Is your attitude as positive as Martin’s?

Life is of what happens to you... copy

I received an email the other day, that really lifted my spirits.

I admit, initially on reading it, my ego got a boost as the sender, Martin, was thanking me for writing such positive thinking, motivational posts.

As I re-read the email it struck me that there’s no better example of positive thinking than Martin’s story.

It’s easy to pretend to be a positive thinker when everything is going well but the true test of anyones strength and resolve is their attitude in the face of real adversity.

Martin has gone through some rough times but I guarantee these times will not only get better but become better than he’s ever experienced.

How do I know?

Because he has the attitude of a winner.


Muhammed Ali

Sometimes, in life, when we come face to face with an unexpected challenge, at the time, it can seem like an insurmountable mountain which will kill us before we conquer it but in hindsight it becomes no more than a speed bump that temporarily damaged our suspension.

Winners, learn from these experiences and are therefore more prepared for future bumps in the road.

Successful people are not successful despite challenges along the way but because of them.

This is Martin’s email:

Hi Justin,

I just wanted to thank you for the posts on your blog.

I’m a 42 year old guy who last year had to sell his house to finance the closure of one of his businesses. I’m now living (with my fiancée & 8 year old son) back at my parents house.

Quite a comedown from our own 5 bedder.

We owned a children’s nursery & not only did we lose the business, my fiancée lost her job as manager. Because I have another business we chose not to go into bankruptcy – but boy, it sometimes would have been much easier. To pay off all the employees, HMRC & all other people, it cost us upwards of 50k (this is after the 200 we sank in over the last 3 years).

The nursery was brilliant, got the highest marks in all inspections – yet the lack of government funding for our pre-school department meant it grew increasingly less viable as a business.

I spent some time feeling very down after we chose to close in October last year, but reading your posts have really helped me in a positive way after reading them via LinkedIn. I’m not usually prone to writing these kind of emails – but I felt urged to let you know that you have have a definite effect on my outlook and approach to the future.

Luckily my other company has been trading for 11 years & is still here after the horrible recession years – even when we suffer knock-backs I tend to look at your latest post & it usually spurs me on again.

I don’t subscribe to usual self-help mumbo jumbo, but your straight talking style is to be applauded & I just wanted you to know that thanks to you I am most definitely more happy than I would have been after the last 12 months!

We’ve got out heads up & hopefully within the next 18 months we will have enough money to get a new house, and we will have come out of the situation wiser, stronger & happier!!

Thanks a million & keep up the good work.

Kind regards,


winners never quit


How to win from a mistake


Jack Cinema Screen

The other week I was asked to host a cinema showing, of a the new Muppet’s film, for the radio radio station I work for, JACK fm.

Before the film starts I, basically, stand at the front with a mic, play a few games with the audience and throw out some prizes.

This time we were about to do the same and I was really looking forward to the game we were about to play.

Pete in the office had created an animated little graphic, to go on the big screen. It was a film clapper board that generated a seat number when the clapper shut.

The person sitting in this seat would win a prize.


Jack Cinema Screen clapper

Sounds good yeah?

There was only one snag, five minutes before we started, the game, my boss said to me, “There’s been a clerical error and only 150 people will be showing up rather than 300”.

I said, “ok” thinking nothing of it then I realised something.

What if the clapper board generated a seat number nobody was sitting in?

This was very likely to happen, as one half of the cinema was empty. So potentially 5 of the 10 prizes, we had to give away, would go to nobody.

We had neither the time nor resources to change the seat numbers on the animated graphic, as the audience started taking their seats.

All of a sudden this excellent little game, we’d come up with, was quickly turning into a damp squib. It would be a bigger flop than… well whatever the biggest film flop you can think of is.

My boss said, “Hmmmm”

So I thought for a while and said, “How about we say, “If the number generated is an empty seat, then the first to sit in that seat, wins the prize”?

“Yeah good idea”


never a failure always a lesson

It turns out, seeing children and adults alike frantically scurrying around in a semi lit cinema, desperately trying to find the empty winning seats, was the best part of the game!

You think about it.

If the cinema had been full, all people would’ve had to have done was raise their hand to claim their prize.

With the cinema half empty, most of the audience would have to get up and leg it to the row and seat they thought was the winning one. It provided some excellent comedy value with people falling over each other and jumping rows of seats.

In fact, I liked it so much I’ve suggested that we do the same next time, that is, slightly under book the audience and select winning seats located at the extremes of the cinema.

Thank goodness for the clerical error, if it wasn’t for the empty seats we wouldn’t have had half the fun, or a better plan for next time.


