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Where has 2,500 years of thought got us?

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…

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But we don’t look or we can’t see

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…

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And only you can learn the lessons

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.

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Few of us do it

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?

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Hear me out

I’ve spent most of my adult life classified as obese or overweight. I’ve finally made progress by examining my own relationship with food and questioning the diet norms we have all had thrown at us over the years.

The old ways haven’t worked. But don’t lose hope. What I’ve learnt could help you.

Let’s get one thing straight first:

You are not defined by what you weigh, whatever the world tells you. You don’t need to feel guilty or sad or not enough. You don’t have to try to change your weight. …

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Going back is powerful

Years ago I went to Cornwall on cricket tour every summer. It was fantastic — stunning locations, friendly but competitive opposition and a great social group.

Then, life happened. We tried the tour with baby in tow, but it didn’t quite work. We stopped touring, moved cities, and — though I stayed in touch with one or two close friends — my involvement with the team ended.

Now, we’re back! One of my kids is old enough and into sport enough that the thought of 5 days camping and cricket excites them.

An early tour I went on, a young…

Andy Taylor

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

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