Category Archives: Topical

World Mental Health Day: The key to Happiness=Resilience

Today is World Mental Health Day and there will be an abundance of information across all media reminding us of the importance of understanding, being aware and being more compassionate towards those who experience mental health illness.

But, how many of us can understand the logic of how we should look after ourselves, and how many of us are actually able to do that?  The conditioning of our outlook on life starts at a very early age, and sometimes, it’s that conditioning that gets in the way of us doing what’s right for us, and being able to understand how challenging life can be for some others.

The new proposals for better awareness of mental health issues and critical life data in schools is wonderful news, the younger we start, the better the outcome.  The real problem is that everyone knows that one, single, comment from a parent, teacher or other person of authority can skew our thinking for the rest of our lives, so how do we overcome that one?

The only solution to being able to withstand the influence of the outside world is to build resilience within ourselves, with resilience comes confidence, and with confidence comes the ability to not cave in to peer pressure, or allow someone else’s point of view to tarnish our beliefs, therefore helping us to believe that we can pull through the challenges of life.

Building resilience is another matter entirely!  Some people seem to be born with more resilience than others but it is a skill that can be learnt and practiced, you just have to want to do it!

The ability to become resilient can come from many different motivators, when Paul committed suicide, mine came from knowing my children had been through enough, and trying to give them the best lives I could, in spite of the adversity they had encountered, just wasn’t up for debate.  Prior to Paul’s death I’d been grateful for my resilience in facing up to the challenges that came with living with a man who had a plethora of mental health challenges as well as having had a difficult life up to that point as well.

Survival is another great motivator when it comes to building resilience and the day my father tried to strangle me really did help with my decision to leave home at 17 and move to London, knowing that there would never be any turning back or help available if I needed it.  I was well and truly on my own, but, I survived, and indeed, I thrived!

It doesn’t really matter what motivates you to build more resilience, you just have to want to do it, it’s a state of mind helped by a few learned strategies.  It’s a case of believing you can, and in the inimitable words of the great Henry Ford:-

I’m part of the Global Resilience Project spearheaded by Emma J Bell who is fascinated by the question of why some people are more resilient than others.  She sought out 50 people from all over the world who had encountered extreme adversity, and, not only survived, but also thrived.  I feel very humbled and honoured to be one of her 50 Thrivers and Emma has discovered the 9 secrets to building resilience and her findings will be available shortly.

In the meantime, this is the page on the MIND website that talks about building resilience, you can do it, everyone believes in you, do you believe in yourself?

Film: Kingdom of Us

Book: Unravelled

TED Talk: Why my Autistic children don’t need a cure

 

Mental Health Awareness Week: Mental Health/Physical Health-One and the same

A lot of you know that I had a heart attack eight months ago but what you may not know is that it had a drastic effect on my mental health as well.  Since then I’ve had another bout of severe ill-health physically and my heart does all sorts of weird s..t all the time so that’s been a constant source of worry.

Pippa says it so well in ‘Kingdom of Us’, sometimes we need someone else to get us the help we need.

I guess we all kind of know that physical and mental health are linked, but, do we realise exactly to what extent?  I don’t think we necessarily do but it makes total sense, if our bodies aren’t working properly it’s not easy for our brain to work properly either.

And it’s not just the worry, it’s the fact that you feel so ill, achy and lacking in energy all the time.  If every physical task feels as though you’re climbing Everest, how can you possibly be full of the joys of spring, however much you may want to?

I decided to write this because I’ve finally had some more heart tests done and saw the consultant this morning to see just how badly affected my heart was when I had the heart attack.   I went to appointment full of dread, expecting the worst and wondering if I was going to be admitted (I feel as though I get admitted every time I visit a hospital these days!).

Instead of my worst fears being realised, the doctor tells me that whilst my heart is definitely not 100%, I’m not going to keel over at any moment either!  Yes, there is damage to my heart, yes, I have too many ectopic beats and yes, I have heart disease, (heart disease is, of course, for life) but, when I asked him about exercise etc…he told me to go run a marathon if I wanted to!

