Life is short and it’s later than you think


Recent posts have reflected on the importance of money to living life in the modern age. Let’s be honest it’s difficult to live without money today. However we must also remember that life is short.

So, whilst money is obviously important in once sense, it’s not an ideal means for measuring success. Nor should the accumulation of money for its own sake be the underlying motive that drives us. Adopt that approach to life and you’ll be doomed to disappointment.

A better measure for success is whether we’re feeling fulfilled by what we’re doing. If our work is something we’d do as a hobby if we couldn’t get paid for it then that’s a better way of gauging success. As the great Warren Buffett once said, “Look for a job that you’d take it you didn’t need a job.”

A sense of purpose and work which is fulfilling and truly absorbing is a much less stressful way of living. If we enjoy what we do we’ll do it well and the money will follow anyway. If we do our work exceptionally well then people will notice. And once we get noticed, we’re on our way to genuine success.

Never be driven by money alone. Never accept a job simply because it’s well paid. It’s nice to have a good salary, of course. However once we get used to the money we still have to spend a third of our lives doing the work for which we’re being paid well. And to do work we don’t enjoy, is a very big price to pay in terms of emotions, our stress levels and the impact on our central nervous system.

If life is short then our time is very precious. What’s the point of working every hour we’ve got just to become rich, only then to die suddenly of a heart attack having had no time to enjoy the fruits of our labour? What a waste that would be. Being the richest man or woman in the graveyard is hardly a title worth having, is it?

So the underlying message to you dear reader is to find work you enjoy doing and to make sure you leave a little time to enjoy life too.

No one’s life is perfect. Everyone faces challenges occasionally. Inevitably your life will have its ups and downs too. However make sure there are more ups than downs in life, as far as you possibly can.

Take some time to smell the roses and have a laugh. As the old Music Hall song used to say; “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

Life is short and it’s definitely later than you think.

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Powerful words change lives

Ever wondered how powerful words can be? Well let me tell you a heart warming story to emphasise something I believe to be true.

Not long ago I had lunch with a group of old friends. Nothing unusual about that, you might say. Even the fact that it was the first time we’d all been together in the same place, at the same time since the summer of 1979 was not exceptional. Such reunions happen all the time. Nevertheless it was a pleasure to see them all again and swap stories about how our lives have progressed since those far off days. It is the story of one of my friends that to me is a source of inspiration and reinforces the importance of how powerful words can be.

Back in those distant days, we were all working together for the national telecommunications operator in Bahrain. Three of us were graduate engineers on an upward trajectory, with the future seemingly ours for the taking. And one, let’s call him Saeed, was simply the handyman and tea boy in the department.

Saeed was then a teenager, straight out of school. He was a bright and willing fellow but with absolutely no academic qualifications and he spoke very little English at the time. He came from a poor village and his perceived failure at school had left him feeling that he had blown his chances and was destined for a series of low paid, low skilled jobs.

Fast forward 35 years and Saeed is now every bit the poor-boy-made-good story. Not only is he now a wealthy international businessman with two very successful businesses. He also has a string of qualifications including a PhD. Amazingly he is actually in the process of completing a second doctorate. In short, his success is very impressive by any measure.

So how did Saeed get from where he was to where he is now? The simple answer of course is determination and a lot of hard work. You cannot achieve anything without those ingredients. However he also needed a reason to believe; a spark to light the fire. And that for me is where the story gets interesting.

Over lunch Saeed explained that it was a kind and encouraging word, all those years ago, from one of our fellow diners that had made him believe that he could make a success of his life, despite a poor start. My fellow diner in question, let’s call him Tom, didn’t even remember the conversation. However back in the day it seems Tom had explained to Saeed that your future is not defined by your past, it is an endless stream of opportunities which you can choose to take, or not, and make it whatever you want it to be.

The power of these well-timed words of encouragement had an impact on Saeed so profound that they propelled him down the road to a destiny which otherwise he did not think possible. And in that is the point.

