The Fisherman and Businessman

Fisherman and Business Man\r\n\r\nA businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the Businessman complimented the Fisherman on the quality of his fish.\r\n\r\n“How long did it take you to catch them?” the Businessman casually asked.\r\n\r\n“Oh, a few hours,” the Fisherman replied.\r\n\r\n“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the Businessman then asked.\r\n\r\nThe Fisherman warmly replied, “With this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”\r\n\r\nThe Businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”\r\n\r\nResponding with a smile, the Fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”\r\n\r\nThe Businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”\r\n\r\nProud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise.”\r\n\r\nHaving never thought of such things, the Fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”\r\n\r\nAfter a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”\r\n\r\n“And then what, señor?” asked the Fisherman.\r\n\r\n“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the Businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”\r\n\r\n“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the young Fisherman in disbelief.\r\n\r\nThe Businessman boasted, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”

Motivation doesn’t come in a Box

There are a lot of theories about how we get motivated and what motivates us.  Often these theories contradict each other and there is a strong debate on whether others can motivate us at all.\r\n\r\nFriends\r\n\r\nI for one, strongly believe that other people can motivate us.  That said, I also know it is up to me to act on that motivation.  Being motivated is one thing – acting on it is vital!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI am blessed with many friends and some of my closest friends are my biggest source of motivation and inspiration. I have friends that will listen to my woes and worries as well my aspirations and plans for the future.\r\n\r\nThe great thing about having such an awesome group of friends is that I get an excellent balance of inputs.  Not one of them has ever told I can’t do anything and they all have their own way of inputting.\r\n\r\nThe Listeners\r\n\r\nSometimes when I have a problem I am trying to work out I will chat with these friends.  They have a great skill in listening, asking questions and rarely making suggestions.  It’s a great way to work out the solution and potential outcome.\r\n\r\nI guess these friends know me well enough. They know I have the ability to work out the solution without them telling me what they think.  They know that deep down I already know the answer.\r\n\r\nThe Supporters\r\n\r\nThese friends chat with me about what I am doing, what I want to be doing, where I want to be and how I get there. Their never ending support and constant enthusiasm for my life and my work keeps me going.  They know what makes me tick and they have my back.\r\n\r\nThe Hole Kickers\r\n\r\nThese people are the ones who know what I need to do as well as I do.  They know me well enough that they can say something that will provoke a reaction. A positive reaction.\r\n\r\nA good friend called me one evening and asked if I was heading to a networking event the next day.  I had a flu at that time but after some chat I agreed I would “wake up better” and go.  I did wake up but was still feeling rough, the text I received shortly after read “Are you up yet lazy?”.\r\n\r\nThat was enough for me. No way was I going to allow myself to be called Lazy.  I got showered, dressed, drove to Belfast and had an awesome day networking and learning!\r\n\r\nThe Young ones\r\n\r\nI have many friends and family with young children, I have my nieces and nephew, my God Daughter and her big sister (children of two of my closest friends).  Spending time with the young ones is like a breath of fresh air.  I switch off from work completely and become totally submerged in laughing and playing.\r\n\r\nIt’s a joy and privilege to see these kids growing up and to share some of their time.\r\n\r\nThe Hard Hitters\r\n\r\nProbably the hardest hitter I know is my Dad.  Always there to tell me to wise up, get busy or sort something out.  No real pleasantries in this one and I have to admit I don’t always follow his advice – maybe someday I will learn that I should!\r\n\r\nI really hope that my friends know who they are when reading this – thank you all!\r\n\r\nMy piece of advice for today is to surround yourself with people like these.  With it will come motivation, inspiration and love, then it’s up to you to act on it and go get what you want!\r\n\r\n

Question: Who motivates you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Amusing ourselves to death!

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Sometimes I like to shut off from the world of Social Media, indeed I “managed” 6 whole weeks of no Facebook one time.  There are loads of reasons why and anyone that has ever closed their account will no doubt have had similar reasons, even if the scenarios are different.

