Monday, 20 July 2015


David Cameron is being criticised for having too long a holiday. He’s planning to take most of August off first in Cornwall and then Portugal; swanning off when there’s Greece, an ISIS crisis and increasing problems with the SNP. Clearly he should be at number 10 worrying and having Civil Servants bouncing around like Duracell bunnies giving him advice.  Surely he’s meant to be Prime Minister not Sometime Prime Minister.

Some think - wrongly - holidays are for wimps.

Years ago I knew a football manager called Brian Clough. He ran Nottingham Forest between 1977 and 1993. He was Manager of the Year in 1977-78 won the league title twice , the FA Cup four  times and the European Cup twice. He was a legend.

He once said to me “I’m in trouble with my Board, young man - I just took off for Spain for a week - because I felt tired and needed to think and sleep - they want me there every day - well they can get stuffed”. And they did because in 1978 no-one argued with King Brian. Watch him filleting the hapless football commentator John Motsom in that year- wonderful stuff. The stuff of a relaxed man.

Brian understood the need to rest, to, as he put it, “be a bit daft” and using a change of scene and regimen can do that.

To be as good as you can be you need to stay in shape.

You need to invest in your support system, your wife, husband, children, grandchildren and your friends. Research proves (well we know it proves very little but I just love starting sentences like that occasionally). Research proves human beings make better decisions than computers and when they don’t it’s because they decide to behave like computers, whirring away 24/7.

Do we really get the need for sabbaticals, being like Yvon Chouinard CEO of Patagonia the apparel manufacturer?  Here he is in the office:

We live in an austere world and it’s one the brilliant educationalist Sir Ken Robinson analyses devastatingly when he laments the absence of creativity in modern education.

So my grandsons’ recent school reports interested me. They were very good although the forensic detail over many pages of closely typed pages worried me. The boys were 8 and just 6 in the school term in question. The detail was about the same as you’d apply to a senior marketer’s appraisal in a big corporation or an ‘A’ level student.

They should all lighten up. I think they need to be inspired not ground down by Gradgrinds.  I think they should do what a very successful friend of mine did. For family reasons he and his brothers took six months out of school when he was 8 and built the biggest, best, tree house ever. He said:  “It was then I learned more than I’ve ever done since.

Six months’ up a tree is better than a term of modern maths. Trust me.

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