Children’s Running Blades

Back in November 2015, I was watching BBC Children in Need, which contained the story of several children whom had one or more lower limbs amputated. The program showed children with standard prosthetic legs; their movements slow, stiff and lethargic. The children struggled to walk and complained of the discomfort they experienced in wearing the prosthetic limbs. The video then showed a group of children wearing running blades.

The contrast was unbelievable, the children whom where wearing the running blades where running around happily, laughing, smiling and participating in sports such as gymnastics. The quality of the children’s lives was dramatically improved and it was as if they had received their childhood back. It was a truly amazing spectacle.

The presenter then informed the viewers that the running blades cost around £6,000 and they were not available on the NHS and that the  running blades shown in the video had been purchased by the children’s parents/guardians. I clearly wasn’t the only one who could see the improvement in the children’s quality of life, because in 2016 the UK government made £1.5m in NHS funding available for the purchase of 500 children’s running blades. According to the Department of Health and Social Care Media Centre, the first children received their running blades in January 2017 and may there be many more!

I know some may feel that this post is a little dated, but given the significant difference running blades make to the life of children, so long as there are children without them, it was always be relevant.

You can read more about it here: https://healthmedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/01/07/first-children-sports-limbs-nhs/

School for Stammers

I know that is a bit off topic, but the school for stammers hit me right in the feels and I just had to write about it! The bullying that they must have endured in school doesn’t bear thinking about. Tony Robbins, the long distance lorry driver who chose his profession in order to minimise his contact with people, suffered with a stammer for over 50 years. A stammer he developed at just 6 years old following the divorce of his parents. He was unable to talk on the phone and spoke of his school days, where he was hit with a ruler and told by his teacher not to stammer while he talked to him; awful.

Then there was James, a 13 year old boy who severely struggled to say his own name. Jessica Davies, a self-employed wedding photographer, would take her friend along to the weddings; who would speak on Jessica’s behalf. But the one that stood out for me was pharmacist, Mueid Qualim; who’s stammer was so bad, that in one clip he couldn’t get his words out until one customer had left the shop (store if American).

During the participants first day at the School for Stammers, they were taught breathing techniques that would enable them to control their stammers. Mueid struggled in particular and grew increasingly frustrated with himself. He began saying that he couldn’t do it and repeating over and over. Mueid’s coach provided continuous encouragement, reassuring him that he could. By the third day, Mueid Qualim had developed a greater sense of self confidence and control over his breathing; resulting in a significant improvement in his speech. In fact, all of the participants did, which is amazing considering that the coaches only had 4 days with the participants.

What a fantastic program, that’s what reality TV should be about. Doing something constructive, something meaningful, something that can significantly alter someone else’s life for the better.

Though I revealed some information about the program, I have intentionally avoided certain areas, just in case you have not seen it yet and would like to watch the program.

Further information can be found below:

https://www.itv.com/presscentre/ep1week2/school-stammerers

#SchoolforStammers

Day 16 – Progress Update

On the first on January 2018 I started with £250, today my current balance is £206. This may seem like a backward step, but I did invest £84 in my blog around the 3rd of the month. In the past two weeks, despite the losses I incurred early on, I have earned approximately £40 in profit from trading stocks. If I’m honest, I’ve hardly traded at all in the last five days as I have been working on and researching other things. I’m not worried that I won’t meet my target as I am laying the foundations for the things to come. One thing I can tell you, is that it is difficult to find the time to fit everything into a day! But, I feel that I’m making good progress.

Ideas are coming to me faster than I can write them down, I’m certainly not lacking in that department. I have a few with great potential but, like most of my ideas, it’s going to come down to the execution. I have no experience whatsoever in many of these areas, so its going to be very interesting!

One area I have been researching is the monetisation of my blog; a no brainer really. I have several ideas for this, one of which was to include an Amazon banner in the footer of the blog. However, WordPress have other ideas as they do not permit the use of certain html tags for security reasons; WordPress do however support Ad Sense. This is an area I’ll look into, but one things for sure, I don’t want lots of ill placed adverts; one or two maybe. The biggest issue with Ad Sense seems to be the lack of control over what is advertised; this is something I don’t like. It’s a shame that WordPress can’t come to some sort of agreement with Amazon, but there we go… (I’m not talking about affiliate links here; I’ve seen some very clever uses of them on a few posts this week).

