Directing the New Year

AIDA - Art Haiku

AIDA is a mnemonic much loved by marketing professionals… but it is for all of us.

It all begins with…


“Whatever gets your attention gets you!”

It is certain that you will achieve little in 2014 if you don’t give quality attention to what you desire to manifest.  Like a loved one wilting without the time and attention of the object of their desire, so also our aims go amiss if they don’t get daily and deep, continuous attention. Various authorities on the subject have suggested that between 90% and 99% of the results we get in life depend upon our unconscious or subconscious beliefs and focus, but I say to you that it all begins with the conscious attention.  This is your choice and fully under your control.  Your attention programmes your unconscious – and the rest works like magic from thereon in.

The old cliche is so true: “out of sight, out of mind.”  Christmas is a wonderful example of the power of bringing those who have been out of mind all year back into the spotlight of your attention – if only temporarily.  To gain true insights and wisdom, we must keep important matters in mind – at the forefront of our attention.

Practically, writing your goals, aims and ambitions down daily helps to reset the mind to achieve your dreams.  If you are bold, write down what you really want 77x per day for 7 days.  You’ll be amazed at what you can create.  But be careful what you wish for!


Of course, to keep it up, you’ve got to stay interested.  This usually means that you goal must be broadcasting on Wii.FM – the World’s most popular Radio frequency = What’s In It For Me?

Keep stacking up the benefits.  Ask yourself, “When I get this goal, what will it mean for me?  How will I truly benefit?”  There must be some hope of success if you are to maintain your interest and thus your motivation.  Set your attention on goals which are just within the realm of possibility so that you can build hope and interest as the first signs of success blossom.  Hope springs eternal!  Kennedy went for the Moon – not Mars.  If he was alive and in power today – he’d be going for Mars.

Actions truly speak louder than words – and that’s the last point.  Until then, a picture paints a 1000 words.  To get the vision – you need a vision!  Create a vision of what you want to achieve, then you can inflame your desires!  Where there is no vision, you’re life will lack direction and moment.  Create Your Vision for 2014 – don’t borrow someone else’s.


I am most convinced that nothing worthwhile ever happens without passionate desire.  There is a wonderful Greek word for “Lust” that is used for “strong desire”…  That’s what you need for your goals – a lust, a thirst, a hunger, a burning passion and desire.  You must be or become “driven” to achieve your outcome.  It must become a craving.


And “Action!”  Faith without corresponding action is dead.  You must move.  You must take steps.  You must commit to action.  Physical action.

Many a young heart has seen a vision of loveliness that has captured their imagination and attention.  The slightest attention from the other party then ignites hope – and kindles interest.  Desire grows more fervent as time goes by (as long as there is regular exposure to the vision of one’s dreams).  But all fails without some action at the final hurdle – “Would you like to go out with me?”


Attention is the purpose of your Spirit.  Your Spirit must direct your life.  This is hope.

Interest is the function of your Soul – Your mind must meditate on that which you pay attention to – only then can it reach the heart of the subconscious.  This is perseverence.

Desire is the domain of the Heart – working subsconsciously – literally below the threshold of consciousness – even in your sleep.  This is faith.

Action is the misson of the body – nothing spiritual on Earth happens until there is corresponding physical action.  Such is the stuff of legend and magic as well as true faith.  Why the fuss about the Earthly Temple – a mere shadow of the Eternal?  Simply because the shadow is the shadow of the reality – there cannot be one without the other.  Alter the shadow and the other reality must necessarily be changed.


This is an excellent exercise for your Thinkpen® process.

  • Blue ink for your Spirit’s Attention
  • Black ink for your Soul’s Interest and development
  • Green ink for your Heart’s Desire growing and blooming
  • Red ink for your Body’s decisive Action in the physical realm.

“So let it be written, so let it be done!”

The Secret Power of Knickers!

Victoria's Secret
“Victoria’s Secret” may be the most popular lingerie company on the planet, but the brand holds the key to an even deeper secret than the secret of  what we wear under our daywear.

