I’ve put another A4 poster on the wall today. It reads,

“Don’t let anyone else Define you or Confine you”

I heard this quote this afternoon whilst making 2 litres of curry to keep me going for two days. I had my iPod on, and had been listening to a 1950’s recording of the late Earl Nightingale, whom I wish I’d discovered some 10 years back. As that audio book came to an end, so the next one began – an audio book I wasn’t even aware I had, and the name or author of which I have no details of. Still, his words grabbed my attention. Don’t let anyone else define you or confine you. When digested along with the other lessons I’ve been learning, they have the full impact of that big digger thing that 007 drives into the concrete wall at the beginning of the latest, wonderful James Bond film.

As I read this books, listen to these recordings, I note how it all feels right. Terrifying, but right. Most of it is common sense, we all know this stuff – but there is a huge gulf between being in the state of knowing something, and being in the state of doing something about it.

It’s not what happens to you in life that determines whether or not you achieve your dreams, it’s how you react to what happens to you. We all know that, but how many of us truly take charge of our lives? I know that I haven’t thus far.

I’ve spent far too many years playing along and seeing where life is going to take me. I’ve been that boat out on the water with no destination logged into the GPS navigation system. What do you think the chances of me reaching my goals are if I have none?!

This doesn’t mean I have to chart out my complete course – I can’t, because I don’t yet have all the knowledge necessary to get me there. I don’t know enough about sailing to chart the oceans – but I could probably get out of the harbour if I tried.

I’m standing on the street somewhere in Roppongi (it’s all up-market these days don’t you know. The days of the Iranian chicken sellers are long gone…). I want to get to Tokyo Tower. Now, I don’t know my way around that part of the city, and thus I don’t know how to get to Tokyo Tower. But I can see it on the horizon, sticking up into the sky in its mini-Eiffel Tower-esque manner. If I keep my eyes fixed on the tower, and head in that general direction, even if I don’t have a clue how to get there, I will get there. I can’t NOT get there.

And so it is in life. The only thing stopping me is me. The me who is letting others define me and confine me, even though they are not consciously doing so.

I still can’t quite get over the results of last week’s name experiment. Astonishing. A mere change in attitude has resulted in me being able to do something I have never been able to do before. The next test is currently underway, with the writing of this essay. I am combining all lessons learnt thus far to get this done. It is working, in that I feel calm and relaxed about it; I know I will do a good job of it, and complete it well within the time limit. I will then turn my attention to my exams, which will also be fine.

At first glance one might think that it is quite extraordinary that this kind of education, that is, teaching people how to think in order to make the most of life, is not taught in schools. The irony is, is that when we are young we are the most accomplished thinkers in the whole world, adaptable, positive in our outlook – anything is possible (“I want to be a doctor / vet / superstar) – it is only as we grow older that we regress, our patterns of thinking come to be stuck in a rut, which is of course but a grave with both ends open.

Likewise with financial education. Do they teach you about loan companies at school? No. What happens on your first day at uni? You are offered a free camera if you sign up with Barclaycard. How bizarre, that such a vital life skill in barely touched upon at school!

This journey really is absolutely fascinating. Having barely read a thing but text books all my life, I have so much catching up to do.

Night Night xxx

old school roof, shimoda