Top Tips After 1 Year of Reading Self-Development Books

I’m guessing some of this stuff will help as a parent at some point, hopefully.

Here’s a list of the best bits I’ve read about:

  • Self Serving Bias is a massive influence on all of us.  Build the emotional intelligence to prevent you acting on it.  It’s got a long history too, apparently Buddha said something about it, and so did Matthew in the Bible:
    “Never mind the black spec in my eye, first remove the log from your own”
    Meaning, don’t be a hypocrite.
  • Some people suffer from feelings of inferiority and low self esteem, depression etc, whilst many others suffer from feelings of superiority, resulting in anger, having no-patience and a low-frustration-tolerance
  • Avoid comparing yourself with others
  • Avoid ‘What if’ statements, verbally and as thoughts. They make you anxious
  • Avoid ‘should’ statements, they will make you angry and unhappy.  E.g. “This should have happened” (or shouldn’t)
  • Acceptance. Accept what you can’t change – e.g. having a crap night’s sleep
  • Flexibility. Those who are flexible with their mindset, and with their plans, are generally the happiest people.
  • Aggressive opinions of right and wrong cause all sorts of unnecessary conflicts. I’m sure many of the members of terrorist organisations feel what they are doing is morally right.  The best way to avoid such strict views, is by spending time with a range of people with different thoughts, political affiliations etc.
  • Have a flexible mindset not a fixed mindset in terms of learning, using statements such as “I can’t do it yet”, rather than “I can’t do it”


  • The best way to stop caring about what others think, is to stop complaining about and judging them yourself
  • Have a preference for the way others behave, but don’t demand it.  For example, don’t demand that people drive how you deem appropriate, or you’ll just spend every commute being angry.
  • Practice gratitude, or you’re likely to want more and more, when you don’t actually need anything

Home Birth ‘Review’

For your first child, I seriously would not bother.

We hired our birthing pool for 5 weeks for £90 which isn’t bad to be fair. Although it is basically a paddling pool (in fact my mate’s wife gave birth in a paddling pool rather than a ‘birthing’ one)


Everything was going great, until it came to the final stages – the bit where you have to do all that pushing…

Nothing was happening, so the midwives phoned an ambulance, which took well over an hour to arrive.

All the neighbours came out (even though most of them have never spoken to us) to see what was going on, and my wife was taken out on a chair in the middle of the road, which couldn’t have been the best experience ever.

She was exhausted, and in lots of pain by the time we got to hospital. What the home-birth groups and Daisy Foundation didn’t, apparently mention was the fact that once you are at a certain stage in labour, you can’t have any extra pain relief. Considering that 45% of home-births, for the first child, end up in hospital, it’s an important thing to consider.

So without any pain-relief (wasn’t allowed gas and air even, perhaps because of her shallow breathing) my wife was ‘cut’, and the baby was taken out with forceps.  She was in so much pain, it’s borderline traumatised me, so I’ve no idea how bad she must feel.

Anyway, all is well, that ends well. We did have to go back into hospital because baby lost a bit too much weight, and Jo had to feed her every 3 hours, but all okay now.  Thank God.

I’m 34 – Should I write a Will?



It’s not something that I’ve considered before, but no that I have offspring (well one on the way in 1.5 months) it’s something I should put in place.

This webpage does a convincing job of persuading me to get the proverbial ball rolling, and contact a solicitor to get this sorted.  Especially as I have a mortgage, and well, 2 dogs as well!

You can use the webpage by clicking on the 3 bits of pink text, and separately, choosing a reason that you haven’t bothered writing a well from the pink drop down menu that appears.

I chose “it’s too expensive”, “I’m too young” (haha) and “it’s too time consuming”.  Apparently, it’s not too expensive (normally costs about £150 from my research), I could die anytime and it only takes 1 or 2 appointments to get the will sorted out.

So get going, and contact a solicitor or will writer. After all, you don’t want your kids worrying about finances, when they’ve just lost a love one. Poor Ted wouldn’t know where to start…


Meditation for Children?

Listening to Deepak Chopra, and other successful and apparently well-balanced people like Noah Elkrief, it would appear that they all meditated, as kids.

It makes sense, especially when these days, kids seldom have to sit and be silent and endure boredom (or just silence) for hours like we used to. Now they have tablets, iPads they can play on instead of having to watch Antiques Roadshow at Nan’s house, and even drop down TV’s in the people-carriers so that long journey are no longer tedious.

How are they expected to sit and watch a teacher chalk stuff up on the blackboard for 6 hours a day, when they’re normally used to high-level stimulation that comes from all the colours and flashing lights and intensity of computer games?

Maybe meditation is a good remedy, I’m not sure, but certainly worth looking into…

Yoga for kids

Why are Teenagers so Badly Behaved? (well, some of them)

After being woken up at 4am by a car full of teenagers, who went on to vandalise the neighbour’s car, I thought I’d ask the perpetual question:

Why are kids so badly behaved these days?

I remember this question being constantly asked about my generation, twenty or so years ago; here are some theories:

  • Role Models
    Good role models are absent in the media, although David Beckham is an exception (arguably).  But your typical football player or pop star aren’t exactly well behaved
  • Break down of the family unit
    Related to role models, young boys for example, are very lucky if they have a hard working Dad who is a ‘good citizen’; and even more lucky if he spends time with his son.
  • Lack of discipline in schools
    Not the teachers’ fault, they just don’t have enough powers to do anything about naughty children
  • Lazy parents
    My generation of parents – some of them are just, well, scumbags. I’m a firm believer that we’re all a result of our environment and our genetics, and don’t blame anyone for how they are, but something has gone wrong along the way with some of the parents about nowadays
  • Poor Diet
    Diet, and gut health are related to ADHD and all other behavioural problems.

How to Raise Successful Children

As someone who has never ‘raised’ any children, these points may not hold a great deal of credence; having said that here are my thoughts:

Pretend that Traffic Jams are Fantastic and Joyful
One of the great dividers, in terms of people who are successful, and those who are not, appears to be their willingness to travel.  I hate travelling in the car (like most people); but wish I actually enjoyed it – then a commute from North Wales to Manchester every day would be a dream come true.

traffic jam

Allow them to Backchat, a little
If you’re someone with great manners, and always empathising for others etc. You’ll find it more difficult to be successful.  You’re unlikely to be great at sales for example.  Obviously you need your child to be well behaved, so they don’t become some kind of delinquent; but if they sit in silence in the corner when they’re told to because “children should be seen and not heard”; they may find it difficult when it comes to board meetings and the like.

Get them to take up a Sport & Go to the Pub
The college of knowledge, is basically the pub. You learn the ways of the world, and gain social skills, something that uni never does.  Sport is great for building character, and encouraging a competitive spirit.

Just my unqualified 2 pence!

The Science of Happiness

Interesting Ted Talk with Prof. Dan Gilbert

To summarise the video – happiness is basically internal. There is a theory called the adaptation principle, which suggests that whatever happens to us externally in our lives, we always return to a baseline level of happiness.

There was a study in 1978 that compared lottery winners to accident victims, and found little difference in their happiness levels after 6 months: