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’…

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If You Were Water

How do you react to someone walking into the room seething with anger? Or in fact how do you react to other equally negative situations?

A) Are you reactive by giving them control of how you feel and your state of mind?

B) Or are you proactive by choosing how you react, instead of simply responding to others?

Not easy I know but perhaps a more positive and constructive way forward. You may know the following quote which first inspired me when I saw it on a Sinead O’Connor album – it turns out to be called the Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr…

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.

This always makes me think of the ‘founder’ of Taosim, Lao Tzu, who talked about the story of the water and the rock which demonstrates that water needs to get past the rock but it doesn’t smash its way through it like an angry person would regardless of any damage it may cause, it simply goes round the rock. Without damage and you could argue that it does so with consideration as it leaves the rock to do its rock ‘thing’. It still manages to get past. Both water and rock are happy.

In Taoism, this is called ‘Wu Wei’ which means something like Effortless Action – somebody once described it as ‘getting stuff done without doing stuff’.

So in potentially challenging situations, think of what you could achieve if you were the water…

If you want to find out more about Taoism and ‘Wu Wei’, I’d suggest reading:

– ‘The Tao Of Pooh’ by Benjamin Hoff
– the ‘Tao Te Ching’ by Lao Tzu
the Bean Curd Boxer blog