Weaknesses

Some years ago (in 2008) I wrote a paperback about the advantages of strengthening your strengths as opposed to overcoming your weaknesses.  There were (still are!) many reasons why focusing on strengths is preferable to struggling with weaknesses and, not surprisingly, in my book I rattled off a good many of them.  Here are just four: Greater gains – improving something you are already good at transforms your performance whereas striving to improve something you are not good at will […]

Read more of "Weaknesses"

Short Story: The Guide

Basil had no idea that anyone had complained.  As far as he was aware, his customers had always been enthralled, gathering round  to catch his every word above the background noise of passing traffic, laughing appreciatively at his well-rehearsed jokes.  But a curt email conveyed the bad news: someone had accused him of making insensitive and offensive remarks.  Insensitive and offensive — not just one, but both! Appalled, Basil read the email again.  Apparently, an unidentified person or persons had […]

Read more of "Short Story: The Guide"

Short Story: The Journal

This is weird.  Hang on, I wonder if that’s a fact or a feeling?  It certainly feels weird so I guess it’s a feeling.  But if it feels weird, doesn’t that make it a fact, as far as I’m concerned?  But if it’s a fact for me, but not for anyone else, surely it’s just a feeling?  Oh hell, I knew I’d get myself tied up in knots.  Still, as a colleague at work used to say, ‘If you don’t […]

Read more of "Short Story: The Journal"

Short story: The Silver

Every Christmas Eve my father polished the silver.  It was an annual ritual he appeared to relish, though it was hard to be certain, since my father was an undemonstrative man.  He always followed the same routine.  First he would prepare by covering the kitchen table with newspaper and then donning an apron and a pair of rubber gloves. Next, one by one, he’d retrieve the tureens, platters and candelabra from the depths of the dining room sideboard, place them […]

Read more of "Short story: The Silver"

The Switch

Dr Noel Palmer, a retired academic, 85 years of age, slightly hard of hearing and renowned for being polite and mild tempered, had banked with the same bank for over 50 years.  He was unadventurous when it came to banking, just as he was to most things, and had never  been brave enough to venture into online banking.  He was content with setting up direct debits for regular payments and writing cheques for everything else.  He found it comforting to […]

Read more of "The Switch"

Short story: The Shadow

He prided himself on leading an orderly life.  Stephen was a successful businessman who ran his own publishing company.  The publications were all of the self-help, ‘you can do it if you really want to’ pop psychology genre.  There were paperbacks about healthy eating, healthy exercising, healthy breathing, healthy relaxation, healthy sex and healthy brains.  The books sold well and Stephen’s company flourished.  Remarkably, Stephen, in his mid-fifties, even practised what he preached.  He rose early, grinned at himself in […]

Read more of "Short story: The Shadow"

Short story: The Success Predictor

He felt exhilarated, confident he’d got it made.  Like a trainspotter witnessing a lovingly restored steam engine emerging from its shed, he knew perfection when he saw it. Most people would have thought that breaking free from the Institute, with its job-for-life security and badge of respectability, was a rash move.   But George Silvester, not yet 30, was never given to self-doubt.  ‘Are you quite sure you want to do this?’ the Principal asked, having just read George’s letter of […]

Read more of "Short story: The Success Predictor"

Short story: The Nine Day Wonder

She had been besotted with her latest acquisition.  None of her other possessions could compete: not her jewels, not her collection of Jimmy Choo shoes, not the designer clothes and handbags in her large walk-in wardrobe − not even her new lover. Jessica had never needed to write a CV, but if she had it would have been brief:  Left school with no plans.  At age 18, joined a successful advertising agency as a general dogsbody.  Worked my way up […]

Read more of "Short story: The Nine Day Wonder"

One year and ten days

We escaped to Windsor on 13 March 2020, thus starting our own lockdown ten days before Boris told us all to ‘stay at home’.  Today is a Day of Reflection and I have decided to focus on some positives. After a year that has been tough in so many ways for millions of people, I know I run the risk of coming across as a self satisfied old git, but what the hell, that’s probably not a bad description. So, […]

Read more of "One year and ten days"

Short story: The Contest

The sandstone cliffs were increasingly unstable with large areas cordoned off.  Notices warned walkers to stay back from the edge and to keep dogs on leads.  Beneath the cliffs there used to be a sandy stretch of beach, once popular with sunbathers and fossil hunters, but gradually the beach had disappeared under unsightly heaps of carboniferous limestone. The dark grey boulders had been trucked in from quarries in the Mendip Hills and painstakingly placed on the beach by Dave and […]

Read more of "Short story: The Contest"

Latest Article

Meetings, lovely meetings!

I see that meetings are getting a bad press again.  A new survey has found that nearly a million people spend half their working week in meetings and that at least a third of that time is wasted waiting for late-comers. Waiting for late-comers is crazy; it punishes the people who have taken the trouble to arrive on time and fails to inconvenience those who haven’t.   Indeed, waiting for late-comers actually trains people not to arrive on time; why bother […]

Read article

Latest Blog

Weaknesses

Some years ago (in 2008) I wrote a paperback about the advantages of strengthening your strengths as opposed to overcoming your weaknesses.  There were (still are!) many reasons why focusing on strengths is preferable to struggling with weaknesses and, not surprisingly, in my book I rattled off a good many of them.  Here are just four: Greater gains – improving something you are already good at transforms your performance whereas striving to improve something you are not good at will […]

Read blog

So far as other people are concerned, you are your behaviour