Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Creating Agreements

Freedom isn't the absence of rules. The absence of boundaries and constraints can end up being a constraint. It can stop you building. Rules are just agreements. Agreements that allow you to relax into something because you understand the game being played. One of the games we play is hiding our struggles. I think this is partly because we don't agree on rules for how to deal with struggles being shared. If someone shares their struggles, it is hard not to jump in with advice. In my experience, that is normally the last thing people want. Particularly if that advice comes with an obligation to be followed (don't ask for my feedback if you don't listen to it). I think we would benefit from more spaces where people are simply able to share their struggles. No advice requested. No response necessary. No pity. Just people dealing with the stuff that we need to deal with. Together.

No Response Required

Monday, April 22, 2019


Yoga is, for me, a form of self-hypnosis. Instead of prejudging where the boundaries are, I use it to learn to relax into what is possible. This doesn't come naturally to me. I am not a "surrender" type of guy. I am a step-up, all-in, do-what-it-takes fighter.  I have had to learn, and am still learning to relax. There is nothing that will stop someone who struggles to relax, like telling them to relax. It is a skill you have to learn. Not by a snap of the fingers, but through a gradual process of permission, trust, and practice.

Yoga Teacher Training
Learning to Relax

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Mrs & Mr John

Marriage is a joint commitment to share life. It is a public statement of intent to our communities that we want to build our home and family. It is a promise to hold a space of kindness and respect for each other. To gradually, and curiously, gain a deep understanding of our stories, and values, as they mingle to create a strong foundation. Marriage is a practice. Something we learn through and from. It will challenge and stretch us, but also provide a place of retreat, reflection, and reinvigoration. Marriage is a second perspective that adds depth and meaning, through trust and love.

Gemma John & Trevor John

Friday, April 05, 2019

Stock Market

The Stock Market democratizes business. A stock is a slice of ownership of a larger business, along with voting rights. Corporate Governance structures are put in place which include regular reporting to shareholders, and annual meetings at which boards are elected. Corporate Governance and Regulatory oversight constantly evolve, with Governments trying to prevent excessive monopolies in any industry. Public Equity provides the ability for normal people to invest in companies that serve them. It also means wealthy people no longer hoard wealth in stuffy vaults. Capital grows only if it is put to work. Public Equity provides transparency about how that work is being done. Like countries, churches, political parties and other groups of people… often we discover that work isn’t being done in the interest of all stakeholders. The Stock Market provides a mechanism for the truth to emerge. A way for us to hold decision makers to account.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Risky Business

You can’t make risk disappear. You can only manage it. There is no simple trade-off between risk and return. The reality of return-free risk spoils the party. Risk can’t be butchered into a single number and placed on a scale like a piece of raw meat. It is fuzzy and tricky. You can avoid, accept, or reduce the risk yourself. Or transfer it if you can’t manage it. You can invest in your ability to deal with risk. By building endurance, you ensure you have the capacity to keep going for the long term. By building resilience, you ensure you can handle (or even thrive because of) the bumps and dips in the road. Risk taking isn’t what is ultimately rewarded. Creativity is. Build the endurance and resilience you need to be creative.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019


A significant obstacle to us finding each other in public debates is we aren't coming from the same base. The words we use don't mean the same thing. We haven't read the same books. We haven't had the same conversations. We haven't had the same experiences. Then people come out guns blazing without the vaguest attempt at first establishing a baseline. I believe that understanding builds. You can't jump straight to the conclusion unless you just copy and paste your opinions from someone else. Unless your opinions are just blindly those of your side. There is only one side. Let's do the work. That starts with questions.

Free to Run

“What do you want to be?” makes the cart the boss of the horse. In a dynamic world, we have moved beyond job defined identities. All businesses do the same thing. They solve problems. To make money, you need to be able to clearly articulate a problem that needs solving. Then you need someone who values that problem being solved more than the price you offer to solve it for. The power of Capitalism lies in the ability of Capital to snap the hand-to-mouth connection that dominates our labour. Not everything is a problem that needs solving. Capital can release us to focus on things that are hard to articulate. That don’t need articulation. Capital can empower our labour, and set the horse free.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The Right Approach

I am part of a group of men that meets twice a month to support and challenge each other. I don't have the colleagues a 9-5 job provides, and so this is similar to that.... but without the artificial work/life/play divide. We all think very differently, and there is always the risk that we end up in a talk shop where we are trying to sell our world view. We have recently overcome this by creating "cards" for what exactly it is we are trying to achieve in the discussion. 

I get the sense that that may be what is missing from the general noise of conversation that we see in politics and social media. We aren't sure, in advance, what it is we are trying to achieve. We aren't sure, in advance, what the conflict resolution process is. We end up throwing around the word Democracy like it has meaning that is agreed upon. "The People". All sorts of ideas when it doesn't even seem like we are playing the same game.

One example is feedback. There is a difference between just needing to say something aloud, and actually wanting someone to offer a solution. Sometimes articulating something to a sympathetic ear is all I want. I feel like I am equipped to deal with the challenges. I just want to scream. Or cry. I whine. I don't want someone to then "come to my rescue" with advice that they then expect me to carry out. We call this the "context card". The "advice card" is different. If I actually want to know what the others would do in the situation I am facing. If I feel there is something I am missing. The "challenge card", gives people free rain to throw in whatever judgements or projections they have.

The "UK Parliament" card is sometimes useful in Democracy. A combative Opposition and a firepit of people divided into teams. Sometimes it is exactly the opposite of what is useful. Sometimes marches are useful. Petitions. Sometimes it is useful to have a directly elected representative who can be fired representing a constituency. Sometimes Proportional Representation is useful to ensure minorities have a voice. To ensure that everyone feels their vote counts so they don't have to strategically bet on things that they don't want. Sometimes you need an expert. Like if you are having an operation. Sometimes you just need the crowd to cheer or boo. Like if you are at a Comedy Club.

The biggest lesson for me from the Brexit mess is how easy it is to be against something. Almost no one is taking responsibility. The other side is being pointed at and bad mouthed. The hard work of listening to everyone, and finding something that works is being kicked down the road.

Sometimes we have to step back from the game, and decide if the game we are playing even has any chance of delivering what it is any of us want.

Are the rules working?