Philosophy and Values –

By now you’ve probably grasped our philosophy – from our values, our adventures, our joie de vivre.

There’s a lot of money made out of the “self help” industry and some of that help is useful. But spending the money isn’t.

Just like going to an expensive gym can work as well or as badly as running every morning, or digging the garden, or climbing mountains. All work if you do them; rarely if you just think about doing them…

We love Ken Blanchard and Stephen Covey and Wallace Wattles. Often the advice is repetitive; sometimes it sounds corney. But, just like “old wives’ tales”, most of the clichés have become known over centuries for a reason: there’s truth in there.

And to those who say that getting motivated doesn’t last, well neither does washing. That’s why we need to do both, daily.

Some of my favourite inspirations feature or will feature on this site, including Simple Truths, Unconventional Guide, The Seven Hour Workweek, SOGR, Stephen Covey.

My Father, Roy Down, says the secret is just to “get good people round you”. My Mother, Marion Down’s favourite fairy tale to read me was the story of the little red hen, who just “got on and did it herself”, and Mum also loves the Shire horse in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” who thought he could fix everything by working harder. Both are right but incomplete. My lovely friend Martha Gail Kelly says “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. That’s right too.

Most of all, life is about asking, believing, expecting and gratitude: long before ”The Law of Attraction” and “The Secret” became trendy, and before I had heard of Wallace Wattles, I discovered that all the successful people I knew were positive and grateful. They didn’t wait for things to happen, they made things happen. Without making a fuss, they just got right on and did whatever they wanted to happen. They were specific and focused on what they wanted to be. They shared generously, both their time and financially.

I thought about what I really wanted. Discussed endlessly with the family, decided, committed, set goals, then got on and did it. Discovered that the more specific one is, the easier the outcome appears. Easier said than done. Demanding emotional and physical discipline.

I learned that there are two types of people, “radiators” and “drains”. Some radiate energy, others drain it. I learned to avoid the drains.

If this is all too complicated, let me share a simple story from the Cherokee, some of the earliest indigenous Americans. A child asked an elder why he sometimes didn’t know how to be. The Chief replied, “Inside every child live two wolves. A white wolf and a grey wolf. And these wolves fight. The white wolf is kind, gentle, patient, considerate, generous, helpful. The grey wolf is aggressive, angry, jealous, destructive, mean, self-centred.”

The child considers. “Which one wins?” he asks.

The Chief replies,

“Whichever one is fed the most.”

Just Do It.

Make the most of life.

“If you feel like everything’s under control, you’re not going fast enough”, Mario Andretti, Italian racing driver

We all have values – each individual, family, business, organization, society, culture. Not all of us have identified them. There are many ways and the easiest I have discovered is just to go somewhere quiet, take some deep breaths to empty your mind and write down 200 words which you think are important to you. You might choose to begin with the classics…honesty, integrity, truth…then just write down whatever comes into your head, without judgement. It doesn’t matter if you’re not sure of some, or if some mean almost the same thing. Just keep going till you have at least 200.

If this is for your family, business or organization, gather as many others with you as possible. But don’t put off the moment. Just do it.

Right, so now you have your 200. Just begin at the top and bottom of the entire list, crossing off one from each end that you can “do without”. If you hesitate because one is really important to you, move on and cross off another. Your aim is to get down to 4 or 6! Yes, really!

So cross off any that are almost the same, or are less important. Until it gets really hard. If you’re doing this with your family, business or organization, this is when the debates and arguments start. And all those skeptics who said that values aren’t important become involved! In the end, you’ll be left with the hard-core of things which are really important to you. These values, now you’ve identified them, are your cornerstones, your foundations, for your decisions. They’re how people probably already think of you. And if you’re thinking, but I can’t live without honesty, truth, justice – will, you’ll probably find these intrinsic, embedded within other words too.

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