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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thought on New Years resolutions

ri-kun the tortoise_2245

Ri-kun on the tatami

I finished reading Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" this evening. [Wikipedia] [official site]. The New York Times accurately described it as "much more of a political document. Portions of the volume read like outtakes from a stump speech, and the bulk of it is devoted to laying out Mr. Obama’s policy positions on a host of issues, from education to health care to the war in Iraq."

Whilst it might sound like it would be a right yawn for someone like me who has little interest in politics, I liked it a lot (although admittedly, I did fast-forward through some chapters that in which he talked in detail about the US political process). It served to give me a feel for Obama as a person, and I must say, he seems to be a bloomin' nice chap. I also found myself thinking that I'm like his wife, Michelle, in some ways.

I'm now listening to 'Tribes' by Seth Godin, which focuses upon marketing in the age of Twitter and Facebook. It's received mixed reviews, with some people noting that it just reads like a load of blog posts, that there's nothing new in it and that it lacks depth. All true perhaps, but that doesn't bother me. As someone very much interested in the uses of social networking services in marketing / creating communities / building businesses, I find it fascinating - and inspiring too. There's a fair amount of inspirational stuff in it that can be found in many other 'You can do it' books - but I need to hear this.

I am an ideas person, but I fear putting my ideas into action. Ideas for a publishing company. Ideas for a Penguin business. Every day, lots of ideas.

I think much of this fear stems from a fear of what others may think of me, a fear that is utterly ridiculous and serves no useful purpose in my life - it only holds me back. It kind of p*sses me off really.

I know I've come a long way, but I could do so much better. The fact is that those people who really know me know that I'm a good, trustworthy person - with flaws. Thus, they forgive me my errors in judgement and continue to support me, in return for my support and love of them. I don't need to fear losing those who are precious to me (they include all of my friends).

But what of those who think I'm stupid, misguided or deceitful, and then treat me with contempt? I'm scared of being treated with contempt.

But that's ridiculous. Looking back over the past 15 years or so, I can't think of a single occasion when someone important to me has treated me with genuine contempt. Why do I even entertain these ideas? I'm a good person, I know I am, and I don't need to have these fears.

These past few days I have begun mulling over my New Year's resolutions for 2009. One that I've been considering is 'Action without Fear'.

Crikey. That's a bit scary.

The thing is, there's no point in making such a resolution unless I act on it. That will require a conscious effort on a daily basis. I think if I do adopt it, it will need to be classed as an 'experiment' limited to a period of say, 3 months (long enough to see tangible results?), with regular progress reviews built in. You might think that overkill, but when it comes to things that are uncomfortable and require self-motivated/self-enforced persistence, I need to use all the tools available to me to succeed. (Look at me with my iPhone and Jogging schedule).

I also recognise that I need a tangible goal to aim for. It could be having my photos on public display, generating a certain amount of income from Amway, registering a certain number of artists with Three Seeds - it could include all three, and of course more.

I think 'change' will be the key word for 2009. I, like everyone else on Earth, am afforded the opportunity to change almost any aspect of my life every single day, yet I fail to appreciate that most of the time. I subjugate myself to the status quo - it's easier that way.

But that's not good enough! I have a responsibility to be the best that I can be.

No, I shouldn't need a New Year to make changes, but I don't feel strong enough to act alone at the moment. The calendar will be my ally.

Anyway, it's time for bed. We're having our Christmas Day tomorrow as it's a national holiday (emperor's birthday) - everyone is able to gather at the family home just north of Tokyo. Excited!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yay Obama!



[Watch Obama's victory speech in full on the BBC]

What an historic day. A day I am very happy to be alive and witnessing. Bloomin' marvellous.

I've been looking at photos of reactions around the world for the last hour. Reading the editorials, learning about Obama's background. It's clear that a lot of the world is as happy as I am.

What a day for democracy! This is really what it's all about. Millions of people simultaneously saying "Yes, we want change". It makes me proud to be, er, British, with American friends.

This is not just the election of a new president, this could be the beginning of a significant change in direction for a country we love to hate. The election of Obama could fundamentally alter my attitude towards the US. I might even find myself wanting to visit there again. No, but seriously, I feel the barriers are melting.

For me, Obama represents the diversity of the modern multicultural world we now live in. Here's a quote from the Guardian:

Barack Obama won the US presidential election by building a broad rainbow coalition of voters embracing younger people under 45, black people, Hispanics, independents, moderates, people from most income groups, and women.

White males apart, McCain attracted majority support in a limited number of categories, including older Americans, evangelical Christians, and conservatives – the bedrock of the Republican base. This apparent narrowing of the GOP's appeal will fuel speculation about the end of the Republican "era" that began in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan.

Reagan owed his victory to so-called Reagan Democrats, southern white blue-collar workers.

In the age of Obama, it is upwardly mobile, middle class suburban and ex-urban voters who are now changing the paradigm and setting the pace in states such as North Carolina and Virginia. Increasingly, they identify with the Democrats.


I've never paid any attention to US political parties before now, but I learnt a fair bit today, and am delighted the Democrats are in.

And check out his environmental policies! This is such good news for the world after years of a pro-oil anti-reform administration. The Earth can breath a sigh of relief!

What a great role model he is. What an inspiration. Ahh, it's bloomin marvellous. I'm so happy. This is a time to embrace.

hmmm. I'm going to watch his speech on race now.

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