Motivation

I get knocked down so I get up again

I have just come to the end of a pretty stressful chapter in my career. Not because of anything going on in the job itself, which I have been enjoying immensely for the last year or so, but because of the nature of my employment being fixed-term with a clear end date.

Today, I am writing about  Personal Resilience, something which I think is a vital life skill.

Much has been said about entrepreneurs who have failed many times before coming up with a product or business model that delivers success beyond their wildest dreams. The former UK Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

It is very rare in life to breeze through every challenge sent our way. Those who give the impression it is easy are either exceptionally talented but more likely masking the hard work and soul-searching they have been through in private to get to where they are.

I remember the first time I was unsuccessful with a job application – it was for graduate entry into the UK’s Civil Service – and it felt at the time like the world was falling down around me. Roll on almost twenty years to this latest challenge and I still experienced moments of self-doubt and the inevitable deflation from yet another “thanks but no thanks” but surprised myself with the resilience I showed, picking myself up time and time again until I landed a permanent role.

So what changed? I think it was a shift in my focus towards being in the moment of the job application, the selection test or interview and away from thinking about the spoils of victory or the disappointment of defeat. It also helped not to take rejection so personally. The recruiter will often already have an idea of the type of person that they want in their team and if you don’t match that profile then it’s not your fault!

Some of you will recognise the picture of the T-1000, a shape-shifting android assassin from the film Terminator 2. In the film the T-1000 experiences countless acts of violence  and each time re-forms, stands up and keeps on going.

We’re not androids and human feelings make it all the more difficult but the next time you get knocked down, think of the T-1000…

…and get back up again.

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Nature, Photography

Up close and personal

I recently found an old Canon camera lens my late grandpa used in the 1980s. It was a pretty decent one by all accounts – or at least that’s what my online search told me – so I thought I would buy an adapter ring and try it out on my Nikon DSLR. What I didn’t know was that to use the lens properly I needed to have purchased a higher-end adapter with a built in correction lens. I could, however, use it for macro shots which led to some surprisingly good results.

Through being forced to look at the world in extreme close up, I gained a different perspective. The picture above resembles a Japanese pine tree clinging on by its roots to the edge of a cliff as the sea crashes into the rocks below. The plants in the picture are actually weeds: petty spurge, moss on a brick and purple-leaved oxalis corniculata in the background. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought before ripping them out of the ground but thanks to an inherited lens and an under-researched purchase I was able to capture this delightful scene.

It’s the same in our lives. Too often we tread a familiar path, stick to a routine, pass by without noticing and in doing so miss out on small moments of beauty that make it all worthwhile. I’m not saying go out and buy a camera and an old lens. Just try looking at something or someone from a new angle or with a different focal length.

You might be surprised with what you discover.

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Nature, Photography, Relaxation

Spring is on its way!

So, I’m in my forties and this is my first blog post. Shame on me…

That’s not to say that I haven’t been writing – it takes up more of my spare time than I would care to admit – just moving my writing online is something that has taken me a while to convince myself to do.

Today at 1615 was the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox , hard to believe with some patches of snow still on the ground, stubbornly hanging around as a reminder that it’s not yet time to put away the heavy coats, hats and gloves. The picture accompanying this post was taken before the most recent cold snap but the hint of warmth from the sunshine partially obscured by the branches of the tree in the foreground felt very Spring-like to me which is why I am sharing it with you now. It also makes a change from the daffodils that are the image of choice for this season.

After I took this picture, I closed my eyes and stood still for probably no more than a minute, filling my lungs with the cold and fresh air, enjoying the subtle warmth of the sun on my skin. Despite new technology making us more productive, I have never felt so rushed off my feet. It is these little moments that are worth grabbing and holding onto.

Through my posts here, I want to share with you the joy that the simplest things can bring to our lives. I hope you enjoy reading about them.

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