Grip that steering wheel of life, put on your seat belt and push down the accelerator pedal, hard!

Have you ever had the feeling that your life could be compared to sitting in a car driving at top speed going round bends, over bumps and squeezing between other cars yet you don’t feel you even have control of the steering wheel?

This is a feeling that I think we all go through at times. Sometimes the drive is exhilarating, enjoyable and fun, a roof down, and wind in your hair dream drive. Other times, it can be terrifying, painful and you are just waiting for a mighty thump of everything to come crashing down around you.

Almost every person I meet seems to have this look that they are hanging on by their fingernails and if just one thing would work out everything would be okay, it would give them a pause to breath, to possibly enjoy the ride.

The journey we all take is never a single straight road and can be compared to a long distance journey filled with country lanes, motorways and busy city streets. Not forgetting that along this journey there are always bumps in the road, bends that are hard to navigate and more than once you will end up going down a dead end street and have to turn back and start a section all over again.

All these mishaps and challenges often feel like the end of the world or that you feel the road is just doing everything it can to make the journey as difficult as possible. But once we get past those various obstacles we realise there is a difference in how we approach the next challenge, and the next and so on. Looking back down the road we usually tell stories about the bumps in the road and the near misses as anecdotal snippets amongst friends.

Most of the time they will bring a smile to your face as you realise how much you’ve grown, learned and developed. Not always, but sometimes! So take heart where you are on this journey and see how much you’ve travelled as a person. One way or another you have grown so much and no matter what life hurled at you, you just kept moving forward.

So grip that steering wheel of life, put on your seat belt and push down the accelerator pedal, hard! Take on the next challenge with confidence and give it everything you’ve got. Nothing has stopped you, no matter what you have faced, you are here right now in life a better person, so fear nothing, and look down the road to a better, happier you because great things could be waiting just around the corner.

 

 

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Do you have that song HOT DAGGER?

This was the question my son asked me last night when we were out in the car. It was just him and myself as he had bumped his head an we went to the clinic to check he was okay. He was so as we headed home he started flicking through the songs on the radio to see what he could find. I usually let him or his sister do this because a) It’s nice to see the kind of music they each like and b) it keeps them from breaking anything else in my car!

He had been flicking through a few times and started going quicker through the stations when I had to stop him. There is nothing worse than hearing a single second of a song before being hit with another, and another, and another. I asked what was wrong and he looked really deep in concentration and after a few seconds he finally said, “Do you have that song ‘Hot Dagger?” Now I am no music expert by I do have a very wide taste in music and can recall most songs but this was one that I couldn’t get. So I asked him when he had heard it before.

He began telling me he had heard it on the school bus, which told me it could only be one of four Dubai radio stations and they all, except one play up to date music. But I really couldn’t grasp what it was. Then suddenly, like many times in my work I had a flash of a song that sounded like the one he meant. So I gave him my phone and told him to skip down through my ipod and select a certain song. His face lit up when it cme on and it really made me laugh. The song he wanted was not ‘HOT DAGGER’ but rather, Maroon Five and Christina Aguilera’s latest hit, “MOVES LIKE JAGGER!”

Your dreams may be closer than you think

Many times in our lives we look around and see others seemingly floating through life without a care in the world. Things just seem to happen easily for them and dreams just seem to be falling in their laps. In comparison we often have the impression we are standing still, or worse going backwards. Our dreams seem to be distant shadows far off on the horizon in a foggy day, a feeling that can break even the strongest of spirits.

But what do not often realize is the people who we are watching are having the same struggles, but with one difference. The difference is simply not accepting that things are impossible, accepting that with a little hard work and luck one dream could come true. I firmly believe positive thoughts bring a positive return from the universe and if you truly believe a dream you have is possible, it will bring you within reach. I say within reach because just thinking something will never achieve anything, that’s the easy part. We have to set the wheels in motion ourselves by planning and actively moving towards your dreams. You may decide the original dream was not what you thought it promised, but the place you will find yourself is a place where things are a little clearer, the fog has lifted and you can see dreams everywhere.

I, like most people, have faced disappointment with business failures or rejection from a company I really wanted to work for, but that is just part of life. How would you appreciate climbing a mountain if anyone could just stroll up and plant a flag at the top without any effort? Whatever you dream of doing, try to make it happen or at least start today by putting the wheels in motion to get you closer, and remember it is not always about the final destination but rather what you learn on the journey. Happy trails and good luck.

Everyone needs a hero

No matter who you are, where you live or what you do, there is always someone who can influence you. A heroic figure that, for any reason, makes you smile, makes you feel good about yourself or at the very least makes you want to be a better person. It gives us something to aim at, something to strive for on a daily basis and breaks that monotony of being in a rut which can so easily happen when we are just going through the motions of life.

My father has always been a hero of mine. I always thought that if I could be half the father to my kids that he was to my brother and I, they would be very lucky. Another hero of mine is Steve Jobs, predictable I know but the man’s ambition, drive and insight into what drives (drove) Apple to it’s lofty heights is nothing short of remarkable. Another hero would be Richard Branson, I do not have the words to describe my respect for this man and I am sure if he went into politics he would be living in number 10 Downing Street! Such is the love for the man by the real people of England who want it to return to greatness, or at least instill some long lost pride!

I have other hero’s from photography, design, typography, advertising and so on. In fact my life is full of hero’s that in everything I do I try to be the best I can be. It is something that my first hero, my father, instilled into my brother and I, as children. A real superman who put others before himself and gave us everything we ever wanted. Of course he couldn’t have done it alone and a super woman behind him, my mother. Who is your hero?

The beauty of social media

Social media has the power to do many things. It helps to inform people about natural disasters, helps companies communicate directly with consumers, Helps people discuss, learn, educate and hear the latest news about topics they are passionate about. Social Media also helps people of all ages come together in ways we, probably, have never seen in the history of our race. It’s an exciting step, but with it comes a word caution.

With everything in our world that is good there has to be the balance of bad that we need to understand before making judgments about whether something should be stopped or celebrated. It happened with comic books in the early part of their history, claiming to be creating a culture of negativity and violence. This is something we have also seen with movies, games and anything new, because new things make people nervous. Not everyone is able to embrace change so easily.

But we need to look at what we have and what social media has given people in all corners of our world. For some it is the only place to be themselves or even interact with people without judgment, prejudice or dependant on the physical attributes of who they are. In a world where the media has distorted our own image of what beauty really is, social media puts substance over appearance at the head of the class. In a world full of eating disorders, plastic surgery and self hate about how we look, Social Media is helping give people confidence in the person inside rather than an exterior image that is currently portrayed on the covers of magazines, and that, is a beautiful thing!

Why social media can be more real than the real world

Social media has been taking a real battering all over the world during the past year. From Iran, Egypt, Bahrain and even places like London questioning whether social media should be allowed to maintains it’s place in our lives has shocked many people to their core. When Iran closed Twitter and facebook there was uproar around the world as it showed a so called oppressive state in action. Equally, when Hosni Mubarak did the same in Egypt, every corner of the globe condemned the dictatorship and rallied with the protestors. So was London any different?

Well London was fueled by people who just wanted to cause trouble and steal. This had nothing to do with a person being shot, it had nothing to do with anything other than mindless fools trying to make the most out of a difficult situation. But surely the answer is not to turn off the power, especially in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech and respect for all. Surely Social Media, although a place where people can arrange things, is also a place where authorities can monitor the trouble makers and make arrests where necessary? So rather than being a problem for the police, it actually, if they use it right, will be an added area of security.

To shut down social media anywhere will take away from people who have truly found a voice in a world where they have felt alienated, lonely and separated from a chance to connect with people on a daily basis. It is no exaggeration to say that for some people the social media ecosystem is the only place that they really feel happy, comfortable and part of a community. And surely, isn’t that something we should all fight for?

Have the confidence to walk through any negativity

No matter what you do in life, personal or professional, there will be people who have negative thoughts or actions towards you. Most of the time it is not even something conscious by them, but rather something that just stems from their personality or situation they are in at the time. The confidence you have in yourself will be half the battle, your actions in putting your plan into action, will do the rest.

