Tag Archives: Billy Connolly

Assume nothing ~ Change it up

There are not many people who have had a great influence on me (besides teachers and instructors of course!), on how I am and the way I view things – as a person in myself and my career. The few that have had a fundamental influence are worth mentioning (especially in these troubled times).

Firstly, my Dad. He was a Scientist, Engineer and before retiring to run a private consultancy, he was Head of the Royal Aircraft Establishments Accident Section. Not only did I look up to him as my father, but as a role model and engineer. I was lucky enough that he was my Dad and Hero all in one.

He had a motto that has stuck with me:

ASSUME NOTHING – JUST BE CERTAIN

Although he used this in his wreckage analysis role, it is also worth thinking about in other situations – e.g: World financial crisis/radiation leaks from Japan’s tsunami aftermath/continued wars – people are getting worried (as am I), but mostly they are worried about “What ifs“.

Yes, things might get better or worse BUT there is no point worrying about these things, or pinning hopes on things that haven’t materialised yet – that would be irrational, as no-one knows the future. You can’t assume the worse or best case, you can only be as prepared as you can be.

Why fret over things that have not happened? You are suffering fear of nothing!

duneboardgame

DUNE

There is a litany to fear written by Frank Herbert (Dune 1965):

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Fear feeds on itself and starts to play with your mind and perception, which is why you should ASSUME NOTHING – JUST BE CERTAIN. Although I like this litany, I would change the last two lines. I believe that if you are going through difficulties – or just strolling through life, then you should leave gained knowledge and wisdom in your path. You need to learn from your actions, not just blindly go through life. As such, Herbert’s litany would be changed to the following for me:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be wisdom.
And I will be stronger.

Okay – so that tells me “Why worry?” – Find out the facts first, get tangible information, then you have something to deal with – but what should you do to get the facts? How do you find out where you are?

rollinsHenry Rollins holds the answer. I had an email conversation with him several years back, and then a brief chat in the flesh after a gig. I had just lost a friend – a guy who was more like a brother to me than just a friend (I am still very close to his family – I see them as an extension of my family in a way). My friend passed away in his early 20’s – just days after saying he’s be my best man. I was beside myself and had no idea what to do. I knew Rollins had lost a best friend when he was young, so I sent him an email – I didn’t think he’d reply, but I had written done some of my thoughts and questions, and that was a therapy in itself.

Rollins did reply – and his response was both one of compassion and in true Rollins spirit, a big dose of “Suck it up”.

His response was very similar to the Billy Connolly statement:

The cemetery is full of people who would love your problems

Rollins basically said that I still have my life, so I should live it, as I was still able to – sure I should remember my friend, but don’t get sucked down and dwell on the bad stuff.

Wise words indeed -and later whilst listening to his song “Change It Up” I picked out another fine view to live by…

You say your job is a pain
It’s pulling you down the drain
I think you’d rather complain
Than quit it

Now the words in this verse are about a job, but they work in all situations. People would rather complain about things dragging them down, or how unlucky they are and how shitty life is… but what are they doing about it? I say you only have a right to complain IF you are bothering to do something about your situation.

Don’t whine about your job, and then go in day after day and do nothing about it. If you are looking to get a new job, if you are really trying to better your situation, then sure, you have the right vent now and then. It’s the same with anything in life – If you aren’t trying to progress the situation, then don’t moan about it.

This old phrase comes to mind:

If you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem

Got a problem, then shut up or sort it out.

Okay… that’s the main ingredients building up for a way to approach these tricky times, Hell, in any times…

Assume nothing, just be certain: Don’t get wound up if you don’t know all the facts.

If you know all the facts, still don’t get wound up – there are many people who would love to swap their problems with yours.

Don’t moan and complain once you have the facts – just get out there and do something about the situation. Get reactive – get proactive – just get active.

If you find yourself neither going backwards or forwards, then you fall into another category all together. The phrase my late, great friend Ryan Brown used to use was this:

“If you ain’t making waves ~ you ain’t kicking hard enough…”


Count yourself lucky

Good words...

I can’t remember it word for word, but a story by Billy Connolly always resets my perspective on life.

Billy was moaning one day at work when an elderly fellow worker said: “Do you see that cemetary on the way into work? That place is FULL of people who would love to have your problems….”

It’s a good point – No matter how bad life is, you still have it to be able to complain about it.

You’re one up already!

Go out there and live it, don’t loathe it – because there are plenty of ex-people out there who no longer have that opportunity.


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