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Choosing to be where we are

Choosing to be where we are

At one time, the Guinness brand was in trouble, sales in its biggest markets of Ireland and the UK were down, its owner, Diageo, was under increasing pressure from its shareholders to divest the brand. In the midst of this unrest, the director of the Guinness business, John Potter opened the annual conference with the question: “Why am I here?” and after a pause in which the audience was undoubtedly thinking to themselves, ‘yes – indeed. I wouldn’t want to be here if I…

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beware of the Trojan horses

For ten long years the Greeks had been trying to conquer the city of Troy but they could find no way through the high, thick walls. One day, the Greek General, Odysseus, had a clever idea. ‘Let’s pretend that we admit defeat and that we are sailing away. we will leave a gift to announce the end of the war. It will be a magnificent, fantastic horse. A work of art which the Trojans will accept into their city. But inside the horse we will hide 30 men’. The Greeks thought it was a brilliant idea. T…

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Actor or director?

When I worked in PR and marketing I used to see what I did in terms of ‘me’ and ‘them’ where ‘them’ could be the client or the public or the media. I was a character in the world interacting with other characters and depending on the effectiveness of my communications I either caused a reaction or not. I had no more influence than that.

But how about if I completely change the perspective from which I view my reality and my role. If I truly see myself as the creator of my reality then I change fr…

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Who are you?

Jo, a facilitator was working with a group of people on a team-training day. The individuals had worked together for over a year so they knew each other fairly well. To start off the day, Jo asked each person to write down three words to describe each of the other people in the room. She gave them 30 minutes to do this and sat and watched them as they scribbled notes. When the time was up she invited each individual to take turns standing at the front of the room while their colleagues read out …

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Reclaim your body

Just north of Copenhagen I cycle past a plastic surgery, in the windows are ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of noses, breasts and thighs. There is even a full length mirror in the window, presumably so that you can look in it and think of all the changes that you should be making to your appearance. I look at all the people, children, teenagers who are walking past this clinic... what is the message they are taking from this? And while I am wondering about this, a bus goes past with an enormous pi…

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Why didn’t Luke say hello?

One day when I picked up my then four year old daughter from school, she shouted ‘There’s Luke!’ and ran off in his direction. He was a slightly older boy who used to be in her pre-school class and who had recently gone up to the next year. He was talking to some friends, she tapped him on the back beaming. He carried on talking. She kept tapping, saying ‘Luke’. He turned around. She smiled and said ‘hello!’, he shrugged and turned back to his friend. I wondered how she would handle this, expect…

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The ultimate freedom - cut loose from the ‘Self’

There is an old Japanese story about a tea ceremony master who unintentionally insulted a samurai swordsman and was immediately challenged to a duel the next day. The tea master was terrified. ‘I am going to die’ he thought. His wife persuaded him to find someone who could help. He sought the help of an expert swordsman to teach him. All through the night the expert tried to instruct his pupil in the art of swordsmanship but the tea master couldn’t get any of the motions right. As dawn was break…

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What is freedom?

What freedom we have these days! Our shops are full to the ceilings with billions of alluring products waiting our selection. We can treat our bodies how we want – even if that means eating ourselves into an early grave or spending thousands of pounds under a scalpel for self ‘improvement’ through surgery. Anything we want to buy that we can’t afford we can put on credit or take out a loan from the many quick money companies springing up. We can say what we want to whomever we want without respo…

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21st Century battle

“Hello!  Do you have all the material goods you need to show how successful you are? No oh well keep working. Work harder.  Oh now you’re all tired and miserable. You deserve a treat!  Have it your way. Eat this and this, go on you’re lovin’ it. Oh no you look nothing like how you should look do you?  Here buy this DVD, join this gym, apply this cream, it doesn’t work? OK buy this instead. No? buy this, and this. Cut that off, stretch that out, whiten these a little bit. Buy this watch, this car…

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Signal failure

One of the most fascinating business trips I ever did was to Las Vegas. I remember one night I went out without my watch and as I walked through the casino in the Venetian hotel where we were staying I wondered how late it was. I looked around to find out the time and it struck me then how the hotel had managed to eliminate all signs of day or night. There were no clocks or windows. All around the edges of the casino were restaurants and all of them had signs advertising breakfast, brunch, lunch…

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