Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Thursday, April 29, 2010


To study the way is to study oneself.
To study oneself is to forget oneself.
To forget oneself is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”
- Dogen Zenji, 13th century Japanese Zen Buddhist monk

Thursday, April 22, 2010



Friday, April 9, 2010

It would be smart for a self-employed person to treat thier own self so gently.

7 Phrases Every Boss Needs to Practice

1. I misspoke, I was wrong. Please forgive me and I promise I will learn from this and be a better leader in the future.

2. I need you. I know my limitations and you bring something to the table that I just do not possess.

3. I see real potential in you to be….

4. I am committed to your success.

5. Thank you for your contribution to our mission.

6. Let’s turn our mistakes and dissapointments into a teachable moment.

7. I might change mission and direction based on new information, but, I promise I will never, never, never change the vision.

Lifeclass for Crisis

FeaturesLifeclass: My five steps to happiness

After almost four years, Lesley Garner has decided to take a break from giving her advice column Lifeclass.

Here she offers some final tips for life.

By Lesley Garner
Published: 23 Mar 2010

Lesley Garner Photo: ANDREW CROWLEY Dear Readers

This has been a very intense job and, although this page is called Lifeclass, I feel that I am the one who has

been learning from you.

After nearly four years as the recipient of every kind of dilemma, from post-traumatic stress and the harm

done by internet porn to more perennial woes such as the loss of marital love or that perpetual cry, “Have I

left it too late?” I am addressing my own dilemma by taking some time out.

My dilemma has been this: I have a very responsible job for The Daily Telegraph which, so you tell me, helps

an awful lot of people and which nobody wants me to leave. On the other hand, there are other things I would

like to do and, in particular, other kinds of writing I would like to experiment with.

I am currently a student on a novel-writing course at the Faber Academy. My fellow students and I are lucky

enough to benefit from the wisdom and the experience of writers such as Esther Freud, Rachel Cusk and Hanif

Kureishi. But while we love to hear what these writers have to say, our real challenge is to use the craft of

fiction to create worlds of our own and, perhaps, make sense of our own lives.

Since the life stories I hear from you every week leave little room in my head or heart for inventing and

developing life stories of my own, I have decided to step back from this page for a while in order to give

myself a chance. And what about you? How will you manage without me? Well, I imagine you will do whatever you

were doing before I came along, but in case this isn’t good enough I have some suggestions on how to be your

own agony aunt in my absence.

1 Do not do anything alone

One of the many valuable lessons I have learnt on this page is that there is nothing so difficult,

exceptional, demanding or painful that somebody else isn’t going through it too.

You are not the only teenager who wonders if he is gay or why he has no friends. You are not the only parents

of soldiers who gnaw away at your own worries and fears in private. You are not the only man whose wife has

told him she needs space, or the only wife whose husband seems to have changed character. You are not the only

person sitting alone and wondering if you have left it too late to find somebody special.

Your troubles will be halved if you reach out to other people and share your sorrows. You can do this both by

talking to friends and through the many organisations that cater for every kind of human difficulty, from

bereavement and unemployment to marriage problems.

2 Be your own researcher

How do you find other people who are going through what you are going through? The internet is king. Many days

I have sat for hours on Google typing in “help for old people”, “midlife crisis”, “celibacy” or

“co?dependency” and reeled at the amount and quality of information available at the press of a button.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau is a useful source of information on all kinds of legal, financial, even

emotional problems. Relate ( offers advice in family relationships. The Royal College of

Psychiatrists ( is an excellent hub of information on all kinds of mental illness and its

treatment. Carers can find help and advice on People concerned about their own old age or the

care of their parents can find help via

If you feel lonely and don’t know what the social life is like in your area, Google the town you live in and

go on to to find social and educational groups.

3 Use self-help books

Yes, really. I have written some, so I am bound to say this, but some are invaluable. If you don’t know which

of the many titles available is right for you, check out Tom Butler-Bowden’s useful series, 50 Self-Help

Classics, 50 Psychological Classics, and 50 Spiritual Classics. These are succinct summaries of a large number

of books and you will certainly find one that seems to match your own understanding of your problem and state

of mind.

And, of course, I highly recommend my own books. Everything I’ve Ever Done That Worked is being reprinted in a

lovely new edition this spring and is full of my own tips on changing your state of mind, your fortunes and

your life. For anybody struggling with relationships I recommend my book Everything I’ve Ever Learned About

Love?; for life’s inevitable ups and downs, Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Change?; and for readers who

would like to remind themselves of some of the problems that have gone through these pages and my solutions to

them, Life Lessons.

4 Lighten up

Oh, heaven knows this is easier said than done. If you could lighten up, you wouldn’t be writing to somebody

like me, but nobody’s emotional toolbox is complete without some simple exercises to break the circuits of

misery and regain some perspective. Even in the midst of grief and torment, people can gain equanimity in very

small ways by watching comedy on TV, by going for a walk, by looking up at the clouds, by gardening or

birdwatching, singing or dancing.

Everything I’ve Ever Done That Worked has lots of useful suggestions for mood-shifting. A very wise woman once

told me to imagine that I was seven years old. I find that if I do, life immediately looks a lot more amusing

and carefree.

5 Do something different

I realised early on that many people’s problem is simply that they have walked themselves round and round in

the same old circle until they are stuck and have lost all perspective on their situation. My sole

contribution is to look down from my bird’s-eye view and show them what the nature of their problem actually


You can learn to do this for yourself if you recognise exactly when you are repeating a piece of behaviour or

an argument. Repetition leads to obsession and obsession doesn’t solve anything.

If madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, then sanity is saying to yourself, “I

choose to walk in another direction.” Do not engage in the same repetitive arguments. Remain silent and let

people vent their feelings. Do a lot more listening than talking. Get out more. Practise changing your brain

patterns by walking a different way to work or trying on clothes you might normally avoid. Being stuck is

miserable and unproductive. Cultivate ways to be more playful and silly and the gloom often shifts.

I could say so much more – and over the past four years I have – but I have also learnt that people only take

in limited suggestions or information at a time. And often, despite my best endeavours, I suspect they carry

on doing exactly what they were doing before. It doesn’t do to have too elevated an idea of one’s own

importance – that’s another thing I have learnt from you.

I hope to write for you again in these pages in the future, if not exactly in this very special role. In the

meantime, thank you more than I can say for trusting and confiding in me. I truly wish all of you happy and

resourceful lives.

With love from Lesley

Related Articles
Lesley Garner's 10 tips for a life-changing summer
Lesley Garner's Life Lessons: How to mend a broken heart
Lesley Garner's Life Lessons: Who should I be with?
Lesley Garner's Lifeclass: 'Small things make a big difference in a crisis'
I believe passionately in the power of small things to make a big difference in a crisis
'I'm so depressed... how can I get my wife and children back?'

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Affirmations For Artists

"I will be organized. To that end, I will take stock and see what organization I really need. I will not stop at straightening my desk, but will better organize my thoughts and more clearly envision the great work I intend to do. I will risk re-organizing the pieces that comrise the puzzle of my life."

Eric Maisel