The Imperfect Pursuit of Perfection

The Imperfect Pursuit of Perfection

Life, it seems, has become an endless pursuit of perfection. The perfect partner, the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect face. 

Except, of course, it’s never enough. No matter what we achieve, we keep redefining what we mean by perfection. Yet I’d argue that when we define perfection, we’re instead allowing ourselves to be defined by how we want to be seen by others.

This is certainly true of celebrities. The rock stars, film icons and sporting heroes who occupy the unrelenting attention of the world’s media live in a strange and terrifying alternate reality in which they are presented with an image of themselves and experience the suffocating pressure of trying to live up to it.

A life of celebrity can be almost Orwellian, where the definition of self can become so blurred that the person in the spotlight in turn becomes convinced that the image they see on the news, in the papers and on film is actually who they are or should become.

Continue reading…

Have We Forgotten How To Be Cool?

Have We Forgotten How To Be Cool?

Have we forgotten how to be cool?  And no, I’m not talking about being able to wear a beard, an ear stud and a mandigan all at the same time without appearing to be the unsuspecting victim of some sort of haute couture drive-by shooting.

I’m talking about the ability to hide razor-sharp elbows behind a winning smile and effortless charm and appear sufficiently interested to be engaging, yet aloof enough to not be threatening.

Think Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Cooler King cool.

The reason I’m banging on about this comes hot on the heels of a conversation with a good friend of mine after we’d both been on the receiving end of a particularly brutal hard-sell.  

Continue reading…

The Agony & The Ecstasy Of Ageing

The Agony & The Ecstasy Of Ageing

If he were still around, my Dad would have been in his mid-Seventies now.

The eldest surviving child born at the outbreak of the Second World War into a dirt poor Liverpudlian family.  Four babies died of eight siblings.  My father had the unenviable challenge of being a sensitive lad growing up in harsh times..

He grew up in an extremely volatile environment where deprivation was rife, prospects scant and food scarcer. He learned early that the curse of asthma brought its own blessing with a decent meal on those occasions when he had to be hospitalised and that in good health a life of petty crime could mean the difference between eating or not.

Some would say he was a bad lad. Others, perhaps more kindly, that necessity drove him to live off his wits and take the opportunities that presented themselves, no matter how unpalatable.

Continue reading…

The Problem With Getting Swept Off Your Feet (Is That You Can Land Up On Your Head)

The Problem With Getting Swept Off Your Feet (Is That You Can Land Up On Your Head)

I’ve come to realise that we’re all living with a terrible affliction, a curse of the modern age that infects almost every walk of life. It’s called The Lure Of The Instant. In the words of the immortal Freddie Mercury, we want it all … and we want it now.

If it isn’t delivered today, we’re not interested. We want music now. Books now. Films now. Our favourite TV shows now. Download speeds must be superfast, fast food faster and a quick buck easier to make.

The days when we sent our photos off to Boots and waited a week for them to come back seem almost prehistoric. Getting online through a dial-up connection that took ten minutes to deliver the world to our screen ridiculous. Using mail order to get a CD delivered preposterous (and what the hell is a CD anyway, right?)

And this malaise, this creeping and often malevolent virus also contaminates our romantic lives. Think not? Two words: speed dating.

Continue reading…

You Don’t Throw Away A Mercedes Because It’s Got A Scratch

You Don't Throw Away A Mercedes Because It's Got A Scratch

Everywhere we look we see things that are supposed to make us prettier, hotter, thinner, richer, smarter, more popular.  Advertising feeds off the very premise ‘you are not enough, but with this you could be’.

The voracious rise of social media has only exacerbated this – the relentless daily bombardment of glossy perfectionism supported by the current trend of wholly transparent captioning.   Pretence: “Guys, look at this beautiful ocean!” Subtext: “Check out my bikini body! I’ve worked sooooo hard to look this supreme!’

And then there are the nauseating hashtags that even some of the most intelligent of celebrities do not appear to be immune to: #sugarfreediet #eatclean #beachbodyready #nodaysoff. For many, Instagram has become, I suspect, an exhausting and relentless life-long competition. It’s the ultimate example of Keeping Up With The Joneses.

