How to overcome cyberbullying

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Another post by the fantastic Lucy Rose this week. Thank you, Lucy, for allowing me to share this.

Cyberbullying has become a huge global issue now that people are spending more and more time online, and across multiple different social media platforms. There is no doubt that social media has a great responsibility when it comes to safeguarding users from harm, but this can be hard to manage without breaching someone’s privacy.

There are however certain steps that can be taken online to put a stop to cyberbullying, and it’s important that anyone who thinks that they may be a victim of cyberbullying, seeks support and advice in order to take action and put a stop to it rather than suffer in silence. Research shows that only 38% of young peopleare willing to admit it to their parents. So this goes to show that there is still work to do in order to break the stigma and humiliation around it and to educate people on the steps to take if they think they may be a victim of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying can affect anyone

Cyberbullying can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender hobbies or occupation, and it can affect people to different degrees of severity. Cyberbullying can be defined as “the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody”. It can be very damaging to someone’s self-esteem and overall mental health, so it is important that people know how to deal with and combat cyberbullying if they think that they are being targeted.

Don’t suffer in silence

The first thing that someone should do if they think they are being targeted is to talk about it. Whether it be a friend or family member, discussing it will help to lessen the burden and enable the victim to seek much needed support and advice. If the victim is a young person of school age, it should definitely be flagged up with the schools safeguarding team so that they are aware of it and can offer support and take steps to put a stop to it. If the cyberbullying is of a serious nature, for example if someone feels as if their personal safety is threatened or the perpetrator is sharing out their personal information online, then this could be a matter for the police.

Never Respond

If someone receives an intimidating and spiteful message that intends to harm or harass the victim, then there is no doubt that this would constitute cyberbullying. The golden rule is to never respond, as this can quickly escalate the situation and make matters worse. The cyberbully is looking for someone to retaliate, so that they can continue with the torment and take it to the next level.

Screenshot for evidence

You should keep records of any offences in the form of a screen shot or by taking a picture of the screen so you can provide evidence if you need it. This would be important if it was a matter for the police or a safeguarding team at school or in the workplace.

Block and report

While it is hard for social media platforms to control and prevent cyberbullying from happening all together, most platforms do have a function to report any offensive material and to block certain contacts. So you should ensure that you block the individual in question across all social media platforms and report any offensive content. By following the above steps you can take the necessary action to stop cyberbullying in its tracks and seek much needed support along the way.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below👍. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

The Secret To Happiness Is In What You Create Not What You Buy.

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For many, having the latest gadget, the nicest car in the street or the best job in your community is everything. Yet these do not lead to a happy, fulfilled life. Sure you get a short-lived buzz, a little smile on your face for a few days. But the lustre and shine soon disappear and then what are you left with?

To really experience the feeling of joy and happiness every day — that long-lasting contentment with your life — you need to pursue more than material things. You need a goal, a purpose. Something to drive and inspire you each day. Something that lights up your fire and brings a smile to your face every morning. It needs to be the reason you wake up every morning with energy, enthusiasm and a desire to make progress. Those material things won’t do that in the long-term. Those will just leave you feeling empty.

To discover your purpose and the things that will bring you long-term joy and happiness, you need to take some time to think about what it is you enjoy doing. Life is about our experiences, our accomplishments, our creations and the people we meet along the way. Unless you take some time to figure out what it is you want to do with your life — this amazing gift you have — you are going to waste it.

Here are a few things that will bring you long-term happiness:

  • writing a book about something you love
  • striving each day to be better than you were yesterday
  • building your own business
  • raising a family
  • working on a side project that will potentially change the world
  • building huge levels of health and fitness
  • making the world a little better than you found it

What you will find is these things are journeys. None of them will bring you instant gratification. They take a long time, a lot of effort and persistence and that is where the joy and happiness come from. The feeling you are making progress on something. Something you created, something you built. Something you can feel proud of. That is where your happiness can be found.

