I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Deep Prayer > Deep Work ›

There’s been a lot of talk on the inter­net circles I fol­low about focus and deep work. They’re thought pro­vok­ing and often res­on­ate with me, but there’s one thing I’ve been strug­gling to recon­cile in it all. The focus of all these dis­cus­sions is usu­ally aimed at put­ting your indi­vidu­al desires first, which does­n’t really jive with my Chris­ti­an beliefs.
Chris Bowl­er, in his excel­lently con­sidered art­icle Deep Pray­er > Deep Work, seems to demon­strate I’m not alone. In doing so he seems to cap­ture exactly how this kind of think­ing should be influ­en­cing my approach to my faith.

But over and over, I come back to the fact that while Newport’s concept of increas­ing our abil­ity to focus is cru­cial to a suc­cess­ful career, it’s even more cru­cial to a suc­cess­ful Chris­ti­an life. One that is lived attuned to the Spir­it. One that is care­fully watch­ing to see where God is work­ing, then ready and will­ing to join him in it. 

My Movember Page

So tomor­row is the first day of Novem­ber or Movem­ber as it’s come to be known. It might not be as fash­ion­able as it used to be but I’ve always been a fan of it, any­thing that raises the aware­ness of mens health. This year I noticed they also do work towards rais­ing the aware­ness of men­tal health in men. As someone who has been affected by men­tal ill­ness (depres­sion spe­cific­ally) I decided this year was the year I would take part.
If men­tal ill­ness has affected you or someone you know please do con­sider spon­sor­ing my mous­tache!

The Dedication Olympics

As I sit writ­ing this the BBC are show­ing their roundup video of the Rio Olympics. Nor­mally when it comes to the Olympics I’m pretty glued to it for the few weeks that it runs. This year, maybe due to the time dif­fer­ence, it took a week or so for me to get in to it.
It was only when the track cyc­ling came on and Team GB star­ted to win medals that I star­ted to watch. The suc­cess of the Brit­ish team on this field is mind-blow­ing, every four years the team hits form per­fectly and brings home gold medal after gold medal. Sim­il­arly, the suc­cess of the Brown­lee broth­ers in the Triath­lon, so con­sist­ent year after year res­ult­ing this year in the first triath­lete to retain the gold medal. Then there’s Andy Mur­ray, only weeks after win­ning Wimble­don, retain­ing his gold medal. Not to men­tion the many oth­er ath­letes who’ve won medals for Team GB, help­ing us as a nation to fin­ish second in the medal table.
Most years by the end of the games I’m inspired. I want to try a new sport, or return to an old one I used to play. This year is a bit dif­fer­ent. I’ve not been inspired to go and do sport, but instead by the ded­ic­a­tion that unites these ath­letes. Each and every one of them has a level of ded­ic­a­tion that blows me away. They are able to apply them­selves for every single day between olympic cycles. For four years they are able to focus their energy on one thing so that they can give them­selves the best pos­sible shot to win that gold medal.
Dur­ing one of the events one of the com­ment­at­ors picked up on this. I don’t think it was what he meant, but the way it came across as he spoke of it was that these ath­letes seem to have a gift none of the rest of the world does. Not in terms of their sport­ing prowess, but in their abil­ity to apply them­selves and ded­ic­ate them­selves to their chosen dis­cip­line. It’s an easy mind­set to fall into, but it’s also a dan­ger­ous one.
Dis­cip­line or ded­ic­a­tion is not a thing that we just have, it’s some­thing we can learn. Each and every­one of us can learn dis­cip­line and self con­trol in order to focus on some­thing. In order to grow and devel­op into a great writer it takes ded­ic­a­tion and dis­cip­line to turn up and write each day. For the artist it takes hours of paint­ing, the musi­cian hours of play­ing their instru­ment. Ded­ic­a­tion is some­thing we can grow in and get bet­ter at. The more we ded­ic­ate ourselves to do some­thing, the more likely we are to do it. For the olympic ath­lete, turn­ing up to train­ing on a wet Monday morn­ing in Novem­ber makes them more likely to turn up for train­ing on a wet Novem­ber Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thursday. Like­wise, writ­ing a post for this blog on a Sunday makes me more likely to want to write one for tomor­row. I don’t want to break the chain or waste the time I spent the day before.
As many people are want to say on the inter­net at the moment, the key to everything is show­ing up every­day. The key to win­ning a gold medal is show­ing up every­day with an unre­lent­ing ded­ic­a­tion to your sport. The key to grow­ing in ded­ic­a­tion to our chosen dis­cip­line is the same.