Continue reading…

The Superfine Art Of Ignoring (& How To Master It)

The Superfine Art Of Ignoring (& How To Master It)

Life is busy and crowded.   Constant messages, advertisements, texts, emails, problems, phone calls, things to learn, another social media platform, the endless tyranny of the to-do list, work, relationships – it can all get rather ‘shouty’ and lead to a lack of perspective and serious overwhelm.   Your mind can whirl and lose it’s ability to switch off.   This ‘loud mind’ can cause insomnia, stress and a distorted perspective and, if left unchecked for long enough, manifest as persistent anxiety and burnout.

Not only does ‘living in overwhelm & distraction’ disrupt our daily wellbeing but it also seriously hinders our chances of success.   It’s no secret that the key to success is focus.  If we are snarled up in a maelstrom of insignificant, useless ‘busyness’ and continual fire-fighting it hampers, or at the very least slows down and limits, our chances of fully realising our dreams.

Continue reading…


A Word On Clarity….

A Word On Clarity....

Without clarity in our lives we tend to drift around like rudderless ships. One of the keys to finding clarity in our life is listening to our intuition and if we don’t, we will be buffeted around by the winds of others wills and desires. At best we will end up feeling somewhat dissatisfied, at worst deeply resentful. In truth it is your right to look inside yourself for answers. We’re defining intuition here as a potent form of inner wisdom, not mediated by the intellect or logical conscious mind. Intuition is accessible to us all, and it’s a still, small voice inside. I think of intuition as an unflinching truth-teller committed to our well-being.

So if we all have it, why do some of us struggle so incessantly with trusting ourselves?

Well, simply because we are not taught to, we are often taught by our caregivers to trust others above ourselves and this reinforced by others around us as children, such as teachers or other figures of authority in regular proximity. If the subconscious mind, which simply doesn’t understand time, has learnt this at an early age then it continues playing out the unhelpful belief system that ‘others know best’. This combined with fear, external pressure or low self-esteem can seriously get in the way and prevent you from listening to, and most importantly acting upon, your gut feelings.

Continue reading…


If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

In the build up to New Year, all the changes we want to make can feel exciting.  But when it actually arrives, those resolutions can feel more than a little daunting to broach. Where do we start to begin tackling all – or even some – of those unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving that we really are so eager to transform?   

This can be especially daunting if we have a previous history of dumping resolutions on the scrap-heap before the month is even out.

When we see this happening we have a tendency to get heavy with the self-reproach, which of course never helps anyone.  Whatever we beat ourselves up for doing – or not doing – we often continue to do – or not do – more of that very same thing.   Guilt unfortunately seeks punishment.

Continue reading…


What’s Your Subconscious Credit Rating?

What's Your Subconscious Credit Rating?

Your relationship with money is one of the oldest relationships you will have in your lifetime, so it stands to good reason that your money beliefs may well be outdated.  In essence, many of our beliefs about money were formed in childhood before we even had any!

This is no problem if we were born into a household with a healthy relationship to money, but adult life can become a financial snake pit if you weren’t!

Many of our beliefs around money are inherited from our parents, or those in our immediate sphere during childhood. Our conscious, rational mind doesn’t develop until around the age of 9, up until this point our subconscious is in control. This means we are highly impressionable to all around us and we often take what is told to us and absorb it as the ‘truth’.

Consciously we all want to have a good relationship with money – as anything but that will often create a struggle – however what we are creating on a subconscious level in our lives can be a different experience on a day-to-day basis.

Continue reading…

What’s Your Definition Of Power?

What's Your Definition Of Power?

Power is often a misrepresented word. A powerful person is usually defined as someone with money and status who can exert his will and control over others; considered smart, strong, lucky and perhaps more than a little ruthless.

But you can think of Power in two ways: Positional Power & Personal Power.

Positional Power is the authority you wield by virtue of position in an organisation’s structure and hierarchy.

This notion of power is more about what you ‘do’ rather than who you ‘are’. And it’s much more about your perceived power over others than the power you have over yourself.

Personally I’m much more interested in the concept of ‘Personal Power’, which I consider as power over yourself, your actions, your thoughts and your responses.

Continue reading…


Additional Credits

Video by Weeks360.

Photography by Liz Bishop Photography.

Production by Mark Norman at Little Joe Media and Joanne Brooks.

Hair by Jonny Albutt.

Make up by Olly Fisk and Nabeel Hussain.