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What lovely news to start this day! I was really hoping for a good ending.  So many times we are fed bad news but we are all energised by this positive story of hope and achievement in the face of adversity.  It’s an opportunity to celebrate pushing the bounds of human survival.  We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

From their first 17 days it is a tale of leadership and sharing when their only food was a spoon of tuna every 48 hours.  Lots of discipline and patience required so that they could collaborate for the good of all.   They created their very own motivator, counsellor and spiritual leader to help them cope physicallyemotionally and spiritually.  It’s about the love of and for their families, friends and country that created this energising supportive cycle.  Of course there was also lots of hard work by highly skilled people who got the resources and political support they needed to carry out a top job.  (Somewhere in here is also the turning point for health and safety in mines in Chile, if not across the world.)

But that is the story so far.  It has all been miraculous and harmonious.  Now we come in.  How will we, through our media, start dividing the team as we offer different amounts of money to each depending on how interesting we find their story?  I imagine we don’t have the appetite for 33 stories but maybe 5 or 10?  How do we decide which human being is worth more?  Is it the youngest? Oldest? Union rep.? The new father? Etc.  It seems quite arbitrary and is a new game they need to figure out.  Yes this is a real human interest story and not something manufactured in a big house or jungle stay, so we are naturally curious.  But we could remember that they need space and time to recover from the trauma they have just experienced, and to rebuild relationships with their nearest and dearest.  Can we celebrate with them on their terms or have we got this insatiable appetite for all their news that must be fed now?


So here we are.  We have had an election and a very unusual outcome.  People who were fighting each other a few weeks ago are now working together.

How does that make us feel?  Are we pleased because it is the most sensible outcome given the voting results, and it attempts to include some of the best people from those available?  Or are we angry and disappointed because our party of choice has either become powerless or compromised?

I do wonder if some of us simply enjoy conflict – we need to know who disagrees with us to know what we believe.  Ideas are not always about good and evil or left and right.  Some practices may have complex outcomes on a variety of deserving groups and this forces us to explore issues on a deeper level, rather than simply supporting whatever our individual parties propose.

Personally I am impressed by the new leaders’ willingness to take a risk for the national interest.  Both personally and professionally they could gain a lot from this arrangement but they can also damage their parties and their political careers.  They are tasked with keeping their own teams motivated whilst being able to trust and rely on each other.  To achieve this they need great interpersonal skills, self awareness, judgment, flexibility amongst others.  Critically they will also face criticism from their own teams, the cabinet and the country at large.  As the previous administration found, it is no easy task to demonstrate confident strong leadership and be responsive to the range of interest groups who disagree with you.  Any organisation or family probably knows this too.

So are we waiting to rub our hands and say ..”I knew it would never work…” , or can we be hopeful for the sake of the country?  We could spend the next 5 years looking for points of disagreements and completely ignore where  there is consensus.  Is that how we are in our personal lives?

In some countries, both near and far, the hand over of power involves very undignified behaviour and sometimes violence. We have a lot to be to be grateful for.  What is your view?

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

This is the story of a young man from the slums of Mumbai who eventually gets onto a ‘Who want to be a millionaire’ show.  The film shows his journey from childhood to getting onto the programme and it shows us how and why he knows the answers to those prize winning questions.

I was very moved by the film and eventually allowed a few tears to slowly roll down my cheeks.  The emotional journey was predictable and surprising at the same time.  It’s such a big story told in colour and conveying a great sense of the noise, smells, chaos and energy of the location.    It gives the audience a sense of the hustling, and associated risks, required to get anywhere.  What I hadn’t anticipated was the way in which despite all that they have against them they are not free to be visible as they embarrass the authorities by their simple existence. 

The lead characters need to figure out how to fight the system yet remain invisible and unthreatening.  From the outside it seems that they need creativity, hard work and some luck to make it to adulthood.  From the inside it must be a battle of hope and motivation to see through their reality and encourage the constant struggle.  Without this it would be easy to be overwhelmed by their circumstances and giving up on hope.

Of course this is true all over the world and the bigger the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ the more risks people will take to get their bit of the pie.   This reminds me of a famous rapper’s motto – “get rich or die trying”.  I now have a better understanding of why rappers (etc.) go on about where they come from because to become successful from such a start says a lot about determination, creativity and application of self.    

However our hero is not motivated by wealth or fame but love.  He met his love as a young man, recognised her as that, had the courage to seek her out when they lost touch, and then do what is necessary to secure their future.  He could not have done it without the help (and hindrance) of his brother.  In the end he loses a brother and gains a lover.   

In some ways it is a simple love story, boy meets girl, overcomes trials, they end up together and live happily ever after.  But the interesting characters, location, sense of hope over adversity, the juxtaposition of kindness and cruelty, presence of neglect and nurture makes it a captivating narrative that keeps you alert to everything on screen.  We in our ‘safe’ western environments need to absorb some of that ‘can do’ spirit when things are not perfect in our lives.  Like many of us, the hero does not look like a stereotypical hero, but action speaks louder than words and he walks the talk to make things happen. Encouraging, uplifting, informative, entertaining and a little sad.





Its interesting how some of us are able to ignore the changes we know we need to make in our lives.  I am thinking here about how we may treat our loved ones, ourselves, what we spend our money on, who we spend time with (etc.).  We may know we need and want to make changes but sometimes it is easier to carry on as normal.  And then, something out of our control comes in and makes us take note, forces us to respond.  We might choose to say ‘yay or nay’ but we can no longer ignore the choice.

What a week!  These guys have changed the face of history.  They dared to believe they could achieve what had not been done before.  They were told they were too young and had not been in their game long enough – needed to wait their turn.  

Yet they possess great self-belief based on real ability. They were able to keep themselves going when others doubted them.  With focus, determination, hard work and lots of talent they have won the race and secured a place for themselves in the history books.  They could not have done it alone.  Having demonstrated their gifts to those around them they have been supported by their own very loyal team; despite criticism from their peers and the opposition.  Both have a strong family base to retreat to and be nourished by.

Of course, there are no guarantees.  Winning is the first step, legacy is a whole different ball game.  That requires delivering again and again.  But it’s symbolic for all of us.  When/If we’re made to feel different and out of place we can use that to motivate us to move forward, to dream big.  Stepping out on a limb is scary but to fulfill your calling – that’s incredible!  It gives us the audacity to hope for a better future for our world and to strive for excellence.  Passion – calmly executed.

Fun and free

On saturday several of us had a lovely evening in the audience of a live radio show.  Although it was done on a whim by the time I got there I was very excited to get in.  Of course they issue more tickets than they might be able to accommodate so the advice is to get there early.  Many of us turned up just in time and was at risk at being turned away.  After the queuing comes the security checks. Then we were in a bit of a holding bay – not sure if we’d get in or be forced to watch it on a live feed.  Twenty  numbered strangers stuck in a small room hoping their number comes up and anxiously eyeing everyone else.  What will happen next?  The minutes pass as a few more enter the room.  A few more minutes.  An announcement.  Numbers 1-20 can go in – hurray!  Looks like we’ll get to see the show after all.  By the end I think everyone gets in.  And so we got to cheer and laugh at Nicolas Parsons and the Just A Minute crowd including Paul Merton and Graham Norton.  It was hilarious – especially the part talking about new year’s resolutions!  Yes it will be out around Christmas time. Fun, free and very enjoyable.  Have you been to any fun and free things that you are happy to share?