Finding Your Bliss Station ›

There’s so much stuff on the inter­net that it seems like an impossib­il­ity that you would read some­thing at exactly the time you need to read it. Aus­tin Kle­on’s recent art­icle about find­ing your bliss sta­tion has man­aged to achieve just that.
Around a year ago I was just fin­ish­ing up a course of coun­selling aimed at help­ing me under­stand the depres­sion I was dia­gnosed with in Janu­ary 2015. One of the things I learnt about myself was my need to do cre­at­ive things for myself and how over the year pri­or to my dia­gnos­is I had stopped doing that. This even­ing as I read Aus­tin’s art­icle it hit home a little fur­ther, I might’ve lost my cave a little bit.
This week has been a tough one, the first tough week for a while which is some­thing I know hap­pens to every­one now and again. A giveaway sign, which I’ve real­ised as I write this, is the recur­rence of the word intro­vert in a lot of my snippets/tweets. I’ve been crav­ing time on my own, and that usu­ally hap­pens when I’m start­ing to feel a bit unbal­anced in life. It’s a little clue that I might’ve lost my bliss sta­tion, or cave as I’ve referred to it in the past.

What’s clear is that it’s health­i­est if we make a daily appoint­ment to dis­con­nect from the world so that we can con­nect with ourselves. 

In coun­sel­lor speak this is called self care. We need to take time out to take care of ourselves, to stop ourselves being bom­barded by the world around us. To find a place that frees us from the stresses of work, from run­ning a busi­ness and work­ing for someone else at the same time. From being around people all day, to hav­ing a few moments to our ourselves each and every­day. To take a little bit of time to do some­thing we want to do just because we enjoy it and it helps us feel free.
By Sunday even­ing I plan to have reclaimed my cave from the dump­ing ground it’s become, and in the spir­it of mak­ing bet­ter use of my cal­en­dar I plan to sched­ule in a time every­day for me to be in it just because I want to cre­ate some stuff for myself.

Depression Days

Some­times a day hits you when things that are nor­mally easy to do become the hard­est things. I mean simple things like get­ting out of bed, going down­stairs and mak­ing a cof­fee. That’s the nature of depression.
When it hap­pens you have to find ways of get­ting through because giv­ing in to it can be crip­pling. Giv­ing in can be the start of a down­ward spir­al, a spir­al you don’t want to be in and that can take a long time to get out of. That’s a place you don’t want to go. Instead you have to find a way to push through, to stop the down from tak­ing over. What that looks like is the tricky part, but for every­one there is way of doing it.

Permission

At the start of last week I set myself the chal­lenge to blog every­day between then and the end of the year. Yes­ter­day I did­n’t man­age to post to this site, in some people’s eyes I’ve failed the chal­lenge already. Maybe I have, but it’s not going to stop me car­ry­ing on.
These types of chal­lenges are great to do, they add an extra bit of impetus to get going on some­thing you want to do. A little bit of healthy com­pet­i­tion goes a long way. But yes­ter­day life happened, two friends got mar­ried and the day was rightly taken up cel­eb­rat­ing that. There simply was­n’t time in the day to sit down and write a post for this site, it was an excep­tion to the norm and that’s ok. I real­ised this early on and gave myself per­mis­sion to have a day off.
A few years ago had I set myself this chal­lenge I would’ve let it defeat me. The chain would’ve been broken and I would’ve let the day off turn into two, three or four days, before giv­ing it one last effort and then stop­ping it. Over the last year and a half I’ve learnt that some­times it’s ok to give myself per­mis­sion to say, it’s just not going to hap­pen today. As long as it does­n’t turn into a reg­u­lar occur­rence that’s per­fectly OK, I just pick up where I left off the next day.
It’s been an import­ant les­son for me to learn, per­fect is unat­tain­able and being some­what of a per­fec­tion­ist it’s a dif­fi­cult thing to accept. Now in the con­text of this chal­lenge, had I real­ised earli­er in the week when I star­ted it, I’d have writ­ten an extra post in the week so I had one in the bag and did­n’t break the chain. In the con­text of real every­day life, it’s a far more import­ant les­son to learn. I’ve had to learn how to give myself per­mis­sion to say this is ok, this is good enough and I’m ok with put­ting it out there.

