Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I’ve spent most of my life trying to improve myself. From kicking a ball against a wall as a kid, playing in a band as a teenager, diets as an adult, starting my own business in my 40’s — I’ve always been trying to get better.

I realise now that all the time I could have been doing it better.

Like the twist at the end of the movie that you just don’t see coming, it’s only in the last few months that I feel I’ve really cracked how to make the most of any self-improvement advice.

It’s not a…

Gaslighting parents — an image of toy blocks distorted is used to represent the subject of the article
Gaslighting parents — an image of toy blocks distorted is used to represent the subject of the article
Image by author

The term gaslighting originates from a 1930’s British play where the husband character is trying to get his wife classed as insane and taken away to an institution. He plays with her perception of reality, intentionally dimming their gas lights then claiming they haven’t changed when she notices them glowing less brightly.

As parents, we are almost completely in control of our kids perception of reality, especially at home. I’m not sure we realise the power we have. The pandemic gives a good example.

Small kids don’t watch the news. When lockdown hit all they knew was that one day…

Image by author

For most overweight people, unhelpful food and drink choices are an issue. I know, because they are for me. Unhealthy food is cheap, tasty, satisfying (for a small amount of time) and easily available.

Generally speaking (medical conditions excepted) your eating choices will go a long way to dictating your weight and body shape.

“Eat less, move more” gets annoying after a while. Often it’s really hard to eat less (or better), and sometimes there’s no time to move more.

So what else can we do?

We’ve all tried to cut out the “bad stuff”, but it’s tough. If everyone…

Photo by Alejandro Luengo on Unsplash

Twenty years ago I was working at a huge national youth music radio station in the UK and our boss at the time was hosting the weekly staff meeting. He wanted to address a feeling amongst his employees that everyone was burnt out.

We had great numbers, critical acclaim, a production line of new talent and a young and ambitious team.

But the atmosphere at work was combustible. Production teams were being chopped and changed, personality clashes seemed to be springing up everywhere and gossip was rife.

This is what he got up and said:

“Everybody. Think about your work…

Image by author

What happens when you search out the most ancient philosophy and compare it with the most modern philosophy?

Surely, in all those thousands of years, us humans must have been able to work out the answer to life, the universe and everything?

These days, if someone calls you “philosophical”, it could be pejoritative — maybe your conversation just got a little too deep for their liking. It’s a shame, because philosophy is, literally, what it’s all about.

Whether we realise it or not, we spend a lot of our lives wondering what the heck is going on… and that’s philosophy…

Photo by James Wheeler on Unsplash

I’ve just returned from a few days camping where we were blessed with beautiful weather. Every night the stars were out, and every night we looked up in awe.

I thought to myself — these stars are always here, they’re always magnificent, but we only choose to acknowledge their greatness when two things intersect:

Possibility and choice.

Some nights there is cloud cover. Most nights we don’t even bother to look up. And yet there they are — eternally awesome.

How many other people and things in our lives are like the stars — always worth our appreciation but only…

Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash

Finals of international soccer competitions often get decided on penalty shoot-outs. The players who miss get blamed (and sadly, likely abused on social media).

I heard an ex-player talking about taking a penalty in a major final. They spoke about how the walk from the center-circle of the pitch to the penalty spot becomes an ordeal of self-doubt.

You start to question everything — how quickly you walk, where you look, how you put the ball down. By the time you get to strike the ball, you’re a wreck. And you’re on your own.

In life, there are moments when the advice runs out, or it simply can’t give us any more.

Then, it’s down to you and you alone. All you can do is try your best and learn from your mistakes.

Photo by Akshay Chauhan on Unsplash

The most important lesson I learned at school was exam technique.

How do the gatekeepers at the next level (university, job applications) judge you? By your grades. How do you get good grades? Do exams well. How do you do exams well? Learn exam technique.

Study smart. Only learn enough topics to ensure that you can answer the questions that come up (they can only be taken from a certain number of topics, check the rules of the examining board). Don’t learn the whole subject. Learn some topics well. Practice under exam conditions.

In the exam, read the questions, answer the questions and divide your time equally.

In the exam of your own life, have you studied smart? Or have you tried to learn everything? Have you read the questions? Have you answered them? Have you devoted equal time to them?

Andy Taylor

I want to learn. I try to grow. I’d love to help.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store