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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: 1/30/11 - 2/6/11

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Can you keep a good Countenance?

courtesy of Ricky David.  
countenance [ˈkaʊntɪnəns]
1. the face, esp when considered as expressing a person's character or mood a pleasant countenance
2. support or encouragement; sanction
3. composure; self-control (esp in the phrases keep or lose one's countenance; out of countenance)
vb (tr)
1. to support or encourage; sanction
2. to tolerate; endure


As if by magic, these words came to me about an hour ago, so I again engaged in a little research. 

A deep seated desire in all humanity is to feel happy and content with our lives. I can't imagine anyone disagreeing with that statement. It is something that we create in our minds. Well at least I know I do. I have mind pictures that detail what I see and how I am likely to feel. 

The sight of a gentle sunset across the ocean after a warm summers day.
The sight of crisp and unbroken snow at dusk that displays a blue glow accompanied by the sound of silence. 

These thoughts and feelings cause me to smile. A genuine and authentic smile, when directed at another person is attractive. This is more than just raising the muscles in the cheeks and flashing your teeth. It appears in the eyes. The pupils dilate and eyes twinkle like two shining stars in the night sky. I've experienced the smile of people and I find that it touches my soul. Often the smile is returned because I have smiled at somebody first. A genuine smile can grant peace an security. It expresses agape love

If you are seeking to feel happy and content, you can begin by keeping a good countenance in public.

Resolve to smile at somebody with generosity and see if they smile back. Of course some people will not and that is just fine. Pass them by. They may have troubles they are dealing with and the moment was not the right time. Continue on with your good countenance. 

If somebody smiles at you with shining eyes and generosity, respond in kind. A passing comment in the street "Good afternoon" may just lighten somebodies day!


Day 5 of Mind Alchemy is a really interesting exercise. I've only managed just under half of it. All this ties in really well to the first 4 days work. If you have not already seen and engaged in the programme, you sign up for it click here.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

What can you do with Feedback?

Image courtesy of
Day 4 of Steve Aitchison's Mind Alchemy and I'm really fired up after today's exercise! 

Writing a personal mission or vision statement is something I've tried to do before fairly recently but I'd say it has lack a little clarity. Today however, and with the timely intervention of 2 endorsements on the facebook application "Branchout" (one from Steve Aitchison himself)  the other from Matt Brown whom I met for a cuppa thanks to his invite the other day. 
I've been able to write something really meaningful as a result of feedback received.

Writing positively about oneself is quite a difficult thing to do and takes practice. There is the sense that we somehow want to be objective. What better way to get round this than to use the words gifted to us by the feedback of others! It then become authentic. 

If you get some inspiring feedback from someone, it is one thing to accept it and be grateful for it, but what are you going to do with it? If you do nothing, it will become stale and simply fade away. 

MAKE USE of the feedback to improve your life in  dramatic way. It is arguably the best gift you can get from somebody. I'm telling you this because this has become a true realisation for me literally since I got home from work today, switched on my PC and saw the feedback I received! 

I'm now going to share with you my mission/vision statement based on the work I've done for Mind Alchemy day 4.

My infectious and upbeat attitude, enthusiasm and drive, coupled with the learning and creative material I have produced will make a considerable difference to the lives of the clients that choose to work with me. My business will increase to earning a real significant part time income over the coming year of at least £500 per month profit by the end of 2011. I will also become a lead motivational speaker within the organisation with a conference of over 500 delegates who will be inspired by my infectious and upbeat attitude driven by integrity. 

My tenacious and patient attitude toward steadily building and increasing my network in my professional and personal life will increase opportunities to get recognition in my full time job (thereby receiving relevant remuneration) and will enable me to set up my own part time coaching business earning me additional, supplementary income. 

The Band I Play for: 
The presence of Beggars' Belief and the bands unique sound and truly live performance will become increasingly popular. The use of innovative promotional techniques to promote the band through it's fan base will spread the popularity. The band will perform at least once via radio and/or TV media by the end of 2011 earning national and international recognition. The upbeat, inspiring and positive music that is full of the realism of life experience in the written song lyrics will bring a positive attitude in the UK nation and beyond. 

