My Blog Top Ten (up to date)

If I’m going to blog more regularly again (and there’s a lot to blog about), then I’m going to get all up to date with a massively self-indulgent top ten so far. So here it is in traditional reverse order…

Let’s see how that changes over the months.

Thoughts On Burned Bridges

Sometimes, when we move on in our lives, we lash out at the thing we’re leaving behind. It’s a childish thing to do, but there are reasons why.

Perhaps we’re so vehement because we’re still trying to convince ourselves it’s the right thing to do, when deep down we know better.
Perhaps we’re trying to make the people around us happy.
Perhaps we’re trying to make going back such a humiliating climbdown that we could never countenance yielding to the temptation.

Whatever the reason, there are the times that we feel the need to burn the bridges and trample the charred remains underfoot. We burn the bridges to stop others following us over, and we burn them to stop ourselves crossing back. And we do it because we think we’re too weak to stick to our decision, one we often know to be wrong.

But every bridge had to be built in the first place. So no bridge can ever be burned so badly that it cannot be rebuilt.

…ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough…

After such a petulant, charged departure who can say what’s the other side of the bridge you could rebuild? And isn’t it always better to build than to burn? Stronger to discover what may be waiting than to hide from the fear of it? More courageous to acknowledge the mistakes and learn from them, than to angrily pretend no fault?

If you’ve burned a bridge you should take the brave, the courageous, the strong path and rebuild it – however hard it may seem. Cross over, find out what’s there. The worst that can happen is there’s nothing for you. But how is that worse than what you have now?

It’s out of character for me to burn bridges, to turn on something in my life. As you know I often choose the path that’s harder in the short term, to secure a less stressful long term. But I’ve burned a bridge, now I’m rebuilding it. It’ll be fascinating to discover what’s on the other side.

Do It Now

Goodbye, Muhammad Ali – The Greatest

Goodbye Muhammad Ali, my hero.

I'm gonna show you how great I am.

I’m gonna show you how great I am.

It’s been a long time coming, but the King is dead.
Opponents of boxing will crow of a great man brought low by a disease caused by the sport he loved. But they will not only be flying in the face of medical evidence (many non-boxers get Parkinson’s and many boxers don’t) but they’ll be be missing the point. There are stories that show Ali was a man to be admired regardless of boxing.

Principle over expedience.

In 1967, after being World Champion for 3 years, Ali put his principles ahead of his career and refused to be conscripted to fight in Vietnam. He knew he’d be barred from the sport he loved and had given his life to. But, declaring that “No Viet Cong ever called me ‘nigger’,” he simply didn’t believe in that fight. The New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. It’d be three years before he could box again. For all his speeches, all his goading of opponents, Ali always recognised that there were thousands of others who took the same stand.

If he hadn’t been a boxer.

During an interview, Michael Parkinson asked him what he would’ve been if he hadn’t been a boxer. Ali answered that he didn’t know, but whatever he’d have been, he’d have been the best at it. “If I’d been a garbage man, I’d have emptied more garbage cans that anyone else.” He believed that being the best was just a matter of who was most dedicated, who committed themselves most completely to the goal. Nothing was out of reach.

Ali was the greatest, not because he was a boxer, but because of his attitude to the things he did. He gave 100% to achieve his goals. Not some idiotic x-factor-esque hyperbole of “110%, Simon”, but he set a goal and focussed his endeavours on that goal. If something wouldn’t contribute to the goal, he didn’t do it. If something would, he’d give it everything he had.

That’s why as a man and an inspiration, he wasn’t diminished one iota by his Parkinson’s Disease. It was just another opponent to be vanquished with a thirty years-long rope-a-dope.

  1. Be principled.
  2. Give it 100%.

I’ll finish with one of his best known quotes. The final piece of the puzzle.

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.
Impossible is not a fact: it’s an opinion.
Impossible is not a declaration: it’s a dare.
Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who prefer to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact: it’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration: It’s a dare. Impossible is potential, impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing.

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who prefer to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact: it’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration: It’s a dare. Impossible is potential, impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing.