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a blog by Chris Barrow

The right answer to the wrong questions

Up at 05:00 this morning and back into my weekday routine for the first time since Friday 23rd December (which feels like 3 months ago and not 2.5 weeks).

In spite of the fact that my body is still in recovery mode, I managed a 5k jog around Regents Park with only the company of the occasional cyclist and one fox casually making it’s way home from a doubtless busy night.

I promise to stop talking about India soon but the contrast between London and Mumbai at 05:15 is striking and makes the former seem much roomier than I had thought beforehand.

Which, if nothing else, proves the point that everything we experience is set against relative conditions with which we draw comparisons.

We talked about this at last week’s workshops when delegates asked me questions such as:

  1. “how many clinical hours per week should I work?”

  2. “how much should I grow my practice sales by each year?”

  3. “how much time off should I take in a year?”

  4. “what should I expect my income to be?”

I had to keep reminding them of the Strategic Coach lesson that targets are artificial constructs that we create in order to make sense of things (try swimming to the horizon).

There are undoubtedly natural rhythms to which we have become adapted over millions of years; night and day, seasons and lunar/menstrual cycles (until the agricultural revolution c.10,000 years ago, deity was female).

The industrial revolution brought its own new artificial constructs, largely to keep the machines running efficiently.

The 6-day working week (with one day set aside for the worship of the new male deity).

The 8-hour working day.

The summer holiday.

The career pathway.

The routine of growing up, getting married, raising a family, completing a career and retiring.

It seemed to come as a surprise to many in my Indian audience that the way I measure my own progress in a given year is disruptive:

  1. 162 Free Days

  2. 42 Bunker Days (working ON my business)

  3. 161 Focus Days (working IN my business)

  4. 12 marathons a year

  5. occasional expeditions off the grid (next one planned in 2019)

  6. 30 good books a year

  7. the relentless pursuit of my unique abilities 80% of the time

  8. effective leadership of my support team 20% of the time

  9. living within my means and eliminating debt

  10. making a positive difference to those with whom I connect

It’s all about happiness.

The answers to all of my delegates questions were “what would make you happy?”

Most of them didn’t seem to know and there, my friends, is the problem.

Too much time and money spent on things that we are told (by advertisers) will make us happy when, in fact, we haven’t invested the time in figuring out what actually does.

If I’ve achieved anything in the last 64 years, it has been to discover the answer to the question “what makes me happy?”

I suggest you take some time out (and get some help if necessary) in finding out your answer.

London seemed very quiet this morning. Its all relative.

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