I burst into tears instantly, apologising between every blub!  I realised in that instant how much the worry had been weighing me down as I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.  I feel as though I have my life back, dramatic I know, but very real.

Suddenly I have a reason to go on, suddenly I can look to the future and actually feel as though there is one, suddenly the world doesn’t look as dark.  And I know it will take a while to sink in and for my brain to adjust to being able to look forward to the future again but, it’s one hell of a feeling!

Could it be argued that I was worrying unnecessarily?  Not really, I had a severe heart attack, they call it the ‘widow maker’ as the survival rate is low and I believe if I hadn’t already been in hospital I probably wouldn’t be here now, I was lucky.  Add to that the fact that it all happened on the 10th anniversary of Paul’s suicide and that I was in surgery at the exact time he was calling the Police to tell them he was about to kill himself, it was all too weird to be real.  Also, I was readmitted a few weeks later with complications and the test results at that time didn’t look good,

All in all, I’m going to let myself off the hook for being terrified for the last 8 months and whilst my heart is still doing weird s..t as I’m writing this, at least I know that the new medication I’m starting may help to lower the number of ectopics I have and therefore help me to feel a little better.

So, I have my life back, I can plan for the future and take every step I need to in order to live a happy, healthy(ish) life. I hope to be displaying the new ‘spring in my step’ very soon!

LIVE WELL, LIVE HAPPY, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND UNDERSTAND THE INEXTRICABLE LINK BETWEEN PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH IN THIS ‘MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK’

The Mad Shanks Residence Easter Challenge

How quickly time flies, The Mad Shanks Residence Easter Challenge was yesterday, feels like only a few months ago that we had the last one!  As always, the people in attendance were given challenges to complete and be judged on before running out into the field to find 312 hidden chocolate goodies which were spread far and wide.

All went well, they had three challenges this year, first was to make six beautiful and imaginative chocolates fit for Gordon Ramsay, again I stipulated, NO turds on plates!  Secondly they had to transform a hat with bunny ears into something creative.  The ‘hats’ were pink and the ears resembled pigs rather than rabbits, probably the reason they were reduced to 50p each in Hobbycraft!

Lastly, they had to paint each others faces, this was a first for the Easter Challenge so I was waiting in eager anticipation to see what they came up with.  They had an hour per challenge, and , as always, no rules, they could do whatever they wanted, and boy, they did!

The hats turned into everything from Easter Chicks to genitalia (both male and female, I shouldn’t really have been surprised!), they were all absolutely ingenious.

The face painting featured everything from the beautiful to the astonishingly bizarre and the chocolates were all genuinely, beautifully executed and tasted delicious, all round a huge success.

Meanwhile, I hade been roaming the field creating the egg hunt, we’d started late so it was already evening when we realised two of the dogs were missing, the deadly duo of Lexie and Cody.  The ‘dog hunt’ started and after well over an hour was called off so that the egg hunt could go ahead before darkness fell.  I’m fussy about the hunt being done as soon as possible because of the risk of the local wildlife finding the treats (all wrapped in either plastic or foil) and risking their wellbeing if they eat them, wrapping and all.

We decide to incorporate the hunt with continued efforts to find the dogs who’d both been renamed with words that really are not suitable for this blog! As eleven people scatter gunned around the field searching, I sat and waited for their return, by this time I felt as though I’d done my bit and was shattered.

Fortunately Osborn found the wayward dogs a little way from home and brought them back safely and the chocolates were counted and prizes awarded to the winners of each category, a brilliant day enjoyed by all who attended.

Bearing in mind that the children now range in age from 17-26, will the tradition continue?  I really don’t know, but all the time they are as enthusiastic as they were yesterday, I will continue to organise it.  There’s no age limit on having fun you know!