Screenshot 2014-04-24 15.08.18


How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.


How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.

My son Monty has just celebrated his first birthday.

A few weeks previous to this, I got a call in work from, an excited, Meagan, “Monty just walked!”

“What?! Oh nooo – I wanted to see that! Can you stop him from walking again, before I get home?”

“How do I do that?”

“I don’t know… pin him down?”

I got home and he walked again, as you can see from the video below.



I’ve re-watched that video over 20 times and after getting over the initial smiling phase, there’s one thing I noticed, Monty’s expression.

For the first 3 steps, he’s absolutely thrilled with what he’s doing. Then as soon as he realises he’s doing something he’s never really done before, his exhilaration gives way to doubt, tinged with fear.

That fear is the fear of the unknown.

This is unchartered territory for him. He’s not sure he can actually walk. He’s not done it before, so he doesn’t believe he can.


How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.

How is it possible to achieve something, if you don’t believe you can?

This leads to a crisis of confidence, in his ability to walk any further and he promptly sits down.

The thing is, I know he can and will walk, as does Meagan and Fred who are watching him.

There’s no stronger argument than evolution.

In fact he will, in his lifetime, walk the equivalent of twice round the world. The important point here is, he doesn’t believe he can walk, beyond the few steps he’s taken.

This is a great analogy for life.

We are all capable of doing a lot more than we realise. The only reason why we think we can’t do it, is because we haven’t done it, yet.

The only, essential, ingredient missing is belief.

We can only achieve it, if we believe it.


How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.

To download a free copy of my Ebook, 50 Motivational Quotes: To inspire you to think more positively click here.




A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier


A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier


Last week I spent several days in a dark mood. I lacked, inspiration motivation and to a certain extent, hope.

I didn’t care about anything. I was truly apathetic.

The only emotion I felt I could honestly relate to and express was anger. Of course I held it inside for the most part but it was still there.


A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier


On day three of my seemingly never ending mood, as I cycled into work, I had one thought that helped relieve my depression.

It’s a simple mind trick that helped me feel happier.

It came to me as I thought about the recent passing of Meagan’s nan.

Her last few weeks were spent, getting slowly weaker in a hospital bed. When I last saw her, via Facetime, it took all her strength to say, “Hello”.

Apparently during the last few days she just wanted to go. She’d had enough.

For some reason, I imagined myself in my advanced years, in a similar predicament. Then I imagined being like that and looking back on my life as it is, right now.

With this perspective, I considered what I’d have said to myself, if I could have spoken to myself right now.

This is what I would say:

“You’ve got a lovely little family, you’re all healthy, you’ve got a decent job and you’ve got friends. You have nothing to worry about. Learn to enjoy it right now whilst you can because it won’t last forever”


A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier


My problem was overly focusing on issues that aren’t really that important. They may seem important to me in the short term but they’re not really that important in the grander scheme of things.

I find it so easy to let small issues, which aren’t going as well as I’d like, get the better of me in the moment. So much so that I forget a more realistic and relevant perspective exists.

All I was experiencing was the trough of one wave. There are many more to come, in fact there’s an ocean full of them.

So the mind trick that helped me feel happier and I hope works for you is this:

Think like an old person.

Be the old you, with a few days left on the planet and look at your position right now where you are today and assess what your problems really are.

I guarantee they won’t seem as big as they seemed.

It also turns out that what we believe makes us happier, changes as we get older. I just read this great article, “What Makes Older People Happy by Judith Graham”.

This is an extract:

“When we’re young and believe we have a long future ahead, we prefer extraordinary experiences outside the realm of our day-to-day routines.

But when we’re older and believe that our time is limited, we put more value on ordinary experiences, the stuff of which our daily lives are made”.

Which perspective is more sustainable and essentially more wise?


A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier



How to live a happy life by Sam Berns.

Sam Berns passed away on Friday.

Sam was 17 and his death was a result of complications from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, commonly known as progeria.

It’s a condition that affects only around 350 children in the world.

He had amazing philosophy on life.

When asked in an interview, “What’s the most important thing people should know about you?”

Sam replied, “That I have a very happy life”

Another great quote from Sam, in the video is, “Be ok with ultimately what you can’t do because there’s so much you CAN do”.

Sam’s life, in years, may have been limited but his inspiration is limitless.



How to live a happy life by Sam Berns



I’d like to apologise to Meagan.

I lost my temper, really badly, recently and we argued.

Looking back on it now, I realise the source of this outburst was anxiety, about an upcoming event, amplified by tiredness.

This is why I’m going to start three morning affirmations and this is going to be one of them:

Treat life as an experiment.



