Deep Thoughts

Muhammad Ali & the power of self belief


He who is not courageous enough to take risks, will accomplish nothing in life

People will say many things about Ali, but one thing that cannot be denied is his profound influence upon our society and staying true to himself. He was never just an athlete, he transcended his sporting background and much like Bruce Lee before him, he flowed out into many parts of our culture.

In the mountains of amazing things that Ali had done, the one thing that I learnt from him and still resonates with me to this day and will do for the rest of my life is the art of self-belief.

If you want to achieve it, you got to believe it

It always seemed that Ali had no fear, he was cocky, he was brash and was a master if not a grandmaster in mental warfare and all of this stemmed from his unwavering self-belief. Not for a second, would he consider that he was beatable, he never worried about what his opponent was doing and only focused on what he had to do to get the job done.

He’s a proven example that believing in yourself can take you to amazing heights and hit the potential you know you have, despite what the critics say. Even recently there has been another great example of self-believe from the sporting arena, with another prizefighter becoming a world champion after 10 years grinding. Those who follow the UFC, will know I refer to the newly crowned middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who despite all the detractors and fighting at only 2 weeks notice, pulled out the biggest win and one of the most amazing upsets in the sports history. When interviewed after the fight and asked what kept him going after 10yrs, he responded “I always believed, I always knew I would be a world champion”.

If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it

You can call this the Ali effect, but the amazing powers of ones mentality in the pursuit of accomplishing their dreams cannot be denied. Ali had this in abundance and has left the world with many lessons on how to be great, but also to do it your way.

If you think about it, he was a philosopher without even knowing it, his quotes are infamous and like Bruce Lee’s famous excepts they will be used to inspire for generations to come.

A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted wasted 30 years of his life

Although the world has lost a great character and innovator, we should reflect on what he taught us and make sure we use those learnings to make our own lives amazing. He will always be the greatest and he showed us all, how great we can be too.

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Deep Thoughts

Mental Health, The Workplace & Ending The Stigma

(NOTE — this article was originally published on my LinkedIn account in Feb 2016)

As the first month of the year has now passed, a large portion of those whom set new year’s resolutions to improve their physical health (as they do every year) have now all but returned to their prior hibernation state on the sofa to watch copious amounts of TV.

Now every year, we have the same old ritual of wanting to make vast immediate (and mostly impossible) improvements with our physical health and splashing out on that expensive gym membership or whatever popular get skinny diet programme is on the market, but we always seem to neglect another important aspect of our health — our mental wellbeing.

Many people reading this, will no doubt be professionals working in some sort of office environment for 40hrs + a week and surrounded by the same individuals everyday. Most offices are full of stressed, anxious and sadly even some people who are experiencing the difficulties of depression, so why is it that we aren’t talking about mental health like we do with physical health?. Just because you can’t see something in front of you, doesn’t mean that it’s not happening and more of us need to take stock of not only our own mental wellbeing, but also the wellbeing of those around us.

In the UK alone, it’s projected that 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems — that’s an astounding number. It’s also been found that 1 in 6 employees in any organisation are currently going through their own mental health battle right now. As a society we need to do more to raise the awareness of just how important mental health is and also remove the stigma/discrimination that is attached to those who open up about their own struggles with mental health.

The figures below will demonstrate just how common mental health problems are amongst those in the UK, these figures have a particular focus on the workplace to convey what’s happening around us.

  • ​Mental health illness is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK​
  • 1 in 6 workers is dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress.​
  • More than one in five (21%) call in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them​
  • 1 in 10 people have resigned a job due to stress, 1 in 4 have thought about it.​
  • 19% of staff feel they can’t speak to managers about stress at work​

I encourage everyone reading this, to really think about your own mental wellbeing and those of the people around you. Mental health problems are common and nothing to be ashamed of, many people are afraid to admit they are struggling, but we are all human and it’s ok to struggle. I implore you to create a mentally healthy environment in your office, speak to your fellow colleagues, ask how they are? and let’s destroy the stigma attached to mental health problems.

Their are some great organisations, doing superb work to raise not only awareness of mental health problems, but also support anyone through their troubles — you can find more information via the links below.

Deep Thoughts

What Prince and Bowie taught me about personal branding

So the sad news was released earlier last week, that 2016 has taken yet another creative visionary from us. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that I’m referring to the legendary Prince.

Daily Thoughts

Conor McGregor – Mindset

For frequent followers of this blog, you will know that I’m a big combat sports fan and in particular a fan of the UFC. The athlete that shines the brightest within this promotion and the sport overall , is none other than the Irish phenomenon – Conor McGregor.

Deep Thoughts

How to learn a new language in 8 weeks

The realisation of my own language inabilities struck me again whilst I was sitting in yet another meeting conversing via Skype with my international counterparts. My co-worker based in Barcelona was speaking fluent English (better than me in some cases) and translating to his colleague beside him in super fast Spanish during our meeting, I was already envious of his talents at this point and even more so when I found out he was Italian, so he had no less than 3 languages in his toolkit. It’s times like this I feel completely inferior and know I’m not embracing the full human experience by limiting my ability to converse in only one language.