Get up not stay up

So many blogs and Instagram stories centre around working as much of the day as possible in order to maximise progress, but quite a large proportion of these are either written by immortals or they are so rich that they have robot stand-ins, constantly we see posts at 4:30 in the morning and then posts claiming that they are still up at 12 midnight, whilst I accept that this can be employed as a temporary strategy it has no validity in the long term, as you become tired you will start to lose cognitive ability, concentration and physical ability will start to fade and you will eventually end up in a heap on the floor.

At which point all your plans, workouts and learning stops while you recover, as the vast majority of us will be holding down full time jobs as well as whatever other activities we are pursuing it serves us better to go to sleep a bit earlier and wake up earlier, this way all you are missing is night time activities which are largely leisure activities, these are the things to sacrifice in pursuit of goals both physical and financial anything else is going to harm you and as I said will ultimately end in stopping your progress completely for at least a couple of days.

If you go to bed at 10:00pm and get up at 4:30am you still get 6 and a half hours sleep, only losing out on half an hour of recommended sleep and you have a good 3 hours to get your goal pursuits in be that training, learning or practicing guitar (quietly of course) most of us finish work at 5:30pm so you still have 4 and a half hours to either carry on working on the future or spending time with the family, that schedule will also fit a lot closer with children so as you and the children start to sync a bit in your rhythms you could even bring some more harmony to that relationship.

Remember all sacrifice is for nothing if you become to tired and ill to keep pushing.

Amazing Downtime

I had an amazing time last night with the Mrs for her birthday, we went to York to a Thai Tapas restaurant http://phranakhon.co.uk/ to be exact and had arguably some of the best food I have ever had (certainly Thai at the very least) and the went on to see The Rocky Horror Show at the York Opera House, the performance was amazing and I even managed a bit of a time warp!

I was able to enjoy myself with an amazing woman in an awesome place with outstanding food and an unutterably good show.

And this morning? Did I go for a 5k walk and did I feel guilty about eating food that isn’t exactly “on plan” ? HELL NO! We got in late and I had an early start at work, so literally did not have the time, we put all the work in so we can cut loose, we eat a sensible diet tailored to our needs so when we go out we can indulge and we stay in shape so that we can enjoy ourselves until the early hours when the opportunity arises.

The only lesson, only lesson here is to work harder, work so hard you turn weekends into weeks, fun and enjoyment into simply “life”, I was feeling a bit deflated before going out but now ready to take on the world.

There is an adage about a struggling salesman buying a bigger car to help him sell, sometimes we need to just get out and enjoy ourselves to remember what we are working for.

Children and iPad’s when is it enough?

The world is changing and as always Children are just changing along with it, without question and without a hitch so it would seem, if anything I feel jealous sometimes that my kids adapt to new technology and within a very short period of time are using the new gadget or application with the ease of a seasoned pro, they can do this because they do not resist change, life for them has been constant fast paced change and they are comfortable with it, no sooner can they walk and talk as they are then put into pre-schools, people come people go and they are constantly introduced to new experiences and toys to assist their learning, by definition parents on the other hand tend to be at least a generation away and have, if nothing else gotten used to a slower pace of life, we have settled into jobs / careers found somewhere to live and our interests and hobbies are all pretty much fixed by the time we consider having children, actually it is often this particular milestone that triggers the conversations about having kids.

So we start to resist changes, we look with suspicion at gadgets and apps as they appear on the market, and with confusion at the latest craze to sweep over our children from YouTube or TikTok or whatever the current craze is, but these differences just flow into and out of their lives with ease.

Children will literally spend hours staring at a screen.

They do not have the normal indicators that they have spent time on the devices though, their schedules are still dictated by us the parent, and I would be lying if I said that I haven’t found it easier to get things done when the girls are sat happily wandering down a YouTube spiral or making videos and editing them to share with friends.