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Orwell v Huxley

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\r\n\r\nThe main reason for me is that I get fed up with myself for spending so much time online – even though I enjoy catching up with friends, learning new things, etc.  But when you are in a room with other people and everyone has their head stuck to their phones I feel despair.  Despair that we are losing our social skills, that we don’t communicate in person any more and we no longer make idle chat with a stranger while waiting at the bus stop or at the check out desk in our local shop.  It’s frightening!\r\n\r\nMy 6 weeks abstinence was a couple of months after I stumbled upon a book by Neil Postman called Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.  I was familiar with 1984 by George Orwell but I have to admit I hadn’t heard of Aldous Huxley and his book Brave New World.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBelow are some quotes from it and I hope you find them as thought provoking as I did…\r\n

“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.\r\n\r\nBut we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.\r\n\r\nWhat Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

\r\nThis book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”\r\n

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”

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“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”

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“The television commercial is not at all about the character of products to be consumed. It is about the character of the consumers of products. ”

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“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.”

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“For in the end, he was trying to tell us what afflicted the people in ‘Brave New World’ was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.”

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“Parents embraced “Sesame Street” for several reasons, among them that it assuaged their guilt over the fact that they could not or would not restrict their children’s access to television. “Sesame Street” appeared to justify allowing a four- or five-year-old to sit transfixed in front of a television screen for unnatural periods of time. Parents were eager to hope that television could teach their children something other than which breakfast cereal has the most crackle. At the same time, “Sesame Street” relieved them of the responsibility of teaching their pre-school children how to read—no small matter in a culture where children are apt to be considered a nuisance…. We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Which is to say, we now know that “Sesame Street” undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents.”

\r\nThere are many other great quotes and prophecies within the book.  Some of it I find harrowing and frightening especially if you open your eyes to the world we live in to today.  What scares me more is wondering what our world will look like next year and the years that follow.\r\n\r\nKeep it simple – pay attention to your life and make sure you don’t regret time spent.\r\n\r\n

How to Write Your Manifesto

Writing your personal Manifesto is a great way to get to know yourself.  Particularly if you use the method that I created and used for my Manifesto.  It really doesn’t take very long to do it and it is something that can change over time.  It will change over time.  Just like you.\r\n\r\nWriting a Manifesto\r\n\r\nFirst of all, I would encourage you to have a look at my Manifesto.  You can also read about what each part means to me and how I incorporate it into my life here.\r\n\r\nThat should give you a good enough start on knowing what a personal Manifesto is.  For me it is my rules for life.  My main rules any way.  These are the rules that I have learned, experienced and developed.  They are how I operate. They guide my life and they are personal to me.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAt this stage you may wonder why I share them if they are personal to me… The answer is simple.  When I was creating my Mission Statement and my Manifesto I learned a few things about myself.  And we can all do with learning more about ourselves.  I was reminded about what is important to me, what keeps me sane in a sometimes insane world and what I should be doing more (or less) of to give me the sort of life that I would like to have.\r\n\r\nThat life, is pretty much, a happy life. If I am happy, what else do I need?\r\n\r\nAnyway, how did I write my Manifesto?\r\n\r\nIt was simple really.  I sat at my desk (which was clear of clutter – that’s important for me), I closed my eyes and I started to think about what things are important to me. What makes me happy.  What makes me sad.  What I value.\r\n\r\nAfter a few minutes I started to write a list and I didn’t stop writing until my mind went blank.  I didn’t explain or analyse any item on the list.  I just let the ideas flow. When my mind went blank I stopped writing.\r\n\r\nThen I started to think about what my purpose in life is.  Both in terms of my work and my private and social life. As morbid as it sounds, a good way to do this is to think about what you would like to hear people saying about you when you are dead.  For me it was simply a matter of thinking about how I can make a positive contribution to society.\r\n\r\nAgain, I just let the ideas flow without analysing or judging them and when the ideas stopped I put down my pen.\r\n\r\nI then listened to a song that I find relaxing, making sure not to be thinking about what I had written.  Then I thought about everything already mentioned and started to write again.\r\n\r\nWhen I ran out of items to scribble down I put the paper away and didn’t look at it again until the next day.\r\n\r\nThen I analysed it over a couple of hours.  I made notes and merged items that were similar and worked well together. Some items on my Manifesto are still fairly similar but there is enough of a difference that they deserve their own place.\r\n\r\nI then got to work explaining what each part means to me and my friend Jason Devine got to work on the graphics for me.\r\n\r\nI didn’t particularly need to write out what each part means but it is an easy way for people to understand what I mean.  The graphic that Jason did for me is brilliant. I have it framed and it sits above my desk.  I see it every day that I sit down to do some work.  I find it really inspiring and kinda cool to see what makes me tick all on one A4 poster.