Autism: 4 things I believe contribute to the tragically high Suicide rate in Autistic people

Following on from the piece we did recently for ITV News regarding Autism and suicide, I think the facts and statistics speak for themselves, 66% of people on the spectrum have contemplated suicide, that is an alarming figure.

We can all do our part in giving people a hand up

 

What we don’t yet fully understand is why the actual suicide rate is so high within the neurodivergent population, although I have a few theories of my own.

  1. Having watched my own children grow up with the challenges that autism can create, and knowing the degree of mental health difficulties they ALL face, I believe that a proportion of their struggles relate directly to the everyday challenges they have to deal with just having to understand, and be understood, in a world that they find hard to relate to.  Autism can’t be ‘seen’ so it’s very difficult for ‘neurotypical’ (I hate that word, what is ‘Neurotypical’ anyway?) people to know that they may be having difficulty in communicating.
  2. A large number of people on the spectrum also have to contend with various sensory issues, constantly.  It may be a sensitivity to sounds, smells, textures, the list is a very long one.  What most of us don’t understand is that these sensitivities are not just irritating, the offending issue actually creates very real, agonising pain.  My children have a variety of sensory challenges and I’ve witnessed them contort with pain at  various inputs that they can’t cope with.  While they are out in the wide world they have no way of controlling their environment so these problems can ambush them at any moment.
  3. Another challenge is that people on the spectrum need to know what’s going to happen next.  They visualise everything in their heads, the problems occur when the reality doesn’t match their expectations, but, when does life ever pan out exactly the way we want it to?  Most of us adapt readily to the vagaries of life, imagine not being able to do that?
  4. Another huge challenge for people on the spectrum is actually accessing the help they need.  So many conventional therapies don’t work for them so even if they manage to ask for help in the first place, the likelihood of it helping them in real terms is very slim.  Fortunately, Autistica is doing very real research with people on the spectrum to find strategies that actually help, long may they keep up the good work.

I’ve only briefly listed a few challenges above, but try for a moment to imagine living in a world where there are so many variables that you find so unmanageable that your life is lived at the highest end of anxiety at all times?  We all experience stress, unfortunately, autistic people very often experience it on a totally different level, is it any wonder then that they often feel that they can’t cope any more?

The proportion of people living in our society with neurodivergent brains is actually very high, we need to be doing a lot more to create environments that they feel comfortable with.  A quiet room in shopping centres, colleges etc…would go a long way towards offering a calm space to collect oneself before trying to continue.

Autistica are an amazing charity that fund research into ways to help people on the spectrum manage anxiety and understand their mental health challenges along with a huge amount of other very important research.  If you would like to get involved with helping them you can join their ‘DISCOVER’ network to help them work with even more people so they can gain more insight, they already have 5000 people involved but the more the better.

We shouldn’t be losing lives to suicide and so much more needs to be done to help, let’s all join the army and shout for change….

Gender Neutral: A step too far?

I’m constantly banging on about acceptance, tolerance and understanding.

I also try to have an open mind at all times, so I do hope no-one misreads this slightly controversial post!

Sadly, I was born in the era when boys were boys, girls were girls, and if you deviated from ‘the norm’ you were, at best, ostracised, and at worst, bullied, beaten and tormented!

It’s stating the obvious to declare my abhorrence at such unacceptable discrimination, but, unfortunately, it still persists in many areas within religious beliefs, communities and, more importantly, in people’s personal beliefs.

Has it already gone too far?

It will be many more generations before we reach a point of genuine love and acceptance of all people (if we ever reach that point), but the times we live in now are a very far cry from, say, 50 years ago. We continue to grow and the human race continues to learn, and long may it continue!

But we’re human beings, and we’re renowned, as a species, for taking things too far the other way, almost as a form of rebellion, and so it is becoming with gender neutralisation.

It’s great that we want to allow people to be who they are without judgement but, how far do we take it?

And nor should we!