But of course that is flawed because it is easy for us to lose track of time and before you know it hours have gone by and all you have seen of them is the back of the iPad or phone, the reaction is usually to tell them to stop playing with the devices and go out and play, or at the very least do something different, today I did this very thing and was horrified when they both stood outside in the garden looking a little lost, my youngest daughter wanted to play a game with her sister but she was sulking a little brought on (I suspect by the manor in which she was asked to put the iPad down and go out and play) so my youngest became very frustrated and chaos began to ensue, the problem was that they had no real alternative easily at hand, the virtual worlds that our children disappear into are so vast and colourful offering the ability to manipulate their surroundings at will and offer instant gratification that they are honestly a hard act to follow, but instead of getting just as stressed as they were I bundled them in the car and drove to a local bargain store and let them choose a selection of toys to play with back at home, I was surprised at how engaged they were, they picked and we headed home with inflatable limbo, a cricket set and some devices that you swing round your ankle and attempt to skip over with the other foot, as well as hula hoops.

A far cry from the 4k HD screens they had been so upset to leave these things grabbed their imaginations the way they always would have done before iPads came along, they were bright, fun, and cheap there was no requirement to be careful with them they were their to have fun and possibly more importantly they worked better if you had somebody there to play with.

The afternoon went amazingly they played and apart from one relapse where my youngest had a minute on the iPad before putting it down to see what her sister was doing (she ultimately found a lot more fun in knocking over the Limbo pole as her sister was going under it) there was very few tears and they went to bed tired and happy.

We cannot remove these devices from our children completely, I know there are several schools of thought on the subject but it seems impossible to me and as far as I am concerned it would be damaging, information is imparted through these devices, our children are educated and inspired through them, and they will only play a bigger and bigger role in their futures, to deny them this would be to isolate them from their peer groups at best and at worst completely cut them off from career paths / life skills that they will need in the very near future, an indicator of just how fast we have moved from when I was a child, I can remember a VCR with a remote control on a wire being amazing, the ultimate in luxury, in contrast when my youngest daughter was three she became very frustrated that the TV screen didn’t react to her pressing it, as she just expected to be able to navigate the menus by touch, I still have issues picking up the phone in case a get an automated answering service at the other end, whereas they will happily have entire conversations with Siri.

My point is that we should not be scared of the focus and fascination that they exhibit with these devices, and nor should we take it personally when we try and speak to them and get a mere grunt of recognition, children will do fun things 100 percent and if we observe it we get the same response when they are engaged in physical games or playing with friends absent of any devices.

There is a balance inherent in life with all things and this is just another example of finding that balance, but while everybody at the minute seems to be vilifying tablets and phones in the hands of children we tend to forget that it is us that has put these devices in their hands and we need to remember that we need to moderate their use, as well as be responsible for securing these devices, and a good engaging alternative will smooth the way.

Children, our pupils and teachers.

Children can and do ask the strangest questions and their world can fall apart at the slightest drop of a hat, and we as adults, all caught up with trying to run a home a life and look out for the best interests of our children and significant others sometimes find these episodes a little testing, and that is without trying to fit in the reading of another blog!

Life does demand our full attention there is no getting away from that, but life is not just what we do for a living, what we want to do for a living or what is fed to us through tiny handheld 4k super hd screens, it is the mere act of living and breathing and what ever else we happen to be facing at the time.

So this explains why our children often overreact to situations or need our support for seemingly inconsequential things, they do not worry about work, the car or house payments and they certainly do not worry about their progress becoming rich or a Superhuman! so to them when a fly comes to close to their ice cream they are devastated, when they are being asked to eat something that they don’t like it is a life or death struggle (even if we know it is soo much better for them than their choice of Chicken Nuggets and Chips) but we still sit and shake our heads and in some cases (I know I have) actually ask them why it is so hard to eat a yogurt?

This actually presents us with a huge and rare opportunity to be problem solvers, to be a God, if only for the 2 minutes it takes them to forget what they were upset about, and to further cement the relationship between you and the most important people in your life, because you can swat the fly or chase it away, and to your child you have become a hero, you may as well have swooped down on a great green dragon and slain the beast where it stood, and imagine if you went in to work and your boss pulled you to one side and said “the company is going under we will all be out of work and have our houses repossessed unless you put this hat on and run around the garden with a stick pretending it is a gun”, twenty minutes later the world is saved and it was you that did it.