If I can burn this into my subconscious mind, then I believe I will have the ability to observe and analyse my emotions, rather react to them, which stresses me out.

I know this to be true.

Take this example.

When a scientist goes into the laboratory to carry out an experiment, they are not offended or upset by unexpected outcomes.

It’s no reflection on their ability as a scientist.

They’re just results, they’re not right or wrong, good or bad, they’re just results.

Objectively analysing these results allows them to adjust their experiment accordingly, in order to get closer to their desired output.


What would happen if you treated life like this?

For example, let’s take two different people’s reaction, to the same scenario.

Gary and Charlotte, go for a job interview.

Gary is desperate for the job and has no idea what he’ll do, if he doesn’t get it.

Charlotte, treats the interview as an experiment, to see if her method will be successful or not.

Neither of them get the job.

Gary goes home, feeling personally rejected, with low self esteem blaming himself (and or the interviewers) for the failure. He’ll almost certainly, not feel motivated or confident about tackling another job interview.

Charlotte, is intrigued why her experiment didn’t work and so seeks to analyse her results by questioning the interviewer.

The interviewer gives her valuable feedback, which she’s confident she’ll be able to incorporate, into her experiment, for her next interview.



At the next interview Gary does exactly the same as he did in the first interview and fails to get the job again.

Charlotte doesn’t go for a second interview. The interviewer was so impressed with her willingness to learn, they changed their mind and offered her the job.

Ok I made that bit up (to suit my experiment) BUT if you shoot for a target and miss then don’t adjust your angle, the next time you shoot, you’ll miss again.

If we rewire our brains to think of “failures” or “setbacks” as opportunities to learn, then we keep moving forward.

By treating life as an experiment we objectify it, removing our emotional attachment to it therefore making it easier to change or influence.

Life will always present all of us with unexpected outcomes. It’s how we react to them determines how successful we become.


If we allow ourselves to become upset or personally offended, then we’re missing an opportunity to improve.

It’s less demanding, emotionally, to make, “adjustments”, rather than, “changes”.

In future, whenever I’m faced with challenging situation, I’m going to try my best not to say, “What if this goes wrong?” but to say, “Let’s see how this turn out”.

This is otherwise known as emotional intelligence.

After all, there is no right or wrong, just interesting results and a life experience to learn from.



In January 2012 I changed just one habit, in my daily routine, that caused me to lose over 2 stone in weight in 3 months.

Which means I went from this:


To this:


The habit I decided to change was not even that big a deal.

Being overweight and getting no regular exercise, I decided to stop taking the lift (elevator) and start taking the stairs, at work.

Our office is only 4 floors up.

It’s seem a ridiculous claim doesn’t it?

It turns out that taking the lift is a keystone habit.

Some habits are more important than others and changing a keystone habit will have a ripple affect on lots of other habits you undertake.

About two months after I started taking the stairs, I decided to start riding my bike into work.

This has lead to me cycling into work everyday, without missing a day, for over a year. I’ve since taken part in 3 half marathons.


In Charles Duhigg’s brilliant book, The Power of Habit, it’s stated that the most influential factor in the making or breaking of any habit is that of belief.

Once you have the belief all you need to do is identify 3 elements of a habit in order to change it. These 3 elements are the cue, the routine and the reward.


Based on this framework, I set up Happy Habits on HappyMap.

The premise is to create a Happy Habit within 21 days, which will help you think more positively.

The question is, do you have the belief that you can Hit the Happy Button 21 days in a row without a break?

If you do, then you have the belief to change the rest of your life.

If you’d like to take my 21 day happiness challenge you can do it by clicking HERE


How I created happy habits in 21 days click> HERE

Hayley, a colleague of mine, has just spent 5 days in New York with her husband Tom.


It’s the first time they’ve been and they absolutely loved it. So much so that they became a little bit unhappy.

This sadness happened, as they got on the on the plane, on the way home. The conversation went a bit like this:

Tom – I’d love to come back again soon.

Hayley – Awww me too.

Tom – Pity we can’t afford it. How are we going to become rich? The only way I’m going to get rich is to win the lottery.


Tom is a school teacher who loves his job. I’ve seen him with children including my son and he possesses a natural ability with them.

At this point in the conversation Hayley suggested Tom should maybe look towards becoming a head teacher.

Then they both concluded that this would be such a major change in his role that he would probably not enjoy the job as much.

The next day Hayley came into work trying to think up business ideas that would allow them to visit New York again.


This is a form of goal setting.

You have the goal, all you need is the means to get there, which in itself can be an enjoyable challenge.