Proven ›

A timely art­icle by Patrick Rhone on his choice to use only things that are proven. Con­sid­er­ing the changes which Twit­ter are con­sid­er­ing to the timeline, maybe it’s time to search for a more proven meth­od of micro posting…

Holocaust Rememberence Day

Today marks the 71st anniversary of the lib­er­a­tion of Aus­chwitz-Birkenau, a place which is known world wide for the atro­cit­ies that our Jew­ish broth­ers and sis­ters faced dur­ing the Second World War. Atro­cit­ies that I did­n’t know the depth of fully until I vis­ited Yad Vashem in Jer­u­s­alem on my first vis­it to Israel a few years ago. Read­ing through the account of the holo­caust in that place made me feel phys­ic­ally sick, I knew from my his­tory les­sons at school that it was a massive oper­a­tion but I had no clue of the depth of it. No clue of how far it went in terms of the dehu­man­ising treat­ment the Jews had to endure.
Sadly in today’s soci­ety we are again see­ing the rise of anti-semit­ism. It takes dif­fer­ent forms, wheth­er it’s through the BDS move­ment or jihadi attacks in both Israel and Europe, this is what they are and to call them any­thing else for­gets the begin­nings of moments in his­tory like the holocaust.
Today is a day we must remem­ber, espe­cially in the cur­rent cul­tur­al cli­mate, and stand side by side with our Jew­ish broth­ers and sis­ters. As a child of Christ I have an even great­er respons­ib­il­ity to stand with Israel and show them the love their Mes­si­ah has for them.

Archives

Back in Octo­ber of 2014 I wiped this blog and star­ted all over again in an attempt at a fresh start and the begin­ning of more reg­u­lar post­ing. The lack of bag­gage was sup­posed to be the cata­lyst to help me post, to a degree it has worked and I’ve been post­ing here much more reg­u­larly since the turn of the year. The Week in Links has helped, and is approach­ing it’s six month anniversary.
On Monday even­ing I read a post by Paul Stam­a­tiou about his years of blog­ging. I was struck by a par­tic­u­lar sen­tence half way through:

The era of the per­son­al web­site is over. It’s now just a per­son­al land­ing page with a photo, bio and link to a Twit­ter profile.

I under­stand exactly where he is com­ing from, but I also dis­agree, to a cer­tain extent. It’s true a lot of web­sites have dis­ap­peared over the last few years, but over the last few months I’ve seen a resur­gence in the per­son­al site/blog. Some­thing that I want to be a part of. It got me think­ing about my own per­son­al site, and the changes it’s been through over the last dec­ade. I’ve nev­er binned it to replace it with a per­son­al site, but I did recently delete all my posts and before that I had anoth­er blog that has gone the way of the Dodo.
It struck me how wrong that is. I put a lot of time and effort into writ­ing those posts, and for them to be erased is just plain wrong. For­tu­nately I man­aged to loc­ate a backup of this site from just before I wiped it, and I’ve now added all the posts back into the archive. There’s still a bit of tidy­ing up to do but for the most part the archives now extend all the way back to Janu­ary 2011. I’m also hop­ing to be able to loc­ate an old backup of my very first blog, the one that exis­ted pri­or to this one. I’ve been writ­ing on the inter­net for nearly a dec­ade now, it should be pre­served and main­tained in some form or anoth­er not con­signed to oblivion.
All of this to say, I’ve added the archives back to this place. If you’re inter­ested and have the time, why not have a dig through and see what you can find.

Be Yourself ›

I can’t remem­ber how I came across the art­icle Be Your­self by Tim Nahum­ck but I instanty saved it. I’ve read twice since then. It res­on­ated with me, in fact the tweets by Aaron Mahnke which triggered this art­icle res­on­ated with me. But most of all, this quote is what I con­nec­ted with the most. Nev­er have I been more aware of the true mean­ing of this quote than in the last six months.

I think for most, being your­self is one of the hard­est things to do as a human. It takes a lot to get out of your own way, remove the intern­al bar­ri­ers, and open up your world to others.