much of what we consider quality really an illusion?

We may refer to someone as being a “quality person”. When we make such a reference, chances are we a talking about someone we see as reflecting ourselves, or someone we aspire to replicate.

But what are the personal traits that represent a quality person.

When looking back at the people I have come across as I travel through this life, my take on quality is those who know what they stand for and stand for it consistently irrespective of the circumstances.

I recall a Team Member who was unrelenting in their personal beliefs about what was right and what was wrong. From time to time, this trait made them, shall we say, challenging.

At a team meeting they could be unrelenting in expressing and sticking to their opinions. On occasions this was to the point of being disruptive however I always admired and valued that they knew what they stood for, were prepared to express and argue it and did so with ruthless consistency.

I regularly (and happily) found myself defending them to my Seniors, arguing their right to an opinion and that any discomfort they caused Leadership/Management was outweighed many times over by their commitment to their beliefs.

They stood for something, consistently and in my opinion, this is the definition of Quality.

The opposite scenario could be likened to the branding or packaging of the high end product. An illusion of sorts.

I have also interacted with people who would talk the talk and in doing so promote their commitment to ethics, honesty, direct communication and their own personal integrity.

However, while they might have believed in these traits, their actions did not always reflect them. This was expressed in various ways including escalating matters to a superior when a simple face to face discussion would have resolved a matter far quicker and more effectively.

It may be holding an opinion in private that was either kept hidden during discussion, or worse still, expressed in the opposite under pressure.

To continue the analogy, when you remove the packaging, there is not much of any significance inside.

We all know what we stand for and what is important to us.

It takes true quality to remain beholden to these beliefs and to do so consistently.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Zero Excuses and Self Liberation

What if you resolved that 2018 will be a “Year of Zero Excuses”?

Imagine how incredibly liberating that would be?

Then again, to some it may be overtly restricting.                    

Such an approach could be a ticket to growth, development, discovery and new experiences.

You may have been talking about enrolling in a digital marketing course but have no due to being too busy. A great excuse indeed.  

Perhaps you have been resolving to lose 5 kilograms however the need to attend business functions and conferences where much of the food served is rich and wonderful has served as a perfect excuse, at least in your eyes.

Then again, it may be as simple and as important as spending more time with your family, attending school events, date night with your partner, coffee with parents or swimming lessons with your children, all things you recognise as important but work-related fatigue or long hours in pursuit of career objectives have been acceptable excuses.

Do you like what you do for a living? Have you been saying year in year out that this is the year to change careers or employers? Perhaps your excuse for not doing so is income related, time or location restrictions. Perhaps it is as simple as inactivity.

Again, imagine how liberating a resolution to eliminate all excuses would be?

The harsh reality is, many of the objectives we state for ourselves are "excused" away because we do not genuinely own them in the first place.

Let us look at one of the examples outlined above; let’s look at the what we do for a living.

If you have had some career success, chances are you are being paid ok. In addition, you are probably comfortable knowing what you are doing and with the people you work with. You may not be friends with them, or even like some of them, but it is a predictable work place.

Then again, perhaps you hate it.

If you decide this is the “excuse free” year, you will be liberated in one of two ways.

You will either cease talking about a career change because being committed to your resolution you will not roll out an excuse, or you will take action to achieve the desired change.

If you have a desire to lose those kilograms, you will pass on the pastries served at conference breaks or will cease with the excuse that you have to eat them because they are made available. After all, you make the decision to consume them. To put it another way, you accept the pleasure of the pastry as more important than losing weight, no excuses.

Potentially, there is another approach to the no excuse mantra. Some may set their objectives so low they will achieve them without fear of needing an excuse. If one aims to come 3rd success is assured and no excuses called for.

Is anything stopping you having an excuse free 2018, or would that represent an excuse?

Monday, 22 January 2018

Applying Judgements & Who we are versus what we have

Being away from the usual routine allows time and space for your mind to reflect and wander to many areas and subjects.

A different environment and new people also assist this mind meandering.

I have just returned from 8 days cycling in Adelaide, Australia and following the Tour Down Under, Australia’s premier professional Men’s and Women’s cycling races.

This is a week where Adelaide is overtaken by Cyclists from all over Australia and many parts of the World. It is a week of positive energy where physically healthy, fit and active people are brought together by a common love of cycling.

Many cycling related organisations arrange group rides duing the week and I joined several including an afternoon shake down ride last Monday.