And our children do not take without giving either, in return if we listen really close we can hear a very clear lesson, a situation is as bad as we decide it is, and the vast majority of the time it is not as bad as we think it is going to be, so next time you feel that the world is caving in and you do not know how to proceed, just stop and close your eyes, and reduce the problem in your mind to what it actually is, just as the fly is not going to steal the ice cream and then take the remainder from the freezer rendering your child’s world ice cream free forever I would be willing to bet that majority of the situations we face everyday are not as big as we make them internally.

And every time you get the chance to save your child from a hell bent insect, or cure tears and a broken heart by running around the garden flapping your arms do so, because if at any point we lose touch with the ones we love then all the late nights and early mornings, all the trailing through blogs like this one looking for inspiration and guidance are for nothing, money alone does not make good company.

So solve the problems be a god, and put them to bed to rest, then smash the hell out of improving all your lives beyond any of your wildest dreams!

Photo by Thierry Fillieul from Pexels

A Conversation with the Mrs

Having only just started this I run pretty much every post past the Mrs to get her opinion on the content and the layout and so on just to make sure I don’t make myself look a clown with spelling mistakes and pictures of balloons when talking about fasting or contracts for difference, she usually makes the right noises and maintains just the right tone of enthusiasm without over doing it and arousing suspicion, however tonight this happens, “what do you think of my nutrition page?” “it is ok, yeah I like it” “ok?” “well I prefer the ones where you talk about the dog and the kids and stuff” “but I haven’t done any wi…..” no ice cube for the ego no ice cream to make me feel better just straight cold truth.

So with vision blurred through tears, I guess I better introduce myself, I thought I had but as she points out even my gravatar is the anonymous mask, so she may have a point.

Truth is I am actually quite a lucky man, I have an awesome wife and three awesome kids that are a constant source of comedy and stress, (not always equal measures) our two Cat’s spend an inordinate amount of time messing with my head, and the dog is as dumb as it is inoffensive, I am in I.T. (now the gravatar makes sense) but don’t panic the closest I get to anonymous is walking into a room and forgetting what I went in for (could possibly be attributed to the cats but I have yet to prove this).

So there it is, that is me, and I am sure that as the follower count drops through the floor I will post “A Conversation with the Mrs #2” where I discuss the death of my blog with the person that suggested I introduce myself!

Fragility of Dreams

Chasing Freedom Through Adversity

Firstly let’s get this out of the way, making millions on the internet is like winning the lottery in more ways than one, sure they both feel good and they both set you free and normally happen very fast, a lottery win means you go to bed one night not a millionaire and when you wake up you are (assuming you hit the jackpot of course) and the story appears to be very much the same with the internet, you work seemingly at nothing for a period of time and then you hit that one formula or niche that then sends you sky-rocketing.

But they also share another trait, the desire to participate is a personal decision and anybody who has bought a lottery ticket, just like watching the next “How I became a Millionaire in 7 short days” video, I would be willing to bet has sat and daydreamed about what their life would be like if that money was theirs.

It is our personal dream, our vision and our desire that we follow, and others (usually our closest friends and family) that start to question us as we spend more time researching and looking into how to start and what to do and start watching videos of people sounding very positive and in a lot of cases talking what appears to be non-sense about lifestyles and possessions reserved only for celebrities.

You see our dreams are fragile because we haven’t got anything to show for it yet, nothing physical to stand in our corner when people question what we are doing, what we hope to achieve and in the face of the age old question “if it was that easy wouldn’t everybody be doing it?” you have to protect that dream and hold on to it for dear life, because that is what we are buying, our lives back from the world.

It is so much harder to listen to and defend against negative views and comments from loved ones than the rest of the world, people outside our trusted social circle are easy to dismiss, they don’t know us, they don’t know anything about what we have achieved in the past or what the situation is now, so what possible value could their un-informed comment have?