I hear the term ‘gender neutral’ constantly now, especially from ‘parents to be’ who are declaring they want to dress their newborns in ‘gender neutral’ clothes etc…  Absolutely no problem with that as the baby won’t give a jot about what colour their nursery is or what they’re wearing as long it’s comfortable.  And the only challenge the rest of the population will have is when they first meet your offspring and have to mutter the words, “Oh isn’t….errrrrr….aren’t they beautiful!?” as they try to discern whether it’s a boy or a girl.  I’m guessing if we take ‘gender neutral’ to it’s natural conclusion the baby will just be ‘it’, we don’t want to impose either gender on them after all!

I jest, but where does it end?  What if your ‘gender neutral’ girl wants to wear pink fluffy princess dresses when she’s 3?  Or your ‘gender neutral’ boy wants to play with trucks and cars at a similar age?  Do we give girls Action Man and boys Barbies and make them play with them – or should we give them the choice to play with whichever they want?

‘Gender neutral’ wasn’t a thing when I was bringing my lot up, so I did put the girls in dresses and Osborn in rugby shirts and trousers, it didn’t occur to me to do anything else.

Osborn preferred playing with Lego and cars and the girls loved playing ‘dress up’, having tea parties, and nurturing their dolls. I had no problem with this!  Osborn mostly grew up with seven women and very few males in sight – people frequently postulated that he may become gay because of it!

Spot  the ‘Osborn’!

Herein lies one of the problems I believe. One doesn’t ‘become gay’; one either is or isn’t.  On a couple of occasions when he was very young, Osborn was subjected to the (in his mind) indignity of being put in a dress and having make up slapped on his face.  I guess with so many sisters it was inevitable that it would happen, but it hasn’t ‘turned him gay’, he is very much himself and happily heterosexual.

One’s sexual preference isn’t a choice one makes, it just is.  What concerns me slightly is that if we take the neutrality too far we’ll end up with people who worry about ‘coming out’ as being heterosexual.  Sounds far fetched?  My lot already talk about feeling slightly uneasy about admitting their sexual preferences although a couple of my girls have questioned their sexuality and worried about telling me.  But why would I care?  They’re still the same amazing people I already adore and respect and their sexual preference is right at the bottom of the list of things that I worry about.

Maybe I have a vision of the future where everyone wears baggy boiler suits and hides their gender as best they can for fear of judgement either way.  Both extremes are unacceptable, so is it time we stopped and paused for thought?  Maybe we need to take a breath and consider both sides of the coin and reach a logical, balanced approach that leaves people feeling free to be whatever they want to be.  No pushing, no leading, just acceptance of what is and who we are.

My children have each turned out to be very much their own person, in spite of dresses and long hair for the girls, and cars, Lego and short hair for Osborn.  We had boys’ toys and we had girls’ toys, and they were left to choose which they wanted to play with, the fact that the girls naturally leaned towards more traditionally girls toys didn’t bother me one iota. The fact that Osborn had no interest in wearing dresses and make-up didn’t concern me either.  I neither pushed nor led, I just let them be who they wanted to be, I have to say I’m very proud and happy with the way they all turned out.

Long live difference?  As long as it’s tempered with acceptance I say…….

My TED Talk:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xts1F-PoUNA&t=2s

Website:-

http://www.vikieshanks.com

My book, ‘Unravelled’:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unravelled-inspirational-story-journey-darkness-ebook/dp/B00L1ENC0O/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1494715845&sr=8-1

 

Autism: At last, help is at hand!

We need more help…

As the tired old saying goes, ‘If I had a pound for every time…!’

In my case, for every time an anxious parent had asked me to refer them to someone independent to get advice about their special needs child.

Help is thin on the ground, not only via the NHS but independently as well.

….and we need people like Leo who understand this!

I’m not knocking the NHS provision, nothing could be further from the truth.

They’re a committed, hard working, passionate group of people. But they simply have too many referrals on the waiting list, and far too few resources to be able to keep up.

