Mummy May I

Mummy, May I =


Mummy, May I have a biscuit?

= No, Dear, it’s nearly Tea

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Because it will spoil your appetite!

Why’s that, Mummy Dear?

= Because there will be no room in your tummy for anything else?

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Because there is only so much space in your tummy at a time!

= That’s why we have Breakfast, Lunch, Tea, Supper and, when we’re feeling posh, Dinner!

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Because that’s the way God made it so!

Why, Mummy Dear?

= Ask your Father!!

Daddy, please may I have a biscuit?

= Why, Dear?

Because I’d like one, Daddy Darling, of course!

= OK, My Love, then you’d better have one!


= Result!



Making Associations

Make Link Break Link

Making Associations

In an earlier blog, entitled, “Breaking Associations,” I encouraged us to challenge unhelpful links that we’d allowed to define us negatively. The blog post was originally published on Moodscope.  In response, “Hopeful One” said, “There seems to be an underlining assumption that being defined in this way is always negative. In my opinion it’s not so much the definition or the associations but the internal judgements we make that do the damage.”

We are in agreement, Hopeful One!

Associations have their own associations! We can make them mean what we want them to.

For example, we can change the context. One of my favourite film clips is from a rather violent thriller called, “Face Off!” In it, Nicholas Cage and John Travolta swap roles as goody and baddy. In my chosen scene, Judy Garland’s version of, “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow,” plays serenely while a S.W.A.T. team destroys the flat our hero is sheltering in. The association is ‘wrong’ – it shouldn’t work. It works perfectly.

So the flip side of breaking bad associations is to make good associations – deliberately. An association is simply, “This means that,” or “This links to that.”

Naturally occurring associations include hearing a song when you’re having a good time. The song and the feeling of feeling good become linked automatically. The next time you hear the song, you feel good because the two files are linked in the library of your brain! Even more powerful is scent. You may associate an after-shave or perfume with a person. Smell the scent, remember the person.

These links happen naturally and unconsciously. In fact, all the sense data you were receiving at the time becomes linked in your mind to the event. Famous Canadian Neurosurgeon, Wilder Penfield, demonstrated the physical nature of memory by stimulating areas of patients’ brains. The memories that were triggered enabled the patients to relive experiences – along with all the senses recorded at the same moments in time.

This is good news because we can create this process consciously as well as unconsciously. You and I can choose to link a song, a scent, even an object to an emotional feeling. When we sense we are beginning to feel great, we can choose to pop on our “Feel Great” Playlist… and turn up the volume! The brain doesn’t care what comes first, the chicken or the egg! It simply splices the memories together. Do the procedure often enough and you will discover that your “Feel Great” Playlist will remind your mind what it is like to feel great… et voila! You will feel better.

Right, I’m off to find a magic feather… heard some flying elephant dropped one near here.

Breaking Associations

Make Link Break Link

Breaking Associations.

I was editing some video today. Couldn’t really get it to do what I wanted it to do when I realised that two tracks were linked together. This association meant that I couldn’t edit the tracks individually. It was a simple matter to break the association and then I could achieve the transformations I was seeking.Walking back from my local shop, it struck me how my own life had been unnecessarily brought low by false-associations. When my business fortunes had shifted dramatically, I had allowed that downturn to remain associated with my self-image. The business had failed, ergo I was a failure.I hope you’re laughing, or at least smiling, at how absurd that link is. I am not my business.The subject, however, is serious. How many of us have associated our self-worth with our relationship to someone special? If that relationship ceases for any reason, we can allow that loss to impact our self-worth. The loss of a job can have a similar effect… if we let it.

Today, I’m recommending that we break such associations. It’s time to separate the tracks in the great Editing Software of Life, and assign new value and meaning to each distinct part of our lives.

I am not defined by the success of my business.
I am not defined by my bank balance.
I am not defined by the success of my relationships.
I am not defined by my employed status.
I am not defined even by my health.

I am something beyond all these links.
And so are you.

You are beautiful because you are simply beautiful.
You are lovely because you are distinctly lovely.
You are worthy because you have worth in my sight, and, I hope, in your own sight too.
I value you.


[First published on Moodscope, Monday 3rd August, 2015]

Connect For

Connect_Four“Connect Four” by Silver Spoon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Connect For

A game I have enjoyed for many years was first published by Milton Bradley in 1974: Connect Four. It did what it said on the tin – your mission, should you have decided to accept it, was to connect four peices. The game still brings me pleasure.

What a great lesson for life! The very architecture of your neural net is all about connections. So too, when seeking to live and enjoy a life to the full on this pearl of a Planet. It seems success comes down to the quantity and quality of our connections.

Yesterday, I had one of those enchanting moments one can have in the presence of an enthusiast. John is a model railway enthusiast specialising in the development of the Meccano-Hornby story. With passion, he showed me a very modest truck from his layout. The joy of this particular truck was hidden underneath. John revealed the secret with obvious relish. This truck had one kind of connection at one end, and another at the other! Why was this significant? Well with one such truck, John could harness the power of two chapters in model railway history. One connection linked to the earlier Hornby rolling stock, the other to the later Triang version.

With one simple innovation, past and present were connected.

This got me thinking about the importance of being a Connector. If part of success in life is about making the right connections, surely one of the greatest joys is connecting not just with others but on behalf of others. I could happily say, this is my chief joy at this time in my life. I now know a lot of people – I’ve been on Planet long enough to build a phenomenal network. But this network is not for me, it’s for others, it’s for you. Nowadays, when I meet someone new, my neural net is naturally making connections with other people in my neural database without having to think about it.

I live to connect!

Now here’s the important part. If this connecting is for mere financial profit, your connections will rightfully see through this and reject your best efforts. We are not islands. We need each other. And it would be really nice to connect with one another without having to use a Toll-Bridge, wouldn’t it? In this Connection Economy, not everything has to be about profit – there are other currencies worth investing in.

So, my encouragement to you today is to “Connect Four” – and connect for no profit or self-interest. Find four people today whose life could be enhanced if they connected with someone you know, and be that bridge-builder for them. Connect for the simple pleasure of connecting!

If the Universe works, your good work will come back to you a hundred-fold, but never, ever engage in this good work with any thought of return. It’s simply good for you to connect others. In fact, it’s good for all of us.

Hey, isn’t that part of what Social Media is about?

Whinge Learn Change


WLC = Whinge, Learn, Change

This morning, I gave the sofa some feedback.  I told it, in no uncertain terms, what an idiot it was for bumping into me.  It was personal.  The sofa was out to get me…

…except it wasn’t.  I was the idiot.

Do you ever find yourself giving a good talking to inanimate objects?  As humans, we tend to anthropomorphise ‘stuff’ and then assign malicious intent to it!  Why do we do that?  (Or am I the only one?)

My justification?  I was tired.  But I’m more tired of this stupid sub-routine in my mind.  Time to change.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside four consultancies who shared the same learning model.  The WLC model:

Win, Learn, Change

The Win, Learn, Change model is used for gathering feedback and commitment to action at the close of an intervention.  What was the win for you, what did you learn, what would you like to change?  I’d like to share the Lex Revised Version:

 Whinge, Learn, Change.

I don’t know about you, but I meet a lot of people who Whinge!!  Well, they say, “It takes one to know one!”

I can’t remember a single time when I found a whinge helpful, can you?  But a whinge can become our friend, when it becomes a catalyst for change.  This morning, when I caught myself whinging about the evil sofa trying to kill me, I remember my positive intention to write this blog.  So here’s how Whinge, Learn, Change could work for you…

Whenever you catch yourself whinging or even just having a murmur of discontent (let alone a Winter of it!) let it be a wake-up call for an opportunity to learn and change.  The Whinge is the trigger to choose a better response.  Heed its call.  Then ask yourself:

 “What can I Learn from this?”

Of course, I learned that the sofa wasn’t evil, that I was being stupid, I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and I needed a cup-of-tea to help the morning wake-up ritual.  What’s next?

 “So what do I need to Change?”

Take responsibility for my own movement around the house and be more careful.  Develop enhanced acuity.  Laugh at myself when I’m feeling ratty.  Get some sleep!  Have a cup-of-tea first (isn’t that what Stephen Covey means by “First Things First”?)

I hope I’ve brought a smile to your lips as you read this.  We all whinge (trust me, you do too).  Now you have a simple strategy for turning your whinge into an asset for change.  And, if you’ve got deep enough rapport with your friends, you’ve got a great tool for transforming their thinking if they ever think your ear looks like a garbage container worthy as a receptacle for their interminable whinging!

Valentine: A Hopeful Romantic

A Hopeful Romantic.

(Written originally for Moodscope‘s Valentine’s Day Blog)

Does “Valentine’s Day” have anything to offer those of us who have suffered bad relationships? Or to those of us who are not in a relationship?


People are strange! They often choose strange, disempowering ways to describe themselves.  For example, they say, “I am a hopeless romantic!” What an effective way to doom one’s relationships to hopelessness!

I describe myself differently. I am a “hopeful romantic”! This is so regardless of whether or not I am in a relationship and whether or not I am in love! Like the Pre-Raphaelites, I focus on hope, on potential, and on beauty. I focus on what I may rather have than on what currently exists. This is how humans often grow, mature and blossom.