Words can be very powerful, so choose them wisely. A few well-timed words can really inspire young people. Young people need encouragement more than they need critics. Next time you’re working with someone in the early stages of life’s journey, remember your words can have the power to encourage them, as well as discourage them. Never forget how powerful words can be. Better if your words can inspire someone to exceptional achievement. If you want to leave a legacy behind you; it would be hard to improve on that I think.

And if you want to improve your way with words try the Audio CD Word Master: Improve Your Word Power and Improve Your Life! (Your Coach in a Box) by Denis Waitley. I found this very useful, so it might help you too. As always, you can buy it from Amazon.

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

11 tips for improving quality of life

Life has never been easy but it seems to get tougher with each passing year. We are all constantly juggling the conflicting demands of work and family and trying to squeeze in a little ‘me time’ whenever possible. It’s that elusive thing known as work-life balance. Most of us aspire to it but few achieve it.

How would you describe the quality of your life right now? This is a question we all ask ourselves occasionally. A reader asked me recently whether I could offer some tips for improving quality of life. It’s a subject close to my heart, so I am only to happy to oblige. Here are 11 memorable tips which I hope will help you improve your life’s quality:-

1. Keep it simple

There really is a lot to be said for simplicity. Complexity can be stressful. So keep everything in life as simple as possible. Ditch the clutter; buy only what you really need and can actually use; and learn to appreciate what you have rather than fretting about things you think you’d like to have but don’t right now. Nothing matters much and actually very few things really matter at all. If you’re lucky enough to have family and a handful of genuine friends plus food on your table and a roof over your head then what more do you actually need? Keeping life simple will reduce your stress levels and that’s important.

2. Treat people with respect

I believe that only people matter. Yes having a nice house and a nice car is great but as human beings we are social animals. We are not solitary animals like cats. We live in groups and we need other people in our lives. And key to having friends is being a friend and treating other people with respect. Treat everyone as you’d prefer them to treat you. Not everyone will appreciate that approach of course but the ones that matter most will and surely that’s what counts. Treat people with respect and generally other people will treat you with respect. And if we could all treat each other with respect then the world would be a better place.

3. Actions speak louder than words

We are judged by what we do and not what we say. Anyone can talk a good game but not everyone can deliver real results and deliver them well. If you want to impress people then it is only your actions that will count. If you can do what you do well then you will be well on your way to achieving success.

4. Ask questions

Intelligent people ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask a question or to request a clarification about something. If something doesn’t sound quite right then don’t be afraid to challenge it. Ask questions and you’ll learn; fail to ask questions and a life of ignorance lies ahead of you. Only a fool would proceed in ignorance.

5. Look forward; never back

The past has gone and it is important only insofar as the lessons it has taught us and the memories it has given us. The future is where we will spend the rest of our lives. Therefore we should always be living in the present and looking to the future. And above all our focus should be on forging the future we really want. Live your life by looking through the windshield not the the rear-view mirror.

6. Create your own future

We can’t change the past but we can influence our future. We can have a vision of what we want to achieve and how we’d like it to be. We don’t have to accept what is given to us. We can go out and get the things we want. It takes hard work, as well as determination and discipline but it can be done. Create the future you really want and don’t just settle for anything that comes along.

7. Don’t be afraid to change direction if necessary

There will be times in your life when you head off in a particular direction only to find that it doesn’t turn out to be quite what you imagined it would be. There’s nothing wrong with that as you won’t always get it right. From time to time you will make mistakes or perhaps you’ll misjudge a situation. However once you realize something is not quite right for you then don’t be afraid to change direction.

Just take it on the chin, change direction and move on. Don’t worry about what others might think. They’ll think whatever they think but who cares? It’s your life not theirs. It’s only what you think that matters. If you’re not happy with a situation then it’s better to take action than to live a miserable existence because you’re worried about what others might think.

8. Face your fear and just do it

From time to time we all face challenges in our lives. They can often seem daunting and more than a little scary. However if life was always easy then we’d never grow as people. By facing up to a challenge we learn and we grow. That’s how we build our character. That’s how we toughen up. Yes we’ll make mistakes but it is better to have a go and fail than not have a go at all.

Face a challenge and achieve a result and we have done something of which we can be truly proud. Face a challenge and get an outcome we didn’t really want and at least we’ve learned a valuable lesson. That is how we build experience. And if nothing else we can be proud that at least we had a go.

