What If It Goes Right?

A friend was recently telling me about their plans for setting up their own business. They’d been thinking about it on and off for years and things were such in their life that now seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it happen. But strangely, although she was clearly passionate about this idea, all I could hear her say was ‘But what if it goes wrong?’

What if I start the business and things don’t work out. Businesses go under all the time.

But what if it goes right?

What if I go with this supplier/client and it goes wrong and they end up leaving me in the lurch?

But what if it goes right?

You get the drift.

Of course, we have to be practical and realistic with our dreams and ambitions if we want to make them happen, but how does constantly focusing on the potential negative outcomes help achieve this?

There are no guarantees of course and I do not belong to the cheesy and simplistic ‘positivity is everything’ school of thought, but from a purely practical point of view, how differently could things turn out if we focus on the positive factors of our situation? It takes just as much energy to focus on something positive as it does something negative.

And even if the result is not what we would have wanted, we would have at least spent our time more constructively wanting something good to happen as opposed to expecting something bad to happen.

I know which I would prefer. What about you?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Can What’s Missing Be Your Strength?

I have been a fan of Q (English music magazine) for many years and in the latest issue, I was reading an interview with a band called Royal Blood. Now I’m not really a rock fan but every now and again a band comes through that I really like and Royal Blood are currently and pleasantly deafening me with both their albums. But why am I talking about this band and what has the header image of a vegetarian dish got to do with this band?

Well, when I used to visit Brighton in the past, I occasionally visited a restaurant called Terre A Terre, a rather good vegetarian restaurant in the city. In the Q magazine interview with Mike Kerr, the singer/bassist with Royal Blood, mentioned that he used to work as a chef in Terre A Terre and while there he was struck by how inventive they had been with the ingredients available to them, especially when they had a supposedly necessary ingredient to many i.e. meat taken out of the equation as it had forced them to be more creative with what they had.

Royal Blood

At that time, Matt was also putting together a new band and after being inspired by his experience at Terre A Terre in creating more interesting things with ‘less’, he realised that instead of having a traditional line-up, he decided that the band would just be his mate Ben playing drums and himself playing bass and singing. He may have made the right decision as last year Royal Blood sold out shows in Europe and the US, are now friends with rock stars including Muse and Jimmy Page (from Led Zeppelin) and have been one of the most successful bands in Europe in the last 3 years since they first came on the scene.

We don’t need to do what others have done. What many see as ‘something missing’ can in fact be a strength if we choose to see it that way. A restaurant doesn’t need meat to be successful and Royal Blood don’t need a traditional rock band line-up with a guitarist. So, my question to you is:

‘do you have something ‘missing’ in your life that is or could be your strength’?

Watch Royal Blood video for ‘Figure It Out’…

Sky Full Of Morning Stars

It’s 6am on the first day of November and quite dark outside. I couldn’t sleep and so I tiptoed through the house so as not to wake Mrs Cortado and our dog Grace to go outside and get my phone which I’d left in the car. On my way back, I promptly dropped it (clearly no coffee yet having an impact) and happened to look up to see an incredible sky full of stars.

I’d never really thought about there being stars in the morning and don’t ever remember seeing them at this time of the morning, but of course one of the lovely things about living in this part of the countryside in southern Spain is that there is no light pollution and so the darkness of the sky is beautifully and very brightly illuminated by thousands of stars. And all you have to do is drop something to see it…

Just think, if I didn’t drop things, I wonder what else I’d miss noticing?

Photo by sergio souza on Unsplash
(I tried to take a picture this morning, but there’s only so much you can do with an Iphone. I much preferred this shot.)

How Bruce Lee Helped Me Get A Spanish Driving Licence

Perhaps this is something we don’t like admitting, but although we may want to get things done as soon as possible, sometimes it will just take longer. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

 

I’ve just managed to get a Spanish driving licence for a friend. It’s been a process which started a few months ago and as is the case in most places, dealing with bureaucracy can be a challenge and in Spain, perhaps more so. Either way, after several months and visits to various official administrative departments, I collected the document this morning and I’m relieved and happy, even though it perhaps took longer than it needed to.

 

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However, when faced with a potentially unfriendly beast such as government departments with some staff who lean more towards the ‘computer-says-no’ school of customer service, I have found there are are four key elements to get what you are looking for:

 

1) be prepared, do your homework and make umpteen copies

2) focus on developing a relationship with whoever can help you as opposed to having a go at who is being obstructive. Perhaps I should have known that the grumpy man in the pink trousers was not going to be the most helpful. Having said that, can you ever trust anybody in pink trousers?!

