Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Death of a son

July 23, 2015
Some things in life are very important

Some things in life are very important

Nick Cave’s son Arthur took smiling photo metres from cliff where he died’.

I read that headline and heard on the news that a 15-year-old boy had fallen to his death from a cliff. No foul play, no suicide, just a childish misadventure that cost a young man his life. It didn’t matter that his parents were famous. It didn’t matter why it happened. It just happened.

As a father of a boy not much older than Arthur, hearing the news made my blood run cold. I imagined if it had been my son. I want to protect him and nurture him and if he died like this I’d want to go with him. Otherwise, every day would be white pain; complete, unrelenting, devastating pain.

But as children grow we must let them go, release the parental embrace and allow them to take their own steps in the world. We watch as they leave us and disappear into the night. And we wonder. And we worry.

Accidents, king hits by unprovoked strangers, spiked drinks, idiots in cars, drunks looking for a fight – all out there on a possible collision course with a person that I value in this world more than myself.

From the day your child is born these possibilities are a permanent spectre, lying in wait for happenstance. We have a rule in our family that no one can die before me. Selfish I know, but I value their lives ahead of mine and couldn’t bear an existence without them.

I can’t imagine how Rosie Batty gets through a single day. There can be no peace. She has found a greater good to make sense of losing her son. She is a most worthy Australian of the Year.

I want to keep my kids safe. I advise them as best I can about being sensible, when at their age I wasn’t. I want them to be happy. Most of all they know they’re loved and I enjoy every moment I have with each of them. No one knows what tomorrow brings but we can influence our actions today.


The naivety of youth and where to find some

March 23, 2015
Recapture your youth ...

Recapture your youth …

There’s something refreshing about the naivety of youth; a time of not knowing it all and having the opportunity and the excitement of finding out. There are so many new experiences, taking nothing for granted and enjoying the moment; enjoying the journey as well as the destination.

It’s ironic because this is exactly what many of us ‘older’ people are searching for. I saw a great example this morning. As I waited in the airline lounge for another flight, I made my way up to the coffee station and there was a young man of 16 or 17, my son’s age, standing there looking at the machine.

He clearly didn’t know what to do and looked like a fish out of water. There were huffs and puffs from the handful of business types behind him, frustrated by the multi-second delay this was causing to their day.

Excruciatingly absorbed in their self-importance, these men and women in their power suits, sporting permanent scowls that scream ‘I’m so important’, were clearly desperate to secure that next coffee with minimal downtime.

I said to the young man, ‘These machines are so complicated, far too many buttons for my liking’ as I helped him to make his selection. He said he was new at this. ‘Great, where are you going?’ He was off to Sydney to race go-carts in the national championships.

‘Wow, that sounds great’, I said as I handed him his cup. I saw him eyeing the biscuits so suggested he’d better grab a few of those to keep him going. We headed back to our seats in the same direction and he told me how happy he was, how this was a great opportunity for him, how excited he was about flying and being allowed to use the lounge.

I wished him luck, told him he was unquestionably the most interesting person in here and that I hoped to see him in F1 one day. I was much better off for talking to him and glad I’d had the chance to meet him.

Here was a young adult that was excited by life, chasing his passion and enjoying every aspect of journey, even the flight. I thought back to my first few flights and how excited I was too.

Many people in this lounge have big jobs, high salaries and flash cars but have lost the passion and excitement. I looked over at the young man talking enthusiastically with his parents, almost bouncing off the walls, while the ‘blue suits’ had their noses buried in the latest Richard Branson article on their iPads.

When you recapture the wonder, you capture the world.

Regrets about regret

November 3, 2014
Life's too short for regrets

Life’s too short for regrets

My wife and I were driving home from a weekend away and were talking about some of the things we regret. Fortunately, for both of us, marriage was not on the list! The conversation stemmed from the passage of time, and now, with our children becoming adults, where the childhood years went.

My wife regretted not letting our children be ‘freer’; allowing the girls to wear their fairy dresses as much as they wanted and not caring if they became dirty or ruined from overuse. And taking them to ballet, despite the fact they hadn’t show any interest in dancing.

For me, it was putting my career first in the misguided notion that my success in the business world would pave a better life for my family. It took me twenty years to realise the folly in that.

We both agreed that we were better parents to our son, child number three, as we were older, more experienced and, then in our thirties, applying a more balanced perspective on life. Now, as grandparents for the first time, in our fifties, we’re in the ‘sweet spot’ of life and have the time, energy and patience to be awesome in this new priority-leading role.

Regret is a strange beast. Our children grew up with every opportunity; wonderful holidays, excellent education, love and support and we enjoy a close relationship with each of them to this day. So what is there to regret? As we drove and talked, we realised we were looking back based on the values and experience we have now.

Back then, money was tight; we couldn’t afford the ballet lessons or to replace the fairy dresses so we prioritised swimming lessons and a family holiday. My wife gave up her career to be a full-time mum, a goal we had set very early on. Our mortgage seemed insurmountable and I thought striving for the next career rung would make that easier.

And of course it did. And then we did the best with what we had. We were the best parents we could be with our relative inexperience.

So perhaps now through older and more experienced eyes we need to give ourselves a break on the regrets and focus on making today great. So when my nearly three-year-old grandson tells me that I’m the best grandpa in the world, well, I believe him.

Happiness – nature or nurture?

February 18, 2014
It's all a journey

Where does happiness come from?

Some people naturally have a brighter outlook than others; they see the positive side in life’s opportunities. Others prefer to focus on life’s problems, seeing the negative possibilities first, even when they’re unlikely to occur.

Those with a negative orientation can alter their outlook by being aware of their internal dialogue, and questioning their immediate negative response. Some may say ‘assume the worst and you won’t be disappointed’ but we know that our thoughts direct our actions, so a negative mindset will not get the results we want.

A negative outlook may offer some protection against disappointment, but sometimes we just have to believe in ourselves. We may open ourselves to the possibility of some emotional pain but the upside is far better – being healthier, happier and having more ‘good luck’ come our way.

I believe it’s better to have a positive outlook and occasionally be disappointed than go through life under a dark cloud. If a negative outlook has become a habit then learn to internally challenge your fearful thoughts and negative assumptions.

We create our own world through our attitudes, perceptions and reactions. We do have the ability to choose. A positive outlook in life creates a sense of wellbeing and happiness.

Merry Christmas

December 23, 2013
Enjoy the beauty in the world

Enjoy the beauty in the world

This is a piece I wrote several years ago to explain my philosophy in life. I work hard to achieve it. It doesn’t always happen, sometimes I miss the mark. That’s a legacy of being human.

I don’t give up. Life would be boring without the odd challenge along the way! I live my best life and I’m grateful.

Enjoy the Christmas season and may 2014 be your most successful yet!


Find peace, contentment and fulfillment. Enjoy health and happiness.

Be connected to family and friends. Find love. Seek self-acceptance, wellness and gratitude.

Leave others better than you find them. Live your greatest life.

Discover your authentic self and be true to that which you value most. Seek growth.

Make a contribution and leave a legacy. No regrets.

And most importantly have fun and enjoy the journey.

Minding your mindset

March 18, 2013

A positive approach to life

A positive approach to life

Do you remember a time when everything was wonderful and you were in love with the world? Perhaps you convinced the object of your desire to agree to a date, you won your dream job, finally got that new car, had a baby or achieved one of your major goals. How good did that feel, and how great was everything in your world?

Nothing could bring you down; you were happy, excited and walking on air. Your good mood changed how you processed the world, and in turn changed how you reacted to it. Life was seen through a lens of gratitude, optimism, excitement and meaning.

Everything that happened that day was relative to your positive feelings. Things that would normally make you annoyed were shrugged off without a second thought. At that point, your reality was your relative understanding of the world based on where and how you were experiencing it.

Of course, it can flow the other way as well; a day, week, month or lifetime of negativity with every experience building on that negative mindset. People who get caught in this downward spiral look for the worst and usually find it. They’re life’s victims – seemingly always a day late and a dollar short.

It may not be practical to wake up every morning in a state of bliss, although some people do achieve that; our reality is far more variable than we may think and far more dependent on the way in which we view it.

With the right mindset, our power to influence and dictate our reality, and in turn the results of our actions, increases significantly. The key is that a positive mindset just doesn’t change how we feel about an experience, it can change the actual results of that experience.

A positive mindset can give you a competitive advantage, have you operating at a higher level and contribute in a meaningful way to your success and happiness. Anyone for an attitude adjustment?

Positively successful

September 10, 2012

… and be successful

Positive thinking is based on the belief that we will get what we want and by taking action we’re in the process of fulfilling our dreams, destiny, goals or success. The words are interchangeable but the destination is the same.

We’ve all heard of the term ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’; it means believing that results will come to us when we fashion our lives according to our personal beliefs. This comes with a warning; our results positive or negative depending on what we think.

To quote James Allen: Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

We can make something positive happen today when we’re prepared to open the door to the opportunities that will make us happy and lead us to fulfillment and success.

Applying the laws of success

July 9, 2012


Where will you find your yellow jersey?


In our last few posts we discussed how, through action and clarity of thought, we’re able to channel universal energy to create our goals and desires into reality. When we accept that we do this every day in the normal process of our lives, it’s not such a big leap to believe we can also achieve the same results for those things we currently feel are out of our grasp.

In this series of posts I will break down the laws of success to their most basic and easy to understand components. This will demystify the process and show you how to apply the laws of success to your life. These principles are not new and have been proven time and again. Many people are just not prepared to believe that it’s possible or take the necessary action.

At seminars and in books we’re told to ‘dream big’ and ‘go for it’. That’s good advice but it misses one key element: belief. If you don’t believe you can achieve something then you’re prone to give up or only provide a mediocre level of effort. More often than not you will fail, which in turn reinforces your belief that ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘It’s too hard’ or, worse, ‘I’m not worthy or good enough’.

