Brown Bread

I received a gift of a new Neven Maguire book at Christmas, “Neven Maguire’s Home Economics for Life: The 50 Recipes You Need to Learn” and took it as a hint that I was to finally get my act together in the kitchen.

And so with prodigious enthusiasm, not to mention a tremendous and violent casting about of ingredients such as strong white flour, coarse wholemeal flour, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, golden syrup, some type of black sugar whose name escapes me, buttermilk, sunflower seeds and a teaspoon of salt, I baked my first loaf of brown bread.

And, even if I say so myself, it is most agreeable. It has received a solid thumbs up from she who must be obeyed and all the successors to my overdraft.

I now look forward, at least once a week, to making the bread in the kitchen on a Saturday morning.

It is such a change from the activities I am normally engaged in-things like law business, marketing, making videos, writing blog posts, reading, watching sport-that it has become a form of therapy.

The odour of freshly baked brown bread that wafts from the oven when I open the oven door after 40 minutes or thereabouts causes an explosion of the saliva ducts and gives a great sense of accomplishment and anticipation of what is to come when I let it cool just a little and then slice it and dress it with some real butter.

It may look like a regular loaf of bread to the casual observer, but it is a great deal more than that to me.

Now, onwards to making the dinner…

How to Succeed Every Time

how to succeed every time

“Succeeding every time” may strike you as an ambitious, unrealistic aim but I can assure you it’s not if you choose how you measure success.

Let me explain.

If you measure success by the outcome or goal you cannot succeed every time.

If you measure success, however, by how well you attend to the process you can succeed every time that you try and do your best.

Because your measure of success will not be measured by the outcome but by your application to the process/procedure.

And this will generally involve three things:

  1. How well you focus your attention to the process
  2. How hard you try
  3. How well you prepare

Let’s face it, you can never determine the outcome because this will depend on what has gone on prior. For example, if you are in the WRC or Labour Court or Court the outcome will be decided by the adjudicator or the Labour Court or the judge.

All you can do is prepare well and let the cards fall where they may.

You will often have heard footballers and rugby players and hurlers talking about “sticking to our processes” after a match. This is because they know if they stick to their process the outcome will take care of itself.

Shane Lowry, Dean Rock, Joe Canning, Johnnie Sexton all face high stakes outcomes when they stand over a putt or a free or a penalty. Dean Rock, for example, had a difficult free a few years ago to win the All Ireland against Mayo.

But Rock was not thinking about the outcome of scoring or failing to score; he was thinking about his routine, his process because this was all he could control. And he slotted it by sticking to his routine, one that he had honed in Ballymun.

Sexton, Joe Canning, Shane Lowry all have tried and trusted and well practiced pre-shot routines. This is because they know they cannot control the outcome, there are too many variables.

They attend to the process and forget about the outcome because all they can control is their approach to the next shot,t he next putt, the next free.

This routine is a little like a child’s comfort blanket, something they can rely on and familiarise themselves with in the comfort of their own training pitch or course.

You can succeed in your next endeavour, therefore, if you measure success by how well you prepare and provided you do your best. And you can do this every time.

Or you can worry and fret about the outcome and the consequences.

It’s your choice.

“Employment Law in Ireland”-Kindle Countdown Price Promotion Starts Today

employment law book sale

I have a Kindle countdown deal price promotion starting this morning at 8 am. Every 6 months Amazon will allow you to do a “countdown deal” to promote your book(s) on Amazon.

This countdown deal is a time limited price promotion.

My deal starts this morning on my book, “Employment Law in Ireland: The Essentials for Employers, Employees, and HR Managers” which normally sells for £9.99.

Starting at 8 am today you can buy this book for £0.99. Yes, less than £1.

This last for 2 or 3 days, then the price goes to £3.99, then after a few more days will go to £6.99.

And then it will revert to its usual price of £9.99 next Sunday evening.

I spent a bit of time over the Christmas updating this book which has always sold well and garnered good reviews.

If you are interested you can take a look here.

Content Marketing-a Simple, Effective Strategy

Every weekend I try, and generally succeed, in creating at least 2 new pieces of content.

This weekend, for example, I published a video on YouTube, “Reading Between the Lines at an Employment Hearing” and published a blog post “Part Time Bus Driver Wins Reinstatement and Full Salary Retrospection”.

Content marketing

This is the central plank of my content marketing strategy, something I have been doing since I published my first piece of content in September, 2009.

This is a strategy which I have pursued consistently since then and I have written a book about it, “The Art of Marketing Your Services Business Online: How to Get New Clients With a Proven, Inexpensive 5 Part Digital Marketing Strategy”.

This book is only 122 pages long and was first published in January, 2016 and even though many things have changed since the strategy outlined in that book is the one that I still pursue as I write this blog post.

It’s simple: content marketing is publishing useful and/or interesting content for the market you seek to serve.

The content can be written, for example blog posts, can be video (YouTube channel), can be audio (Podcast), or even a combination of all three. But the bottom line is the content must have utility, must help.

That’s all there is to it. It means I don’t have to spend money on traditional advertising, or distribute leaflets, or engage in the tactics that might have worked 20 years ago.

If you create 2 pieces of content every weekend, and you do this 52 weeks of the year, and you do it for 10 years you find that you have a significant body of work out there working away for you in the search engines, on YouTube, on social media sites, and so on.

P.S. Matheson have a great podcast which deals with employment law.

How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Every Day

I meet people every day of the week who claim to be, or are, suffering from stress and anxiety. Much, but not all, of the stress arises from their workplace.

I have a philosophy which helps me deal with stress and worry and anxiety and it involves the acceptance of what I believe are 3 fundamental truths; if you accept these truths life will go easier on you.