I often wonder if there are many advantages to being a Woman.

(Notwithstanding the unforgiveable way men have behaved towards Women over the centuries… and continue to do so in the dark toilets of this planet, like Yemen…)

Is there a way to harness the ritual of getting ready for a  potentially draining social event so that we can feel safe, even empowered?  This could be Victoria’s greatest secret.

Specifically, the longer ritual of preparation – with or without make-up – can be made to mean something far deeper (emotionally) than the obvious physcial practicalities of needing to look our best for the party.

My Mum was an area manager for PippaDee Parties – ladies’ knickers if you’ve never heard of them.

Whilst, as a child, I wasn’t invited to the parties, for obvious reasons, I grew up surrounded by a vivacious group of ladies who were excited about underwear.

This is alien to the male of the species.

Simply, this is not an opportunity straight men have.  Our underwear is either boring or subjected to juvenile prints of Homer Simpson.

I’ve never lost my fascination with the enduring and lingering power of lingerie – “underwear” is the wrong word because it can become such a vital part of both the ritual of preparation, and the armour required to face the challenge of the day.

I read of a High Court Judge (female and American) who got a real buzz from knowing that under the drab black wings of her court outfit she was sporting the latest, finest plumage in designer lingerie.  The lingerie was for her – for no-one else.  And it worked.  She felt empowered.  Invincible.

Even our own dear Bridget Jones has faced the dilemma of the Big Knickers vs the empowering torture of unreasonable under-clothing!

If George Bernard Shaw has been a transvestite, he may well have said, “The reasonable person dresses to please the World; the unreasonable person dresses to change the World – that’s why all progress depends on unreasonable underwear!”

I hope that made you laugh, and that the ghost of Shaw will forgive my reframing of his powerful prose.

My (perhaps) over-lengthy point is that if you’re going out tonight you may need ‘protection’… the protection of a ritual preparation involving the deliberate and meaningful choice of which perfume, which make-up, which under-wear, which outer-wear to choose to prepare to become invincible and impervious to any energy vampire you may encounter.  Everything can mean something if we choose it to.

Male choices may be smaller but they still exist.  I remember meeting a teacher who wore a different colour tie as a code to his class as to how open he was to either ‘playfulness’ today, or how closed he was to being mucked about.  The code was secret and unwritten, but they learned!  So much communication is below the threshold of consciousness.  So much communication is underware/underwear, under our awareness!

In my golden days of training I encouaged my students to layer as many senses on purpose as they could imagine to access, maintain, or recover an emotional state.

  • Something they could see that means that emotion to them (e.g. “confidence”)
  • Something they could say to themselves and something they could listen to like a playlist for the mood they were choosing
  • Something they could physically do or physically change or physically wear – I never underestimate the power of heels.  They are madness physiologically, but emotionally they are dynamite.  Clothes matter.  They empower you to ad-dress your state of mind!  Interestingly, a ‘cloak’ is often associated with being ‘anointed’ to play a role in the good old Bible.  They talk of a ‘mantle’ of leadership… fascinating!
  • Ideally, something distinctive to wear as a scent – the sense of smell being the most powerful courier of emotion, memory and state – below the threshold of consciousness.
  • And let’s not forget taste.  Popeye had his spinach… what is the taste of confidence, I wonder?  After all, isnt’ there the sweet taste of success or even of …revenge!

Distincitve choices are important.  Crucial, in fact, otherwise the meanings get muddied in the mix of emotions.  Confidence panties should be kept for situations where confidence is required.  Relaxing knickers are and should be different!

To get you started, here are seven magnificent states I like to trigger at will:

  • Confidence (can be quiet and outwardly passive)
  • Assertiveness (slightly different for me – embracing my family motto: manu forti – “with a strong hand” – always active or proactive)
  • Romantically loving
  • Peaceful (with the recovery mantra, “I can choose peace rather than this,” and the maintaining mantra, “I am calm, I am becoming Karma(Calmer).”  That always tickles me!)
  • Creative
  • Joyful/Fun
  • Reflective and Relaxed

Imagine switching on all those at will!