If I am going to hit my target, I need to generate as many income streams as possible. They don’t all need to generate massive amounts of income; they just need to generate something. What really changed my perspective on this, was a YouTube video in which Bob Practor discusses the three strategies for earning money, M1, M2, M3 (6:48 to 10:15) and the principle that income streams of different sizes are all added to your bank account (13:32 to 14:04). The video is a bit salesy in parts, but if you stick to the parts I’ve suggested, you’ll be fine.

I know that I’ve been a bit cryptic on the ideas front, but many are in their infancy. Once I’ve got them up, running and working, I’ll share them with you.

The Black belt analogy

Around 2010 I started martial arts and it taught me a valuable lesson. Everyone wants to be a black belt, but very few people achieve it. Why? Because they underestimate what is required to achieve it. They want to walk into a dojo and become an instant black belt and the same principles apply in life. People want instant gratification, they don’t want to spend the time to perfect their skill. What I am describing here, is the old me. The guy who wanted everything instantly, but wasn’t prepared to do take the long road. I would often give up quickly and become bored easily. If I didn’t see instant results, I would lose interest and move on.

What martial arts taught me is that life is like belts. Right now, you’re a white belt and your goal, well that’s the black belt; metaphorically speaking. The belts in-between are the steps you must take to achieve your goal. Nobody goes from white belt to black belt without completing the steps in-between. If they did, would they feel a sense of accomplishment or that they are worthy of the achievement? I think not.

Think about what it is that you truly want. What’s your black belt? What are the steps you must take to make your goal a reality?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Loa Tzu

 

Setting goals and smashing them!

The definition of success appears to differ between individuals. To some, success is measured by the amount of wealth a person has accumulated, to others it is doing what they love. The Oxford dictionary defines success as “A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.” There are two parts to this definition. Firstly, a person who sets and obtains that goal is considered to be successful. Secondly, a person can be considered successful if they have acquired fame or wealth. In actual fact, the definition of success is simply “A person or thing that achieves desired aims”. This is because a person whom achieves fame or wealth would have set a goal to achieve such things and is therefore, considered a success.

In setting a goal, there are two key main principles. The first principle is to set an ‘ultimate’ goal. This is the overall outcome you wish to achieve and could be anything from spending more time with your loved ones to travelling the world. The goal should to be far beyond your current capabilities and should not be possible to achieve, without the need to undertake considerable action. It is essential that you do not the set the ‘ultimate’ goal too low and that it is beyond your current reach. The main reason for this is that the growth which you will experience as you march boldly towards your goal will enable you to achieve far beyond what you ever imagined possible.

In setting the ‘ultimate’ goal, it is essential that it is given considerable thought. An excellent technique is to lie on your bed in silence or with relaxing music and to completely clear your mind. Close your eyes and think of nothing. Breathe slowly, deeply and completely detach yourself from the world. This can difficult for some at first, but bear with it as it will prove beneficial in the future. Once you have cleared your mind, start picturing your perfect life and focus on specific details. Visualisation is a very powerful technique and can be utilised in the future in order to assist you in achieving your goal, but the process does not work for everyone. If you find yourself unable to visualise your future, adopt the same principles and ask yourself questions such as the following:

  • If Money were no object what would I do?
  • What would improve my quality of life?
  • What changes would I like to see in my life?
  • What do I want to experience?
  • What do I wish I had done in the past?
  • What would I love to have?
  • How would I like my life to be different?

Setting the goal is the first step towards achieving it. If you have not yet set your goal, don’t worry it will come to you. Every person is different and some take longer than others to realise what it is that they truly want.

The second principle relates to ‘milestone’ goals. As the name suggests, these are smaller goals that are set with the aim of progressing towards the achievement of the ‘ultimate’ gaol. Here you look at the ‘ultimate’ goal and determine the steps you must take in order to achieve it. Setting the initial ‘milestone’ goals can be thought of as an ideas phase and can take a considerable amount of time to establish. At this stage, you may have no idea whatsoever as to how you are going to achieve your goal; I certainly didn’t. Don’t worry; this is perfectly fine, if not expected. Below is an example of the process in order to assist you:

Ultimate Goal: Obtain Financial Independence

                 Milestone 1 – Get a Better Job

                          Milestone: Obtain a career in Software Development

                                    Milestone – Attend University

                                              Milestone – Attend College

In the above example, the goal setter’s ‘Ultimate’ goal is to obtain financial independence. The first step towards this would is to obtain a better position through a career change. Following a review of potential careers, the goal setter has decided that they would be suited to a career in Software Development. The career requires a bachelor’s degree, which the goal setter does not possess. A review of university courses has indicated that applications must have a minimum of three A-Levels at grade A. The goal setter possesses no formal qualifications and therefore, must attend a college in the first instance.