Throughout these journeys, you will experience hardship, knock-backs and frustration. It’s all part of the journey. The harder you find the journey the greater the joy and happiness you will feel in the long-term. It’s the feeling of making progress that brings the joy and happiness.

If you seek happiness in things you buy you will never find it. If you seek happiness in things you create you will have a life of pure joy and happiness. Of course, there will be a side helping of frustration and disappointment, but then that’s all part of the journey. Happiness comes from overcoming setbacks and disappointments and creating something you are proud of.

That’s it. The secret to everlasting happiness. Now go out there and start creating, building, developing and growing and you too will soon discover the simple joys and happiness life brings each day.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit that like button It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

 

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

If Your Don’t Have Patience and Consistency, You Will Fail.

I recently found the first book I ever read on productivity and time management, The 10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management by Hyrum Smith, in the Kindle Bookstore. This was an opportunity too good to miss, so I bought the book and began reading. What I did not realise twenty-five years ago, when I first read it, was the huge impact it would have on my life. Many of the concepts Hyrum Smith wrote about became embedded into my character, my personality and the way I work. Even to this day, I still follow many of the lessons I learnt from the book. For example, I understand the importance of my values on my goals and I understand that sometimes we have certain beliefs about the way things happen in life, that are just not true. For instance, if you had a bad experience with a dog when you were younger, you believe that all dogs will attack you. Yet this belief is simply not true. The vast majority of domesticated dogs will never attack you.

This “belief window”, as Hyrum Smith calls it, also works with your productivity. If you believe you cannot get yourself organised, then this is a false belief. There is no reason at all why you cannot get yourself organised and productive. It just means you have not tried enough times to find the perfect system for you.

This concept of false beliefs goes much further. Many people, when beginning a blog or a YouTube channel, believe if they do not get a few hundred, or a few thousand followers in the first week or two they are not going to succeed. This is completely false. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to build a significant following. My conservative estimate is that you need to commit to a consistent schedule of content delivery for around four years before you will see a significant following. During those four years you are going to modify, tweak and play around with your concept and your topic. It will take time for you to find your sweet spot. Those four years are the learning cycle, they are part of the journey and will, with the right attitude, be one of the best times you have building your following.

The good news is that, as so many people quit in the early stages, if you do have the patience and are consistent with your content delivery it is very easy to make your blog, YouTube channel or Instagram account a success. All you have to do is to prepare yourself for a four year development process, and know everything you do during that four year period is taking you closer and closer to your end goal, whatever that end goal is. It is a time to learn, develop and grow.

And that brings me on to goals. Most people fail at their goals because they want instant results. That is not going to happen. If you are 30 pounds overweight, then you are going to be about 30 pounds overweight tomorrow even if you don’t eat anything today. Weight loss does not happen overnight. If you want to save $10,000, you are not going to have $10,000 next week. Both weight loss and saving money takes patience and consistency. You have to consistently have a reduced food intake or put some money away each week or month. If you are consistent and you are patient, in time you will lose those 30 pounds and or save $10,000. It is that simple.

The world we live in today is an instant gratification world. The internet, our smartphones and technology in general means we have begun to believe we can have everything now. But this belief is not true. Successfully achieving your goals, building a blog or YouTube channel and many other things in life take time. The iPhone itself, launched ten years ago, began as an idea in 2002. It took five years before it was launched. The one piece of technology that arguably changed all our lives and society took five years to develop. All great things take time to develop. You are not going to publish a 1,000 word blog post, having never written anything before, and tomorrow have 10,000 followers on Medium. That does not happen. To get 10,000 followers on Medium takes years to grow. Most of the top Medium writers began writing their own blogs a long time before Medium launched.

My own YouTube channel and Medium blog are small by comparison to the top writers and YouTubers in personal development and productivity. I don’t care. I am eighteen months into a five year plan. My channel and blog are growing and I am learning so much about video production and writing. The journey itself is tremendous fun. I am getting to know so many fantastic people from all over the world through these channels and that in itself is worth the time and effort to produce the content each week. And that really is the point, it is the journey, the education you get and the people you get to know that makes the effort worthwhile. If you are not going to enjoy that process, and are not willing to be patient and consistent then I would suggest you look for something else to bring you what you want.