Fear is the body’s way of warning us to proceed with caution. It’s natural to feel fear but courage is our ability to act despite feeling that fear. Have courage and face every challenge as it comes. However hard it might appear at first, you’ll be glad you did.

9. Look after your own well being

You can’t enjoy life to the full if you have health problems can you? So take care of yourself and look after your health. Eat sensibly, drink in moderation, get plenty of exercise and avoid things like tobacco and other recreational stimulants. You might think it doesn’t matter but it does. One puff on a cigarette won’t kill you but the effect of regular smoking will have a cumulative, detrimental effect on your health. You might think ‘you can handle drugs’ but that is the wisdom of a fool. Regular use of recreational drugs will affect you in time. It is only a matter of time. If you don’t look after yourself then no one else will.

10. Learn to manage your time effectively

Time is our most precious resource. We all have the same amount of time, 168 hours each week. It’s how we choose to use it that matters most. Just because someone wants a piece of our time, it doesn’t follow that we should just give it to them. Allocate your time very, very carefully.

If something doesn’t need to be done, don’t do it. If someone else can do it, let them do it. If it can wait, let it wait. And if it absolutely must be done now, get on with it.

It is all about your priorities and those actions where you and only you can add the most value. Identify those things that will allow you to be most effective and they will form the basis of your priorities.

11. Have fun; life’s too short

We all need to ensure that we take time out for ourselves occasionally. We all need a little ‘me’ time; time to recharge our batteries and relax. Work is important of course, as it gives us a sense of purpose in our lives. However it is essential that we have a little fun too.

Life is far too short to be constantly working. So having a hobby or pleasurable pursuit is a very good idea, as is spending some quality time with the people who matter most to you. Have some fun and make sure that you have it regularly.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

What does life mean to you?

What does life mean to you? Do you ever feel that you’re constantly living on a treadmill of other people’s expectations? Do you worry about what other people think about you? If you do, you’re not alone.

So many people waste their time worrying about what others think of them. If only they realised that other people spend little or no time thinking about them at all.

Most people are too busy trying to deal with their own lives. They don’t have the time to think much about anyone else’s life.

So it’s fine to be yourself and to lead your life on your own terms. Your approach to life is just as valid as the next person’s and, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you’re free to choose how you live.

Don’t try to be something you’re not? You can only be the person you are. So accept yourself for who you are; you’re a true original.

Remind yourself frequently that you’re better than you think you are and that you’re as good as anyone.

Constantly reinforce your self-belief. If you haven’t got much self-belief right now then fake it until it happens naturally. And that will come with the little successes you’ll achieve over time.

Never consciously try to impress anyone else. It doesn’t get you any place worth going. Just do what comes naturally to you.

You’re only going to have this one life, so live it on your own terms. Enjoy your life for what it is and make the most of it.

However never let life just happen to you; decide on the life you want and then make it happen. It’s important to know what you want and you should never give up until you get it.

Always be yourself. However make that the best version of yourself.

And remember this; an original is always more impressive than a copy. So don’t copy other people. Just be an original.

And remember this too; life begins once you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone. That’s where the real challenges are and that’s where you will grow. And you must never stop growing.

So step outside your comfort zone; look those challenges in the eye and just give them a wink. You’re more than a match for them all. They should be quaking in their boots.

Go on, live life! Now! It’s later than you think.

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited. All Rights Reserved. 2017

What is the key to success?

What is the key to success? Certainly there is no silver bullet. There is no one thing that on its own will ensure personal success. However there are things you can do and habits you can develop that will help you to become the person you really could be. You can be a success and it’s never too late.

Success comes from knowing what you want; taking a disciplined approach to working on your goals; and adopting good habits that will help you achieve your goals, as well as singling you out as a role model for other people too.

Here is my list of the top 10 tips for good habits you really ought to consider developing from now on:-

  1. Believe in yourself

You must believe in yourself. That’s a given, if success is your aim. If you don’t believe in yourself then why would anyone else believe in you?

If you lack self-belief then you must start reinforcing a belief in yourself straightaway with a daily mantra. Every morning and every evening go to your bathroom mirror and repeat the following to yourself 10 times each time:-

“I’m as good as anyone and better than most. I will be a success.”

It is essential that you remind yourself of this constantly.

Self-belief is an essential ingredient if you’re going to succeed. By reminding yourself that you’re as good as anyone this will help reinforce self-belief in both your conscious and subconscious minds.

Believing in yourself and your ability to succeed is more important than anything else. It is if success is your aim.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else

You are who you are and you can only be the person you are. Anything else would be a fake. You have your own special qualities and no one else is quite like you. You have your own strengths and of course you have a few weaknesses too. Everyone does.

Other people have their own unique qualities too of course. However that doesn’t mean they’re better than you. They’re just different. You can’t be them, so don’t try. And they can’t be you either. So concentrate on being yourself. Everyone else is taken.

If you want to be a star, you must shine for being you and for the special magic which only you can bring to this world. You’re unique, so take pride in that and put your best foot forward.

Never compare yourself to anyone else and never fret if you feel you can’t match someone else in some particular way. There will be ways in which they cannot match you either. 

  1. Always keep the main thing the main thing

Whether you like it or not you’ll be judged by what you deliver and the value you add.

If your job is to paint my house, then I will judge you on how well you’ve painted my house.

I don’t care how much help you’ve given to my neighbour. If you’ve painted my house badly or the job hasn’t been done properly then you’ve failed as far as I’m concerned. Do the job badly and I will not be happy.

Often in the workplace our inability to say “No” leads us to being completely distracted by a request to help someone else.

And that distraction can result in us failing to do something that would have moved us closer to the successful conclusion of one of our own goals.

Losing sight of our own high value tasks can make us less productive and less valuable in the eyes of our employer. Workplace distractions can lead to other people achieving their objectives at the expense of our own.

Being a team-player is important of course and there will be occasions when providing assistance to a colleague is the right thing to do for the greater good of the team. However it should never, ever be at the expense of you delivering what you will be expected to deliver regardless.

You’re judged by what you deliver, so never lose focus on what you’re expected to do.

Never be afraid to be assertive. You don’t have to be nasty, unpleasant or impolite. You just have to say, “Look I’m really sorry, I would love to help you but I have this to complete by 5pm” or whatever.

Always, always keep the main thing the main thing.

Being too helpful may help others but it probably won’t help you.

It will however increase your stress levels though, if you’re not careful.

Focus on your own goals ruthlessly. 

  1. Accept that you will make mistakes occasionally

No professional likes to make mistakes.

Nevertheless they are inevitable occasionally. That’s a fact of life.

No one is so perfect they can avoid mistakes completely. And no one ever achieved anything without making a few mistakes along the way.

So it’s fine to make mistakes occasionally providing you don’t make too many and providing you don’t make the same mistakes repeatedly.

When you’ve made a mistake, it’s important to be honest, accept it, and above all learn from it.

Making mistakes is all part of gaining experience.

So just do your best and accept that, like everyone else, you’re not perfect nor will you ever be.

However remember this; just because you’re not perfect, it doesn’t mean you cannot be exceptional at what you do. As professionals we always strive to get better at what we do.

Mastery of your craft is a worthy aim and one which requires constant study and practice. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks

 Risk and reward go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

You’ll never achieve anything exceptional if you always play it safe; not unless you’re very, very lucky anyway.

Sometimes you just have to follow your instincts and go for it.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t weigh up the pros and cons before you take action. It’s fine to consider the potential consequences before you take a risk. And it’s fine to consider the odds of achieving a positive outcome and whether the potential reward merits the degree of risk involved.

Consider risk carefully but don’t dwell on it too long. Analysis shouldn’t replace action. You cannot get to second base unless you take your foot off first base and go for it.

And anytime you take a risk don’t panic if initially things don’t go quite as you’d imagined.

If you’ve used your judgement with care then there’s every possibility that you’ll get the outcome you want.

So hold your nerve and just believe in yourself.

You may not get it right every time but you’ll get it right more than you get it wrong. And even when you’re wrong you’ll learn a lesson.