A scenic ride route had been designed and we meandered through the hills outside Adelaide, through Belair National Park before a fast and scenic decent back in to Adelaide. As is usual for such events, there are staged stops to regroup as different people ascend and descend at varying speeds.

Events at these stops left me pondering two things. The first being about how we are inclined to inflict our own judgements on others and secondly, the different importance we place on what we have versus who we are. 

Both circumstances revolved around my bike.

99.99% of road bikes are constructed from Carbon Fibre. My bike fits in to the remaining .01% and is made from Titanium.

As such, my bike is occasionally subjected to attention and I am required to speak on its behalf.

The first situation took place at one of the re-group stops. A lady asked me about the bike and I gave the standard questions as to why I opted for Titanium over Carbon. After saying some complimentary things, she asked me how much it weighed.

Her pleasant demeaner changed when I said I had no idea.

She then abused me saying how ridiculous it was that I didn’t know and asked why I refused to tell her. I responded saying that if I was concerned about having a super light bike I would have gone for Carbon Fibre adding that it probably weighed about a kilogram more than hers.

She told me it is just stupid that I don’t know and I should know how much it weighs.

Slightly annoyed, I responded saying that I could very easily lose a few kilograms before worrying about a saving of a couple of hundred grams in frame weight. Was I rude? Perhaps because we both knew she had far more weight available to lose than I did. She left in a huff.

In her mind, all that mattered was the weight of the bike and it was through this paradigm she judged me. She genuinely felt I was stupid for not knowing the weight.

At a second stop, a group of about 5 gathered around me asking about and dare I say, admiring my bike. As we set off, one of the “admirers” formed up in the bunch alongside me and after a little while said “My bike is the best here”. I replied with a simple “Ok, that’s good” and he went in to a description of his Colnago model something with this and that.

Again my simple “that’s great” was met with several follow up statement asserting that his is the best bike and finally ending with “My bike is better than yours”. “Ok” was my response as a need to go into single file opened up and along with it, an opportunity to accelerate away.

I was in equal parts amused and amazed by this conversation. My reasons for buying my bike are to have a long lasting, strong bike that will withstand the demands of airline travel. I intend to be riding the same bike in 20 years’ time and to continue to travel the world with it

My ride colleague that day seemed more concerned that “his stuff is better than everyone else’s stuff”.

I was left pondering that he cares more about what he has than he does about who he is or what he stands for as a person.

However, in reality, he is probably doing what we all do at some stage of our life. Many, including me, have at one time or another measured or sort to measure our success by the pursuit of possessions ahead of prosecuting our values.

One path leads us on the road to fulfillment while the other takes us down a road with no end.

On another matter, today represents the end of my holidays and a return to at least one post each week day. It is not as if I haven’t been writing these last few weeks, it is just that it has been on a commercial basis.

Thanks for reading today and for doing so these last 8 months or so.

Let 2018 begin and may we enjoy  and be enlightened by the journey.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Our Thoughts Hold us Back

Many of the lessons I have learned have come via my life long involvement in sport and physical activities.

Any Leadership or Management skills I may have acquired have been developed by being a part of sporting teams as a player and a coach.

On reflection, the desired outcomes of business and sporting teams are the same; each wants to develop team members to perform to the best of their abilities within the level of desire, commitment and determination they possess within themselves.

Our actions and reactions are dictated by two things, our thoughts and our feelings. On a strictly individual basis, one may override the other to different degrees. At the extreme ends of the scale, one person may always follow their feelings whereas another may ignore feelings defaulting always to the cerebral.

Most of us fall somewhere in between, and where we sit in the scale may vary depending on if we are at work, with family or relaxing.

I have written several times about the transformation I made when running and specifically when training each of my marathons.

When training, I now run a distance and a speed that honours how I am feeling whereas as previously I adhered strictly to a training program and as a consequence was constantly suffering injuries.

I have further followed my feelings in transforming my work life. Logically, staying in the Corporate world in a well paid moderately senior role made sense. However, doing so would have meant overriding some fundamental concerns I was feeling.  

As successful as these examples of being more “feeling centric” have been, I have struggled to expand this in to other areas of life.

However, yesterday I took a step forward.

I wrote yesterday referencing a 107 kilometre cycling event I participated in.
I first participated in this event in 2016 and did so with a fitness base that involved very little cycling. The event involves a lot of climbing with most of the first 18 kilometres being uphill. I struggled and suffered throughout the ride.