You know this is what iPods were invented for?

And now you know why Victoria’s Secret is not so secret anymore.

Young Victoria's Secret

Moodscope 14 of 20: Playing the Attentive Card

The Attentive Card14 of 20: The Attentive Card
In the fourteenth of my series on the twenty Moodscope cards, it’s the turn of the “Attentive” card. Moodscope defines this as: “paying close attention”.
Fairy-God-DaughterIf I had a Fairy Godmother (and perhaps I do), the words she would say most often to me would be, “Dearest, where is your attention?” This is because she knows about the magic of attention. I remember her saying to me over and over again as a child, “Whatever gets your attention, gets you!”  That’s what she looks like when my attention drifts to something unhelpful…

It took me a long time to understand the vital role of attetntion, but it’s true. Wherever my attention would go, my thoughts would follow.  Wherever my attetnion would lead would consume my thoughts. My thoughts would grow around my attention as if the attention was the seed.  Attention is a catalyst.

This is most obviously so when suffering a minor cold. I found that if I shifted my attention to a comedy film, I would forget all about the runny nose for 90 minutes. When it was over, my attention would shift back to my symptoms and I would suffer as only a man can suffer!

This is meant to be a positive card for Moodscope. It’s about being switched ‘in’ to the World, not switched ‘off’ like you can be when depressed. But I think it’s a three-way switch:

  • 0 = Attention Off;
  • 1 = Attention on the Positive;
  • 2 = Attention on the Negative.


To switch my attention strongly, I use a click of my fingers. A left click (sounds like a computer’s mouse doesn’t it?) wakes me up to the fact that I’ve been drifting into negative attention. I then do a right click to command myself to find something positive to attend to. One of the joys of being human is that you can only ‘attend’ to one thing at a time. So this works for me.

Now, when my Fairy Godmother asks me where my attention is, I say boldly with a click: “On the positive, Ma’am!”

There’s More: The Great Quest for…

You could stop here.  That’s all the word-count I can post on the Moodscope Blog.  However, there is much more to be said.  So much more.  In fact, we’re talking about the Holy Grail of Human Relationships.

PNG Earth to the Core

You see, “Attention” is at the Core of Life.  You could even call it the Centre of Attention!  This is because our conscious life may be described as, “The Great Quest for Attention!”  Human Beings have this “gift” of consciousness – which doesn’t seem to work very well without reference to others!

Even as a self-referenced introvert, I still need a few people along the journey to confirm my opinion of myself!  I need some dear saints to say, “You know what Lex?  You are OK!”  History is littered with the casualties of individuals who have striven for other people’s attention and approval – often with negative consequences all round.  Many, many children do this.  You see, any attention is better than no attention at all.

Well, I don’t think children should have to strive for attention.  It’s a parent’s role to let their children know daily that they are “OK!”  This is a vital aspect of love.  This doesn’t mean that everything a child does is OK – but the child themselves must know that they are fundamentally OK – OK to the Core.

I can remember an absolutely horrible, bitter and spiteful man living in Mowlem Court in Swanage, where I had my last home.  He was just nasty.  But you know what?  When he saw his grandson, his face would light up and he would pour out love on the simple child.  Even this low-life had the capacity for love.  It taught me a valuable lesson.  As the Prime Example – Jesus Himself said, “Father, forgive them… they really have no idea of what they are doing…”  (with a bit of poetic licence there on the translation!)

Lots of people on the Planet are OK – there are very few exceptions.  So now, if I do meet a partially-evolved member of the Human Race or one that is regressing down the evolutionary tree, and if they are unkind to me, I will often look them in the eye and say, “You really don’t know what you’re doing, do you?”  Their look of confusion always makes my day!  Much better to be kind!

Life Currencies

There are many types of currency in life: money, time and attention, but the greatest of these is attention.  Don’t talk to me of “love” – give me your positive attention.