3) take a breath and be patient (this one is important)

4) take another breath and be a little bit more patient (more important than the last)

 

Bruce Lee talked about ‘being like water’ where the water in a bottle takes the shape of the bottle or whatever container it is in.

 

In this case, I had to assume the shape of the staff in the Traffic Department and ‘speak their language’. In time, it worked, but in the meantime, being like water and working together with the ‘system’ was ultimately much more productive than if I had fought against it.

This approach may not work in all situations, but I know the next time I will have to deal with Spanish bureaucracy, like Bruce Lee, I will most certainly aim to ‘be like water’…

Baby image courtesy of The Odyssey Online.
Bruce Lee image courtesy of Bloody Elbow.

 

Nothing Like A Coffee And Some Time

I’m sitting on a lovely, ever-so-slightly battered brown sofa in my favourite bar (Cafe Cyrano) in Almería, my recently adopted ‘big city’, listening to my new favourite album (‘Hey Mr Ferryman’ by Mark Eitzel) with a cortado coffee and an orange juice.

Lovely & slightly battered old sofa

I’ve just put my car in for a service. Not a big deal for most people, but not having owned a car until recently, it feels like a strangely grown up thing to be doing. I dropped the car off at 9.30am and am told it will be 3 hours, so I’ve popped into the city to mooch around and am really enjoying it as it’s not something I can really do in the village where I now live.

I’ve been walking around for a while enjoying the buzzy morning atmosphere of a working day here. As with many cities, there are lots of ‘things to do’ here, some of which I’ve done and others that I will do, but as is often the case, I find myself doing a similar thing ie ‘not very much’ to some people.

But the joy I get from simply sitting in a bar with a coffee, listening to music on headphones, writing, reading and reflecting on nothing in particular is immeasurable.

Some people these days might call this being mindful. I don’t know why doing this works for me and maybe it’s best I don’t know, so in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the positive and calming energy it gives me.

Hope you’re having a good day too…

The Lost Art Of Being Positive

What are you doing right now?
As opposed to
What are you not doing?

Are you enjoying reading a book and relaxing?
As opposed to
Wasting time when you could be being much more productive?

Are you talking to a friend about an issue you may have with them?
As opposed to
Not doing so and letting any potential issues fester?

Are you focusing on what is actually happening?
As opposed to
What could be, but may not in fact be happening?

How would you prefer to spend your time with the mental and emotional energy you have?

Would you rather focus on the positive elements of any given situation?
As opposed to
Choosing to focus on the negative?

And note, it is a choice.

What is it giving or even costing you focusing on what may go wrong as opposed to what may go right?

Have you not spent time with somebody who does that? If so, how did you feel? Inspired? Or simply much more depressed than you were before you’d seen them?

It may not be easy at times and of course, I’m not saying that we can will things to be good, but wouldn’t it be worth the effort and be better for ourselves and everybody around us to focus on what we can change as opposed to what we can’t? On what good there is or could be in a situation as opposed to what bad there is or could be?

In a world of seemingly fashionable and infinitely easy cynicism and negativity, let’s make a choice together to be brave enough to stand out from the crowd and focus on the good things or even what could just potentially be good as opposed to the negative alternative. It wouldn’t just be better for you, but for everybody around you and that would be a good place to be for all of us, wouldn’t it?

Feature image by Christian Widell/Unsplash

I’m So Bored Of Goals

I’ve always been a great believer in the power of setting goals as they really help focus your mind on where you want to be and what you want to achieve in your life. 

However recently I’ve been thinking a great deal about now. This very moment. And as each second passes, yes, we could be one step closer to our goals, but achieving that is in the future and not now, so in truth we are also losing opportunities to live now, where we are physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically.

We cannot control the past as it’s been and gone and although our society seems transfixed on living and achieving things in our futures, it hasn’t happened yet and we have limited control over it. What is happening now, at this very moment, is surely more important than preparing for a tomorrow that in truth may never arrive.

Mrs Away From The Noise and I recently got a dog (Grace) and it has been a tremendous learning curve, as well as being fun, however one of the things I’ve noticed most about Grace is how in the moment she is. Nothing exists beyond now. It’s a wisdom which pets and children instinctively share and is something I’m quite envious of at times.

Clearly, there is a time and place for goals in our lives, but I just wanted to highlight the importance of being aware of and enjoying who we are, who we are with and what we are doing right now. While we still have the chance…

Feature image by Cengizahn Konuş/Unsplash
Image of Grace below by Mrs Away From The Noise

Grace Standing (1)

Grace being wise… and just a bit cute…