Get it right and you’ll be that much closer to achieving a goal.

So be willing to take a calculated risk when necessary. 

  1. Learn from experience

Experience is a valuable commodity. It’s the by-product of making mistakes and taking risks. It’s the invaluable benefit we derive when things don’t quite work out as we’d intended.

The most important thing about experience is that we learn from it.

And of course we can learn from seeing others make mistakes too, as well as from anything we’ve done ourselves.

The lessons we get from real experience are far more valuable to us than anything anyone can tell us, or anything we can read in a book for that matter.

It’s the education we get in the University of Life, School of Hard Knocks.

However remember this; you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your mistakes.

When you make a mistake, it makes sense to be honest with yourself and others of course. Beyond that you should not feel the need to explain yourself in detail.

Mistakes happen and no one starts out with the intention of getting something wrong. If you get an outcome you didn’t want then just to take it on the chin, learn the lesson and move on.

Everyone makes mistakes occasionally and you’re no different. To err is human. That’s life. 

  1. Never take anything personally

Apparently the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre once observed that, “Hell is other people.

I’m sure there are times when we all feel that he may have had a point.

We’re all struggling to get through life as best we can and life’s never easy for anyone. Everyone wants what they believe to be their fair share of life’s ‘pie’. Some people want your share too.

Sometimes that can leave us feeling like everyone is giving us grief and deliberately making life more difficult than it need be.

However mostly there’s nothing personal.

Life is just ‘dog eat dog’. People may be a little insensitive at times, as they pursue their own agenda, but generally they’re not out to hurt us specifically.

So if it’s not personal, then never take it personally.

And on those rare occasions when it does prove to be personal, don’t give them the satisfaction of a reaction or showing that they’ve got to you.

Look them in the eye and show them that it doesn’t bother you. Your message has to be, “I’m made of steel. You’ll have to try harder than that if you’re going to penetrate my shield. 

  1. If you’re digging a hole for yourself, stop digging

 If you find yourself digging a hole then you have two choices:-

  • You can keep digging and the hole in which you find yourself will simply get bigger and more problematic; or
  • You can recognize the situation for what it is and stop digging immediately.

It is best to stop digging immediately.

When you stop digging you might have some fences to mend of course. Certainly you’ll have to accept responsibility. You might also have to apologize to people, depending on the circumstances.

Whatever it all means it’s better to recognize a bad situation for what it is and take it on the chin, rather than making everything even worse.

On the positive side, having the ability to recognize when you’re digging a hole for yourself and having the maturity to deal with the consequences is a sign of self-confidence. That’s something for which you’ll gain respect.

People will respect you if you’re prepared to say, “Hey, you know what, I’ve made a bit of a mess of this one, so I’ll stop right here and let’s try again. Sorry but like everyone else, I’m not perfect and I make mistakes occasionally.

Just because you didn’t quite get it right doesn’t mean you cannot be confident in how you respond.

Respond in the right way and your confidence will be well placed. 

  1. Let go of any anger

We all get angry occasionally but anger never gets you any place worth going.

React in anger and almost certainly you will regret it.

That’s not to suggest that you should not react at all. However before you react let the anger subside. Just let it go.

Leave it for 24 hours if necessary, until you’re better able to reflect with a calm head. There’s a lot to be said for ‘sleeping on it’ in my experience.

That way you’re better placed to use your judgement carefully and make rational decisions.

And in making decisions, revenge should not form any part of how you plan to react.

Revenge won’t get you anywhere worth going either and you’ll almost certainly regret that too. 

  1. Learn to switch off

We all need a little ‘me time’ regularly, otherwise we’ll burn out.

We all need time to relax and recharge our batteries.

That means switching off completely.

By doing that one of the great benefits is that we gain a fresh perspective on whatever’s happening in our lives.

Surprisingly perhaps we’ll also get plenty of new ideas in the process.

In fact you’ll find you get some of your best ideas when you’re not trying to come up with new ideas. That’s ironic I know but true, in my experience. 

Bonus tip

Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.

If you don’t laugh at yourself occasionally you might just be missing out on the funniest thing happening at that moment. Why miss out on a good laugh?