A few kind words are worth their weight in gold.  Most of us don’t trade with gold directly.  We have currency notes that in England promise to pay the bearer on demand the equivalent sum in gold (but don’t try that on with the Bank of England!)  Our currency notes are “promisary notes” – and very valuable because of that.  They are so valuable that we treat them as the real thing and we trade with them.  Well words are promisary notes.  They are just a collection of letters with an emotional tone… but we’ve come to accept them as a vital part of the currency of attention.  Spend them well.

To drill down to the Core, I have to say that the most import units of attention – the real gold – is touch.  We’ve pretty much “Civilised” ourselves out of touch… and that’s exactly what so many have become: out of touch.  If I’m really low on (attention) funds, holding a loved-one’s hand is far more powerful than any words.

But I like words too.

Units of Attention

Eric Berne, who invented “Transactional Analysis” as a way to describe the way we function psychologically, coined the use of the word “Strokes” to represent “Units of Attention.”  He held that literal physical strokes (as in stroking the cat – not as in the use to describe neurological damage) were the real thing.  We accept other forms of attention as a form of strokes – and so Civilisation works… kind of.

Transactional Analysis is a rich field of discovery that I whole-heartedly recommend – I’m just touching on one vital aspect today.  Studying it will help you understand what makes people tick.

Today’s focus is on types of strokes.  These can be positive, negative and neutral.  Somewhat surprisingly, the most damaging form of attention is the neutral stroke.  I like to call it the “Neutal Bomb” because it does as much damage to our psychology as a Neutron Bomb does to the physcial being.  I think neutral strokes should be banned as weapons of destruction.  A neutral stroke is the deliberate ignoring of someone to whom attention is due.

Some misguided parents (or “non-guided” – after all, who got the manual when they first had kids?) think it kinder to send a “naughty” child to their room – to exclude them.  This is the worst possible solution to unwanted behaviour.  I’m not a child psychologist so I’d better not go any further down that route but I do believe that loving attention is far better than parental neglect.  I know that as a child and as an adult, there is only one thing I have no defence against: love.

The Dawn of the Neuro

Sample Neuro from the First Bank of Positive Attention

Sample Neuro from the First Bank of Positive Attention

Giving positive attention – and catching people getting things right – is so important that I’ve started printing my own currency!

Here in Europe, the Euro isn’t doing too well.  Since “Attention” is a neurological concept, I have invented the new currency of Attention: The Neuro!  Nowadays, I go out of my way to catch people doing a good job, and when I do, I write them out one of my “cheques” that specifically accentuates and draws attention to what they’ve done.  People think I’m nuts – but I am a very rich man – rich in love (well, for most people!)

And you know what the best thing is about dishing out Neuros?  The more you spend the more this psychologically bankrupt civilisation moves out of recession.

Let love flow!


N.B. Learning People’s Names is a great Neuro!

Moodscope: Being Strong

In the thirteenth of my series on the twenty Moodscope cards, it’s the turn of the “Strong” card.  Moodscope defines this as: “Feeling able to cope with difficulties”.

OK, I’ve got to come clean on this one – this is the card I personally find the hardest to give a high rating to.  Why?  Well even on my best day, it takes very little to reduce me to jelly.  I cannot cope with difficulties –period.  On reflection I think this comes down to simple accounting.

Basically, I’m bankrupt.  I’m devoid of a sufficient emotional “Emergency Fund” to cope with life’s constant disappointments.  So I’ll need to borrow from you.

Would you lend me your strength?  Would you lend me the strength of your friendship?  The strength of your hand on mine when words cannot find a way?  Would you invest your smile in me?  I love its radiance, even when it seems I’m not responding.  You are a star – a sun warming my heart on a cold day.

Would you give me your time?  I cannot repay you for this.  A moment of your attention – when you give the greatest gift: listening without criticism… or advice.

If you’ll do this for me, I think I can be strong today.

And I’ll be strong for you tomorrow.

