Monthly Archives: Nov 2017

A Poppy Appeared in Winter

You tossed your peachy skirts into the air,
And stood, and shouted, “Look at me!”
Through gales and rains and frost you still stood there

November’s blasts made all the trees so bare
But still you stood so proud and solitary
You tossed your peachy skirts into the air.

The other plants around you would not dare
To face this season bravely and with glee
Through gales and rains and frost you still stood there.

You tossed your peachy skirts into the air,
Your urchin heart exposed for all to see.
You dared us all, and passers by, to stare.

You clearly had a message we could share
“Be strong, stand tall, embrace the storms like me.”
Through gales and rains and frost you still stood there

Life can be hard, and rarely is it fair
But we can thrive and Poppy helped me see.
She tossed her peachy skirts into the air,
Through gales and rains and frost she still stood there.

 

 

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How to be an epicurean – and it’s not about eating posh pickles.

I’ve been studying philosophy since a couple of years before I retired. Although much of the work was done over 2000 years ago, the thoughts of philosophers are as relevant now as they were when written with reeds on papyrus.

Epicureanism is all about the pursuit of pleasure. A selfish lifestyle choice? Maybe not when you consider that, by achieving happiness yourself, you can help others to do the same. You can become a radiator as opposed to a drain. Everyone likes to be around happy people.

According to the ancient Greeks, Epicurus in particular, the way to attain pleasure is to “live modestly, gain knowledge of the workings of the world, and to limit one’s desires. This would lead one to attain a state of tranquility (ataraxia) and freedom from fear as well as an absence of bodily pain (aponia). The combination of these two states constitutes happiness in its highest form.” (Wikipedia)

Happiness in its highest form – a goal worth pursuing to be sure. The freedom from fear and pain sounds pretty good too. Apparently, there is a fairly easy way to reach this enviable state. Just take the three steps described below:

1. Do an audit on your desires – get rid of the worthless ones that add nothing to your enjoyment of life. Epicurus lived on bread, water and olives with an occasional lump of cheese. His view was that occasional luxuries have more power when enjoyed less often. So turn your back on expensive cars, restaurants, clothes or whatever else has held you in thrall for so many years and see how you feel. Deprived, impoverished and bored or enlightened, enriched and excited about simple pleasures?

2. Write your own obituary – take stock of your life to date. Which parts are you happy with? And which could be improved? Do this once a year. It’s never too late to change.

3. Be a good friend – contact friends regularly and nurture good relationships. Good friends are all we really need to enjoy life once our basic physical needs have been met (bread, water, olives, a roof over our heads and a couple of sets of clothes).

So there it is. The formula for a happy life. According to the epicureans anyway. It seems to make good sense when you think about our over-consumption in so many areas of our lives. So many people are working too hard in jobs they dislike to buy things they don’t really need. Or can we only afford to take this view when we’re nearing the end of our working lives with pensions in place and all our belongings around us?

What do you think? Did Epicurus have a good philosophy or was it unrealistic? Can Epicureanism work for people in business? Does a simpler life always lead to happiness?

Your feedback, as always, is welcome.

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There’s no place like it

I went to the garage yet again with my ageing car the other day. The mechanic said, “You’ve had it for 10 years – that’s a long time to keep a car.” As I reluctantly agreed to a batch of repairs to make it roadworthy again, because I still love it, I said to him, “That’s how I am. Same car, same house, same husband ….” As he joked that it might be time to think about changing at least one of the three, I thought about the pros and cons of sticking with what you know as opposed to moving on.

I’ve lived in the same town for all of my 61 years and the same house for over half of those years. Boring? I don’t think so. Shrewsbury is one of the best places to live in the U.K. And our house, although it guzzles money, is where we want to be for a while longer; at least until the maintenance costs outstrip our means.

I like the fact that I see people I know every time I go into town, every time I walk the dogs, every time I go anywhere locally. Is this loyalty to the environment I know or fear of change? What’s your attitude to change? Do the benefits of new and shiny outweigh the comfort of familiarity?

In business, we evolved our activity to meet changing market needs but, on the whole, we ploughed the same furrow for many years – a quarter of a century and more. Because it was what we knew and where we felt we could most effectively meet our goals. And I could give numerous examples of businesses that have survived the downturn since 2008 purely because of their refusal to compromise, in terms of their core values and brand identities at the very least.

Your feedback, as always, is welcome. How has change, or refusal to change, affected your life and your business? email elainenester@adm-group.co.uk or call 07801251767

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