Clear mind – Clear head – Clear Life

I feel like I have been coasting around in 2nd gear for a while, occasionally cranking up to 3rd and 4th gear when deadlines approach or when life requires me to step up.

The quote below sums up my ideal scenario. However, is all but a distant dream and fantasy.

“Drifting through life without responsibility or a care in the world, living one day at a time.”

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Coming from a Technical and Creative background our course was similar to what I am experiencing, the work comes in, the brief is worked on for a few weeks, development, then BAM, all hands on deck to deliver the product and solution. Go go go, trials, go go go, launch.

Whilst I feel like my technical knowledge has not been stretched as much as I feel I am capable of, expectations are high in which I need to achieve certain targets by a certain age limit. Planning and pre-empting these technical situations and furthering myself in my career and life.

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I want to hit and maintain 4th gear and crank up to 5th gear full speed at times to feel like I am pushing myself further.

I always say, “Are you in a stressful situation? Good, then you are learning – get out of that comfort zone.”

The comfort zone is something that hinders us sometimes, the majority of the time, it’s great to reflect and maintain optimum targets, but it’s when you step out of that zone is when you have the greatest leaps in skills and life experience.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 15.25.21So clear your mind, set those clear goals in your head and clear a path in life to the point ‘Where the Magic happens”


Making Change Matter

A few evenings ago, I was having a conversation about change and making it matter.

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To date a few of my best achievements (not including sports or academic – purely work related) include implementing changes to have a positive impact on businesses.

The first time I achieved and made an impact was at Boots UK HQ on my placement year.

Being asked about ‘saving money’ by the Global Product Development Director – I was a spring chicken back then, looking at several options, simply turning off a PC at the end of the day and implementing ‘swipe access’ printing on printers saved the company £450,000 a year alone when rolled out.

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Another time was reducing the swing ticket size for F&F clothing at Tesco. A mere 10mm saving in reduction in size saved the company £337,000 and hundreds of tonnes of material use, production costs and print price.

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For the swing ticket reduction I received a ‘Value’ award recognising my achievement in reducing the carbon footprint and saving the company a vast amount of money.

Take a step back and reviewing the process and product use is hard to do whilst religiously completing projects on the conveyor belt project management style.

What is interesting is when you near the end of your working life and approach retirement. What will you be remembered for? Leaving a legacy and saving the planet ever so slightly by implementing new processes or products… will you leave a lasting impression on someones life?

Growing up and learning

We’ve all been there. The “if only” moment, or the “I should have” time.

Growing up has been a steep learning curve from all ages. Whether it be taking your first exam, going to university, buying a house, getting married, having a baby… life never lets up and always has something new to throw at you.

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My colleague yesterday and I were discussing a former colleague and how his work / life split was something that we both admired. Being the younger side of the 30 number, our former colleague was 10 years older than us.

I always use the comparison that we will learn as we go through life. With many of our compatriots being sometimes twice my age. I look at them at times when I am busy and under pressure at work and think of the bigger picture.

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Having one of those days, another one of Ray’s famous sayings… “are you stressed? Out of your depth? You are learning!” Always one of positive outlook, most situations where you are (safe) in the work environment and under the cosh, means you are learning about that scenario. The next time that happens, you would be better equipped.

Now. Apply the above over a 20-30 year career for possibly the same company, that deadline or meeting you were bricking yourself to go to is now a casual walk in the park.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 11.54.24With age comes more responsibility, however with age also comes greater knowledge.

We grow up, we learn and we become wiser.

Generation Z

Generation Z.

  1. Generation Z. Generation Z refers to the cohort of people born after the Millennial Generation. There is no agreement on the name or exact range of birth dates. Some sources start this generation at the mid 1990s or from the mid 2000s to the present day.

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The children of today, born a minor 7 years after myself in the mid 90’s. The Millennial Generation is approaching adult ages and when they hit the magic number 18 and graduate at 21, I suspect that they will take the business world by storm.

With an ageing workforce, many businesses are struggling today to come to means and keep up with modernising their marketing means. I know companies that think and believe Websites are blue sky ides and rely on calling and visiting clients to gain new contracts.

I have a fantastic example of Generation Z and how they differ so greatly from the children we knew of the past era. My cousin who is 4 years old, I remember when we visited him at my Uncles home in London he was a touch older than 2 years old, running around and playing football like any child is expected to. After play time, he hopped onto his iPad and played on a few games… hold on… iPad 2 year old?…

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It was something like the above picture. Gestures, pinching, unlocking with a passcode. My little cousin had it all… I was befuddled by how this toddler was effortlessly meandering around the iOS like my expertise at building lego.

Deep within me though. I felt sad. Childhood was different to what I had experienced. No longer would you see kids playing in the streets with a ball, kerby, Power Rangers, Pogs… all now obsolete. That is the stark reality of modern day evolution.

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I’m never one to prevent change, I see it as evolution for a better future, but now I further understand when our parents talk about the ‘old times’ and how they did things in the past. Am I starting to become ‘that past’…?

Either way, I’m sure one day my children will be interacting with an iPad and will also encounter their equivalent of Generation Z MK II.

6 second wonder

The modern day world is a goldmine of information.

I remember reading about how long it would take to learn 1 musical instrument, then to competently play, then to play professionally would typically take 1 year with practice several times a day. Now lets do some calculations…

1 year to master 1 instrument ~ approx 1,500 to 2,000 instruments in existence, 400 to 500 are in the classical instrument categories = 400 to 500 years to master all instruments. Average human life? Around 70 to 80 year mark.

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Learning in our current lifestyles is an extra curricular activity, adds more strings to the bow and another skill set means you are keeping your brain healthy.

As we are, humans have evolved in the digital era to be constantly glued to our phones in pursuit of data and news, to the extent that Utah Valley University has employed the use of ‘walking, running and texting’ lanes.

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Similarly enough, social media platforms, Twitter, Instagram and particularly Vine has introduced video interaction and learning at a bitesized level. 6 seconds to be exact.,d.bGg&psig=AFQjCNEU6l9krV_803Quf9FKpBe_MhVUhg&ust=1435137611747280

The above link is a fantastic summary of snippets of videos, compressed and fine tuned to enable viewers to learn how to tie a tie or mainly to entertain the users.

I was intrigued by how much you can possibly learn off short videos and the results were surprising.

Let’s do another short calculation based on learning off 6 second videos.

6 second video x 3 loops of the video to learn the technique = 18 seconds.
To try out the technique or method a few times = 30 seconds
Total = 48 seconds

Comparable to most episodes of dramas and soaps at the 55 minute mark
55 minute converted into seconds = 55 x 60 = 3,300 seconds per 55 minutes

3,300 / 48 = 68 small vines learned in the time it takes to watch most programmes.

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I know it is physically impossible to full utilise these statistics in our everyday life sustainably. However, how much are we capped at learning?… Our efforts and interests are the only factors limiting our ability to constantly learn and evolve.

Have a go at learning something new today… who know’s perhaps it could save your life or positive help you one day.

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Innovation Nation

The world is a constantly improving entity. Humans are striving towards better more efficient use of products and experiences.

  1. the action or process of innovating.
    “innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organization”
    synonyms: change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis,reorganization, restructuring, rearrangement, recasting, remodelling,renovation, restyling, variation;

    new measures, new methods, new devices, novelty, newness, unconventionality, modernization, modernism;
    a break with tradition, a shift of emphasis, a departure, a change of direction;
    informala shake up;
    informala shakedown;
    “they favoured the traditional approach and resisted innovation”

    We love to innovate and that is what has made us the top of the food chain, intelligent and constantly improving.

    Innovation comes in many different forms and ultimately leads (most times) to a better more capable solution, promoting growth and drive in the industry, business or company.

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    I read a fantastic article about driving and developing innovation in your business:

Well worth a read if you are looking for positive change, whilst lowering the risk of failure in a controlled boost for success and improvement.

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On more than one occasion I have been the subject of Trolls online.
Whether it be a snide unprovoked comment, someone looking for a reaction or simply them being bored and plain abusive.
There is a perfect definition of this sort of person, to perfectly sum it up, I quote Urban Dictionary.
1. A Person who, being unable to express his anger through physical violence (owning to their physical weakness, lack of bravery and/or conviction in real life), instead manifests said emotions through the text-based medium of the internet, usually in the form of aggressive writing that the Keyboard Warrior would not (for reasons previously mentioned) be able to give form to in real life.
2. The term is a combination of the word ‘keyboard’ (the main tool by which the person expresses his/her latent rage) and ‘warrior’ (due to the warrior-like aggression, tendency towards violence, headstrong nature and propensity towards brute force as a means of resolving conflict rather than more subtle means dependant on finesse).
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What lead me to blog about this? Simple. I belong to a fantastic website that I post to almost daily, helping people out with cycling, beginners, tips, training etc. I love to share my experiences and learn from others in the process.
Now I posted the other day regarding looking for a new bike and tried out a lovely bike last night, without the intention of buying but just trying. Talking to the couple who build bikes as a hobby, I spent a good 30 minutes chatting to them about cycling and their business. Making it clear that I was interested in trying out the bike like their advert had invited, without necessarily buying it. Posting this on the forum, I was excited to try such a bike as it was a big step up from my current mechanical steed.
*Cue Trolls*
Forum members dive onto my post and say:
“I’m wasting their time”
“Not justified”
A few of the choice comments above, but assuming they didn’t take the 5 seconds to read my posts before saying we had agreed this and they were more than happy to let me have a spin on the bike.
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Well… kudos to the trolls, I hope you feel better hiding behind your keyboard, whilst I am actually on the bike seeing as you are on a cycling forum and spend the whole time behind a keyboard making everyone feel bad, yet you are most likely locked at home on a sofa eating your 5th microwave meal.
For all the genuine users of the internet! Never let them get you down!
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