In fact, my favourite saying is, “Reality leaves so much to the imagination!” What is the imagination? It is the ability to project an image in the mind’s eye. It is the act of creation of an image in the mind. This is wonderful news because, with practice, you can choose what you create – just like an author of fiction.

On Valentine’s Day I choose to focus with the eye of my heart on:
what is good and beautiful;
what is edifying and encouraging;
what is kind and thoughtful;
what is loving and what I am passionate about.
On Valentine’s Day, I choose to live with passion.

After all, “All You Need Is Love” da da da-da da…because, “Love never fails.”

Moodscope 19: Playing the “Ashamed” Card

19 Moodscope Card - Ashamed

The penultimate card!  Today’s card is the 19th in my series of 20 on the Moodscope Mood-Measuring indicators.  The 19th is the “Ashamed” Card which Moodscope defines as, “feeling shame for doing something wrong or foolish.”

What a great word for “embarrassment”!  Oh, I’ve embarrassed myself on many an occasion.  But do you know what?  Most of the events weren’t worth getting embarrassed about.  I was always the one who cared most about the stupid thing I said or did.  Others may have laughed “at” me, but they soon forgot.  Well, usually!

HARP Tip: It is alwyas worth asking yourself the question, “According to whom?”  If you’re feeling embarrassed and therefore believe the situation to be embarrassing, ask yourself, “This is embarrassing according to whom?”  Sometimes that’s enough to take the sting out of the moment.

As a frame can make or distract from a picture, so also the context can exaggerate or dissipate a sense of shame.  This is where you can make a difference.  If you are ashamed or embarrassed, excuse yourself (not by way of apology but by way of absenting yourself – Elvis must leave the building!)

This may seem almost cowardly but we all know deep down that trying to do something about the situation from a state of feeling ashamed rarely produces anything good.  We’ve dug a hole and we can end up digging it deeper.

Better to leave as graciously as you can (even if only for 5 minutes to the loo), breathe differently, change your posture, refocus and reframe the event.  Then you can return to influence the way the rest of the time plays out from a position of detached strength.  A sense of shame often provokes the defence of blame.  Better to dissociate yourself for a while and get a fresh perspective.

Of course, I don’t need to remind you that everyone has made a fool of themselves at some time or other.  Because of this, the simple and beautiful words, “I’m sorry,” will resonate so powerfully with their heart that they will be moved.  They may choose not to outwardly show this but humility and love is irresistible in the long run.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Amen and So Be It!

HARP Tip: “Associated vs Dissociated.
This is language used in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and in HARP (Hypnotic Associative Re-Patterning).
It refers to how ‘in’ the event you feel or perceive yourself to be.
Most of us watch the sad News on the TV in a dissociated state.
It is as if the glass on the front of the screen provides a safety barrier for our emotions – a shield between event and emotion.
If the News then mentions someone we know, we are suddenly pulled through the screen into the event – we feel it personally.
This is the ‘Associated’ state.
It is as if you are there,
looking through your eyes
hearing through your ears
feeling through your skin…
Being able to be associated or dissociated at will is a core-skill of being ‘Emotionally Intelligent’.
An emergency worker is better off being dissociated whilst giving practical aid.
In fact many acts of heroism are carried out in a dissociated state.
When the hero is interviewed afterwards, they often say it, “just happened… I acted without thinking.”
Feeling embarrassed is very ‘associated’!
Dissociating yourself is a good strategy to take the sting out of this unresourceful and disempowering emotional state or feeling.
‘Breaking State’ – breaking the spell the emotion has cast over you, by absenting yourself from the situation is a great first step.
When you return to face the heat (even if it was just the heat in your cheeks), imagine going back as a commentator from the BBC.
Distance yourself from yourself!
Imagine you were commenting objectively and dispassionately about someone else.
If you want to step up the magic, imagine yourself protected by a clear, toughended glass shield that stops other people’s negative ‘vibes’ reaching you.
I use a technique I learned and adapted from Jack Black (the Scottish Motivational Speaker, not the Hollywood star!)
The technique is called, “Thunderbirds!” and is named in honour of the TV Show.
It has a wonderful, military march theme tune and promotes a sense of adventure and good energy.
I play the theme tune to myself in my head, and imagine a protective clear glass shield coming down all around me.
It is permeable to air, so I can breathe freely!
However, it is impermeable to negativity – nothing negative can get through my shield!
I find this helps me deal with difficult situations without my own or other people’s emotions contaminating the communication.
Crazy?  I don’t think so.  After all, “Reality leaves so much to the imagination!”