They’re just as frustrated as you are, I can assure you of that. Their dream is to have no waiting list and to be able to help everyone who needs it.

Post diagnosis

A lot of the frustration I encounter via the Autism Support Group I run (Autism One on One), is the very real lack of support or help post diagnosis.

It’s for this very reason that I set up the group 3 years ago, at least it’s somewhere for people to come and chat, exchange ideas and meet other people in the same situation.

The children have a ball as well, they get to be themselves without judgment – and meet other people who think in similar ways.

 

But there is still a huge lack of professional support available for parents who just need to know the basics or urgently need advice about schools etc…

Someone with very real answers

Enter Leo Berry!  Some of you will have come across her via IDS and the Autism Team, if you have encountered her, you know that what Leo doesn’t know really isn’t worth knowing!

Say ‘Hello’ to Leo!

The extent of her knowledge regarding Autism is second to none and she’s the ‘go to’ person when it comes to knowing what strategies will work best in the school environment.

The sort of issues she can help with include:

  • Communication
  • Girls and autism
  • PDA
  • Sensory processing
  • Social interaction
  • Teenagers and autism
  • Understanding behaviour
  • The education system for pupils with SEND.

Leo has now founded her own organisation following her retirement from the authorities, which means WE can have her, all of us!

All of her knowledge and expertise is available and you can now reach her via her website www.autismsupported.com.  

Personally I feel a huge sense of relief and gratitude that she’s now free to help anyone who desperately needs it, and yes, of course she will need to be paid, but her knowledge and advice is priceless.

Leo will be one of the professionals now attending Autism One on One so everyone can chat to her about how she can help if they come along to the group.

Thank you for listing Autism One on One as one of your partners Leo, I feel very honoured and privileged, and on behalf of all of our members, I wish you every success with your new venture and look forward to seeing at the next meeting on the 17th May.

My TED Talk is here:-

New driving fines, and Bungee Jumping?

Is it just me or was the traffic in Coventry moving a little slower and more carefully this morning?  Maybe it was my imagination but there did seem to be a lot fewer ‘D***H***S’ around this morning.

Anyway, I didn’t meet one this morning, not a single one, all the way through Coventry to Pippa’s school near the Ricoh Arena and back.  As I was driving I was listening to my favourite morning radio guys, Ollie and Simon on Touch FM, they were discussing the new fines and whether they would make the roads safer, but all that aside for a moment, I have to say their maths is appalling! Come on guys, I listened with dismay as Simon calculated that 150% of £250 would be around £600!  150% of £250 is £375 guys, time for you both to have a calculator on standby at all times, may help you with the kids quiz as well.

These guys are going to hate me but I know a really good maths tutor!

Of course, I’m pulling your legs lads, but on a more serious note, will the new laws on using a mobile phone whilst driving and now the speeding limit fines actually help?  Simon was arguing that being on your phone doesn’t impact your speed, I have to disagree Simon!  If you’re distracted on your phone, how well can you focus on anything else, including your speed?  I listened to a few people being interviewed and I’ve done a bit of research online, mixed opinions out there it seems.  If you’re a boring git like me and you adhere to the speed limit anyway (I know they’re there for a reason) and I don’t use my mobile phone whilst I’m driving because I know that’s dangerous.  I’m guessing the people who are most pissed off are those that do both and think there’s no great fuss to be had?

So, do either of these things really matter?  I’ve heard one person today claiming that if they want to risk their life it’s their business, so that’s ok?  Errrrrrr……have these people not noticed the other cars on the road, the pedestrians, joggers, children?  If you drive like a dick you’re endangering a lot more than your own life and why do these people care so little about their life?  The media are constantly telling us about cars that have mounted the pavement and killed innocent people quietly going about their own business, very often caused by high-speed in a built up area or lack of attention being paid to their driving because they were distracted.

