Sunday, 28 April 2013

Why am I such an idiot?

It doesn't take a genius to know the answer.

I'm a bit of a late starter. At 38 years old I'm only just beginning to realise what I'm good at and what I'm never going to master.

From the age of 21 I've been striving to work out what was going to set me apart from everyone else. And while I thought about it everyone else seemed to be getting on with it.

Friends became successful traders in the London Stock Exchange. Others became wealthy sales people. Others opted for motherhood with such a clear view of their future.

I dawdled. I wandered along. Chip firmly wedged on my shoulder.

I still get frustrated seeing people of no age at all reach great success quickly and wonder how the hell they have the confidence and clarity of thought to do it.

But I also take comfort from some little known facts about the most famous genius of all time - Albert Einstein.

It turns out he didn't speak a word until he was four year old and wasn't fluent until he was nine. One of his maths teachers thought he was a lazy dog. Yet he went on to discover e = mc2. And that apples fall on your head if you spend too much time in orchards. Or was that Isaac Newton? Anyway I digress.

I've eventually realised that what makes me different, note not better, is how I think.

I come up with ideas. I solve problems. I've actually known this for years. In fact I was first made aware of it on a management training course 13 years ago when I worked at Green Flag.

But my creativity of thought was never harnessed. So it is only relatively recently that I've been able to find a role at work where what I'm good at is celebrated rather than merely seen as disruptive.

Having spent years trying to work out what strategy was all about, I can't help now but think strategically.

I simplify solutions and get frustrated that other people keep making things complicated all the time. But I also know my limitations.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.

Not my words those. That's what Albert once said.

He also said the secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. Duly noted.

And that if we knew what it was we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?


He was a smart old chap Einstein wasn't he? Wish I'd listened to him a bit earlier.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

So much for blogging every day

The story of this blog is the story of my life. An initial burst of enthusiasm, which then slowly peters out.

Far from blogging every day I haven't blogged for nearly three weeks.

Granted in those three weeks I've travelled to and from America with all the jet lag that entails. And my four year old has decided to have one of those periods that children have where she insists on waking up every night. It is then a battle of wills as to who gives in first. She is strong willed I'll give her that. The result is I haven't had seven hours consecutive sleep in months.

The last time this happened was when we only had one child. Our first born didn't sleep through the night more than two nights running in her first two and a half years on this here earth.

This period coincided with my least productive two years in my job. I was angry and frustrated with my lot. And couldn't understand why no-one else could see what I could see.

Well guess what? That's how I feel again. Are the two related? Or is it merely coincidental?

I'm more mature now and can at least recognise my emotions before letting fly with a snotty email.

Reading 'How to win friends and influence people' has certainly played a positive part. It reminds me to find the positive before jumping to the negative.

I'm not right all of the time. An obvious thing to say. But we're all laden down with our own self importance. 

On Friday I also re-learned an important lesson. Someone once said do something every day that scares you. Like my blogging I tend to be less frequent than that. Anyway I took the plunge and presented the Drive programme on BCB. So rather than merely sitting in the studio while someone else does all the hard work, I was in charge of the knobs and faders.

Having avoided doing it for 18 months I'm now frustrated with myself for not having the balls to do it earlier. I had to be more or less forced to do it as my co-presenter was away and I was the next most experienced option. 

Reminded me of playing football for the cub scouts all those years ago. My dad more or less dragging me along. Then I was hooked for the next ten years going on to captain my local team.

So what great wisdom do I derive from this sorry tale?

Sleep is good. I'm a coward. And I'll write blogs when I bloody well want to.

I feel better already. By the way the car has no relevance to this post other than to say I'd like to drive one of these one day.