The Way of the Dog

dog

This is one of the best photos I’ve seen in a long time and I think we can learn a lot from it.

As the story goes, a massive parade was being held in Mexico for the Pope and, by some twist of fate, a dog ended up walking down the pathway that had been set up.

What did the dog do? Did it get all embarrassed? Did it run off to the nearest corner? Did it post a status beginning with the words ‘that awkward moment when…’ ?

Nope. It did none of the above. In fact, some say that the dog actually thought the parade was in its honour – it didn’t think to doubt itself for a minute.

Why wouldn’t those humanoids hold a celebration for me? I’ve been a good dog!”

It just enjoyed the moment. Dogs are good at that. Humans aren’t. We’re all so conditioned to over-analyse and worry about things that we’re guilty of not enjoying ourselves as much as we could.

People tend to like dogs because they’re honest, loving and fun.

Maybe we could consciously be more like them sometimes.

I’ll leave you with the words of Dale Carnegie, author of ‘How to win friends and influence people”…

“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you, You make me happy. I am glad to see you.” That is why dogs make such a hit. They are so glad to see us that they almost jump out of their skins. So, naturally, we are glad to see them.”

3 lessons you can learn from my first car…

After being together for eleven years I’m now in the process of selling my first car.

As much as I’d like to have kept it forever and ever, life has a way of moving on. But, as I’ll mention later, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the memories.

There was a badge on my first car that bore the legend ‘Independence’. Which is beautifully apt, as that’s what it gave me – a full sense of independence that I’d never had before. I could go anywhere that the roads could take me.

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My first car wasn’t the best model out there, it wasn’t the fastest and it certainly wasn’t the biggest. But yet it was with me through many adventures, and I learnt a lot from it.

Here are 3 lessons that you can learn from my first car…

Don’t be afraid to take the reins…

My first car didn’t have power steering. To get that car to swerve in any direction it took a lot of wrenching…and parallel parking was always a problem.

(For those not in the know power steering basically makes it easier to steer your car. It’s like having an extra hand on your wheel – helping you ease off into the direction of your choice.)

But I learnt that sometimes you need to use a bit of brute force, sometimes you need to take problems and scenarios in life by the reins and give them a metaphorical wrench to get things going in the right direction. Sometimes we look over our shoulders too much for assistance, and it’s not going to always be there.

Practicality can trump aesthetics

Another friend passed his test around the same time as me, and we both got our cars on the road at around the same time.

He was luckily enough to be given a car that was all bells and whistles. It had been top of the range just a couple of years ago and it even had a soft top…which made him look cool as hell as he cruised through the British summer of that year with his aviators on. My car was more than a couple of years old, much older and a lot more humble.

I went miles in my car – it got me from A to B with no fuss and no frills. I ran into my friend about a year later, and he’d downsized to a car a little like mine.

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While his car looked awesome it wasn’t well made. There were constant problems, and parts for that car were expensive. It had cost him a couple of grand, and they’d lost a lot of money on it when they sold it. Whereas I’d spent £30 on a new wheel and £2 on an air freshener that was meant to smell like pineapple.

The glossy pages won’t tell you this, but sometimes you need to prioritise practicality over aesthetics.

Become emotionally attached to it

I fear that we underestimate nostalgia and sentimentality sometimes. No matter how long you have it for, you’ll always remember your first car. So think about it as a friend, rather than just a tool to get from A to B.

As you’ll probably know, whenever you talk to older people they’ll regale you with stories from their past. Sometimes the same story over and over again.

I used to get bored, but now I don’t…because I’ve figured out that the reason people retell stories is because they like telling them.

Who am I to rob someone of that pleasure?

Life is all about making memories. So make the most of sentimentality and nostalgia, attach mental value to things…who knows how many times you’ll revisit, retell and re-enjoy the past.

And, of course – always drive safe and take care of yourself. The most important asset you have to the world is you.

Ashley Brown, 2017

A kinder, gentler philosophy of success…

It’s weird sometimes to think that, even in this digital day and age, we have philosophers.

But…we do. The guy in the video, Alain de Botton, is one of the ones that I like the most.

As a creative you may well berate yourself at times for not quite being where you want to be right now.

I know I do.

So, watch the talk above and see how it makes you feel!

Bruce Lee on practice 

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee.

I didn’t write today because I spent ages chasing down this Bruce Lee quote to share. I’d heard it years ago and couldn’t remember how it went.

As regular readers will know I genuinely believe that practice makes perfect.

Particularly the right quite of practice.

Sometimes you really have to narrow your practicing down to truly excel at something.

The pathways of memory lane…

I didn’t write today because I spent a lot of my time down memory lane.

By this, I don’t mean that I sat around looking at photo albums and old memory cards.

I actually got out there and walked through the streets, roads and lanes that made up some of my formulative years.

I guess it’s an advantage of still having a base close to where you grew up. It’s easy to remember the child you used to be.

Early memories are really precious and, if not treated with care, can soon float away and dissolve into the hustle & bustle around us. Like rogue bubbles or balloons that have drifted too far away and subsequently popped in the bright light of the day.

As I went from place to place, I remembered summers spent in friends’ houses. Football games played on wide open playing fields. The shop that sold the best type of energy drink. The pubs where I learnt to enjoy the taste of beer.

Wymondham Green Dragon Pub
(The Green Dragon, Wymondham).

It was also strange to think that, while still open, those pubs wouldn’t be full of the familiar faces that I’d look forward to seeing on Friday nights.

Those Friday nights as an eighteen year old had a bit of magic around them. You got your first taste of adult nightlife, with the thought of University and a world of socialising just ahead of you. Everyone you’d speak to on those nights would be excited for the futures that lay ahead.

I can even remember a time when I had to flip over a fence and run down a hill. Fifteen year old legs moving as fast as they could. A bunch of guys in the year above hot on my heels, determined to serve me a knuckle sandwich.

As I looked at the spot where I landed on that day I couldn’t help but feel close to ‘past me’. For a second our realities, although now so far away from each other, touched. I could remember how scared I was, I could smell the ‘Shockwaves’ hair gel that I wore and felt the tattered old Vans that I’d have worn.

If I could I’d have reached out to past me and told him that he’d get away from them, and would be home for dinner before he knew it.

I even saw an old schoolyard bully. Now all grown up and clean-shaven. As he walked past there was a glimmer of recognition in his eyes. I suppose for him I was just another name from the past. But for me it was much different – we tend to remember those who taunt us much clearer than they remember us.

I always think that memories are a proof of a life outside of the linear path we follow every day. And, when it comes to the ones that you want to remember, you should take extra care to keep them alive.

 

It’s nice to be beside the seaside…

Today I didn’t write because I went to the seaside.

There’s something in the saying “oh I do like to be beside the seaside”.

There’s something about the air and the sun as it twinkles off the water. 

A cleansing, blow-out-the-cobwebs experience.

It made me feel creative.
 I know us artists and writers can often be indoor types but crisp, clean and fresh air should never be discounted as a remedy for the creative block.