Concluding remarks

So there you have it. If you want success develop good habits. This list would be a very good start but there are others too.

Above all else, make sure you’re adding the most value in everything you do.

If you’re adding genuine value then you can’t go too far wrong.

So, where do you add the most value and what are your goals? If you know, write them down. If you don’t know it’s time to identify some. Nothing will ever happen by accident. Success doesn’t just happen you have to make it happen.

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Do you think it’s important to keep an open mind?

Do you have an open mind?

How often do you change your mind about something or some issue?

If you’re anything like me then probably quite frequently I would guess.

I’ve even had quite strong opinions on an issue, held for many years, and then decided that actually I’m wrong and I’ve subsequently revised my opinion.

I’m referring to that ‘light bulb’ moment when suddenly I can see clearly that which before I couldn’t see before.

A change of mind simply implies that we’ve seen something in a different way. And there’s nothing wrong with seeing something differently and revising your opinion.

I think it’s shows maturity if we can accept when we’re wrong about something.

Perhaps suddenly we understand something that we thought we understood before but then realise we didn’t really understand it at all. Perhaps in searching for an answer, we get a new perspective on an issue which now seems more appropriate than the perspective we had before.

The point here is that often we think we know the answer when actually we’ve failed to understand the question.

So it’s important to keep an open mind. An open mind is a healthy mind.

Listen to the views of others and try to understand their point of view. Seek first to understand and accept that we may not always fully understand immediately. And never hang on to an opinion simply for fear of losing face.

If we’re wrong and we know we’re wrong then it’s better to be honest, accept it and move on.

The important thing is that we keep our minds open and as we develop a better perspective then we adjust our views accordingly. That is a mature way to behave it seems to me.

However, ultimately that’s just my opinion, so what do you think?

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

What’s the best way to get along with other people?

Do you have problems getting along with other people?

Do you find it difficult to deal with others as you go about your daily routine?

Well some folk can be difficult at times I’m sure most readers would agree. However in my experience most people just want you to be nice to them. Take an interest in them too and generally they’ll respond warmly.

In reality we all just want to be treated with respect and appreciated for who we are and what we do. Certainly I do, don’t you?

So if you want to get along with other people, it’s not difficult really. Just treat people well, regardless of who they are or what they do. Be kind and considerate to them as individuals and there’s a good chance that they’ll treat you well too.

You don’t have to like people but it is better if you can get along with them. And if you can get along with them and get to know them, then you might just get to like them in time too.

If we can all get along then it will make the world a better place.

If we can all be kind and considerate to our fellow men and women, then we could have a world free from strife and tension.

So go on, show people some respect; show them a little appreciation; take an interest in them for who they are and what they do; and above all, never underestimate the power of a thank you.

I always feel better if I think I’m appreciated and I’m sure you do too. We all do. So the trick to getting along with people is simply to treat them as you would prefer them to treat you. It works every time for me.

Have you had any positive experiences with people you’d like to share with us all? Have you any advice for our readers on the best ways to get along with people? We’d love to hear your advice, so please add your comments.

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

1 Good reason to believe in the future

They say we live in an uncertain world. In some ways that’s true but the future is a lot more predictable than you might think.

I’m often asked what I think the next 10 years will be like. The answer is simple. The next 10 year will be pretty much like the last 10 years and the years before that.

The next 10 years will be a constant stream of challenges, with lots of problems to be solved. And that is actually good news for us all. Why?

It’s good news for us all because it will ensure that there is a constant stream of opportunities for enterprising people to exploit. So we can all make a good living and all we have to do is focus on those problems we can solve for other people.

Yes, jobs may be in short supply but there will always be plenty of customers with problems to be solved. Customers for goods and services not yet invented.

If we can all learn to look for customers, rather than jobs, and make sure we have the skills and knowhow to solve problems for those customers, we’ll always have work and over time from that we can build wealth.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money.

Opportunities will always be there and we can choose to take them or not. For the fleet of foot there will always be opportunities to make money, regardless of politics and political personalities.

Find customers you can serve, serve them well and you’ll always do well.

And it doesn’t matter whether you were successful or otherwise at school. That’s irrelevant. There are plenty of successful and wealthy people who failed to shine at school.