I returned much better prepared in 2017 and completed the course in a time that was more than an hour less, and really enjoyed the event.

As 2018 is to be the 10th and final edition of the event, I decided to do it once again and this time, I had no expectations. In 2017, it was a major cycling objective and I was fitter (and lighter) than yesterday.

My start line objective was to simply ride as well as I felt happy and comfortable doing so. If this meant it took 7 hours or 5 hours, I just wanted to enjoy it.

To put it another way, I was determined that each pedal rotation would be the best it could possibly be depending on how I felt. I was not saving myself for the next hill, the next push in to a head wind and when that came, I would simply do the best I felt capable of doing and if that was 10 kph or 30 kph, so be it.

During the ride, I adopted the saying “Respect the visual and honour the feeling”.

I completed the event in windy and at times cold conditions in less than 4 hours 30 minutes, quicker than in 2017. I also felt fresh and happy at the end, hardly fatigued at all.

This experience was a reminder that by way of our thoughts, we apply our own limits to what we can and do achieve and in doing so restrict our  capabilities and ultimately our happiness by the fears we allow ourselves to think.

We all have our own definition of what achievement is. To some it is measured by Corporate status, some by money and others by family, sport, education, travel or matters spiritual.

It is the fears we perceive and the limitations we apply by way of our thoughts that hold us back.

Think about it or better still, how do you feel about that?

Sunday, 14 January 2018

People Who Walk Through Our LIfe

Many people travel through our lives. Some are there forever, some for less. Whether we are consciously aware of the contribution each person makes is irrelevant because in one way or another, they all shape who we are today.

I am writing while sitting at a bench in my apartment in Adelaide, Australia. I am here to enjoy and embrace all that is the Tour Down Under Cycling Race.

This morning, along with approximately 1000 others, I participated in a 107 kilometre ride through the Adelaide Hills and surrounds. A ride that entailed nearly 1800 metres of climbing and that inclusive of stops for red lights, traffic, water and food, I completed in 4 hours and 27 minutes.

I am here in Adelaide and cycling each day due in no small part to a Gentleman who passed away yesterday aged 81.

In 6 weeks time, I will embrace 10 years since I had open heart surgery to repair 4 blockages in arteries. The date was 3 March 2008 and I was not yet 50 years old.

In 2004 I started cycling and a year later was introduced to Hamilton Wheelers Cycling Club where I started some local club criterion and road racing.

I was graded C Grade and was a perennial finisher in the main pack. I never troubled the podium.

The Handicapper was a “no nonsense” hard nosed veteran cyclist and was an expert at dealing with the many competitors trying to convince him they should be dropped a grade.

He was equally welcoming and supportive of new cyclists and always ready with a tip. He also remembered everyone’s name.

A few weeks after my surgery, I went and watched some races and he enquired as to why I wasn’t racing. When I explained why, he revealed he had had the same surgery some 8 years before.

He encouraged me to keep cycling and to race again suggesting I have a quiet word to him when I am ready.

My Cardiologist was a former racer and in giving me the go ahead to race, added the proviso that it is to be no higher than D Grade.

I was graded in D Grade however after a few months I managed to win a few races. Our handicapper approached me saying he needs to look at putting me back in C Grade however on checking with my Cardiologist, the answer was no.

He called me and said I could stay in D Grade however I would have to “soft pedal” and not win too often. We discussed how this may work and for the next year I did a lot of work at the front of D Grade races and chased down any breakaway.

Being able to keep participating in Club Races was important to me re-gaining my physical confidence.

I have often reflected on his kindness and understanding in negotiating a way for me to keep cycling.

In no small way, he has a great deal to do with me being in Adelaide today.  

If it wasn’t for him, I may never have made several European Cycling trips nor run the New York or Berlin Marathons.

I have not seen him for quite a few years however I sit here today both pleased  and relieved that I took the time to tell him how much I appreciated what he did for me.

It is a reminder to me how important it is to acknowledge those who make a positive difference to our life.

Thank you to a fine gentleman and someone who was proud to his last day to call himself a cyclist. 

If there is cycling in heaven, it is about to be better organised. If there is not, there soon will be.

Rest in Peace Terry Bourne.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Men Being The Equal of Women - It May Take Generations.

I have drafted this Post over 15 times and have not been happy with it.

I generally try to be balanced.

I try to acknowledge two sides of an argument and to consider the background or history that may have led to a point of view or way of behaving that is the opposite to the position I am taking.