High Time for Apple to Evolve

With the demise of the old-style Mac Pro, Apple reaches a technological ‘T’ Junction and a potential parting with some of its important fan-base.  To the left (i.e. those of us left behind) may have to turn the hundreds of thousands of professional audio, video, and graphic artistes who have bought into expensive dedicated processing cards.  These won’t work with the new architecture – not without expensive breakout boxes.  Heaven forbid, we may have to go back to basics… to the PC.  At least PCs have slots.

To the right is the Steve Jobs paradigm: I’m right, you’ll catch up someday.  And you know what?  He was right.  His paradigm of the rugged indiviualist, the innovative entrepreneur was right… for the 20th Century.  It’s 180 degrees facing in the wrong direction for the 21st Century.  In the Wiki-Worlds, it is www: wrong, wrong, wrong.

The way of the 21st Century is collaboration.  The dinosaurs that don’t get that deserve to go extinct.  Evolve and involve people!  In a world of connected-customers, the way of the dictator cannot stand… even if the dictator is benevolent (which I’m not sure Jobs was!)

Before I go any further, let me state in unambiguous black print on a white page: I love my Apple kit.  I love it’s beauty.  I love its functionality.  I love its easy of use (most of the time).  It’s Apple, the culture, that has life-threatening problem.  The 21st Century is the time for symbiosis – win-win on equal terms with the partners who are its customers.

Living Organisations or Zombie Companies?

A Living Organisation – one that will survive and thrive in the 21st Century – will be one for whom all the seven aspects of life are true.  Two of these are showing warning signs on the Intensive Care monitors for Apple:

  • Respiration
  • Sensitivity


Respiration is the give-and-take that all living organisms have within their environment.  They take what they need to live on, but they also give out.  There is a balance of Nature.  For an organisation, this means way more than doing something noble for charity.  It means a living and breathing relationship with their customers and suppliers.  I don’t experience that with Apple, nor with the other “Usual Suspects” that I will mention below.


Sensitivity does what it says on the label: it senses.  It keeps track of the internal environment and it makes sense of the external environment that it depends upon for life.  Without it, the organisation becomes a zombie.  It is ‘animated’ as if it is alive, but it is just going through the motions.   The spotlight was turned on Amazon recently in the UK – with a television documentary showing just how ‘sensitive’ the mighty Amazon are to their staff.  Staff are customers too in my book.

Adobe and Mindjet

Two of the companies I depend upon for my creative tools have recently gone down the ‘subscription’ route.  With marketing spin on this, this is positioned as good for the customer.  Yeah, right.  It’s great for rich customers, but not for those of us who have saved hard to get access to this technology.  For those of us whose cashflow is uncertain, this marks another T Junction.  You stop paying your subscription?  Find out what happens next.

I love marketing but I hate some many marketing smart-arses.  Listen up people: Win-Win or no deal.  And now: Win-Win, or WIN-WIN, but not WIN-win.

So what’s the difference between Adobe and Mindjet?  Mindjet are sensitive to their environment.  They changed the model to suit their customers – from all payscales.  They restored the option to buy the upgrade.  Top marks.  Mindjet’s Alive!

Amazon proudly told me they were the World’s most customer-centric organisation.  I was really excited by this.  I wanted to know more.  Couldn’t reach anybody.  Didn’t get any response.  Knocked – nobody answered.  Guess I was the ‘wrong’ type of customer.  I applaud the dream Amazon – now talk to your customers and listen to your staff.

Zombie companies like Adobe, Akai, Amazon, Apple, Avid, and, to break up the ‘A’ list, Yamaha who forget their customers have a past dedicated to their products, deserve to cease to get our support.  There is a value on customer loyalty – it should lead to mutual respect and benefit.  Get a load of the ongoing success of the John Lewis Partnership.  John Lewis has it stayed vibrant, vital, and vivacious – by choosing the symbiotic route of partnership.  It’s worked for a long time and will continue to do so.

I want Apple, Avid, and maybe even Amazon to succeed – but only if they return to their senses.

[Ed – btw, when I typed “zombie” into my tag field, “Eurozone” came up – is there a message there?]