So, whatever it is you want to create or build, set yourself a four or five year plan. The first four or five years is your development phase. It is not about the numbers in this stage, it is about learning your skill. Finding what works and what does not work. It’s about crafting your talent and growing. Don’t look at your numbers frequently. Focus all your energy and efforts on the quality of your content and delivering that content consistently week after week. The old adage “if you build it they will come” is not always true, but if you don’t build it, it will never be true.

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Carl Pullein is a personal productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more successful, productive and creative.

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The Goverment Won’t Change Your Chances Of Being Successful

With elections recently in France, and the election this week in South Korea and of course the UK’s General Election in June, a lot of people seem optimistic these new governments will change conditions so they can be more personally successful. The sad truth for these people is no government is going to make you successful. The only person who can help you to become more successful is you.

Political, social or economic conditions do not make people successful. Indeed, a lot of the most successful companies today were born at a time of economic downturns or social unrest. Whether you are successful or not is entirely in your own hands. And that is the way it should be.

For most people, the reason they are not more successful is because they are searching around for something or someone to blame for not being successful. Blaming others, your parents, your government or your company is no excuse. If you truly want to be successful you need to make it your own personal responsibility. You need to take deliberate action and you need to make sure that in everything you do, you are focussed on your own success, your own goals and your own plans.

As human beings we all have the ability to be hugely successful. We all have talents, we all have the capacity to think for ourselves and we all have extraordinary opportunities to build a successful, fulfilled life. The only way to do that is to take responsibility for our achievements and our failures and not blame anyone or anything if we fall short. If we do fall short we need to pick ourselves up, analyse why we failed and try a different approach. I often think life is really a journey involving a lot of failures and a few successes and it is continuous. Too often, people blame outside influences and these are the people who achieve very little in their lives. Don’t be one of those people. Accept responsibility for your successes and failures. If someone lets you down, don’t blame them. You chose to rely on that person. That was your choice and therefore that is your responsibility. Find someone else more reliable.

In my work, I meet a lot of people stuck in middle management, who are in their mid-fifties and they are stressed out. They live in a state of fear of losing their jobs and are doing absolutely nothing to change their circumstances. They blame society, their government, they blame their university, they blame their company but they never blame themselves. Let me spell it out clearly: the reason you are not successful is not society, your government, your company or even your parents. Millions of people living in situations with backgrounds far worse than yours have become successful. The reason you are not successful is because of you, your choices and your inability to take full responsibility for your own life.

No matter who you are, how old you are, what your background is or where you live, you always have the ability to learn new skills, to start new projects and to thrive in this world. You only have to make the decision. To decide what to learn or do and start. That is it. You may not be successful at first, you will fail, you will be disappointed, but eventually you will succeed at learning something new. You will be able to learn from your mistakes and those failures and by taking full responsibility for those mistakes and failures you will come out of it a better, stronger person, who has taken themselves a little bit closer towards success. The key is to decide to take action, to persist, adjust and learn.

So make a mindset change today. Stop blaming others and start accepting full responsibility for your own success. Don’t place you faith in your new government, company or people. Put your faith in yourself, decide what you want to accomplish, make a plan and start achieving today. Take it one step at a time, believe in yourself and if you fail, figure out what it was you did not get quite right, adjust and start again. Your government will not be the reason you failed, just like your government will not be the reason you succeeded. The reason you succeed or fail is simply down to your choices and your work ethic.

Now go out there, take full responsibility for your actions and see the positive changes in your life.

Carl Pullein is a personal productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more productive and creative.

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Being Organised and Productive is not BS.

An article recently appeared in the Guardian newspaper which discussed the growth of productivity and the desire by many people to get themselves better organised so they can get more work done. After a long, and interesting article, the conclusion was that being more productive and organised didn’t solve any problems at all, rather in created more problems.