In drafting this post, this is exactly what I was doing. I was acknowledging the history of society oppressing women and of us Men imposing physical, financial, physiological, political and sexual power upon Women.

I had drafted dialogue in support of this including  the history of voting in democratic elections and pay parity.

I had even gone in to detail about what should be Socially Progressive intellectuals working in tech industries designing ways of making the way we live and consume different, better, quicker and cheaper.

However, all this background is nonsense. There is no excuse.

I read an adaption from a book called Brotopia written by Emily Chang*.

It details drug-fuelled sex- laced parties for the benefit of the male elite in Silicon Valley. The invitation and admittance requirements ensure a ratio of Women to Men that favour the Men.

She is clear that all sex is consensual.

Consensual it may be however she details that the “Women are participating in this culture to improve their lives”. What sort of culture creates such a need?

The Men involved justify their actions saying they are disrupting normal societal expectations by participating in an alternative lifestyle.

Chang talks about open relationships and what are referred to as “Founder Hounders”.

The adaption from the book reads to me like nothing more than wealthy Men with low self esteem exercising power for their own sexual gratification and to feed their fragile egos.

This is not the structuring of a new form of society.

This is a return to a bygone era where Women are downtrodden, disrespected, used and demeaned. It is a return to a time when Men have the money and the power and that justifies everything. It is the suppression of Women.

What has been outlined is another form of the casting couch culture, one also justified by way of the “consensual” argument.

Maybe I live a sheltered life and maybe this type of culture is welcomed by intelligent Men and Women. Perhaps it is an expression of equality, be it one I don’t understand.

What is says to me (yet again) is that there is only so much Women can do to cease being suppressed. It is us Males that need to take our share of the responsibility and play a meaningful role.

It is us Males who need to seek equality, a higher equality.

Until we (Males) collectively develop the self esteem and self respect to behave as the equal of Women, genuine progress will continually stall.

And yes, you read correctly.

Men, need to develop the self esteem to claim our position as the equal of Women because this is not about money and power, this is about ethics, morality and humanity.

My fear is, it may take generations.

·     This is the link to the adaption of Brutopia             

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Have No Regrets - On a Daily Basis

I veer right off the road on to the bike path and get out of the saddle pushing harder to maintain momentum up the slight rise leading to the Ted Smout bridge across Bramble Bay linking Brighton Beach and the Redcliffe peninsula.

As I join the path on the bridge I am pleased my expectation of a head wind was correct as I prefer a tail wind when returning across the bridge. I change gears and settle in to an easy cadence and a speed a little short of 30 kph for the next 3 kilometres.

It is New Year’s Eve and I intend to ride about 70 kilometres and in doing so, complete a Strava/Rapha challenge to ride 500 kilometres between Christmas and New Years Eves. Due to being away, I have had just 5 days to do the distance however in reality, 500 kilometres is a target rather than a need and if I don’t achieve it so be it. There are over 82000 throughout the world signed up to do the 500 k and it is fun to be a part of this world wide pop up Strava community. *

Looking across the bay to my right, the morning is clear and bright and off in the distance I can see my turn around point at Scarborough. While there are no signs of the predicted storms, it is obvious it will get much hotter, quickly.

There are a few walkers, skaters, runners and fellow cyclists on the bridge as well as two groups with fishing equipment heading for the fishing platform. I wondered what they will catch.

The end of the bridge is near and I go through my mental checklist to look right as I exit the bridge and to also ensure any cyclist coming on to the bridge from the opposite direction are keeping left. So often they do not.

The bridge exit is simple and I allow my bike to slow naturally as we level out before applying gentle pressure to the pedals just to maintain momentum. I know there is a half loop around a tree coming up and a need to break so any acceleration now is wasting energy.

About 20 metres short of the loop, I am positioning to apex the curve and note an ambulance. For any cyclist, the site of an ambulance strikes concern as we always default to it being an injured cyclist. I also note a Police Car.

And almost instantaneously I am hard on the brakes and cursing the all but transparent police ribbon strung across and blocking the path. It is incredibly hard to see.

Now at a complete stop, I hear the heavy braking of another cyclist behind me and brace for the impact. Thankfully my “brace” was not required.

There is no obvious need for the area being surrounded by the Police ribbon and my thinking is recent storms have caused a branch to become unstable and unsafe. I look at the tree and can see nothing loose until………..

…………At the foot of the tree is a person, a person who no longer draws breath. There is a sheet/towel covering them but clearly a lifeless body is at the foot of the tree.

