27.04.2018 – Slippery When Wet

As the weather looked like it had finally changed, I decided to get the road bike (Giant Defy 2010) out and used it on the 23rd, 25th and 27th April.

Unfortunately on the 27th, it was wet, raining throughout the whole ride to work, however I was enjoying the journey, until…

After around 7 miles, I managed to dodge and angry goose, but in doing so, must have taken my eye off the route up ahead and hadn’t slowed down enough for the bridge which was approaching. I wasn’t flying, but when someone came around the corner the other way, I was in the process of turning (only a fraction), so when I applied the brakes, my tyres (Continental Gatorskins) slid from beneath me! I slid along the floor (with my upper left thigh and knee taking the brunt of the impact and body to ground contact). The chap coming the other way stopped quite casually under the bridge (on his mountain bike), asked if I was ok, and advised that he had done the same a couple of times… I was ok, but just a bit of a bruised pride, and annoyed at myself. I was glad that I did manage to grab my bike before it slid into the canal though!

So I jumped back on my bike and carried on my journey. After a shower and bandage I got through the day in the office fine, and the ride home was a bit sore, but randomly sunny. As it was a Friday, I had the weekend to rest my knee/leg/pride. I’ll see how it feels when I ride in on Wednesday..

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Words to Live by – IF

Most people will be familiar with this poem, as it is very famous, and has been using in adverts for several brands over the years, As a father, it resonates hugely for me, as something I aspire to demonstrate to my children, and hope that they adopt as sound principles themselves.

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”

Rudyard Kipling (1943)

I don’t claim to always live this way at all… but there is no harm in trying! 🙂

My book list

These are the books I’ve read (actually listened to..) recently..

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1. Start With Why (Simon Sinek) – Great for anyone starting or running a business, or making life plans. Simon is popular on TED style videos online. Not a big fan of millenials..

2. Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@ck – (Mark Manson) – Awesome! Everyone should read this book

3. Living Forward (Michael Hyatt) – Solid book for helping structure efforts to make longer term plans that are practical. Good for business owners and anyone who wants to set goals and go for them!

4. How to Win Friends & Influence People (Dale Carnegie) – An absolute classic. The world would be a better place if everyone read and applied these principles!

5. The Chimp Paradox (Dr Stephen Peters) – Eye opening, brilliantly written (and narrated). Fascinating and insightful. A must read for anyone who has an interest in being better at controlling their own thoughts and actions and understanding why others behave ad they do. Great book!

6. Money (Rob Moore) – motivational without the B.S. of other books. Practical and real life examples and advice. Gives a different perspective to the thought of wanting to make money. Wish I had read it in my teens!

7. Thinking, Fast & Slow (Daniel Kahneman) – heavy going prose. Absolutely fascinating. Slow going at times. I have a few chapters to go… Great for anyone who liked Chimp Paradox and wants to get deeper into psychology!

8. The power of Habit (Charles Duhigg) – practical and useful. Really interesting book about how to form, change and adapt habits. Grounded in science with real practical applications.

9. Shoe Dog (Paul Knight) – who wouldn’t be interested to know how Nike was started and grown into what it is today. Amazing story, which has given me a new perspective of the brand!

10. How to be Fu#king Awesome (Dan Meredith) – similar in style to ‘the subtle art of not giving a f$ck’, but a very good book well worth a read. Tells/reminds you of what to focus on in your life.

…..

Most of the time I don’t have the opportunity to sit down and read a book. So I enjoy listening to audio books. I use Amazon’s Audible service which is great. It just works! Plus although it’s a subscription model (cost per month), once you download a book, you get to keep it even if/when you cancel your subscription.

When size really matters…

Obviously I’m talking about the size of your bed!

Few rough nights of very little, broken sleep for the household. However, although we are all shattered and starting to snap at each other unintentionally, it’s important to try and cherish the moments like this…

Yes that is 4 of us, in our bed having some early morning cuddles. Actually mom is getting all of the cuddles, but it’s still lovely to see.

Since then I’ve taken the youngest for a sleep (on me) in his room,

whilst mom takes the toddler down stairs for his first (of usually many) breakfast and probably back to back peppa/fireman sam/postman pat/something special/etc

Then time to get in gear and to start another day of nursery drop off; work meetings, etc..

How to Win Friends and Influence People

A business classic… one which i avoided for many years, I think deep down that was because

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I didn’t like the idea of learning how to ‘win’ friends, and the notion of ‘influencing’ people seemed something negative. Somehow it suggested getting someone to do something they didn’t want to do, potentially in an underhand way.

However, I’ve been ‘reading’ audio books on my phone whilst commuting on my bike / car, doing odd jobs around the house, and when winding down before going to sleep, and felt I would give it a go.