By setting up a regular running regime and increasing my fitness during 2011, I will enter a marathon during the year to raise funds for a charitable cause of my choice.
 I truly believe that the music written by the band I'm in has the potential to be amazingly successful. The lyrics in the songs really do mean something. 
Take a listen to one of our country numbers "Grace". 
If you are seeking truth in your life, you'll not go far wrong be being inspired by what is sung here. Credit to Paul, Joe and the gang. 


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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Anticrastination - Using words in a positive sense

This is another reaction blog to Steven Aitchisons Mind Alchemy course

As usual, I'm pretty much free writing this blog entry as I go relying upon my mind being creative for content. 

First of all, following the module on direction, I found myself analysing how some of my thoughts are "away from". The work carried out became a bit of an inspiration and I considered the created word "Anticrastination". I'm thinking that it is a kind of antidote to procrastination. Once I considered this, I resolved to go for my first run this year. In fact its more like my first run for about 6 months, having got out of the habit during last year. The weather outside wasn't too cold yesterday so I resolved to get on with it instead of just thinking about it. I thoroughly enjoy that feeling of endorphins kicking in and the high I get after the run. See the video below. 

I found the exercise on evaluating life values quite hard today, however I sincerely believe that it's a very important subject to look at. Referring to an earlier blog I wrote on goal setting, discovering life values forms the foundations for effective goal setting. Our goals then become authentic. 

I also believe, as Steve has suggested in his blog on life values that our values will change over time. To explain this with an analogy, our values are like a lump of plasticine. Plasticine needs to be kept warm and malleable. It needs constant work, otherwise it becomes hard and brittle, crumbling to dust like clay. The same can be said about goal setting. It takes attention and constant remoulding. Using positive words keep our intentions somewhat sticky like the warm plasticine. Try attaching 2 pieces of cold and hard plasticine together and you'll find they do not have very good adhesion. 

That's about all I have to say on the subject today.
Good luck folks....

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

How to Identify your Direction

Today's blog is inspired by the free training set up by Steven Aitchison's "Mind Alchemy". It will be pretty likely most of my blogs over the coming month will have that very same motivation. 

Completing the day 2 exercise gave me real food for thought. 

Identifying key elements of what we want to achieve and how we word that in our mind really does display the elements that can hold us back. The instructions provided on Mind Alchemy, if followed authentically really do bring some clarity. By allowing too much focus on what we want to move away from, we do not allow the creative part of our mind to search for solutions. The training I received at the weekend in coaching people very much focuses on, 

"What can you do?"
"What else can you do?"

Asking these questions in more and more creative ways allow the mind to use the creative area of the brain. We can ask these questions of ourselves. 

When running groups at work, I often find that I have creative ideas during the group that are not pre-planned. It is a skill that I realise I have been gifted with and have finally accepted. I firmly believe that everyone has this ability if they choose to tap into it. I've said this before and highly recommend it. Try doing the Honey Mumford Learning Styles questionnaire.  Doing this, I found it helped me to discover more clearly, my identity and to value that. It will give you a great insight to your learning style and will identify that you do have a creative element.

Honey Mumford. Here's a quick and easy link to one. Click here

Facing a problem....
Here is a way of approaching it.

  1. Ask yourself "What can I do?" Don't worry at this stage if nothing comes to mind.
  2. Take some time out for relaxation and meditation. Follow a guided meditation resource such as the following. Click here
  3. Now that you be a little calmer, ask yourself again "What can I do? What else can I do?"
  4. Write down your answers.
  5. Do a brain training exercise such as a word puzzle, crossword, Sudoku. You might like to listen to some suitable music when doing this. I highly recommend listening to Bach if you are doing a numbers puzzle.
  6. Finally, again ask yourself "What else can I do?"
When returning to ask the questions in each case, try not to focus too much on the problem. Do focus on searching for solutions. 

An example for me today is having one or two issues around finances. Some creative ideas I've had around this are to link up with a friend and go busking for a day. That is just one idea that may be possible. There are plenty of others. 

On the subject of money. I think the reason I get frustrated about it is because I've always focused on not having enough instead of being grateful for what I do have. Once accepting that, I can free up energy to move forward to greater comfort.
Finally, in case you haven't already seen it, here is Steve Aitchison's interview recorded yesterday talking about Mind Alchemy.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Wheel of Life - A response

Hi Folks!
New month and time for some aesthetic makeover on my blog page. What do you think of the new theme everyone? I'd not been happy with the old one for a while and feels this new style reflects a little the blog title "Living Life In Chapters"

Two things to mentions today.