Of course I beg to differ with the premise of the article. Getting better organised and allowing yourself to be more productive with your time is not about doing more work, it is about being able to choose the things you want to do in the moment without worrying about stuff you think you should be doing. Being better organised allows you that freedom. The freedom to choose what you want to do by knowing what it is you are not doing. The converse of that position is not having any idea about what it is you should be doing, and enduring the constant, nagging feeling you are forgetting something important which leads you to feel stressed, uncomfortable and busy. Not a feeling I particularly enjoy.

The article cites an article written by Sarah Stewart in the New York Post where she describes the stress of keeping up with a system like Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero or David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and how systems like these put you in a position where you become obsessed with keeping inboxes empty and how by responding to email in a timely manner results in you receiving more email. I think Sarah Stewart misses an important part of being organised. Keeping inboxes cleared and maintaining a well-managed email system is not something one thinks about too much during the day. Once you have developed the habit of maintaining an organised system there really is no pain at all. Processing email and other inboxes is just something you do naturally. You go in to a kind of zone where you ask simple questions like “what is it?” and “do I need to do something with it?”. None of this is stressful.

I do think writers who lambast being organised after they have spent a few days trying to be organised, are not really taking it very seriously. It seems they have an agenda, one where they have already decided that being organised and productive is not good for you. Of course, if you have over 3,000 emails sitting in your inbox, to get that under control is going to cause quite a lot of pain. But the joy and freedom you experience having processed it, and developed the habits associated with good productivity systems, is well worth the short-term pain. Getting yourself organised and productive is not something you do once and then stop. It is about changing a bad habit and developing a good habit.

The world we live in today sees us experiencing an ever increasing amount of information. This comes at us from all sorts of different places. News comes to us through our news feeds in Facebook, Twitter or the newspaper of our choice. Advertising is now everywhere on screens that are flashing and moving. Busses, taxis and trains all have advertising on their sides. Our employers are emailing, texting and messaging us at all times of day. There is no escape. Having a system in place that allows you time out to process all these inputs of information is necessary. Without it we run the risk of our lives being ruined by a complete lack of focus on what is important, where we are reacting to the latest and loudest no matter how important it is.

Sarah Stewart believes Inbox Zero is “bull shit”. In her article she claims the time spent on keeping an inbox at zero involves a proportionately unnecessary amount time and stress. It is clear to me she does not understand the point. The point of Inbox Zero is not about time spent maintaining your email inbox at zero. The point is that by learning to make a decision quickly about what an email is and what you need to do with it, you spend less time on email and more time on stuff that is important. In my experience, people who have an out of control inbox end up missing important information, cause delays to projects because they are not responding in a timely manner and experience unnecessary high levels of stress because of the constant little voice telling them they are missing something. To me that is not a way to live your life.

As the world around us changes, as more information is thrown at us, we need to develop personal systems that can manage all that data for us and free us up to get on with things we want to do. If we don’t, our lives will be lost in a sea of information we neither know is important or not. That’s certainly something I do not want. I love knowing what is coming up, what I need to do and by when. I like knowing where information that is important to me is and how I can retrieve that information when I need it without wasting time trying to remember where I put it. It means I am rarely stressed, it means I can play with my little dog when I want to (and rather more importantly when he wants me to). It means I can exercise when I want to, go out with my friends when I want to and to be able to do all that without any feeling I am missing something because I know what it is I am not doing and I know playing with my little dog is more important at that moment in time.

Being organised means I am in complete control of my life. I decide what I work on and when. I know what needs to be done and I can make an informed decision on what needs to be done right now. I know where relevant information is so I can retrieve it when I need it. Surely that is a better way than to be worrying about things you can’t remember and deadlines that suddenly appear out of nowhere. And the best thing of all, getting to that place takes very little time to maintain and gives me so much more time and freedom.

