Monday, March 27, 2006

Issue 359 - Fantastic Formula Following

I hope everything is ok where you are.

The Commonwealth Games have just finished in Melbourne Australia.
For those that don't know, they are similar to the Olympics, but only with countries that are in the Commonwealth.
They used to be called the Empire Games, a throwback to when the British Empire was in full pomp.

Anyhoo, I was watching the cycling road races, and the women's race, won by an Aussie, had a superb crash.
I swear I'm not the only one who enjoys watching accidents in sport, I reckon it's just that not many people admit it.
Oh yes, a touch of wheels, and they all went down like flies, one rider going right over the handlebars onto her head.
'Oooh, now that's gotta hurt,' I thought as I settled further into my comfy chair with a nice slice of cake.
The men's race was also won by an Australian, and it's this I want to talk about today, a double whammy of goal achievement.

Back in the 60s, the Olympics were dominated by the US, particularly in events like swimming.
2 main reasons for this.
Firstly, the simple fact of a huge 250 million population.
Secondly, the long-established college sports system there.
In the 70s though, a small country showed that it too could dominate events, and that country was East Germany.
They racked up medal after medal, world record after world record.
At the Montreal Olympics in 1976 Australia didn't win any medals at all, and for a sports mad country, something had to be done.

They made a commitment to improve matters, and decided a good place to start would be to analyse what the East Germans had done.
They discovered that the East Germans had decided which events they wanted to dominate, and had then decided what criteria youngsters would need to have to develop into winners.
They then tested the entire population of their schools to find those that were suitable.
When they had found them, they then set up purpose built facilities where the young athletes lives were directed solely towards winning, applying as much science as was possible at the time.

The Australians were about 10 years behind, but followed the formula.
They decided where they wanted to dominate, mainly swimming and cycling, and set up the Australian Institute of Sport.
They set up a testing programme for school children, and again applied state of the art science, with the sole aim of winning gold.
By the time the Olympics had finished in 2000 at Sydney, the Australians had gone from no medals at all in 1976, to a haul well over 50.

Of course when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, what many had suspected about the East German success was proved, that the athletes had been routinely drugged to improve performance., which went some way to explaining the abundance of hairy-armpitted sprinters.
Obviously the Aussies hadn't followed *that* part of the plan!

Now that the 2012 Games are coming to London, our Government has decided that we need to jump from around 10th to 5th in the medal table.
We are hurriedly setting up as many national schemes as we can.
The director of the Australian Institute thinks we may get there, because the sports science which wasn't available to them at the outset is freely available to us.
There's one big difference though, and it's that we don't have the school testing programme here, prefering to concentrate on talent spotting.


I'm not convinced.
It seems to me that the Australians followed goal achievement theory to perfection - they decided what they wanted to do, worked out what someone else had done before, left out the bad bits, copied and improved the good bits, and was it really a surprise when the success came?
We seem to have made the decision ok, discovered what others have done ok, but then decided to miss out one of the important elements.
This really is a classic mistake, because if the success doesn't come, and the question is asked 'did you follow the formula?' the answer will be 'er, well no.'

Let me use curling as an example...
I'm still enjoying the curling myself by the way, although it's not as easy as it may look on TV, something which you think I would have learnt from the vomit-inducing-bone-shaking American Football.
Or the hamstring-twanging long jump.
Or indeed the can't-even-get-over-a-decent-high-jump-mark pole vault.

So, the curling.
The British record at the Winter Olympics is not brilliant, and most of our success comes from Scottish athletes, where the majority of the British snow is.
It was a huge success for us in 2002 when the women curlers, all Scots, won the gold medal.
Teams at curling are generally put together by the individuals themselves, and they get to know each other's strengths.
That was the case in 2002, but by 2006 what had we done?
Changed the system that brought gold, to a new squad selection system.
The result of changing the formula that had worked before?
The women didn't win any medal at all.

D'oh double D'OH!!

That doesn't augur well for our 2012 ambition does it!

So that's the point today.
The Australians put in a lot of effort and money for sure, but by following a plan that had worked before, they achieved what they wanted, and sometimes goal achievement can really seem as simple as that.
Here in Britain though, the curling has given us an example of how changing away from a successful system can bring worse results, and that if you choose to follow a plan and then miss bits out, don't come running to me when it doesn't work.

In fact, I may well write the The British Olympic Association saying,
'Dear Sirs,
I note that you are attempting to repeat the success of the Australian Institute of Sport, but also note that you have left out an important step in the process.
Please be advised that if we get a poor haul of medals at the London 2012 Olypmics, don't come running to me, no doubt slowly.'

You've got to laugh havn't you!

Ok, have a good week,

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,
Get my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days’ here:

Monday, March 20, 2006

Issue 358 - Remembering Poppit

The Great Gordino Newsletter - Issue 358 – Mon 20th Mar 2006
Archived online at:


I hope this Monday finds you well.

A friend passed away last week.
Pete Gunthorpe, known to all by his nickname of Poppit, was a big figure on the local music scene.
That's how I knew him, and when I first ventured into the local scene around 4 years ago, as I gradually found out about more and more venues, he was always cropping up somewhere in the mix.
He had one of the busiest bands, and was constantly involved in the running of jam sessions.
Theses jams are fabulous for people like me, as they give the opportunity for us players with, shall we say, limited skills, to watch, learn and play with better musicians.
You do get some ridiculous arguments and almost feuds going on, but that is no different than in any walk of life, and all in all it's a friendly bunch.
I've met some great people, and had the opportunity to play and have such fun.