Self doubt is one of the main reasons for failure in life. There are, of course, many situations that are just impossible to avoid, such as the recent financial crises, but confidence in yourself can help you overcome anything that comes in your path. You can, for example, imagine your confidence being like your health, if you do not exercise and eat correctly your health will suffer.

It is the same thing with confidence, it’s a constant process of building up your self esteem, giving yourself a pat on the back and making sure, on top of the big goals you have, have smaller goals that are attainable and reward yourself along the way. This helps immensely in gaining the momentum you need to succeed.

Very soon you will realize that you don’t even see or feel the negativity any more, because your focus is on the positive aspects of what you are doing and where you are going. So as you walk forward today, do so with confidence; and nothing will get in your way.

Time travel to the beat of your own tune

It always amazes me how a single song can literally transport you to another place instantly. I have lot count the amount of times I have suddenly found myself lost in memories, memories eclipse the feelings that seemed to be weighing me down. It is often a song that I have not heard for a while or it could be something new, a song that just has that great summertime beat and rhythm filled with has those thoughts of being on the beach with your friends or family, all flooding back into your consciousness. Your mind full of the fragrances, your body tingling with the notion of reliving the experience and an overwhelming feeling of your mood lifting the weight of current burdens away from you.

I have come to realize that I need music in my life, purely because of this aspect. As someone who works in a creative industry it is important that the troubles and strife of daily life are left at the door when you enter the office, something that is easier said than done. I will either have a radio station that plays ambient tunes which block away not only my problems but also the hustle and bustle from other people in the office. If that doesn’t work, I will put my own music on shuffle and just let it randomly select songs for me, so that I can concentrate on work. But, regardless whether you are in a creative field or not, try putting your ipod or music on a random shuffle, see where your music transports you. No matter how good your day is going, you are sure to find one or two memories in a tune somewhere that bring back memories from the past that will fuel you in the future.

Positive output, leads to a positive response

We could sit and wait for positive people and things to come our way. We sometimes have a tendency to expect others to be kind before we let down our protective walls. We sometimes expect life to bring us all the things we deserve. But unfortunately, life just doesn’t work that way.

If positive events or changes in your life is what you desire, then you need to start being a more positive person. What we sow we will reap, is the old saying that still today holds many truths. Helping other people to achieve their goals, giving to charity or simply putting a smile on your face can make a difference in other peoples lives.

A smile, just a simply smile, can make a difference. Notice today that if you smile at someone they will usually reciprocate the smile. I don’t mean walk around the world like some crazy smiling person, but rather within your own world, your work or the shop you usually walk into. A smile from someone can truly make someones day as it changes their mood from one of worry to, ‘You know what, today might just be a good day.” Isn’t that something to smile about?

News Flash! It’s not good news

I used to watch the news religiously. To the point were as soon as I arrived home the news would be on to the groans of my kids and also my wife. I used to tell them that it is important to understand what is going on in the world. I used to sit and watch the same stories gradually increasing in information as the continual loop of things from around the world would cycle through each hour. CNN, BBC, Sky news and all the others have turned news into an art form where every incident, no matter the size nor gravity, create a show that even Steven Speilburg would be challenged to match. But then one day I just sat there thinking to myself, “When was the last time I watched the news and felt good about something?”

Apart from things like miners in Mexico being rescued and the, very, occasional return of a missing person the news has been nothing but bad. So what I do now is have a quick glance through the paper to see the main stories and that is all. The difference mentally is quite incredible really. I spend my time looking for things that will inspire me or entertain me. I cannot help thinking that there are some people in the high positions of the news companies rubbing their hands at the current buffet of bad news coming from Japan and the Middle east. I do not feel the news is being brought to inform anymore, it has been turned in to a media controlling platform that is all about making money.

Maybe I am just naive in thinking that the world would be otherwise, but if we all just sink into being fed this over sensationalized drama then we will never really make this a better world. In my humble opinion the world, and especially our children, deserve better from us to help inspire and create a world where they still believe they can achieve anything they put their minds to. I no longer subject my children to the news although I try not to let the news be substituted to cartoons either! But a healthy balance that will help them have the best chance in the future. That, for me, is a news story I could live with happily. Have a creative day.