Skills can be learned at any time in your life. So look around for people you can help, improve your knowledge and skills as you go along and gradually enhance your earning ability. It can be done; people do and you can too.

Let me finish with an assignment for you. Look around for a problem to be solved. Who is the potential customer and what skills will you need if you are to solve that problem for the customer? And once you’ve identified those skills, how will you get them and by when? Start right now.

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved

What matters? Identity or the person behind the identity?

Fotolia_43738722_XS_4Whether we think of ourselves as Christians, Muslims, Jews or some other form of religious or ethnic identify, in reality we are all just members of the human race. We are humanity first and other forms of identity second. I think, as people, we all want the same things.

Surely most people just want a peaceful, prosperous life and a better world for their children? We want a roof over our heads and bread on the table. We want to feel secure, we want a sense of purpose in our lives and we want the time to enjoy family and friends.

Life is too short to worry about anything else. Humanity has much more in common than we are often able or willing to recognize and those things that apparently separate us are often more imagined than real.

In my experience there are good people everywhere. And yet, as human beings, we often fear people simply because they are not a reflection of ourselves. We fear what we don’t understand. If only we could just see others as people first. People just like us, with hopes, dreams and a desire to be loved and accepted by others.

If only we could just treat people with respect, regardless of whatever sense of identity they present to the world. If only we could respect others just for being themselves.

I’ve been fortunate enough to live and work in many parts of the world and I have learned that if you make the effort to get to know people, you begin to see them in a different way, regardless of their origin, ethnicity or creed.

If you try to understand them and their lives, suddenly you realize that they are actually just like you. Wherever you go, people are just people. There are a few bad ones of course but most people are honest and decent and if you treat them with respect you will get their respect in return. In my experience, wherever you go people just want to be treated fairly.

When you meet people from a culture which is different to your own, it’s easy to make assumptions about them. However how can you be sure you’re right unless you get to know them? Judging is easy but it’s hard to know what someone else’s life is really like. Unless you’ve actually walked a mile in their shoes, you couldn’t possibly know what their life is really like or what challenges they face on a daily basis.

So you can’t judge anyone unless you make the effort to get to know them. And for me that is the underlying problem for all humanity. We judge people first without making the effort get to know them. We make assumptions and judge on perceived stereotypes rather than treating people as individuals.

For instance, it would be easy to assume that all Muslims have the same extreme views as those currently making media headlines fighting for the establishment of the so called Islamic State.

I have lived and worked in the Middle East over many years and I know that this is not true. Some of the finest people I have ever met are Muslims. I have Muslim friends for whom I have the greatest respect. I have also known many Christians, Jews, Buddhists and more for whom I could make a similar comment.

I’ve learned to treat people as I find them and not as others tell me I should find them. I concern myself only with the content of their character. I try to treat others with respect and I find that generally, if I do, I get their respect in return.

If only we could all treat others in the way that we’d prefer them to treat us then I think the world would be a better place. And surely our aim should be to make this world a better place?

In the words of Stephen R. Covey, we must “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited. All Rights Reserved. 2017

Don’t Quit, Keep Going

How often do people quit when with a little more effort or a few more steps they would have achieved their goal? I have no scientific data to back up my conclusion but I suspect it happens quite a lot. Certainly from anecdotal evidence I have, from talking to people I know, this is the case. People start out on a project or goal with enthusiasm and they think it’s all going to be easy. Then it proves to be a bit harder than they imagined so they quit. How sad! Nothing worth having is ever easy to gain. There’s a price to be paid, part of which is blood, sweat and tears. However you can succeed and people do, all the time. So if other people can succeed, why not you? Decide on your goal, pursue it with determination and energy, and if it all starts to get a bit hard, just don’t quit until you get to where you want to be in life. Don’t quit and you can succeed; quit and you won’t.

In documenting this observation I was reminded of a memorable and thought-provoking verse by the late Robert Service, the so called ‘Bard of the Yukon’. It’s called The Quitter and it’s reprinted here :-

Was that article helpful? Here are some other articles you might find interesting:-

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited. All rights reserved. 2016

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