Note: This article is also a YouTube video if you want to watch that.
That stupid advert kept popping up on Facebook. “Be the best you” or “Super power your life” or whatever it said.
It was one of those adverts where someone good looking smiles into the sunshine, dressed in smart-casual clothing with a smug expression on their face because their life is so fucking together.
I’m not sure how Facebook does it, but I’d been considering getting a life coach for a while and it had been throwing Tony Robbins Performance Coaching adverts at me – like an annoying sibling flicking peas across the dinner table – ever since. …
This article is for those who feel disillusioned, for those who feel uninspired, for those who work hard, set goals, and do all the things they’re meant to do but for some reason, still feel oddly unfulfilled. This article might be the remedy. It is a reminder. A gentle nudge back on course. If you feel like this, then this article is for you.
Recently my friend WhatsApp’d me my goals list from 2013. …
As you know, on Wednesday 6 January, a mob of pro-Trump supporters invaded the US Capitol building in Washington DC, angry about the alleged (and highly contested) “election fraud” as Congress moved to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the November ’20 election. 
It was one of the worst security breaches in American history and shocked the nation to its freedom-loving, democratic core.
In the aftermath, many blamed President Trump directly, saying he’d whipped up anger and doubt in the electoral system and some claim he even instructed people to invade the Capitol building.
In his speech before the riots, Trump said: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” and said they need to “stop the steal” though went on to tweet, as the incident unfolded, “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order” and then posted the subsequent video of himself asking his supports to “go home” and said, “we don’t want anybody hurt.” …
For years I had a limited mindset. I was brought up to believe all rich people were crooks and having wealth meant you must be a ruthless, robotic machine who cared not about the deeper things in life, such as art, love and kindness.
I was conditioned by my father’s ranting that the world was against poor people — poor people like us, and specifically him.
In my youngest years, I was told Margaret Thatcher was to blame for everything, that the Royal family were inherently evil, that the world was split into haves and have-nots and we were in the latter camp, so don’t forget it, son. …
Here’s a quick one. I’m British. Well, that phrase is really for American readers, no one who is British says “I’m British” and they definitely don’t say “I have a British accent”. These are Americanisms, said for Americans.
I’m English and I have a London accent. There’s no such thing as a British accent. Britain is four separate countries and some other small island territories (or that might be the United Kingdom, not Great Britain, there is a difference but no one knows what it is, not even us).
Anyway, why am I rattling on about all this? …
What is it about the draw of oblivion that pulls us in?
I’ve seen it, grown up with it, family members hitting the self-destruct button by choosing drink over real life; the warm embrace of the pint glass, the familiar hiss of an opening tin, the glug of a filling glass.
There’s a ceremony around drink that becomes as intoxicating as the booze itself.
I remember family parties where everyone drank, alcohol was the central tenant of any get-together. I remember my granddad’s obsession with whisky and my grandmother’s regular refusal to grant him any. I didn’t understand it, if drink was what we did, why couldn’t he join in? …
I played music throughout my twenties and thirties. The bands I was in never amounted to much, which is ironic considering we often hypothetically toyed with the idea of “selling out.”
Selling out means abandoning artistic expression in favor of commercial success.
Usually – at least in the pre-internet days of music – this was in the form of a big record label deal.
Selling out was seen as the number one sin of musicians.
For some reason, it was thought everyone had to make it on their own, or at least get signed to a label on their terms, with zero compromises. …
My colleague got fired. She was bold, brash, and had a loose tongue.
It blindsided her because she was young, impetuous and didn’t yet understand how the corporate world worked.
I’ve seen this happen dozens of times in my 19 years of office work; people come in naively assuming their job is secure if they simply work conscientiously.
That, I’m afraid, is a utopian fantasy.
The corporate world is a dystopia, where both logic and ego must be set aside if you wish to survive.
The system must run its course, and if you try to intervene, you’ll get caught in the turning cogs and churned into pulp. …
“Once you realise you deserve a bright future, letting go of your dark past is the best choice you will ever make.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
We all make bad choices but sometimes they only become apparent when life is pulled so far off course you don’t recognise who you are anymore.
For whatever reason, some of us double down, grit our teeth and push on through, and never stop making the wrong choice, even when truth stares us in the face.
I realise that now. Corporate work gave me a stark vision of a possible future and made me realise I had been making the wrong choice for 20 years. …
You’re a creative person. Admit it. No really, go look in the mirror and say “I’m a creative person.”
It feels weird and pretentious, doesn’t it?
We live in a culture where creativity is celebrated – music, art, talent shows, books, films – but no one is allowed to say they’re creative, that’s not the done thing.
Perhaps this is more of a British thing, as we lean too much into humility, but the taboo is definitely there.
Maybe it’s because people mix up creativity with talent; you’re not saying you’re talented, you’re just acknowledging your drive to express yourself through some form of art. …