The most difficult part of the process is determining the initial steps that must be taken. But once realised, the goal setter is provided with a series of tasks that must be completed in order to progress towards their ‘ultimate’ goal. It is also possible to add further smaller ‘milestone’ goals as and when they appear, for example:

Milestone 1 – Attend University

          Milestone – Obtain 1st Class Honours degree

                     Milestone – Publish Research

In the above example, the goal setter obtained good grades at university and decided to aim for an overall grade of 1st Class Honours. Whilst working on a research project, the goal setter made excellent progress and publishing the research became a ‘milestone’ goal.

Milestone’ goal setting is essential in order to achieve a larger objective. It is common for a person to become overwhelmed by the scale of the journey ahead. By breaking the ‘ultimate’ goal in to several manageable steps, the goal setter is more likely achieve that which they desire. Not every ‘ultimate’ goal has to be live changing, but the principle of setting ‘milestone’ goals still applies. The above process of goal setting, not only allows the individual to achieve the milestone goal, but to significantly surpass their initial expectations.

Goalsetting is absolutely essential in achieving success; no question about it. Nobody arrives at the top by accident. Without goals, we would simply wonder aimlessly through life with no direction and achieve nothing. How can you hit a target you are not aiming for?

 To quote the great motivational speaker, Mr Les Brown, “aim for the moon because even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars”.

 

There has to be more to life…right?

Have you ever walked past a person in the street, or heard of somebody else’s situation and asked yourself why is it that they have not done or are not doing anything to change their situation? Why do people work long hours in unskilled positions, paying peanuts? Before I go any further, I just want to it clear that I am not talking about those that have actively sought such positions through choice. These people are succeeding by default, as they are doing what they chosen to do. That’s the key difference, choice. I am referring to those who work in such positions out of necessity or simply to pay the bills; which are seldom met.

How many times have you heard people complain about their job, their pay, working conditions and how they wish they could do something else. But when you question them as to why they do not do something different, like retraining or starting their own business. They say that they could never do that, that they are too stupid, they don’t have the funds etc. This is mindset; the little voice in your head that tells you that you can or can’t do something.

Mindset is a two-edged sword. It can prevent you from progressing in life and keep you where you are, or it can give you a new life; the one you dream of. I’m talking from experience here. See I started from humble beginnings and didn’t have very much growing up. I wasn’t academic in anyway, nor was I particularly good with my hands and top if off, I’m dyslexic. My mindset was always that I couldn’t go to university, that I wasn’t clever enough and that I was dumb. That little voice in my head just kept me jogging on the spot and prevented me from running towards my dream.

At the age of 25, I was made redundant from an unskilled job. I had two young mouths to feed, a roof to keep over our heads, and bills to pay. Suddenly, I was unable to do any of it and we were so poor that I could barely afford to put food in our mouths. This is where my mindset changed and it did so with a single statement ‘I will never be this poor again!’.

Enter mindfulness. If mindset is the little voice in your head, mindfulness is where you control that voice and tell it to shut up! Mindfulness can completely transform your perception of the world around you and once you change the way you look at things, the things you look at begin to change. You start to see that the world isn’t the way you thought. That actually, you’re in your own little bubble and you are where you are, because of the way you think. Keep telling yourself you can’t and you never will, it really is that simple. Mindfulness is not positive thinking per say; it’s just not negative thinking.

I have achieved and gained more knowledge in last 3 years than some of my peers with over ten years’ experience in the industry. Mindest played a massive part in my success and when someone tells me that ‘it can’t be done’, I always tell myself ‘I’m not f*cking having that! I’m not F*CKING having it! There has to be a way!’. Likewise, if some tells me ‘you’ll never do that’, I recite my favourite Mohamed-Ali quote ‘I’ll show you how great I am!’. I’m extremely passionate about what I do and firmly believe that there is a solution to every problem, we just don’t know it yet.