If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend that you sign up for Steven Aitchison's "Mind Alchemy" course. Having done some similar work to this in the past, I highly recommend it. It has the potential to help you improve your life in a massive way. 

Secondly, if you have not yet taken up my challenge yesterday to take part in a little experiment, I encourage you to do so. I personally think it will tie in nicely with the material Steven has produced to work through. I'd be pleased to hear from you if you have chosen to do this or not. 

Thinking of The Wheel of Life exercise this morning reminded me of the movie "Lion King". I remember taking my eldest daughter to the pictures to see this when she was little. It was the first time she went to the cinema and as I reflect on that now, I see such a great life lesson in that movie. 
  • The challenges we face.
  • The times of despair followed by the times of triumph.
  • The laws of nature that restore the balance.

There is great value in writing down ways to improve life in an abstract way such as "The Wheel of Life". It provides some clarity on how to move forward. Often, when our thoughts are in a mess with stress, it is difficult to see what to work on first and what is important. Call it a thought pattern tidying exercise. 
Ever had a time when you have a room full of clutter where you have no idea what to keep or throw out? Once you start to sort through the clutter and put it into some sort of order, the task doesn't seem half as complicated as it first appeared. Also, doing the exercise brings forward a sense of achievement, allowing time for a little contentment. 

Completing my Wheel of Life today has given me a clear idea of what I can choose to work on this year to improve my life.

Get in touch with you destiny! 

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Will you take part in an experiment I'm setting up?

Yes, this is my second blog of the day and not something I usually do. I prefer to set blogs as one per day, but I feel a little intrigued and excited about something I've come up with.
This will take no more than half an hour of your time.

Here is what you need: -

  1. An A4 sheet of paper and a pen.
  2. An envelope.
  3. Use of a calendar or diary.
  4. A lit candle and a coin, or something that will make an impression. (not strictly necessary) 
Now the instructions: -

Write your full name and today's date at the top of the sheet of paper. 

Do NOT share the following content you write with anybody.

You might want to imagine interviewing a little version of yourself sitting opposite you as you carry out the exercise, recording the answers.

  • Write down up to 7 things you love to do.
  • Write down  up to 7 career goals or jobs you would love to do.
  • Write down up to 7, of your best talents (Don't be shy!)
  • Write down up to 7 things people say you are good at.
  • Write down up to 7 things you want to learn.
  • Write down up to 7 things you want to leave behind in your life.

Don't worry if you can't think of 7 things in each case. Just put down as much as you can manage. With regard to your talents (that I'm guessing some of you may find difficult) be aware that talents may be the very simple things in life such as being able to cook a meal or make a drink or being a good friend to somebody. 

If you can think of more than 7 things in each case, write down the 7 FIRST things that come into your head. Don't change them!

When you have done this, put it in an envelope, write your name on it and write "Open on 1st July 2011".
Seal the envelope and sign across the fold. 

If you have a lit candle, drip the candle wax across the fold of the envelope and make an impression with something like a coin or ideally something that is precious to you. A ring perhaps. Be careful with the lit candle!

Place the envelope in a safe place hidden away somewhere.

Write in your diary or calendar an entry for 1st July 2011 reminding you to open your envelope. Ensure you record the safe place you have stored it.  

You may be wondering why I have asked you not to share the content with anyone. This is deliberate because I want you to ensure that you are not influenced by how you may perceive others may judge what you have written. It must not be influenced by any other outside influence. This will help you to get in touch with your true self. 

Please feel free to share this experimental exercise with your friends and contacts, encouraging them to take part in the experiment too. You have permission to send a link to this blog if you wish.

On the 1st July 2011. I would like you to share your thoughts on what you wrote today. Please send me your feedback via the comments section on my blog. 

I assure you that I have just done this exercise for myself this afternoon and I too will open my envelope and share my thoughts.

My blog is called "Living Life in Chapters" so this is a way of assessing a chapter in our lives. 

Thank you in advance for giving this a go. 


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What is the definition of intelligence?