One of these fun people was Poppit.
I didn't know him outside of the music scene, that's part of the appeal of it, people from different walks of life can come together and enjoy the common ground of the music.
That was always Poppit's intention, and it's why everyone liked him.
Bless him, he couldn't tune a guitar for toffee, I think even I could do a better job, but he could deliver a song for sure.

I could count on my fingers the number of readers who knew Poppit, so if you're wondering why I'm talking about him in a newsletter about self-improvement, goal achievement and wealth creation, here's why...

Last week I was talking about the mistake of leaving things to do until you are retired, that if you want to do it you should do it now.
We never now what is around the corner, and Poppit's passing drives this home.
His illness was quick and short.
2 weeks ago I was playing with him at a jam, and now he is not with us.
He'd be happy to put across the point of doing what you want to.
He facilitated self-improvement in music.
He was happy to play with complete strangers, and if they made a hash of a song, instead of throwing an evil stare, he would break into an encouraging smile and go with the flow.

The goal achievement is reflected in the fact that his level of playing did not come overnight.
He was playing guitar 40 years ago, and did it not because he had to, but because he loved it.

The wealth creation is reflected in what he offered the local area.
Wealth doesn't have to be financial, the wealth of abundance can be beyond measure, and the abundance that Poppit bought was a smile to those who thought of him.

Poppit loved what I would call mod/r&b music, and if I had to come up with one song to sum him up, it would be 'You Do Something To Me' by Paul Weller.
If you've got it, get it out and listen to it, if you havn't heard it and get a chance to, have a listen.
Think about this man from England that you never knew, and remember my talking of Poppit and his music.

There is a website with pictures of Poppit, from way back in the 60s to this year, and you'll notice the common feature of the guitar around his neck in amongst some dodgy haircuts!
You'll also see a message board, and the kind of warm feelings that people had for him expressed there sum up why I wanted to mention him today.

Ok, have a good week, and as ever, don't let your passions pass you by.

Have a good week.

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,

Get my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days’ here:

Monday, March 13, 2006

Issue 357 - The Dark Side Of The Bald Patch

The Great Gordino Newsletter - Issue 357 – Mon 13th Mar 2006
Archived online at:

I hope everything is ok where you are.

I went to have a go at curling last week.
The purpose built rink, the only one in England, is built on the owner's farm, and I was little bit concerned that I might get lost down the dark narrow country lanes.
However, I had studied the map and worked out the route, so I set off fairly confidently.
Of course it didn't take long for me to get lost down the dark narrow country lanes, with the bane of my life, roadsigns, letting me down.
I came to junction after junction, with signs that failed to point to anywhere I recognised, but quite happily, almost knowingly, displayed names which may well have been made up.
It was raining, and as is always the way, I had people driving behind me who obviously knew the road, and drove in a way that could best be described as 'RIGHT UP MY ARSE!!'
I'd estimated 40 minutes for the journey, and after 90 minutes of driving round in circles, which may have been getting bigger or smaller, I have no idea, I finally arrived.

Here's where my luck improved.

Having been told that the local club met on a Wednesday, it turned out that it was every Wednesday *except* last week, so I was the only person there.

Doesn't sound so lucky does it?

However, the rink had been booked by a full group of Round Tablers, and they were a man short, and they asked me if I wanted to join them.
Rather civilised I thought, even more so when I discovered that their evening included beginner training, equipment hire, lane hire, and so on, and that they refused to take my offer of payment.
That's always likely to put a smile on my face.

It was really good fun!
It says on the website that you can be playing meaningful games within an hour, and so it proved.
Unlike my last attempt at a new sport, American Football, curling allows me to play my shots without the fear of someone trying to chop my calves, rattle my ribs, or indeed, smash me in the face.
I actually wasn't horrenously bad, and could see myself getting better.
It's a shame that the season ends in early April, and it isn't played over the summer, but I'll use the next few weeks to introduce myself to the 'locals', and get a bit of playing in.
Hopefully I'll be going to play once this week, and watch a competition also.

My friend Alan bought a telescope on ebay last week.
He also turned 40 last week, and I reckon he bought the telescope to see if he could spot his hair, as a large mass of it has already vanished into thin air, and what's left doesn't seem to be hanging around.
He swears it's for a different reason.
We had been chatting, and he mentioned that he had an interest in astronomy that he wanted to pursue when he retired.
I immediately pointed out something he has said to me many times, and it's a point you will find in many 'how to be happy books'.

Saying that you'll do something when you retire is a complete nonsense.
If there is something you want to do do it now!
It could be life changing, the best thing you ever did, or it could just be another hobby.
Alan works for himself, so retirement is a good 25 years away at least for him.
Think of all the fun he could have with the stars in that time, he could even have a complete career!
Unlikely, as the reflection from his bald patch would mess up more delictae instruments, but you get my point.

Think of anything you have set aside to do at some point in the future.
It might be a specific date, or it may be a vague wishy washy timeline.
Consider what's wrong with you doing it NOW!
You could do a lot worse, and like I found when I got my curling lesson for free, you'll probably end up with a smile on your face too!

Ok, that's it for this week.

Have a good week.

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,

Get my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days’ here:

The Great Gordino goes blogging

Welcome to The Great Gordino blog.
I have been sending out an email newsletter for over 3 years now, over 350 issues.
Unfortunately the spam filter situation has got quite frankly ridiculous, so I have decided to post the newsletter to this blog as well.
As I carry on, hopefully I will add archives and other bits and bobs - hope you enjoy it!