Carl Pullein is the author of Your Digital Life: Everything you need to know to get your life organised and put technology to work for you, a book about how to get yourself organised in the twenty-first century

Merry Christmas To All My Readers

Now that we are coming to the end of the year, it is time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of our daily work to take a few days to enjoy time wth our friends and family. Many people will be lucky and will have next week off as a holiday, others less so. But for most people the end of year holidays does allow some time away from work.

The end of the year is also a good time to take stock of the year gone by, to celebrate your successes and to put behind you the failures. It allows you to understand why you were successful, and why you failed at some projects. Understanding these will help you to make 2017 full of more successes and less failures. Life is a continuous journey. We learn from the things we do well at and we learn from the things we did less well at.

Most of all, take a few days to get away from your daily life, to just enjoy the moments the end of year brings and to get yourself motivated for 2017. There is still plenty of time to work on your goals for 2017, so just relax and enjoy yourself.

Merry Christmas to all my readers and I wish you all, a very happy, successful and productive 2017.

The Future Of Work is Coming - Don't Fight it!

This article first appeared on my Medium Blog

I remember what it was like to work in the early 90s. Back then, before email and the mobile phone had become ubiquitous, we had to go to the office to get our mail (It was carefully folded inside something called an 'envelope'). We had to be in the office to get our phone calls because there were no affordable mobile phones for everyone and it was unheard of to give out our private numbers. We had to have face to face meetings because conference calls were not available to the masses. And if something was urgent we useda 'fax machine', but we still had to send the original in the post. Back then it was easy to create a life with hard edges between work and play. 

Every week day, millions of people got into busses, trains and cars and travelled to their offices and arrived at 9:00AM, ran in to the meeting rooms for the early morning status meeting and then to the company's canteen to make their coffee before sitting down at their desks to open their mail and begin their day. The first hour of their day was spent opening mail and quickly scanning it to decide whether they had to do something or whether it could be filed in the filing cabinet. For many, life really was simpler then. But as is inevitable, the world moved on, paper mail became digital mail. Face to face status meetings started to become early morning conference calls with people joining from other locations and countries, and calls and messages started appearing from all over the world on your mobile phone at 11PM. Those hard edges became softer and softer until it has now become difficult to distinguish between the edges. 

And that is fantastic! Because now, instead of our companies telling us where we have to be and when, now we can be anywhere at any time and work when we feel like it. Well, it can be if we embrace the new way of working instead of fighting it, working with it to create a lifestyle we want for ourselves. Back in the 1990s there was no choice. We had to go to our place of work. That was the only way we could communicate and work with our partners and colleagues. That was why it was important to have a standard time for working. The vast majority of people worked domestically, so all the people we needed to work with were on the same time zone (or nearly on the same time zone). Today, however, Many of us communicate with our partners across the seas, people working in different time zones and with different languages and cultures. Technology enables us to work on our terms and allows us to work from anywhere we have a WIFI signal.  

But there are a number of problems. The first is old-fashioned management who see time based working as the best indicator of an employee's work ethic. These managers are more concerned that you work your regulated 8 hours a day and take no longer than your allocated 60 minutes for lunch, than they about the quality of your work. They equate 9AM to 6PM as work, and consider quality of work alien. Fear not, these dinosaurs will soon be forced out of your company and will be replaced by managers who understand that performance should be measured by results, not how long an employee spends in an office. 

And then there are the governments, running around desperately trying to find ways of creating new laws to protect old-fashioned working practices. Killing off Uber and Lyft in an effort to protect archaic taxi services who had ample opportunity to adapt to the new technologies available, but didn't. Bringing in laws to prevent companies contacting their staff after 6PM in an effort to be seen to be trying to do something to protect workers rights, instead hindering companies operating in a genuine global business environment.  

Factories around the world are becoming more and more automated, resulting in less work for manual workers. These workers would have the opportunity to work for these new companies like Uber, Lyft and AirBnB, but sadly governments are creating entry barriers that are beyond these workers. More and more companies are moving towards a remote based working environment. Governments need to start thinking in a completely different way and instead of creating new laws that make adopting new technologies and working practices difficult, should adopt more progressive laws that empower people everywhere to create a lifestyle of their own choosing so they can work when they want to work and be assessed on their results and not the time they spend working in a fixed location. Empowering companies and workforces to adopt new technologies and new ways of working will alleviate the need for more and more worker protections instead existing laws can be streamlined and updated for the modern world. 