Question: I hope that makes sense to you! Let me know if you have any questions. And please share your manifesto when you create it! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Spend Time by Yourself

I enjoy spending time by myself.  I am sure you have figured that out already.  For me, it is a good time to be still and reflect on what I am doing with my life. To take stock of what is going on and to appreciate it all.\r\n\r\nSolitude\r\n\r\nSometimes, I like to read and write, sometimes I like to go exploring and sometimes I like to spend an hour or two meditating.  After all, variety is the spice of life.\r\n\r\nThe important thing is to do this on a regular basis.  Unless I am away leading a retreat or a course I am able to spend time alone most days.\r\n\r\nPeople often ask me if it makes me feel lonely spending time by myself.  I never feel lonely.  When I am not alone my days are full of people or doing other things that I love.  The time I spend by myself is for me and me alone.\r\n\r\n

BACK TO MANIFESTO

Spend Time in Nature

I love to spend time in nature.  I am particularly drawn to sea.  No surprise there, Ireland has some of the most stunning coastlines in the world.\r\n\r\nIreland\r\n\r\nI love the sea so much that I set-up a company in back in 2013.  We took take people exploring along the coast; fully kitted up with wetsuits, buoyancy aids aka PFD’s and helmets.  The trips involved adventure swimming, rock scrambling and cliff jumping.  So much fun!\r\n\r\nSpending time in nature can be anywhere for me though, mountains, forests, rural countryside and beaches.  It’s all good. The air is fresh and there is so much to sea.\r\n\r\nI have my favourite places that I like to go to.  To clear the head, reconnect and recharge.  I love to find new places too and I love to share them with people.  Isn’t that what exploring is all about?\r\n\r\n

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Take Time Out

This is so important

Life is busy. We live in a world where we are expected to be busy. Being busy is often viewed as a way of measuring how successful we are. Being busy means we don’t actually take time to breathe. We stop noticing the beauty around us and within us. We are plagued by emails, social media and a need to be available 247.\r\n\r\nContemplate\r\n\r\nI was speaking to a friend today and he was telling me about being “caught in the rat race”.  I was telling him that I make a point of not being in that race.\r\n\r\nI take time out and I take it often.  I switch off my phone, turn off the internet and relax, nap, walk or meditate.  This time is all for me and for me taking time out means being alone.  It is good for my soul.\r\n\r\n

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Don’t believe everything you are told

We live in an age when there is an abundance of information at our finger tips.  Never before have we had access to so much information.  This is great but it can also be dangerous.\r\n\r\nNewspapers\r\n\r\nRemember the adage, every story has three sides.  This is true.  Media outlets have their own agendas and we have to be careful with what we read.  It is important to get as wide a picture as possible before we decide what we believe.\r\n\r\nI am not just referring to the media though.  We are subjected to so much information.  It comes at us and it comes fast.\r\n\r\nNot believing everything you are told goes hand in hand with knowing your truth.  Unless you can experience something it is impossible to know the truth of the matter.  It is someone else’s truth and their version of it.\r\n\r\n

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Do your best, all the time

Funny.  I was thinking about this and how it is such a simple rule and how it is something I have done my best to follow since I can remember.  Then I remembered, it goes way back to when I joined the Cub Scouts.  I was in the Scouting movement until I was 19 and “Do you best” was part of the Scout promise. It was something we said pretty much every week.\r\n\r\n100% effort\r\n\r\nThis is basically giving 100% to everything that you do.  Not always easy but definitely rewarding.  It takes discipline and the rewards are great.\r\n\r\nReminds me of this story\r\n\r\n

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Respect Our Planet

I am very fortunate to have spent most of my working life in the great outdoors. Of course there are times I have paperwork to do or meeting to attend but the vast majority of my work has involved being outside.  And when I am not working I love to go exploring.  Living in Ireland and travelling the world means there is lots to see.\r\n\r\nPlanet Earth\r\n\r\nThis love for the outdoors has been with me my whole life and I have yet to meet anyone who does not love beautiful scenery and fresh air.\r\n\r\nI think it is important to have permanent appreciation for the world we live in.  We all have a part to play (no matter how small) in keeping the planet as pristine as possible.\r\n\r\nI subscribe to a tree planting programme that allows people to sponsor the planting of trees.  And I am forever gathering up litter when I am out walking.  Small contributions but if we all do a little it would be great.\r\n\r\nI like to think that my biggest contribution is exposing people to the beauty of the world.  The more people that see it, the more that will change their attitudes and hopefully play a more positive role in protecting our planet.\r\n\r\n

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