There is no frantic activity within the ribboned off area and I note the writing on the Police ribbon does not reference “crime scene”.

There is an alternative narrow walking path heading to a toilet block that bypasses the scene so I take that and continue.

But my mind is on the deceased. I have no idea what their circumstances or situation is. All I know is that someone’s Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister, Mother or Father was alive yesterday and today is not.

Were they out walking or running when it happened or were they sleeping out and passed while asleep? Did they pass at their own hand?

I have to remind myself to concentrate on my cycling as I am now on the road and there are cars around, although at 6.30am on New Years Eve, not many cars.

The suddenness at which life extinguishes is what strikes me. It is immediate and it is complete.

I wonder about how the deceased viewed their life and hope they felt at least some level of fulfillment and satisfaction. I have no reason to think otherwise.

I also wonder what regrets they took with them. I wonder what they wish they had done, what adventure they let go by and of any relationships they wished they had acted to reconcile.

I hoped there were none.

This event was a reminder to me, to have no regrets and to have no regrets on a daily basis.

* I did make the 500 kilometres and achieved a ranking of 14,714 out of 82,562 who signed up..

Monday, 1 January 2018

Kick Starting 2018 - One Simple but Challenging Action

I have a secret to having a great chance of 2018 being a most sensational year.

It does however require the investment of a couple of hours in one block of time over the next 3 days and the investment of honesty with yourself.

What I suggest you do is not a sure-fire guarantee to a successful 2018, however it will ensure you have a better chance than most of achieving your success.

Importantly, how we measure success is unique to each of us and each of us only. One challenge is to use our own success measure and not one we feel we should accept due to family, societal of any other pressures.

Let us start.

It is day one of the new year.

It is time to write a review of the 2018 year as at 31 December.

This is not a writing error, I do mean 31 December 2018.

Place yourself on Monday 31 December 2018 and write down a review of the year exactly how you want it to be.

For example, is there any study you want to start, complete or progress? In my case, I will be writing:

“I am pleased to have completed my Journalism Degree. I was aware I took on a big load to complete it this year but I am glad I did and can now officially call myself a Journalist”.

Chances are you have some travel plans or ideas for 2018. I do too and today I will write something like:

“Having spent time in Chicago and St Louis, it was an easy flight to San Francisco for the AMTRACK connection to the Grand Canyon. The sheer size and raw beauty of the Canyon was beyond expectations. The contrast of the Grand Canyon with Yellowstone and Yosemite made all stops more spectacular.”

Can you see what I am getting at? I am writing my achievements about the year ahead as if they have already happened. Take my travel comments. I have already made a commitment to be in Chicago and I know precisely what dates I will be there and what I will be doing. It is what I then do in America that I need to plan and execute.

It s not only the big-ticket items that are addressed.

Like many others, you may have become very competent in accumulating "stuff". I certainly have and will be writing:

“I have finished 2018 far less cluttered than I started it. The decision that I would not buy an article of clothing without first discarding two old items has made a huge difference to my physical environment and proved almost liberating”.

Then again, perhaps this is a big-ticket item after all.

No matter what their age, perhaps there is something to write about your relationship with parents or children.

A possible example might be:

Committing to being less judgemental and more trusting towards those closest has proved very positive for our relationship and sense of fun and joyfulness as a family unit.

Concerning health, I will be writing much the same as I have for the last 10 years:

“I finish the year fitter, stronger and healthier physically, mentally and spiritually than I was on this day last year”.

This process is not difficult however it can be challenging. It certainly takes honesty and even a little bravery. You may choose to share the review of your year ahead but equally, you may keep it to yourself. It matters more that you do it.

Recording the future as if it has actually happened is a powerful tool and places in you mind the seeds to be grown throughout the year. The difficulty many face when doing this the first time is slipping back in to writing in the form of an objective or a wish. There should not be words like “I plan to”, “I intend to” or “I will”.

By all means visit your document on a regular basis however avoid the temptation to edit it because chances are any change will be less aspirational than what you write today.

One final suggestion. Take a notebook and pen to write your year in review. Anecdotal evidence suggests this is more powerful and authentic than using a keyboard. You may even start a new notebook and then use it for daily journaling, which is another good habit to get in to.

I use an A5 size hardcover notebook which is also easy to take with me and I do take it, pretty much everywhere I go.

Enjoy reviewing 2018, today.

My Much Travelled 2017 Note Book