Many motorway crashes could be avoided if people drove properly, when my kids go out in their cars I’m not worried about their driving, they’re all very good drivers, I worry about the other idiots on the road that can cause disaster at any moment, no matter how sensible they may be.

Risking your own life is your business , please be my guest if Bungee Jumping off a cliff is your thing or base jumping from high buildings (or whatever may turn you on), but, if your antics may affect someone else (and every time you get into your car you’re in charge of a lethal weapon) do the right thing.  Respect other people’s right to live their life however they want to and don’t risk killing someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, wife, husband etc… You are not God, and your driving isn’t as amazing as you think, anything can happen at any moment that can cause you to take action and if you don’t, someone may well be killed.

Do I feel passionately about this?  Yes, I bloody well do!  In all my years of driving I’ve had countless near misses and very rarely of my own making, I respect other people and their right to be safe on the roads, I drive accordingly.

You want to risk your own life?  FINE!  But don’t risk other peoples lives…

The Mad Shanks Residence and the Annual Easter Challenge!

It’s Easter (for those of you that hadn’t noticed!), and Easter in The Mad Shanks Residence means two things, The Annual Easter Challenge and the Easter Hunt!  As our house is in 13 acres, the Easter Hunt is not as simple as some may be, but with seven children and the inevitable extra people who attend it, it can’t help but be anything other than chaos.

4 Years Ago

Over the years the children have painted ‘Easter Sheep’, made Easter Bonnets, made slightly questionable Easter chocolates, Easter bags etc….etc….  This frolic is followed by the egg hunt, at times having to keep a hat on their heads or even with their legs tied together (more for my hilarious benefit than anything else!), searching for chocolates that have been spread out over the entire field, in barns, up trees and anywhere else I can reach!

Midday tomorrow will see the mayhem start and who knows what will happen?  The kids certainly have no idea yet, and nor will they until the clock strikes 12, then it’s against the clock to complete their challenge.  I already know what they have in store of course and I’m definitely looking forward to the end result, I will report back tomorrow with photos!

HS2: A Catastrophic White Elephant That’s Trampling All Over Us (And You)

It’s happening…..

Apparently.  The ‘wonderful’ ‘much-needed’ and extremely expensive ‘White Elephant’ known as HS f*****g 2 in The Mad Shanks Residence has been given Royal Assent!

Why, is a question no-one in their correct, sane mind can seem to answer.

 

Fast or not… we don’t need it! And business people don’t need it either.

Our much-loved and incredible NHS is under so much pressure that it’s at breaking point, waiting times for operations are to increase and the wonderful people who work for the NHS are becoming disillusioned at having to do more with less and less money.

But, £50b+ for a train that goes from one station (nowhere near anywhere) to another, is, apparently, a great way to spend money that should be funding our future generations by overhauling our antiquated education system and keeping the entire nation healthy.

…..THEY SAY IT WONT HAVE ANY IMPACT ON US!

That’s just laughable.

Why am I ranting on about HS2 again?  Because we have yet another meeting looming with them which will no doubt result in the same old song from HS2 about there being nothing they can do and us reiterating, once again, that we’re caught between a rock and hard place and their house survey and valuation has been absolutely useless in moving us any further forward!

Oh yes, and according to them, the noise during construction and operation will be little more than we already experience!

Now if you’ve not been to the middle of the countryside you won’t know the silence we’re fortunate enough to be surrounded by.

We live in the middle of nowhere and can, literally, hear a pin drop outside our house at any time!  The heavy plant machinery and the high speed train that will follow, are again, apparently, silent! Incredible eh?

So much time wasted by so many people trying to fight HS2

We’re not the only people suffering with a monster that we never asked for but that we ‘just have to put up with’ according to the powers that be.

Expensive trips to London having already paid for the ‘privilege’ of petitioning the Government were a complete waste of time and money, time and money I can ill-afford.