But our closest circle, have listened to our plans (if you are anything like me probably at length and very enthusiastically), they do know us because the live with us or we see and speak to them on a very regular basis, and finally they are aware of what we have achieved in our lives so far, so their opinion cannot be dismissed so easily can it?

Well here is an odd way to think about it but try this, unless you are lucky enough to have a significant other/spouse, or an enthusiastic business partner that is following your progress and learning and has the same dream as you, then you need to cut them a break, don’t get angry when they question what you are doing and what the chances are, or how much do others make, even “well I don’t see how you can make money from it, it’s just [insert social media here] or why would people buy from you on [insert chosen affiliate program here]” sit down and calmly explain it to them, after all if you do not have the answers to hand then it is a valid question, if you don’t know what you are chasing then is it obtainable ? and if you do have the answers to hand, reciting them and educating your audience will only serve to further strengthen your resolve and cement the process in your own mind.

You cannot explain what it feels like to take off handcuffs for the first time, but you can vocalise the freedom of moving your arms.

Be patient with the people closest to you always, they only see the extra time and the stress and sometimes the disappointment caused by a set back or a plan deviation, a wife/husband may also see the bank balance going down with nothing coming in, and children can pick up on all this and more, when this happens STOP and think back to your images of success, look closely at the faces of the people in the images and make sure you do not alienate them because if you really think about it, those images without those faces are pretty grim.

Money in solitude is toxic, it turns in on us, chase freedom chase life and success, money will follow.

Photo by Bayu jefri from Pexels

Feeling Strong ?

Self-help and motivation has become very dear to my heart in recent years and I personally find it comforting that there a lot of people out there that do genuinely want to help, from the big names that fill auditoriums to the YouTube warriors that post incessantly, some with good intentions and morals and some with questionable motives largely found reciting industry standard rhetoric to a backdrop of a couple of piles of cash and some royalty free inspirational music, no names are required as we all have experienced these differing styles and their respective protagonists I imagine many times over.

Something happened to me specifically today, I had a moment of fear, a moment when the slow pace of progress closes round you like a cold encompassing blanket and seems to choke the energy right out of you, where all the carefully thought out plans and schemes suddenly seem unobtainable and you freeze unable to see a way forward.

Fear hits us all, I don’t care who or where you are, male or female, young or old, it is how we deal with it that counts and it is how we deal with it that will determine the pace at which you achieve your goals and in some cases if you ever do.

I have read a couple of books that are starting to suggest that we should maybe try and look for the good in what we have and not try to attain anything more, while this leaves me conflicted I do think it is a flawed and potentially harmful message, I mean people look to these places and people for inspiration and motivation, only to be told to not try to hard and look at the prospect of just being content with what you have, it must be a huge disappointment and for some difficult to recover from.

So here is a little mid-week motivation and each word is not only from my heart but it is fresh in my mind as I have gone through those emotions just today.

Feel strong, don’t question it just feel it look out into the open and just feel strong, remember that unless whatever is your main focus of concern is stood right in front of you with inevitable consequence, you have the opportunity to re-route your path, Think Slow Act Fast easy to say not easy to do when fear grips at your heart strings then climbs like an icicle up through your brain clouding your thoughts and play hide and seek with your emotion, but again stop and look around, things are almost always exactly the same as they were the moment before your fear went into overdrive, so whatever you do slow down your thoughts be methodical and then put those thoughts into action with the speed precision and purpose that only a razor sharp plan of action can command. Smash 100 percent everyday and in every action if you think slow forget fear and push your thoughts through to action with every ounce of strength you have you will move forward there is no two ways about it believe in your self and you are 80 percent there.

There is nothing wrong with being happy with the way things are, we are all searching for happiness and if you find it in getting by then that is genuinely awesome, however if that were the case I doubt you would be reading this blog.

Celebrate your husbands/wives/children and cherish them for what they are, your strength, motivation, the rock to cling to during a storm and the precious cargo you must protect as you set sail to a sunnier, happier less stressful land.

Everything else is just leverage.