I’m a former teenager who has been around the sun so many times that my birthday cake costs less than the candles. I have been a student of life for most of it, and a teacher since 1976. I’m fascinated by the simple fact that our minds cover how we think and how we feel, and the wiring between those two is often mixed up.
One of the first things I learned as a young teacher that it’s important to understand what it is like not to understand.
In my later years of teaching, I realised I knew much less than I thought I knew as an immortal teenager; I spent quite some time in the introspective pit of mid-life despair. I now know I was trying to force my understanding of life, the universe and everything. I explored many cathartic pathways, trying to understand how helping others could also help me breathe more easily.
I began life-coaching in the 1990s. I soon realised life-coaching had serious shortcomings,; rather superficial techniques did little to revamp the neural pathways that gave rise to persistent low mood and gloomy horizons. Similarly NLP (which is really life-coaching with a more abstruse vocabulary) and CBT. Alphabet soup anyone?
In the twilight of my teaching career I became intensively involved in helping some of my fellow teachers, many of whom were finding it increasingly hard to cope with the arduous challenges all too frequently encountered in teaching. Some were being bullied by insensitive (and often emotionally incompetent) senior colleagues. Others found the bureaucracy and accountability requirements just too onerous.
I did get involved to try to end the culture of institutional bullying. But it proved pragmatically ineffective.
Then I realised that we cannot change the external world. But we COULD do something much more effective: instead of getting the world to adapt to us, we could learn to change ourselves. We could develop an empowering mind set, increase resilience, and take on a genuinely positive outlook.
That let me to Conquering Life and a great team of like-minded souls who exist to help others.
That led me to you. So, if you feel frustrated that you are not flourishing, please do get in touch to find out how you can transform your life by developing a mindset that enables you to be who you always wanted to be.
I do understand how painful an unfulfilled life can be. I’ve been there. And now I’m loving life and so can you!
I used to be a Thrive Programme Consultant but have moved on to the Conquering Life Programme. I am a member of the International Association of Evidence Based Psychotherapy and I abide by the IAEBP Code of Ethics.
I continue to build on my training and professional development and read voraciously.
I have concerns about much traditional psychiatry (because it seems to lag some considerable way behind other branches of modern medicine as far as advances are concerned) and psychology (because much of it seems overly preoccupied with aberrant and abnormal mental states, rather than more normative conditions). I am more than cynical about NLP and recent variants of CBT seem not to have particularly long-lasting effects.
I remain impressed by insights from those in ancient times, which are still relevant today. Such as Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius: “Very little is needed for a happy life: it is within you, in your way of thinking” and “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Best of all: “Dwell on the beauty of life. You have power over your mind – not outside events.” I also like Epictetus: “Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak”; and his overarching principle that happiness follow from knowing what is under our control, and what is not (i.e. all external events). In my view these are more insightful than anything offered by Freud or Jung.
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