Monday, June 26, 2006

Issue 372 - Mon 26th Jun 2006


I hope everything is ok where you are.

I can tell you in advance, I'm not sure if there'll be an issue next Monday.
I'll be lurching into my 41st year on that day, I'm not sure what I'll be doing, so we'll have to wait and see.

As for my plan to run the London Marathon to celebrate it, it's all going well.
Yesterday I did 11 miles in 2 hours 10 minutes, which is still bang on schedule.
Next Sunday the target is 12 miles, although with the way it's going I can see myself doing 13, and that's a half marathon!

So that's going from *very* unfit to an on-target half marathon in 2 hours 36.
I can't say I'm surprised at that progress, because I'm following an established plan to achieve, it but there have been no glitches or hiccups, which is always a bonus!

A few weeks ago I asked for your opinions on what I should do with my new book.
I've decided now, and this is the plan...

I'm giving the book away for free.

There are no catches, I'm not even asking for email addresses.

You can get it at:

If you read it and enjoy it, it would be great if you could pass it on to people, via your mailing list, your site, whatever.
If you want, I can brand it for you, meaning that your website link is on the front page, and all mentions of my 'Transform Your Life in 21 Days!' book will be your affiliate link.
Then if you give it away, and the people you give it to pass it on, who knows who it may bring to your site, who knows who may buy my first book and earn you commission!

So, why am I giving it away for nothing?
Well, as with a lot of internet projects, it was quick and fairly easy to set up, it might have worked, it might not.
As a profit making exercise, it hasn't worked.

Now what I want to do is concentrate on raising the sponsorship money for the charity.
So, in the book, I ask that if you were to send me a birthday card, or buy me a birthday drink, then spend that money on sponsoring me instead!

You can sponsor me at the site:

Or, just enjoy the book with my compliments.

Ok, that's it for today.
Have a good week.

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,
Get involved with The Great Gordino Marathon at:

Monday, June 19, 2006

Issue - 371 Mon 19th Jun

I hope Monday finds you well.

You may remember a few weeks ago I lost my house keys on one of my first training runs, and that because they had a store loyalty card on them, someone had handed them in, and the store had sent them to me.

Often with these loyalty cards, the amount of money you save is so small that it's hardly worth the effort, but I keep using mine, simply because it's no effort to do so.
All the mail offers I get from them usually get a quick once over before I turf them into the bin.

Last week though, I got a set of coupons through, £6 off when you spend over £40.
Now for a tight-arse like me, that's like a red rag to a bull.

All I have to do is my normal shop, plus a load of non-perishables that don't usually come under special offer, and it's money in my pocket for nothing!
The warm weather is continuing yesterday, so I thought that on a Sunday morning it would be nice and quiet, that people would be out and about enjoying the summer.

I was wrong - it was heaving!

I had been out my run earlier (10 non-chafing miles in 1hour 59 mins), so maybe there had been an announcement of the 4 minute-warning and I had missed it.
After all, if ever there was a 4-minute warning, I'm sure I too would think 'hmm, just enough time to get to Tesco, they have teabags on special offer.'

Having mentioned before how doing simple things like sending my keys back to me enhances a reputation, a fact which seems to escape so many businesses, I got an email which reminded me of another simple thing.

It was from an online buddy who had ordered a CD of harp music from a company called Baby CDs.
Here's the confirmation email they sent her...

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell overthe crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Wednesday, June 7th.
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby.
We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'.
We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you once again,

How about that!!
Do you think someone woud want to order from them again or not?
Brilliant, simple, feel-good marketing!

I think I've been quite restrained so far in my coverage of the World Cup.
I know not everyone is a fan of sport, let alone football, so I try not to overdo it, but sport can give such obvious lessons to take forward into life.
It's one of the reasons why it should be a fundamental ingredient in schooling, (it is becoming less so here in the UK), and since I write about self-improvement and the like, I can't help but be drawn to it.

A lot of countries use football to assert their indentity, to state their importance on the world stage.
2 countries that have done this particularly well are Brazil and Argentina.
Nowadays it is the African countries that use the World Cup as a staging post of their progress, coming through poverty and civil war.

Take Angola for instance.
They are only recently out of over 25 years of civil war.
A lot of the squad had to flee their own country as children.
Not all the players even play for a club - the goalkeeper has trained himself alone for the past 3 years to keep in shape!
When they played Mexico, who are ranked 4th in the world rankings, everyone expected them to get thrashed.
The self-training goalkeeper made several great saves, and the game ended 0-0.
The result was celebrated as if they had won the whole tournament, it was such a step for them.

Now *that's* the kind of reason I like my sport!

Ok, that's it for today, what could you achieve in your life that would be an equivalent of Angola drawing with Mexico?

Have a good week.

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,

Monday, June 12, 2006

Issue 370 - Mon 12th Jun 2006


I hope everything is ok where you are.

Today I want to talk about how talking to people can bring results your way, and how easy it can be to become an 'expert.'
These are positive thoughts, and I'll get to them in a sec, but let me get a couple of negatives out of the way first.

The Football World Cup has started in Germany.
I noticed that one of the games over the weekend was played in what used to be East Germany.
The stadium was built specifically for the tournament.
It was finished early, and came in under budget.

One of the most famous football stadiums (probably should be 'stadia' but I don't care) used to be Wembley stadium in London.
It was knocked down years ago to be replaced by a new one.

At present it is almost double the budget, is nowhere near ready, and there are real concerns about the safety of the foundations.


The second story I noticed came from the newly appointed Home Secretary here in the UK.

This one's a corker.
Having admitted that a lot of his department was not in a fit enough state to do the job, over the weekend, he announced an initiative where the public should 'stop moaning' about anti-social behaviour, and take action.

I've never heard anything quite like it.
I can assure you that if you tackle anti-social behaviour in this country, the worst case scenario would see you dead.
It has happened too many times.
Other cases would be a physical assault, a brick through your window, bullying, etc etc, and the protection you'd get from the law would be 'thin' to say the least.
The most unlikely scenario would be for the yobs to say sorry and go away.

I was staggered to see this policy, but unfortunately I *wasn't* staggered to see the Home Secretary then do an about-turn and distance himself from it, saying it was drawn up by officials.
I know I'm not 40 for another few weeks, but I'm seriously getting grumpy about things like this.

Right, onto the positives...
Last Sunday when I did my long run, 7 miles, I felt so good at the end of it that I went on to do 8 since my schedule had a target of 7-8.
This shows that if you follow a set plan, you can find yourself over achieving your targets, which is a good thing.

The bad thing was that I had my first serious experience of chafing.
And let me tell you, it was in an area where you don't want to be chafed.
Unless you're some sort of deviant.
Which I'm not.
Well at least when it comes to chafing.
Ooh, I was red raw.

I went to a jam session in the afternoon, and told people about my problem, explaining that most running website seemed to suggest some sort of lube or ointment application.
I'm not sure I fancy that, you'd have some staining issues surely?
Imagine if you went for banana flavour - you'd get neighbours following government advice and tackling you about being anti-social!
Anyhoo, after a while someone came up to me and suggested lycra shorts.
The funny thing is, I have a pair from my unicycling days, when I suffered chafing then too.

I had the solution in my draw, and knew it, but it took someone else to prompt me, and that prompt only came about because I had talked about my goals.

This week it was nudging 30 degrees for my long run, and distance running is not sensible in those conditions.
After 3 miles, I was sweating like a pig, more so than normal, and could feel my head throbbing in the heat.
I recognised this as not normal, as I've been doing it for weeks now, so poured a lot of water over me, and slowed right down.
This allowed me to complete the full distance safely and comfortably.

Speaking of comfort, the lycra cycling shorts worked a treat, it was all silky smooth down there.
I wanted to go up and tell people how comfortable I was feeling downstairs, but the only other people out and about at 8am on a Sunday are old duffers walking their dogs, and I'm not sure they would understand.

Ok, that's it for today - remember that you can get great advice if you talk about your goals, and taking repeated action can quickly lead you to getting great knowledge about any field.

Have a good week.
'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,

Monday, June 05, 2006

Issue 369 - Mon 5th Jun 2006

I hope Monday finds you well.

My subjects today are going for your dreams, and making sure that ambition doesn't blind you to the facts.

In 1984, Christa McAuliffe was sitting in her car with her husband, when she heard President Reagan on the radio, saying that NASA was starting a search to find a teacher to send into space.
She had always been fascinated by the space program, and her husband said she should try for it.

Sounds pretty silly eh?
1 place, out of all the teachers in the US?
Hardly worth the effort of applying.
Of course that attitude will see you never realising any of your dreams.

Being a teacher, of course Christa knew this, so she applied, and gradually progressed through the selection process, standing in amazement when she was finally chosen as the teacher in space.
She'd beaten a lot of candidates who were into mountaineering and extreme sports, because NASA wanted someone as 'normal' as possible, that more people could relate to.

That's another goal achievement principle - never assume that you don't fit the bill, because you don't always know what others are thinking!

All good stuff eh?

Well yes, but in 1984 when she first heard that broadcast on the radio, engineers had already noticed a problem about the rocket boosters on the shuttles.
When they examined the reusable boosters after a flight of the shuttle Discovery, they noticed a failure of a rubber seal, and it was only the back up seal that had prevented a disaster.
The engineer in charge of these selas made numerous attempts to get the problem looked at, but was ignored by his bosses.
The company had a huge contract with NASA, and from NASA's point of view, the seal was only 1 out of *700* shuttle components on the category 1 list, meaning a failure could be catastrophic.

Christa was due to launch in Janary 1986 on the Challenger shuttle.
As the launch neared, it was clear that the launch would be at the lowest temperature ever, and the seal engineer became ever more concerned.
The teacher in space idea had captured the media's attention, with Christa due to give a lesson from space, and children all over the country watching.
With 2 postponed launches already, NASA was feeling a lot of negative press and was desperate to get the launch off.

The managers of the rocket booster company were finally convinced of the dangers on the eve of the launch, and held a conference telemeeting with NASA.
The managers explained the situation, that they could not safely recommend a launch.
One of NASA's team said that although he found it an 'appalling situation', he couldn't go against the contractors.

Those words were critical.
The booster company's managers asked for a 5 minute break.
They realised that their multi-billion dollar contract was on the line, and told their head engineer to take off his enginer hat and put on his manager hat.
Despite the protestations of the specific seal expert present, the head engineer changed his view, and said a launch was ok.
When NASA heard this about turn, they didn't ask why the company had completely changed their view, but they did ask if anyone disagreed.
The seal engineer kept silent, and NASA took this as good enough to launch.

On January 28 1986, Challenger launched.
On take off, the seals failed to operate in the cold, and a minute after take-off, the main fuel load exploded, destroying the shuttle.
All 7 astronauts died.

The investigation concluded that NASA's communication network was flawed, and people weren't being listened to properly.
To be perfectly honest, the loss of the Columbia shuttle 17 years later suggests that the lessons hadn't been taken on.

The crux of it was that the desire to get the shuttle up had caused a blindness to basic scientific fact.

It's all too easy to get carried away by getting close to your goal, but it's an important point to stick to the known facts.
Once you move away from them, you are on unproven ground, with unpredictable results.

Had Christa McAuliffe not applied to be on that shuttle, she would have been safely on the ground, but she would have always known that the chance to fulfill an ambition had come her way and she had ignored it.

Ok, that's it for today.
If you want to go for something, then go for it, but in business and life, remember not ignore cold hard facts.

Have a good week.

'Til Next Time,
Health and Happiness,