Monday, 20 May 2013


I had lunch with Al Reid last week – not the Al Read who was a comedian who used to say “You’ll be lucky – I say you’ll be lucky” – the Al Reid who runs a Brand consultancy /Design Shop in Brighton called Red Design.

We talked about how one could judge if one was fulfilling one’s potential and how much better each of us could be if we tried if we…if we did what?  We reflected that most of us ambled or dozed our way through life underperforming and (worse) not even realising we were doing that.

Cut to Birmingham.

Michael Gove at the National Association of Head Teachers’ Conference was given a good kicking and treated by the class in the way they’ve learned from their customers – the underperforming children. Here’s what they said:

you’re like a fanatical personal trainer constantly urging teachers to jump higher and higher

Well isn’t that just what teachers are supposed to do? What’s with the lazy laissez faire guys? Why this defence of mediocrity? Detention for the whole lot of you….

Some of you may remember my story about a child, predicted to get D’s and E’s in her GCSEs and told by her teachers she was a “dunce”. In short she was constantly urged to jump lower and lower.  In the event intensive, personal  coaching over 6 months by someone who loved her, got her a mass of A’s (an ‘A*’ enticed out of a predicted ‘F’) and now she’s saying she’d like to try for Oxbridge.

So how good could you be?

First try and try until you fail that’s how. Do what Robin Cousins American trainer counselled - “skate to fall”.

Secondly find a great mentor who inspires and stretches you - someone like a “fanatical personal trainer”.

Third use your time better. You have about 2,500 hours useful working time a year. Focus your efforts on self- improvement into that time. Don’t waste it on things you are no good at. Kafka advised “follow you most intense obsessions mercilessly” …they’d have loved him at Birmingham.

Fourthly set the bar higher. Try to be the best in the world. Go for Gold. There’s nothing wrong with ambition – in fact self- belief, energy and positive drive are enchanting.

Finally remember what the brilliant sports coach Steve Peters said:
Life is not fair
The goalposts always move
Your job is to do your best under the circumstances

Think about what your best could be if you tried, really tried to go for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
Henry David Thoreau

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
Mark Twain

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.
Soren Kierkegaard

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
Albert Camus

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

Every man dies. Not every man really lives.
William Wallace

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.
Irving Berlin

Don't go through life, grow through life.
Eric Butterworth

It is not length of life, but depth of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't.
Richard Bach

I love those who yearn for the impossible.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

The life which is unexamined is not worth living.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.