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June 2009

SOME AUTHORS SAY IT ...

One thing that never fails to surprise me is the power of words, especially in the hands of a good author. They sum it up - say it all - in one deft turn of phrase, and that can be so motivating, even when the message itself has nothing to do with motivation. I guess the essence of the superb phrase or quotation is that in some way it enables one to see the 'thing as it is' - we glimpse reality so to speak. Part of that too might well be Pope's observation: 'what oft was thought but never so well expressed' - a sense of recognition that they have helped us to.

So the first question might be who are those favourite authors for you? Which special writers resonate in your mind? Speak truths, perhaps, too subtle, too bold for others to utter? Which writers speak to your soul? There are in this category many well known and famous writers and speakers - ranging from William Shakespeare (who is quintessentially quotable) to great religious leaders and teachers.

And then for each of us there may be the more obscure writers - the forgotten ones. Well known, may be, once upon a time, but now their fashion is ended, and they exist in some marginal footnote somewhere.

One of my favourite's in this latter category is the prolific author GK Chesterton, perhaps best remembered today for his Father Brown series of detective books. In fact GKC was one of the pioneers of this whole genre in the same way we think now of JRR Tolkien pioneering the fantasy genre. Strange to think there was a time when detective fiction, and fantasy fiction, did not exist. But GK Chesterton was much more than just a detective fiction writer.

He had a brilliant and incisive mind that could superbly turn a phrase or two. My all time favourite of his is: "the difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to be credible". What an astonishing wake-up call to re-examine the world, and to see the wonders and the absurdities that are really going on. If someone, for example, had written a fictional book that had as its heroes a group of senior bankers who were utterly unqualified to do their work, and had no concept of risk, the book would have been deemed unrealistic; if someone had dared write a fictional work on the workings of Parliament and included the extent of the expenses claimed by our Members of Parliament, they would have been judged extreme and delusional - or worse, negative and cynical.

In short, GKC's expressions invites us to understand that life is so unpredictable, so bizarre, that its outcomes are far more extreme than we could imagine, or that could be envisioned in John Lennon's pithy remark: "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans".

As we watch the outpouring on the death of Michael Jackson, and see people on our TV screens claiming now that 'music has died', we do well to remember GKC's other great quotation - "the truth is the modern world has had a mental breakdown".


WHAT TO DO IN TOUGH TIMES

I was thinking about all the gloom and doom of the last 3 or 4 months . One amazing thing piled on another. How quickly we have forgotten the appalling guilt of the Bankers; surely because we have discovered the corruption of the politicians - one sickening, gut-wrenching list of betrayals after another.

 

There is an interesting blog on the Guardian - www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree - about why we are so angry with Gordon Brown: basically, we seeking revenge on a Government that ‘can no longer insulate us from reality’. In effect, the chickens are coming home to roost, and we can no longer sustain the life style we have become accustomed to. Furious, we seek a victim to blame.

 

There may be some truth in this argument, but whatever is happening on the macro-economic and macro-political stage it is vital not to get caught up in blame and hand-wringing, or what I like to think of as victimhood. The question really is: what is the best thing to do in tough times? What, in fact, would be most motivating?

 

Of course, if you know our Motivational Maps product you will know that we are all individuals and have our own profiles, but that caveat aside I think there is one central thing we should focus to break the fog-lock that this crisis is producing.

 

My wife and I have spent the last three months or so re-strategising our business, and therefore our goals and objectives. And this is wonderfully therapeutic. To look again, only more carefully, at the assumptions that one has been living and trading on, and to fundamentally review the fun-index – namely, am I really having fun doing all this stuff or have I lost the real plot of my life?

 

The real plot? Yes, the plot that says I don’t die with my music still inside me simply because I am more concerned with staying alive rather than living.

 

On that basis, although change is hard, breaking customs and habits is difficult, the period in question has been particularly exhilarating. What, then, do you need to do to rejuvenate yourself? How will you re-calibrate your career and life? What steps do you have to plan and start implementing now?

 

For myself and my business a number of issues are really clear: we need to focus on attracting new Business Practitioners to our organisation, and really flagging up the benefits (including financial ones) of licensing with us. And I personally need to get off my b*t and write that definitive book on motivation that I have long contemplated. Just in expressing it, I feel galvanised – so you too: get re-strategised, and now!

 

James Sale