5 Share – Friday 9 Feb 2018

1. Quote I’ve been pondering this week“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” – John Lennon

2. A colleague at work shared this buzzfeed link. Take a look at the straw holder you never knew existed, along with the correct way to get Tic Tacs out of their box, genius!

3. What I’m reading: Food Rules by Michael Pollen – The New York Times bestseller containing lots of great reminders and principles to follow when it comes to food. Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does is one of them.

4. It’s nearly Valentines day, that day people send cards anonymously to the one they like. I’m not entirely sure anonymous achieves the desired result? Anyhow, do you know the real history of valentines day? It was pretty wild..in this write up of The Dark Origins Of Valentine’s Day it’s clear we’ve got it easier. So unless you like that sort of thing, thank the card shops and present makers you don’t have to go through what the Romans did.

5. Slippers…No longer the footwear reserved for pensioners or the untrendy. We’ve only got carpets upstairs in Purvis mansions, so it’s essential to have good slippers throughout the winter. Finding Giesswein slippers has been amazing. Now I’ve got a pair I’ll never go back. Forget all those adverts for Mahabis on facebook… Giesswein are the perfect, No.1 slipper out there, they do footwear for both men and women. You’ll thank me once you try them.

Find adventure, find meaning

“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

One morning, I found myself at the bottom of a small mountain. In front of me, pointing upwards was a sign that read ‘temple’ in Thai and English. I was in a remote part of Thailand, close to the Malaysian border. What had taken me to that spot I don’t remember, what I do remember is seeing monks making there way up the steep path in front of me. I followed them, wondering if they’d turn and ask me to stop, they didn’t.

We all have triggers in our lives, ones that change our course. People, experiences, books, thoughts. I’ve had my share and I bet you have too. This mountain and temple was one of my more pertinent, a small miracle that in retrospect was larger than I’d realised.

It took a while to get to the top, the monk athletes in front of me were clearly in better shape. When I eventually got there, gasping for air and sweating like a backpacker who’d been drinking the night before…oh wait, hang on… it was breathtaking, imagine a remote Buddhist temple at the top of a small mountain in Thailand and chances are you’re picturing what I saw for real.

I stayed up there for most of the day, and although the monks didn’t talk to me, they smiled often, offering me bowls of tea and water, not once ushering me to leave.

I remember sitting with my legs crossed by a stone buddha, reading Marcus Aurelius’ meditations. I remember because after a while my legs began to ache and my back hurt. So I stood up to stretch and admire the lush Thai countryside, feeling truly alive for what I think was the first time. So many things came flooding into my mind. What had I been doing all my life? Why did I exist? How did I exist? It was in that moment I realised my education wasn’t about getting a job and making money, it was an opportunity for moral and intellectual growth, I’d got it all wrong. Society, my family, the people I had been learning and working with, we’d all got it wrong.

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” – Sydney Harris

In that moment I realised I needed to find out how I could lead a meaningful life. Clarity had appeared like a beam of sunlight across my face, it felt warm and nice. Tension lifted, I was beginning to smile like I’d never smiled before, perhaps I was enlightened? Maybe my hangover had subsided? Either way, I was on a new path.

Not long after that, I found myself in Kuala Lumpur, on an adventure with a new found friend. Someone who introduced me to the notion of recreating myself and understanding a number of laws that others would use for and against me, I’ll tell that story next time.

5 share Friday – 2 February 2018

5 Share Friday, where you get 5 life upgrades / hacks for free, tested by myself, where I only share the best.

1. Quote I’ve been pondering this week “The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on”Julia Alvrarez

2. Every year, I watch Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University. I watch it multiple times a year as it’s so powerful, inspiring and true and I made time for it again this week. If you’ve never watched it or haven’t seen it in a while, why not check it out? Just click on the picture below. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

3. I’ve been using my new carry on bag for travelling and it’s changed my life. If you’re after a practical carry on the Osprey Farpoint 40 is the best one I’ve ever owned. It turns into a rucksack or carrys like a bag. It’s lightweight and means no more waiting for bags at the other end (approved for cabin carry on), it’s a no brainer.

4. What I’m listening to: 10% Happier podcast. This week the guest was Tim Ferriss and it was awesome. Dan has a book that was my inspiration for trying meditation, I’ve not looked back since and it’s something I do every day.

5. This week I stayed in a hotel at Heathrow airport for a few nights (for Unity meetings). So I packed my trusty earplugs in case of aircraft and road noise. I don’t stay anywhere without these babies as they don’t fall out or feel like you have earplugs in your ears, yet they block almost all noise. It turns out the hotel had great soundproofing from the outside, just not the inside, where my neighbour liked to wake up to loud television at 5:30am, these plugs helped me dream of my future Land Rover and all the fun I’m going to have.

Vanity, me and the chase

Recently a few people have asked me how many readers this blog site has, so I logged on to check the details. What I found was a mix of varying data that didn’t make sense. I ran tests and most social network views (using the links from LinkedIn etc.) aren’t registered through my WordPress analytics, so I signed up to google analytics.

That was yesterday and google hasn’t gathered its data yet.  WordPress tells me I get triple digits at times, that’s not many! I hear you say? Well, I’m pretty stoked given I started in October last year, a little under 4 months ago and I don’t focus on Search engine optimisation.

My motivation is to share what I write (I love the activity of writing), learn from others and maybe inspire and be inspired along the way. There’s enough negativity on the internet, so I’ve created this space for myself and anyone who wants to visit, away from it all.

“We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.” –Michelle Obama

Seth Godin said in a recent interview that he no longer looks at his readership numbers, it’s not why he writes, he advises others do the same. Like any good product, if it’s great then people will find it.

As humans we’re hard wired to love the chase, that feeling of trying to get something we aren’t sure we can have, like that person you feel an attraction towards, or that fast car you’ve dreamt of. We’ve all chased and many live for that chase. Lots of people that blog are no different. I’m trying to be, as if I chase anything then it’s with good reason not vanity.

Vanity metrics are things like readership numbers. Metrics that mean something are things like the number of people who made a positive change in their life by being inspired through a blog post. That isn’t something easy to measure..

So the best I can do for now is not to completely ignore my readership numbers,  I’ll look a few times a year. If they go down or don’t increase in anyway perhaps it means my writing and the subject matter isn’t interesting to people? It would be terrific if anything I write created positive change for just one persons life, I doubt I’ll ever really know, in fact I rarely tell someone when they’ve inspired me, I’m going to change that from now on.