Changing your mindset is the first step to changing your life. See we are conditioned all through our lives; we should behave a certain way, peruse certain careers and stay within our abilities. To this I ask, what is the difference between a doctor and a bin man? The answer is simple; the bin man didn’t think he could become a doctor. In birth, we are equal in knowledge; we have none. A doctor learned to be a doctor, a pharmacist learned to be a pharmacist, a builder learned to be a builder, so why can’t you learn whatever it is you want to do? Is there a cut-off point to learning? Nope, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a moron. So tell that voice in your head to shut up and take control of your thoughts! You have to be the hero of your own story.

Mindset & Mindfulness are not the be all and end all of success; they are but links in the chain and the first step in transforming your life. There are so many links in the chain that it would not be practical to discuss them in a single post, but I will cover them one by one.

Please let me know what you think about this post in the comments and what it is that you wish to do with your life. I’ll leave you with this:

Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive And Believe, It Can Achieve” – Napoleon Hill

 

 

Day 4 – Blog writing – Playing Catch Up

           Something quite funny happened today. But before I go in to it, let me give you some background. During the Christmas holidays, I have been awake until around three/four in the morning; which has altered my body clock. Since going back to work, I’m having terrible trouble getting to sleep, so my wife suggested that I take some sleeping tablets to get my body back into the routine. Last night, she handed me two with a glass of water and off to bed I went. Within half an hour I was sleeping.

           I woke up this morning to my wife asking me what day it is, I thought that’s an odd question. But I could not answer her because I didn’t know, so she asked me again and I still didn’t know. Then she asked me if it was a week day and I was pretty sure it was. I asked her why she was asking me so many questions, that’s when she said it was 10:30. Not again! I’ve not been late for work once in three years, now twice in a week! So I told her “Goodnight” and off to work I went, well after I’d put fuel in the car again. I swear that thing drinks fuel and eats tiers.

           I came from work a little earlier than usual today and started getting the blog up to date, while simultaneously losing £1.37 on the trading platform; my position is still open, so there is some hope yet.  I think that I need to take a step back from the trading platform, as I’m losing money daily and making some bad decisions.  I’m going to back to using small sums, it won’t make me a lot of money because of the low amounts, but I’ll take that over losing money any day.

          I looked at ways of increasing my site traffic today and I came across a marketing website which offers per click advertising. I need to look into it further, but so far it looks pretty good. I’ll let you know.

 

Day 3 – I Wish I’d Stayed in bed!

           You know when you get one of those days, well this one was my’n! I woke up to my wife telling me that I was going to be late for work and that we had both slept through our alarm clocks. I got ready at the speed of light and headed for the car, as soon as I started it, the fuel light came on. I was going to have to stop for fuel on the way, now I was definitely going to be late. I’ve been trying to give up cigarettes recently, so my wife bought me a vape thing, that I don’t really get on with. I don’t mean that I argue with it or that I stand in the street shouting at it or anything, I just don’t get on with it. Well anyway, I’d left the vape thing at home. So I had to buy some cigarettes, which might I add cost a fortune in the petrol station I stopped at.

           I finally get to work about 45 minutes late. I parked the car and headed for the smoking shelter. I should point out that I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and that it was raining heavily. The shelter wasn’t really doing it’s job, so I went to get my coat from the car; the one I keep in the boot (trunk if American) for such occasions.  I opened the boot, no coat. So I stood in the rain smoking my wet cigarette. But I wasn’t going to let this bad start ruin my day.

           I got into work and set about my business. Having decided yesterday that I was going to up my capital on the trading platform, I opened my positions. Now one thing that you can’t account for when trading with larger sums of money is emotions, and my’n were running wild. Suddenly, I wasn’t down a couple of pence, I was down pounds and I was haemorrhaging money fast. In panic, I quickly closed my positions, resulting in several losses. Then I saw one that caught my eye…

          As soon as I opened the position it was evident that I had made an enormous mistake. I had opened the position with over half the money in my trading account! I was instantly down £26.00, so I did what any rational person would do, locked the phone and put it down. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. A couple of hours later and I plucked up the courage to check my phone. I was up £6.80 and I instantly clicked close; closing at £7.43. What a relief! I made a few other trades with much smaller amounts, but the losses earlier in the day meant that I was down 67 pence overall. Today was also the birth of my blog, in which I invested £84.00 in a premium account in the hope of generating income at a later stage.

The post was written in the early hours of the 5th January 2018 and is based on a journal entry made on the 3rd January 2018.