The book was written many years ago, and although some of the language is in some parts out-dated, the principles seem very sound. They all feel so very simple, and obvious, yet I question why I am not applying them!

The book lists ‘what this book will do to you’ – I’m not going to list them as each person will probably get different things from it. I got a feeling that I could be doing more with the potential, ability, skills and passion I have already, especially in terms of business/career and in terms of the happiness of my family.

Out of the 30 principles for handling people, making them like you, influencing them, and leadership, the ones that stood out for me most were:

  • Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain
  • Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  • Praise every improvement.

They look so simple, and obvious, but when I reflected honestly, I didn’t do the above often enough. It is tempting to correct people if they say something you know is incorrect, even if that is in public and actually wouldn’t benefit anyone by doing so, especially them. Using other people’s name when speaking with them is something I don’t do enough.

I always try and see other people’s point of view, and asking questions can often uncover what the true route cause (positive or negative) may be for a decision or action that someone has taken – which may have been different to what I expected!

Two points which have helped me with my parenting of my boys, and coaching in my fitness classes has been to praise every improvement, regardless of the size, and to start by asking questions the other person will say yes to. This has been particularly helpful when my toddler has been answering everything with the word “NO”. Asking him three consecutive questions whereby he answers “yes” seems to have a powerful impact on the tone of the conversation, and it can help him to calm down and articulate more easily what is actually frustrating or upsetting him, or what he actually wants.

Quotes

There are loads of pictures, memes, sayings or quotes online these days. Some of them really hit the mark in a specific moment, and others are good to just live by generally.

I’ve not put these in any particular order, and will credit if I can remember where I saw it, or who said it, if I can remember!

These may hit the mark for you too, let me know if they do, or if you have any you like that I’ve not mentioned!

Continue reading “Quotes”

What to do when Shark Diving is cancelled…!

My wife and I visited the wonderful country of South Africa for our honeymoon, during which I was looking forward to getting up close to one of the most fearsome predators in the world, a great white shark! However, although it was peak season, and we were in one of only two places in the world that you can dive with sharks in their own habitat (the other being Mexico), the sea conditions unfortunately resulted in the shark diving being cancelled on two consecutive days!

So, with the news that we weren’t going to be able to dive with sharks, what should we do with the already pumping adrenaline..? The answer was a no brainer considering where we were… Bloukrans Bridge Bungy, the worlds highest commercial bridge bungy, a full 216 meters above the Bloukrans river!

When arriving at the bridge there was a mist that had descended over the bridge, creating quite a spooky feel. There was a bit of a chill in the air with cold air blowing steadily along the river from the coast. After a bit of a safety briefing, including signing my life away and paying, I saw this sign, which I gave me that motivation to ignore any doubts or fears that I had and get on with it. It’s a great moto for life, not just minutes before signing up to throw yourself off a bridge with a thick elastic band wrapped around your ankles!

Then myself and a small group of others walked along a walkway under the road bridge, which appeared to be constructed of a thick version of chicken wire… not for the faint hearted! As we approached the platform, the music was getting louder and louder..

Once in the middle of the bridge, the music and atmosphere was great! The staff were buzzing with huge smiles and full of energy.. Occasionally the sound of the music was surpassed by the vibrations of a HGV driving over the bridge (which felt more like an a380 taking off!). Following another safety briefing, we had our harness’ put on and put into a holding area, where we had full view of the group ahead jumping off one by one, and then seeing them coming back up, with a huge grin on their (sometimes very pale) face!

At this point, I just wanted to get on with it, get to the front, clipped in and go for it! The wait was making my heart beat faster and faster! I had my go pro [add link] attached to my arm, all set for the jump, and then it was my time…

After being clipped in, told to walk to the edge and jump forward head first (as if to dive into a swimming pool), there was a countdown of 3, 2, 1… bungy!

As you can see (and hear) from the video, the wind took my breath away. For some reason that was the bit that shocked me the most. I felt as though I couldn’t get any air into my mouth and had a short moment of panic. However once I got my breath I found the experience amazing! It was over in seconds, and if you are wondering, it didn’t hurt/jar my back or my neck, and I didn’t think the rope would tear or anything like that.

After the jump, one of the staff came down on a different line, turned me upright and winched me back up onto the platform on the bridge, along the walkway and back to my relieved wife who was glad to see me back on safe ground!

I was disappointed to not dive with sharks during our time at South Africa (and it remains on my bucket list to do one day) but delighted that it resulted in me enjoying this amazing experience! Awesome experience which I would highly recommend to anyone driving along the garden route, or visiting South Africa in general!