There’s is no better way to motivate yourself than setting goal and the good news is, it works.

In a study people who wrote their goals down were 33% more likely to achieve them than those whose just thought about them.


So if you’ve been on an amazing holiday only to feel a bit down when coming home, don’t fret there’s 1 proven way to turn your holiday blues into success… write your goal down.

(to make your goal even more achievable you can make sure it adhere’s to the S.M.A.R.T. formula but your first point of action is to write it down).

I guarantee I’ll be seeing more great pictures from Hayley and Tom very soon as they’re both very able people.

I’m sure they’ll have no problems turning their dreams into reality.

Plus, you are way more likely to achieve financial success by doing something you love, rather than winning the lottery – if you need proof, read this previous post.





I love the quote, “a goal is just a dream with a deadline” – Click to tweet.

If you’re working in a job you don’t like, ask yourself this question: if you were never going to retire, what job would you like to do?



Here’s a fact you probably don’t know: you have what it takes accomplish your dreams.

How do I know this?

Because there are plenty of people who are doing their dream job and all humans, DNA wise, are 99.9% exactly the same.

I know what you’re thinking, “What if it’s that 0.1% that makes the difference?”

It’s only 0.1%!!!

Surely you can bridge that gap with sheer determination to succeed.




A good way to start achieving more, is to get a pen and paper then write this down:


What would I like to do?

What’s ONE thing I can do TODAY that will edge me closer to achieving this?


That’s all you have to do.

Then tomorrow, write ONE other thing down that will get you closer again.

After a year imagine how much closer to your dream you will be.




Why you should never buy an exercise machine…

…..if you don’t exercise regularly and want to lose weight.


Why you should never buy an exercise machine...


Since the age of 25, I’ve been overweight and yet I’ve been a member of many a gym that I, mistakenly, thought would help me lose weight.


Why you should never buy an exercise machine...


I’ve also bought treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines, elliptical trainers, vibration plates, steppers, magical shaky things and guess what?

The only pounds I’ve lost, is from my bank account.

After a few weeks the equipment I’ve purchased is either sitting abandoned in the garage gathering dust or became a clothes horse in the spare room.


Why you should never buy an exercise machine...


Then two years ago I managed to lose the weight I’ve been carrying for over 10 years and I didn’t do it with an exercise machine or by joining a gym.

What I did use, is something you have that costs you absolutely nothing.


Why you should never buy an exercise machine...


So if you’ve recently bought an exercise machine, this is for you.

I don’t mean to be offensive but I’m going to point out a few things you probably already know but don’t want to accept (I only know this because I was the same).

If you don’t do regular exercise and you think buying a bit of fitness equipment is going to motivate you, you’re kidding yourself and you certainly won’t lose any weight.

In fact you’ll probably put on weight.


Because the bit of equipment is another obstacle in the way of you dealing with the real issue.

The real issue is, you’re not exercising because you’re too lazy or lack motivation. You believe the new shiny bit of equipment will work some magic by doing it all for you. 

It won’t.

The only thing that will get you fit and healthy is you.

If you’ve just bought this machine or are about to buy it, I know you don’t want to read or hear this but you’re never going to get fit unless you accept it’s going to be hard work.

The exercise bike you’re thinking of buying is an excuse, getting in the way of what you really need to do.

You’re attempting to buy motivation. Motivation comes from the inside you, not from inside a box delivered by a man in a van.

“If only I got myself an exercise bike I could cycle for half hour every evening whilst watching TV”.

Easy ay?



Why you should never buy an exercise machine...


Exercise is not easy and watching TV will not make you forget that.

What’s missing is not the exercise bike but the right attitude.

Exercise can be hard work but its more than worth it. This is what exercise will give you:

A healthier body and mind.

There’s no greater reward than this.

If you want to improve your life, exercise.

If you think you’re too busy to exercise, your priorities are all wrong. You therefore need to realign them so that exercise higher up on the list of your daily priorities.

If you need more the science behind exercise check out Leo’s post, “What happens to our brains when we exercise and how it makes us happier“.

If you don’t do any exercise and want to get fit here’s 3 easy steps to start and you don’t need any gym membership or exercise machine:

1. Today, go for for leisurely 30 minute walk and take note of your route.

2. Tomorrow, walk the same route but try to do it in less time.

3. Repeat the steps above.

You have the right attitude when you regard the pain to attain your desire as a milestone on the way towards your goal rather a stumbling block in the way of it.


Why you should never buy an exercise machine...


Click here to get your free ebook containing, “50 Motivational Quotes: To inspire you to think more positively”




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