the waiting room



For a long time it seemed to me that my life was about to begin.

But there was always something that needed to happen first, before it could begin.  Something that needed to be finished.  Something that needed to be done.  Something that needed to happen.  THEN, my life would begin.

Eventually it dawned on me that these ‘somethings’ were my life.  That I had been living my whole frickin life in the waiting room … just waiting:
… for an email to come
… for the pain to go
… for an increase in pay
… for a shorter work day
… for Friday night
… for the time to be right
… for holidays
… for better days.

“NO, that’s not for me!” I shouted as I burst out of the waiting room and exploded into action.



Inspired by Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go

the itch you can’t ignore



Life comes in two flavours – the fixed, and the variable.

Most of the people I meet prefer ‘fixed’ over ‘variable’. They want a world that’s safe and secure. They want certainty over doubt. They are dead set on building a world and a future they can count on. And they have a plan to get them there.

At the same time – and in spite of their preference for things ‘fixed’ – they have a constant, nagging itch for the taste of something ‘variable’. The itch to take a risk. The itch to test, to prod, to dare, to try.

And then, like all itches, it stops itching, and is forgotten. And so it sits in the background of their lives, like an annoying pebble-in-the-shoe that pops up every now and then.

Unless they scratch the itch. Flare it up, make it even more itchy. But no, that never happens. And that’s because they have all been taught not to scratch their itch. At school. At home. By their parents. By their friends. “Stop scratching that itch Richard, you’ll just make it worse.”

In this way they have been fed a diet of ‘fixed’ food, off a menu that offers predictability; staying focused; being in control; playing it safe; lying low; avoiding danger; being reasonable; always having a plan; making it safely to death.

The brainwashing is subtle. It doesn’t change their basic need for safety. Instead it just uses that need to convince them that the comfort zone is the place where they need to live their lives. After all, “That’s what sensible people like you do”.

And yet, there is still that part in them that itches to climb trees, to leap about, to shout out, to throw the dice, to take it to the limit. YOLO!

For some the itch will become so overwhelming that it will dominate their days, and ask them put your soul on the line. And if that’s you, it is entirely possible that there won’t be a massive standing ovation for you at the end of today.

That’s okay. There’s still tomorrow.

And at least you lived


the top five regrets of the dying













Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

She writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives. And when questioned about any regrets they had, or anything they would do differently, the same themes popped up again and again and again.

Here are the top five regrets of the dying:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. This came from every male patient. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Many people had developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. Many people had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits, while they longed to laugh lots and just be silly.

What’s your biggest regret so far?
And what are going to do to change it?


mad world



For me, the most ironic token of that moment in history [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads, ‘We came in peace for all Mankind.’ As the United States was dropping seven and a half megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.

― Carl Sagan

what’s your 4 minute mile?

Bannister.Mile. Times negs 146590 -146596 Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, CBE (born 23 March 1929) is an English former athlete, doctor and academic, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile. This was finally achieved on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing. When the announcer declared "The time was three...", the cheers of the crowd drowned-out the details of the result, which was 3 min 59.4 sec. RogerBannisterWorldRecord - Original image used in 1954 as a tight crop on page 8 of The Times on 07/05/54

For many years it was widely believed to be impossible for a human being to run a mile in under four minutes. The record for the mile had sat at 4 minutes 1.4 seconds for 10 years, and many experts and elite mile runners proclaimed that human performance had reached saturation point, and it was impossible for human beings to break the four minute barrier.

And yet, on a windy spring day in May 1954, Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.

Then, 56 days later John Landy ran the four minute mile in 3 minutes and 57.9 seconds. Within twelve months five other runners had run sub four minute miles. Within three years sixteen other runners had also cracked the four minute mile barrier. Today over 1500 people have run a sub four minute mile, with the world record the record sitting at 3 minutes 43.13 seconds.

So what happened in 1954? Was there a sudden leap in human evolution? Performance enhancing drugs? Or was it the change in thinking that made the difference?

The only barrier to the sub four minute mile was the belief in people’s minds that it was impossible to run a sub four minute mile. Our beliefs have power over us because we treat them as though they are  true. Our beliefs either limit or expand our world as they influence what we attempt to do, what we don’t attempt to do, how we react to situations, and what’s possible [or impossible] for us.

Bannister had shown that breaking the four minute mile was possible. If he had accepted that the four minute mile was a physical limitation, he would never had tried to break it. In the same way, many of the barriers that hold us back from possibility exist only in our minds.

What’s the “sub four minute mile” barrier in your life?


the greatest lesson I ever learnt at school



When I was 11 our whole class year sat a General Knowledge test. They asked us the usual questions about people, politics, news, sport, and current affairs.  It was the last question that took us all by surprise: “What is the name of the lady who cleans the school?”

I think we all thought it was a bit of a joke question.  We all knew the cleaning lady — we saw her every day.  She was short, wore a head scarf and was in her 30s.  But none of us actually knew her name.  And so I handed in my test leaving the last question blank.  As we walked out of the classroom one of my friends asked our teacher if the last question would count toward our mark.

“Absolutely,” said our teacher.  “You will meet many people in your life.  All are equally significant.  Every one of them deserves your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson.  I learned her name was Dorothy.  And it’s shaped the way I relate to everyone ever since.



RUOK? Day is today!

RUOKDay is today.

Started by Gavin Larkin, RUOK? Day is a reminder to all of us to ask someone we know who might be struggling with life, if they are OK?

While RUOK? Day is a once a year event, asking someone if they are OK is not — it’s something we can and should do every day.

To me RUOK? speaks to the power in each of us. When you understand that what most people really, really want is simply to feel good about themselves, and when you realize that with just a few well-chosen words [e.g. RUOK?] you can help virtually anyone on the planet instantly achieve this, you begin to realize just how simple life is, and how powerful you are.

Thanks Gavin, and thanks to all of you who show your care by asking the question ‘RUOK?’


the day I started changing the world

When I was young I always wanted to change the world.
When I found it was too difficult to change the world, I tried to change my friends.
When I found it was too difficult to change my friends, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an older guy, I realised that the ONLY thing I can change is myself.
And the day I realised that I did start changing the world.
Rock On!