If you don’t accept them you will, almost certainly, suffer from a great deal of avoidable stress.

The 3 truths, as I see them, are:

  1. Life isn’t fair
  2. The goalposts move
  3. There are no guarantees

If you accept these observations as inalterable principles of life you will not be disappointed. In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised.

But you will reduce your stress and anxiety levels.

I have always try to maintain this general stoic view of life but recently read a book which articulates this philosophy more articulately than I am capable of and explains the scientific and psychological underpinning for this view.

It is a book that I recommend very highly as it is written by a psychiatrist and gives you a framework for reducing stress and managing your mind on a daily basis.

The book is called “The Chimp Paradox” by Prof. Steve Peters.


I’m Not for Everyone

If you are the man who rang four times in an hour to speak to me for “10 minutes” about whether you have a case or not, having been told you need to arrange a consultation, I’m not for you.

If you are the woman who “is nervous about paying for legal advice unless I have a case”, I’m probably not for you either.

If you have ambitions to start your own business and need advice and guidance but things are “too tight” to pay for advice, I’m not for you.

If you are the woman who rang from Idaho or Ohio with a dispute in relation to your driving licence  in your home State, I’m not for you either.

If you are the man who wants to take action about “deformation of character” as a consequence of an allegation against you in your workplace, and you are much occupied with your good name and reputation, and you want to embark on legal proceedings to restore your good name but disappear like snow off a hedge when you are advised there is a consultation fee, I’m not for you either.

I’m not for everyone.

If you are running a business, or thinking about starting one, it’s almost certain that you should not be for everyone either.

Free Books

If you want to improve your English, while away hours of distraction free entertainment with engaging stories peopled with colorful, unforgettable characters who you will love or hate with a passion, learn about everyday life in the 19th century, understand the class system, observe how society has evolved and changed, learn about human nature and character and personality (and note how little it has changed in hundreds of years), and not have to spend a cent here’s what you do.

Firstly, go to Amazon.co.uk and download the Kindle app for the device of your choice (PC, Kindle, smartphone, Ipad etc.)

Then, go to the books of Charles Dickens and you will find that a great deal of them, and other classics, can be downloaded for free. For example here is the Kindle version of Charles Dickens: the Complete Novels-completely free.

Here’s one of the best books ever written about the legal system in the England: Bleak House.

Many other classics are free, too, as these books are in the public domain.

All you have to do is a little searching around on Amazon.co.uk because some will have a small price, depending no the publisher, and some will be completely gratis.

What’s keeping you?

Ready for School (the saddest thing)

It was the saddest thing I heard in a long time.

The teacher asked the little lad where he was the previous day, told him the whole classed missed him. The little lad told her he was up and ready for school at the usual time but nobody else in the house got up until 11.30.

So he didn’t get to go to school.

In my daily life, at work and at home, I am surrounded by books. I make it my business to be surrounded by books and believe education is a lifelong process and attitude.

But the vision of that little lad being ready for school and nobody in the house bothering to get up before 11.30 to bring him was a sad and graphic one for me.

If nothing else it reminded me of how much we take for granted in our day to day life; being got ready and taken to school when I was a boy was never an issue and something that I thought happened to every child.

Unfortunately, even in 2019 in a wealthy, educated country such as Ireland, that’s not the case.

Building Your Tribe (There’s One for Everyone)

I stumbled across a YouTube channel over the weekend and it proved, if any proof were needed, that there is a market or tribe for almost everyone.

The guy was a mature man, I would estimate in his 60s, and the channel started out as a guide to men’s grooming, hair, and so on as the guy, who shall remain unidentified for fear of giving him any more publicity, has a hairdressing/barber’s shop.

He was, as Charles Dickens might say, ‘much occupied by his own sagacity’.

The channel has evolved over time and now he does long ‘talking head’ videos in which he dispenses advice for men about women, relationships, finance, health, smoking cigars and pipes, sex, guff about stoicism, and so on.

Even though he has a pleasant speaking voice and speaks well, even though he is presentable, even though he positions himself as the grandfather or father you never had dispensing worldly wisdom he spouts the most tremendous amount of chauvinism, misogyny, and rank bad advice.

But that’s not the killer punch for me; no, the money shot for me is that the self absorbed fool has over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. And these people love him and agree with the rubbish he peddles about ‘finding your manhood’ again and all the other travails men allegedly face from women, leftists, socialists, take your pick.

I suppose when you consider the grifter Trump getting elected to the White House it should not be a surprise that this charlatan can get 100,000 followers with similar antediluvian, misconceived views.

But when you stumble across it up close and personal on YouTube it still sets you back a little bit.

The bottom line, though, is if you are a business owner or start up you can build a tribe of fans for your product or service quite easily, especially on YouTube.

If Nobody Reads This Blog

If nobody reads this blog I still win.

Don’t get me wrong: I would love to have hundreds, nay, thousands of readers showing up everyday to read what I write.

But if they don’t, if nobody shows, I am not bothered or embarrassed.

Because what I am looking to do by writing here every day is:

  1. Fulfill a commitment I made to myself
  2. Get to play with words and practice writing and, in the process, acquire the tools to improve as a writer

I believe that showing up and practicing something everyday is the most effective way to improve a skill.

Therefore, regardless of what else is going on I intend showing up and writing, and improving as a writer.

If you show up and find anything of value: great, it’s a win for both of us.

If you don’t, it’s just a win for me.

Is there something in your life that would benefit from you showing up every day and practicing? Something that would benefit from the 10,000 hours practice referred to in ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell?