Monday, July 28, 2008

Issue 478 - Yelena, Dwain and Randy

I hope everything is well where you are.

Ok, so let's dive right into this week's issue - the Yelena in the title is Yelena Isinbayeva.
I've been writing about her for years, I remember way back in 2005 when she broke the pole vault world record by being the first woman over 5 metres.

She was at the top of the world, but decided that in order to really go further, she needed to change her style completely.
She wasn't happy with the barriers she knew she was approaching and wanted to tackle them sooner rather than later.

So, she took up the coach of polevaulting legend Sergey Bubka, and spent 2-3 years learning the new style.
In the last fortnight she has taken her world record to 5.03 - just in time for the Beijing Games, and what a superb example of goal achievement and success principles.
She wasn't about to rest on her laurels, that's for sure!

The Dwain in the title is Dwain Chambers, an Olympic story from the other end of the scale. One of the best sprinters in Britain, he was caught as a drug cheat.
Unlike most others, he didnt deny it, he admitted it, and apologised, taking his 2 year ban.

The problems started after that...
According to world athletics he is now eligible to compete again, but the British Olympic Association, unlike those of most other countries, impose a lifetime Olympic ban on drug cheats.
Chambers took the case to court, using the fact the he had won the British Olympic trial to show restraint of trade.

The judge said it couldn't be restraint of trade when it concerend an amateur event only held every 4 years, so the ban stood.

The issue here is of responsibility.
The British Olympic ban has been in place for years, before Chambers started running, and it has since been voted through again by athletes.
He knew the punishment, but did the crime for his own self serving means, no doubt quite happily still reaping the rewards had he not been caught.

How is it that he can now turn round and say 'oh yes I did the crime, but I don't like the punishment?'

This kind of logic drives me up the wall! He says he can be a role model for youngsters.
Yes, he can perhaps as a reformed character, but not if he gets to compete in the Olympics.
The lesson he teaches should be of consequence, not how to dodge consequence.

Ok, the Randy in the title is Prof. Randy Pausch, who died from cancer last week.
When in late 2007 he was told he only had 3 months of good health left, he gave a lecture at his university, and it was a massive sensation across the internet.

It's about his pursuit of his dreams, and how others can do the same.
He said he mainly wrote the lecture to leave behind for his children, but it's proved a huge inspiration all round.

I had never heard of him until today.
His death has sparked renewed interest, and you can see the video by typing Randy Pausch Last Lecture in youtube.
It lasts a bit over an hour, but it's an hour of your life well spent.

It was passed on to me by a friend today, and considering the focus of this newsletter, I couldn't do anything else but pass it to you.

Watch the lecture, and then think which role model out of Yelena or Dwain would be the choice of Randy.

Ok, that's it for this week, which role model would *you* choose?

'Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you know anyone else who you think would enjoy the Great Gordino Newsletter, please pass it on to them!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Issue 477 - July Jingle Bells?

I hope Monday finds you well.

After last week's issue about the NHS in Britain, there is news this week of some big changes to our welfare system.
However since this newsletter is not just about political shenanigans, that can wait for another time, as today I want to cover a subject I meant to write about at the beginning of the month.

One of the many articles of mine lurking on the big wide inter web is called 'Quick, It's March 1st! Set Your New Year Resolutions!'

I happen to like it, as in 300 odd words it sums up pretty well why most people think that setting goals doesn't work. It's because they associate goal setting with New Year's resolutions, the kind of 'I'll give up smoking, stop picking my nose, stop being a fat arse' type thing, that we fully expect to have failed at within a week.

Of course one of the reasons they fail is precisely because we tell ourselves they will - and this is proof in its own way that goal setting works.
You tell yourself you'll fail, you believe you'll fail and you act accordingly with the result, and you may be ahead of me on this one, that you fail!

It's much better to set your goals on March 1st or any arbitrary date, because then the New Year association has gone.
Yes, New Year is a great staging post, but its too tainted to be that useful.

I wanted to write about this in the run up to July, because July 1st is the start of the 2nd half of the year, (how long before the first Christmas stuff gets in the shops...)

What a great time to assess your progress!
How has your year gone so far?
Did you have any targets that you were working towards? If so, how has it gone?
If you did exactly the same in the first half of 2008 as you did in the last half of 2007, it doesn't take a genius to work out that your life is probably exactly the same.

Did you expect life to give you something different, and if so, did you do anything about it - or, have you spent another 6 months being buffeted by circumstance, waiting for an outside influence.

As we rattle towards August, there is still *loads* of time to get things done in 2008. You can set so many things in motion, it could be this week that you make a decision which will change your life.
This is a powerful concept, yet most people dismiss it as nonsense, usually the same people that prove it every New Year with their failed resolutions.

Grabbing the reins of your life is a key pillar in my book, which I'm still proud of 5 years after I wrote it. You can see the link to 'Transform Your Life in 21 Days!' below.

Ok, that's it for this week - what Jul 21st resolutions will you be setting this year?

'Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you know anyone else who you think would enjoy the
Great Gordino Newsletter, please pass it on to them!

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email to:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Issue 476 - Ooh, Matron!

I hope everything is ok where you are.

The NHS turned 60 on the 5th July.
"The what now?" some of you may ask.

Well the NHS is the National Health Service in Britain, and it was launched 60 years ago. I watched a documentary about it, and was amazed to learn the process.

The Health minister at the time was an MP called Nye Bevan, and he hadn't been in the post long, since the Labour government was new, having deposed Churchill's government.
Bevan was from the Welsh Valleys, where the main source of work was mining, battling treacherous conditions literally hacking away at seams of coal.
His father had fallen victim to the usual symptoms, as did most of the men.

What Bevan had noticed was that in one area, the workers had got together, and put in a certain amount from every wage packet. This meant that when they or their family was ill, they could get their treatment paid for from this fund.
This was a great success in a Britain where you only got the medical treatment if you had the cash.

Bevan announced that he would introduce this idea across the whole country, and said it would be launched within 6 months!
The medical professionals at the time laughed out loud, pointing out that it could never be done, and the doctors said they wouldnt have anything to do with it.

They had their private practices, so were worried about seeing their investments and positions slip away, that they would be 'medical civil servants'.
The British Medical Association was a powerful political lobby, and they voted overwhelmingly to oppose the scheme.

Despite huge support from the public who sensed a wind of change in the hard post war years, this digging in by the doctors put the whole project in trouble, and Bevan's career with it.

What he did them was a political masterstroke, he went to the chief of the consultants, who were top of medical tree. Even more amazing the chief was Winston Churchill's own personal doctor, and Churchill and Bevan pretty much hated each other.

Bevan persuaded the consultant chief, but he had the problem of standing for re-election himself, so that vote turned into an effective vote on the NHS. The chief retained his position by 5 votes, and it could be said that those 5 consultants saved the NHS from never happening.

The BMA simply dug their heels in further, prompting another political master stroke by Bevan. He began a publicity campaign as if nothing was going to stop him, and began getting the public to sign up to the scheme, putting a deadline incentive for them to do so.
This was pivotal, as in a few short weeks, most of the population had signed up.

The doctors knew that if they didnt get on board themselves, they would be left behind by those that had got on board earlier, and the BMA's resistance crumbled away.

The service launched on 5th July 1948, a truly remarkable achievement.
It had been thought that as illnesses were treated, the nation's health would get better, and the drain on public funds would be reduced to no more than maintenance levels.

This has never been the case in 60 years, with demand for treatment, facilities and research always outstripping what the Treasury is willing to give.

Some people say the NHS is Britain's finest hour, free health care for all at point of need, a truly social structure.
Others argue it has been our downfall as ever more people flock to Britain from abroad, just to tap into our benefit system and get easy health care.

These so-called 'health tourists' are not the only ones draining the system - the biggest problem comes from the unemployed here in Britain - people who have never worked a day in their life, yet expect and demand to get free health service. They don't appreciate the concept of paying into the pool to get the benefit, and the result is a massive drain on the rest of the workers.

That isn't the model that Bevan saw in the Welsh Valleys all those years ago, where people did hard, hard work.
However the NHS is viewed, it's a remarkable example of what can be acheived in amazing time scales, in this case 6 months!

Ok, that's it for this week, I'm off to see if I can get a bed bath somewhere...

'Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you know anyone else who you think would enjoy the Great Gordino Newsletter, please pass it on to them!

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Issue 475 - New Balls Please!

I hope Wednesday finds you well.
I'm writing this on Wednesday instead of Monday because I have been flat out busy, and try as I might to squeeze in the writing, it didn't get done.

I could try the excuse of 'the dog ate it', but even in the murky realms of my mind that would be pushing it -
Firstly no dog.
Secondly I don't know many dogs that eat laptops.

This week gave lots to write about - there's the 60 year anniversary of the NHS, and I also turned 42.
Someone said they hoped I enjoyed my next journey around the sun.
That was either a poetic way of putting it, that I hadn't heard before, or it was saying I should be fired off in a rocket, one of the two!

Then there was Wimbledon, and as the cries of 'new balls please!' indicate a British summer like no other phrase, that's the subject for today.

It's a great one for this newsletter as it emcompasses goal setting, hard work over a period of years with no guarantee of success, and the mental toughness needed.
Tennis is a peculiar sport.
It's still viewed in this country with a distinct middle class and upwards background, unlike most other countries around the world.

It's a gladiatorial sport - it's 2 individuals against each other, with no time limit.
The scoring system means that anyone can be match point down and come back to win.
Those 2 elements together mean that you have to beat your opponent, you can't play to run out time if you are ahead, you always have to be pressing on.

I've written before about Maria Sharapova, about the Williams sisters, and Billy Jean King.
This year threw up some good stories.

There was a Chinese woman semi finalist for the first time, a direct result of the Olympics going to China.
They threw masssive amounts of money at the game to produce world class players, and it has paid off.

Ana Ivanovic went out early in the competition, and she said the pressure of recently getting to World Ranked Number 1 and winning in France had got too much for her.

Someone who had not so much pressure but a huge drive was Rafael Nadal. Having won the French 4 times in a row, he was trying to do what no-one had done since Bjorn Borg back in 1980 - win both the French and Wimbledon in the same season.
He had reached the Wimbledon final 2 years running, lost to Roger Federer in 4 sets in 2006, lost to Federer in 5 sets in 2007, and found himself 2 sets up in the final against Federer this year.

Federer dug into his 5 time champion well of spirit, mental toughness taken for granted, and fought back via that scoring system to take the game into a final set.
No tiebreaks in the final set, the match goes on and on like 2 boxers punching away, and eventually it was Nadal that came out on top.

A lot of finals can be anticlimatic, but this one was a cracker, the longest ever, and finishing in near darkness.

Pick any one of these Wimbledon stories and see how they apply to your life.
Do you set goals for yourself?
Do you work your socks off, for years, in pursuit of that goal?
Are you able to take knock backs and failures, coming back for more?

I don't the answers to those questions in how they relate to you, but you need to make sure that you do!

Ok, that's it for today, I'm off to cry 'new balls please!' from various rooftops...

'Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you know anyone else who you think would enjoy the Great Gordino Newsletter, please pass it on to them!

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