I would love to see a world where if I feel like spending a Tuesday afternoon with my family in the park, I can without having to complete a holiday request form - two weeks in advance. A world where if I need to call my colleague in Paris, I don't have to worry about whether it is after 6PM in Paris. A world where if I feel like working in a coffee shop on a Monday morning, I can without having to explain myself. And when the year end evaluation comes around, my boss will look at my results, the work I have done though the year, and not how many hours I have spent slaving away in an unproductive office environment. 

So, I ask all governments and senior executives around the world to let go of their ancient work practice ideas and allow their staff freedom. Stop focussing on the Monday to Friday 9 to 5 system and embrace a work culture that rewards results and achievement, that promotes people based on what they achieve, and let workers decide for themselves when and where they work. Doing so will result in a happier, more committed and productive workforce and will set your company and country up to attract the most talented workers in the world. Surely the wouldn't be a bad thing?

End of rant :-)

A Better You? You Have The Power!

This article first appeared on my Medium blog

I think I am old enough now to understand what I want, and the type of person I want to be. It’s taken a while to figure this out, but I am reasonably comfortable with who I am. The journey to getting to this place has been long, confusing and sometimes disappointing, but what I have learned along the way is that no matter how low you feel, how far away you think you are from being the person you want to be, it is always possible to make the necessary changes to become that person.

It’s not difficult, but you do need to spend some time thinking about what really motivates you, what really makes you feel good about yourself and what makes you feel proud. (I don’t mean the negative pride, I mean the pride you feel when you know you have achieved something good) as with all things that lead to a fruitful and a life of achievement it does take some effort and a little time to figure it out.

Let’s look at a few things that are typically what people want to change about themselves:

Body shape

If you are not happy with the shape you are, then you have the power to change that. If you are comfortable with your shape, then great. But a large number of people I know do want to change something. Now, I do not believe cosmetic surgery is ever the answer, But you can start exercising. Exercising not only improves your overall health, it can dramatically improve your body shape and more importantly, it can and does improve your overall confidence.

Exercise does not have to be extreme. It can be light jogging, walking or just some general exercises at home in the evening or early morning. You decide what type of exercise you want to do, when and where. That’s the great thing about exercise. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. And you only have to do it three or more times a week.

Your Style

If you are not happy with your personal style, you can change this too. Sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are great places to get inspiration about clothing, accessories and footwear. All you need to do is spend an evening or two searching through images to get a general feel of what you like, the colours and textures, and begin buying items of clothing you truly like and would enjoy wearing. Don’t follow fashion, create you own style and be comfortable and happy with it.

I actually did this around five years ago. I found myself a tailor to make my suits and shirts for me (they are not necessarily expensive) I used Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and I came up with a style that was a cross between the 1960s James Bond (the Sean Connery era), Cary Grant and Steve MacQueen. I didn’t know then, but it turns out this style is classically elegant (so I’m told) and timelessly fashionable. The biggest difference I have noticed is photos taken of me now never age. The clothing I am wearing never goes out of fashion and I always feel appropriately dressed and comfortable with what I am wearing.

Your Interaction With Other People

Your interactions with other people can have a huge impact on your overall feeling of wellbeing. Improving your interactions is simply a matter of becoming comfortable with asking questions about the person you are meeting and having a genuine interest in them. A book that really helped me was How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was a revelation to me when I read this in my early twenties and still inspires me today. I am not a natural ‘people person’, but this book really helped me to understand people better and to help me improve my relationship building skills.

Speaking Better

Okay, this may not be so common, but it is one I feel quite strongly about. I teach people to communicate better and so how people communicate their ideas and messages has always fascinated me. I admire people with great voices. People like Jeremy ClarksonNoel CowardVincent PriceRichard BurtonTom Hiddleston and Mike Rowe inspire me to speak clearer, more eloquently and better.