 

Day 2 – Trading

           Yesterday (day 1), I spoke with the people who make money from volatile trading environments and asked them to show how they do it. Having got the gist, I downloaded a trading app that I was unfamiliar with and began to play on a demo account with fictional money. It took me a bit to get used to the app, but once I’d worked it out, I wasted no time in creating a real money account and depositing my funds. I started with very small amounts and cashing all profits, making between 1p & 80p per transaction. This isn’t a great amount of money, but it is money never the less. By the end of the night, I had made £12.56. Not bad, especially considering that it took no real effort, but I was constantly checking whether I was up or down. This isn’t really necessary, but I’d never used really money, so I was very cautious.

           This morning (day 2), I woke to a profit of 43p. This is the first time that I have ever made money while I’ve slept. I open a couple of positions and set about reading the first 98 pages of ‘The Richest Man in Babylon‘ by  George Samuel Clason. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s basically a series of stories which revolve around the inhabitants of  Babylon; during which they gain financial wisdom. So far, I have found it very easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable. I’ll probably write a post on it when I finish the book, so look out for that one.

           Today was a bit of a mixed bag. I made and I lost money, but overall I am £1.06 richer (I made much more than I lost). The problem seems to be that I am not opening my positions with enough capital, so when I make a profit it is literally a couple of pence. Given that I would need to earn £2816.90 a day to reach a million in 355 days, I’m way off the mark. If my life was narrated by Morgan Freeman, at this point he would say something like ‘It was at this moment, that the stupid idea was born“. And here it is, I was going to have to put down more capital to generate a greater profit (or loss).

           This post was written in the early hours on the 5th January 2018 and is based on a journal entry for the 2nd of January 2018.

 

 

 

Day 1 – Ideas Day

           Up until this point in my life, I have no idea how to earn a million. From what I’ve read, you can save a percentage of your income for around forty years and invest for the long term, you can start a really successful business from the ground up, or you can have an amazing idea that serves millions of people. But it’s pretty obvious that you have to do something other than just being an employee.

           The way I see it, there are two ways of earning money. Either you offer a product or service in return for little money and make several transactions, or you offer a product or service in return for a lot of money and make fewer transactions. But you have to offer something that can be exchanged for money. Given that I am working full time, whilst attempting to accumulate a million, I need to do something that isn’t going to require all of my time; something that I can do around my job, but what…

           My first idea is a blog, as I can write my entries during my lunch hour and add to them in the evenings. This shouldn’t be particularly difficult as I will have fresh content every day that is based on my progress. The hard part however, is getting readers and generating an income from it. Now, you may be wondering why I am telling you this, when I have clearly set up a blog. This article is based on a journal entry I made on the 1st of January 2018 and is being written on the 4th of January as the blog was only created yesterday, 3rd of January 2018.

           My second idea is the stock market. As I am unable to invest for the long term, I will have to hold short positions on the stock market; the more volatile the better. I know people who do exactly that and triple the money within their trading accounts on a weekly basis! Naturally, this is something that I am very keen to learn. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, people can and do lose a lot of money. Those who are new to trading are much more likely to lose it all. If you don’t believe me just open a demo account on a trading app and buy whatever you like. You’ll soon find that you need to reset your account. When I first started, I had to reset my demo account three times within the first week because I’d practically lost all the money.

           My third idea is an eCommerce website. At this stage I’m not sure whether I will sell my own products or whether I will simply drop ship existing products. I am toying with a few ideas here, but I will probably set up more than one eCommerce website. I imagine that I will start with a drop shipping eCommerce website.

           My fourth idea is book writing. I really like the idea of writing factual book and have toyed with the idea for a couple of years. I have a concept in mind and I’m going to put it into practice, with a view of publishing it towards the middle of the year. Even if I only sell one copy, then I would have made some money from it and I can put it towards my total.

           My fifth idea is to write eBooks. EBooks tend to be much shorter than traditional books and should be much quicker to write. I’ll probably stick to areas that I know well, but I am tempted to dabble in a bit of fictional writing, but I will save that decision for a later stage.

           My final two ideas are to create YouTube channel and/or a ‘real world’ business. I am not sure whether I will actually do either of these yet, but I will keep an open mind. Whilst all of these ideas are good, I don’t think any one of these ideas can generate me a million within a year. But I do think that a combination of the above can. I guess we’ll find out.