The equivalent of weeks and months of my life have been spent researching, fighting and writing lengthy letters and petitions against something that I, and everyone else in our situation, has never asked for, but the onus is on us to present our cases.

To say that I’m pissed off would be putting it very lightly. Seven years of my life have been eaten up, both mentally and physically, by a beast that has had a huge effect on my family’s already fragile, mental health.

Do we have any course for redress?  Can we claim any compensation for distress caused?  Can we get any compensation for our lives being turned upside down by years of construction and then a sodding train running right past our door?

Any compensation for the fact that we’ve lived in absolute peace for 30 years and now that peace (the reason we moved here) will be gone forever?  NO, nothing, not until the train is operational in 20 years time so they can assess the impact it’s had on us.  Absolute bollocks!

Ah!….I’m so sorry…..I forgot one critically important thing!!!!  How could I be so dumb?!

I’m forgetting that HS2 is actually a giant ‘gravy train’ for back slapping businessmen and bureaucrats to make shed loads of money from.

The little people like us don’t mean a thing when there are such huge amounts of money to be made, it makes sense now!

Why on earth do I have any expectations that we would be treated like human beings with the right to live the peaceful life we’ve paid a fortune for over the years? Why would we expect people on whom HS2 will have no impact (everyone I’ve met involved in the project to date) to understand the distress and life changing impact it’s having?

Now I’m not anti-progress or anti-business. Not at all. But the journey time from Birmingham to London will be shortened by a whopping 10 whole minutes. The other end isn’t even going to link to Heathrow or the Channel Tunnel as per the original plans. As well as ruining miles of beautiful landscapes including protected wildlife, it’s set to use an ENORMOUS amount of electricity and is horribly environmentally unfriendly.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s only affordable for the super-rich anyway? Us normal folk won’t be hopping on it to travel to London any more quickly. This means it just won’t free up any capacity on normal trains.

There are better ways of improving the rail service. I’m not a rail expert so I don’t profess to know what they are. But the knowledge is out there.

If you want to see EVEN MORE reasons why this is a catastrophe for our country (and not just the Shanks household!) have a look here: http://stophs2.org/facts

Useless rant over.  HS2 are impervious to everything, the train will go ahead regardless and folks like us will just have to subserviently bow our heads and keep quiet…..or will we?

 

Richard Branson, “Screw it, Let’s do it!”

Keep learning

“Screw it, let’s do it!”, a tiny little book written by Richard Branson containing so many true words.  I bought it years ago in Tesco, it was one the ‘Quick Read’ series for only £1, a great investment!  I read it, read it again some months later and then it got lost in the black hole known affectionately as ‘The Mad Shanks Residence’.  Over the past few years I’ve wanted to read it again but haven’t been able to find a copy, feeling determined a couple of days ago, I looked on Amazon and ‘Bingo’, the next day my brand new copy arrived and I was clutching it in my sweaty little mitt!

I’ve just been sitting in the sun reading it (only takes about an hour) but so much wisdom squeezed into such a small book.   He talks candidly of his successes and failures, about his philosophy on life and about being passionate about what you do, he also believes that life should be fun, and I agree with him.

Enjoy what you do and the money will follow

‘My doctor says I should try to have more fun at work.’

His philosophy is that once something you do no longer feels like fun, it’s time to stop or find of way of making it fun again.  Have fun and the money will follow, rather than focusing on making money alone.  I’ve brought my children up to follow their dreams and enjoy life, it’s too short to have it any other way, and thankfully, that’s exactly what they’re doing.  They may never be rich but at least they will spend their lives doing what they love and that’s the most important thing.

Love him or not, no-one can deny that Richard Branson has lived his life to the full and created a lot of great stuff along the way.  He’s not conventional (thank goodness!) and takes well thought through, calculated risks, we could all learn a lot from him and other people like him.  Keeping an open mind and being constantly in learning mode is a valuable thing, and make sure you’re having fun!

My TED Talk:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xts1F-PoUNA