I also regularly listen to my speech to see if I have picked up any bad habits or if I am using too many “umms” and “errs”. If I have, I focus on removing them from my speech.

Learn something new

Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge universities put many of their courses up on iTunesU. If you want to broaden your education you can sign up for any of these courses for free. Read materials and watch videos it’s all there and all designed to enhance your eduction.

Of course if you want certificates, then you can enrol in any number of night school classes. Your choices are endless.

Whatever it is you want to improve in your life, then you really do have the power to do it. You need to first know what it is you want to change about yourself and that can take time to discover, but once you have discovered it, you can set about creating a plan that will take you on a path that will achieve that change. The resources we have available to us today are excellent. YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and other sites can all show you what you can achieve with just a little time investment.

So, if you are not happy with an area of your life and you want to change, then you know you can do it. Just make the decision and go ahead and make it happen. You have the power to change things in your own life and become an inspiration to others. So, instead of sitting on the sofa wishing you could change something in your life, get up, turn off the TV and start making that change today. Become a better version of yourself.

 

What Will You Leave Behind After You Die?

With the recent sad passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, I began thinking about what life is about, the age old questions: why are we here?What is our purpose? Of course at a very basic level we have a duty to continue the human race, but I have always felt there is so much more to this question. Maintaining the human race is very basic and many of the problems we face today are caused by over-population, rather than under-population.

I have always felt that to make my life meaningful, I have to leave something behind when I depart this earth. Something tangible, something that in some small way will help future generations. People like Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Isaac Newton and now David Bowie and Alan Rickman, they all left something behind when they passed away. For people like Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and Isaac Newton they left behind volumes of work that has educated generations for thousands of years in science and philosophy. People like Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Alan Rickman have left us with a huge body of work that has developed our culture, our artistic and creative understanding. Their work will live on long in to the future. When I look around and see kids today who are familiar with and understand artists like Van Gogh, Beethoven and Shakespeare, I know these great artists left us a legacy. Their work lived on long past their deaths. That is my inspiration. The work I create today I want to live on. I feel it is my duty, as a human, to contribute to future generations, whether that be through educational teaching or writing, or culturally through art, music, graphic design or paint.

My biggest fear is leaving nothing behind after I die. I fear being just a name on a stone in an overgrown graveyard year after year decaying. It’s that fear that drives me. I read about people like Ian Fleming who sadly died when he was 56 years old, and see what he left us. The James Bond stories and the movies. A real celebration of a short life, he left us a legacy that has entertained many millions of people, people like me who was not even a twinkle in my father’s eye when he died In 1964.

The other evening, I watched a YouTube video of Queen at Wembley in 1986. There was Freddie Mercury strutting around on stage, singing in that unmistakably powerful voice. The connection he had with the audience, the smile, the moustache, the interaction with Brian May, the way he danced with the mic stand and played the piano. It was all there. It was as if he was still with us. And that was a moment, a concert that will live on. An incredible piece of work created thirty years ago this year.

Creating something, no matter how big or small is what I have to do. It is never going to be about how many “likes” I get, or retweets or how many books I sell. It’s about creating something that will endure past my sell-by date. Carl von Clausewitz, wrote the book “On War” in the 1820s, he never published the book in his lifetime, yet after his wife published the book posthumously shortly after his death, it became a seminal work that is still in print and studied today by military academies.

My posts on Medium are part of the journey, perhaps most of them will get lost in the ether of the Internet and will never resurface. David Bowie wrote over 700 songs during his four decades in the music industry. He will be remembered for perhaps 25 of those. Most will be lost through time, but the ones that really hit the cultural button will endure. Songs like “A Space Oddity”, “Heroes” and my favourite “Under Pressure” will live on for many, many years to come and will in their own way teach future generations the culture of today. And that is how I want it to be. I hope I have many, many more years left because I have a lot to do, a lot I want to pass on to future generations, in my writing of blog posts and books and in the videos I produce now and into the future.