Intelligence is a word that I believe many people have a different concept of. 
A favourite definition for me is "not necessarily knowing the answer, but knowing where to find it!" 
We now have the massive benefit of the internet. I use it to such a large extent now. This is from simple things such as searching for the spelling of a word. 
I use the net to clarify my knowledge on some subjects. Perhaps its a date or a place. 
Looking for information on one subject often (for me) sparks off a multitude of links to other pieces of information, advice and resources. I'm aware that it is good for me not to do too much of this because I end up heading off in all sorts of tangents that cause mission drift, perhaps in writing a blog on a given day.

About 10 years ago when I worked for TV Jobshop, for a short while I ran a call in line for folk seeking advice on how to find a certain job. You might wonder how I could do this without massive knowledge about all job sectors. I simply used the net. I can remember being asked how to join the fire brigade. 
It's all there on the screen by simply choosing to look. 

I didn't think this would work because I assumed everybody would know to do what I do and look for answers on the internet. Of course, many people either don't know how and choose not to. Maybe they prefer to ask somebody. There is of course a lot of disinformation on the internet, but it simply takes a little considered evaluation of what is use (to me) and what is not. 

If you are reading this, then you are using the internet in some way. People in the office at work often ask random questions (such as how do you spell........) 
It is all to easy to say to ourselves "I don't know how to......."
That doesn't mean a lack of intelligence. The answer to "I don't know how to...."  or "I can't......." is GO FIND OUT!
The fabulous news is that you can do that from the comfort of your chair!


Hmmmm. Just heard on this mornings new that the composer John Barry has died. I'm a fan of his music. It has had a massive impact on movies, particularly the James Bond franchise. Here is some suitable music. I LOVE this....

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Coaching Academy - An Evaluation

It was about a month ago whilst researching for inspirational material that I came across the possibility to attend a 2 day training event with "The Coaching Academy". I registered my interest and received an invite. 
My thoughts were, I've nothing to lose. Simply a weekend of my time plus the cost of travel. My thoughts were: the minimum to gain would be to network with lots of people with a like mind. 
I prepared myself for the possibility of hard selling techniques, being aware there is a history of this sort of thing when there is a give away.
Arriving at the hotel Saturday morning, everything appeared fine. It was good to see that all seats were taken. I'd guess that everyone who signed up actually turned up. 

The trainers were very friendly and professional. Right from the off, our minds were put at rest with a calm and confident statement that there would be no hard sell. Costs for signing up to the full training would be supplied at the end and that would be that. 

Trainers showed a great respect for all the people attending this event recognising that people were coming for various reasons, and if that was simply to gain a little taster of coaching that was fine. 

There was a great, positive atmosphere over the whole weekend that certainly was not "over the top" as far as I was concerned. 

This training contained some goal setting techniques and questioning techniques that are somewhat similar to what I already know and use. The benefit of seeing and practising this certainly added value for me. Working in small groups and pairs as often happens on training day, one person wrote some feedback on my workbook that touched me. She wrote "Good natured soul!" That was a real blessing. We had only met and spoke about 10 minutes for the exercise. I'll treasure that kind compliment.

I was also pleased to see that there wasn't a massive reference to gaining enormous riches. Earning money was, of course referred to, but I'd say it was secondary to the ethos of having the opportunity to do something worthwhile for those of us that were seeking. 

Marks out of 10? I'd give it a definite 10. 

As for signing up for the training myself. Well I'll see. It isn't cheap, but that is to be expected when loss leader weekends such as these are put on. I don't have that sort of money at the moment and would have to borrow if I do go forward with it in the short term. (I'll not mention the costs here out of respect for the organisation). You really do need to see the whole weekend event to appreciate the value of what is on offer. 

I made some nice contacts with some very nice and friendly people. 

I've no reason to doubt the integrity of "The Coaching Academy" and have not found any significant negative feedback about them. That is simply my opinion and I'd love to here from anyone else with their experiences. 
I'm happy to promote them here. After all, I've had the benefit of their free training, so I feel it's worthy to return the compliment with a little promotion.

I'm now looking forward to Steven Aitchison's Mind Alchemy material for February. I'll likely write about that here too. Watch this space. 

Throughout the days during breaks, some pleasant music was played. Today, I particularly enjoyed some Frank Sinatra.

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