I’ve written many times about the requirement for taking action and demonstrating persistence toward a challenging but achievable goal. The laws of success aren’t magic, so we can’t ‘manifest our desires’ out of thin air without taking action to achieve them. So many people are disappointed when success doesn’t immediately come their way.

Let’s look at this in another way with an example that many of us can relate to.

If you want to lose weight and get healthy you have to exercise, and watch your diet. If you say ‘I wish I could lose weight’ and continue to do the same things then you’ll get the same result. The basic equation for weight loss is energy in, energy out. If you eat healthy foods, and exercise to burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. It’s a simple formula but, as many of us know, often difficult to achieve. There are many distractions, excuses and roadblocks that get in the way.

Sometimes we may not do everything we should. We sleep in that extra 30 minutes and miss our morning walk, or can’t resist that slice of cake when having coffee with friends. There’s a trade-off here between short-term satisfaction and a longer term benefit, and keeping focused on the big picture can be difficult. That doesn’t mean we’ve failed. We may be annoyed at ourselves, but those that are ultimately successful overcome these setbacks and keep going.

Achieving success is exactly the same. You create an idea in your mind (energy in) and take action (energy out) to manifest (create) your desires (goal) in the physical world (result).

For both weight loss and success there are a couple of important points. You must set a goal that’s reasonable and you believe you can achieve. Second, it takes determination and hard work; if you don’t take action you can’t possibly expect to get results. Third, it takes time; you can’t decide to lose 10 kg and realistically hope to do so by the end of the week. Finally, you need to make your new actions a way of life, a permanent change for the better, or you will quickly find yourself back where you began.

Now you have it, the formula for success; no one said it would be easy. In our next posts I will help you to make this a reality.

Flowing in the mainstream

February 22, 2012

Go with the flow or go your own way?

I was having breakfast with a good friend and talking about how to achieve our goals for 2012. We spoke of prosperity, success and happiness, and how our lives would change if we achieved all we set out to do. A fun conversation over several lattes while enjoying the early morning sunshine and watching the flow of people rushing by towards another day at the office.

We were setting short-term targets to hold ourselves to account over the next month when my friend asked if achieving success guaranteed our happiness. Good question. My answer was that it depends on how we define success – if success is more than financial then it makes sense that our definition would include the things that make us happy.

My view of prosperity is that it includes multiple elements that will lead to personal satisfaction and happiness. So how, my friend asked, do we define happiness? And after we define it, how do we find it?

Life is full of contradictions. We have more things but enjoy them less, more technology but less time.  We’ve multiplied our possessions but reduced our values and we know how to make a living but not a life. People are searching for happiness but having trouble finding it.

While many of us have the trappings of success, true prosperity remains elusive. An underlying feeling of disappointment in life and a yearning for something more is all too common. Our society’s obsession with seeking happiness through conspicuous consumption often leads to the very opposite of satisfaction.

We’re promised great things; the benefits of modern life swirl around us and our pursuit  of them encourages us to jump in and go with the flow. We’re lead to believe that living in the main stream brings happiness and abundance. While tempted to swim cross current and take a stand on terra firma, we allow ourselves to be swept along in the illusion of making it to an ocean of prosperity.

The main stream is the easiest option but not always the best. If you have been going with the flow, living up to other’s expectations and still feeling dissatisfied, then it’s time to try something different.  Sometimes you need to get out of the water and find your place in the sun.

Beating the doubts and fears

January 13, 2012

You will move past self doubt!

To be successful we are told that we must ‘believe’. But what does that really mean; to believe in yourself perhaps? Or in some higher universal power that provides from a never-ending spring of prosperity?

Our reality is that nothing is given or achieved without the application of energy to make it happen.

That means there’s no wishing or affirming your way to prosperity without belief and action. Rather, this is how it works: think it, feel it, see it, believe it, do it, create it and receive it. Therefore belief is about believing in yourself to the level that you can take action with a positive mindset.

That, as we have seen, isn’t always easy. As soon as you dare to dream your ideal outcome, one that’s a stretch on your current position, you’ll inevitably experience doubts and fears. That’s normal and dealing with these this is the key that unlocks your comfort zone.

Write down your goal and that voice in your head will say ‘You can’t do that’-Self doubt is normal when we seek change, but we need to drag ourselves from our comfort zone to create momentum.

For most things, the consequences of failure are at worst feeling embarrassed that you couldn’t meet your goal or, at best, learning some important lessons to refine your strategy so that you can try again.

Can you make the consequences of not trying worse than not achieving what you desire?.  Sometimes this comes from willpower and other times from hitting rock bottom – a feeling of, ‘I can’t stand myself any longer, and I just have to change!’

To beat your doubts and fears, just commit to a small change and then and allow yourself the space to re-evaluate from there. Take action, even if you fail at first, and soon you will see enough signs to convince yourself that you are on the right track and that it is possible to create the life you desire.