My dream is that in the year 2416, kids in middle school will be studying my work, my writing and presenting an analysis to their teachers and professors. What they say and what they think doesn’t matter. What matters is my work endured, it survived the test of time and will be still relevant in some way in 2416.

So I ask you to join me in producing something for our future generations. For the people that come after us. Write, produce, create and publish. Don’t be a forgotten name. We all have unique abilities, insights and ideas. We all have ideas, stories and art inside us. Share them! And remember:

you will regret the things you didn’t do, not the things you did do.

An Open Letter To The Apple Blogging Community


I love you guys, I really do. You've given me so many tips and tricks. You've solved some of my more puzzling problems on my iPhone, iPad, MacBook or iMac and you've entertained me with your ripping apart of Samsung's adverts and products.

But recently guys, I've become disillusioned. Since the Apple Watch started being distributed to the eagerly awaiting public, you all seem to have merged in to one big, loud annoying voice. (annoying only because over here in the wonderful South Korea we have no idea when, or even if, the Watch will go on sale - not your fault, I know) - [UPDATE: Apple Watch is now in Korea] And that got me curious. When I went back though all your blog posts since the turn of the year, it seems that even before the Apple Watch you were all merging in to one voice. When Apple issued a new beta release of IOS8, for example, almost all of you wrote something along the lines of:

"Apple today issued an update to their IOS8 beta program. You can download it now at the Apple Developer Site. We'll update you if we find any interesting changes"

Then nothing. No "updates". It was as if the news cycle had moved on and you were no longer interested in telling your amazing readers what interesting things you noticed. It felt as if all it was to you guys was a race as to who could get the news out first. Once done, you would forget about it and move on to finding the next big news item so you could start the race again.

And there I was, you loyal reader waiting, and waiting for this update, but sadly it never arrived. I felt betrayed. It feels like once you got the news out, you were no longer interested in what changes there were. But come on guys, your readers do want to know. And they deserve better. (Okay, I know some did report back, but it was rare and usually contained little of any interest.)

Remember, without us you don't have the clicks and your sponsors will lose interest. 

Incidentally, for those of you who like to blog about your "wonderful" sponsors, how about maybe doing a feature on one or two of your not quite so wonderful readers? We follow your advice, we try your recommended apps and we eagerly update our OS’s when you tell us to. 

So please guys, I still love you and I do not have any plans to remove any of you from my RSS feed, but could you please look in to some differentiation? Mr Gruber, for instance, is brilliant. He has his own style, he never bores and I've never seen him write anything like "Apple today released a new..." When something of interest does come up, Mr Gruber of the Daring Fireball Blog will take the time to do the research and tell his readers the salient points, linking to the appropriate sites. It might take a little longer to get the news out, but the resulting post is well worth the wait. 

I beg you, nay, plead with you, please differentiate yourselves. Specialise in something, become the go to expert for the iPhone, Apple Watch or MacBook, not all of them at once. There really is plenty going on at Apple to go around. 

So when you all converge together at WWDC 2015, could you all have a meeting and decide among yourselves which part of the Apple world you will specialise in, so that your amazing, supporting and loyal readers can enjoy some different takes and expertise? I understand clicks are important and you all have a living to earn, but you won't get the clicks in the long term if you all regurgitate the same stuff. The winners will be the ones who furnish their dear readers with posts that are well researched and hit the buttons that are important to their readers and are different from what everyone else is writing about (for example the MacSparky blog and David Spark's unique approach to informing his readers about interesting and useful apps and how he uses them) 

Trust me, we don't remember who won the race to tell us that Apple had released their latest OS 10 update. We remember the ones who give us the information that has depth, (I don't mean long) is relevant and is a good read. 

Please guys, not just for my long-term reading pleasure, but for your future livelihoods as well, differentiate yourselves and rather than trying to be the ‘first’ try to be the best.  

This blog post was updated 19 July 2015 to reflect the Apple Watch has been launched in Korea :-)