It’s time to stop worrying about who you were, or what you’re not, or who you might become in the future. Just look inside yourself. Right here, right now. This is who you are. And it’s ok to think you’re amazing.
The sounds around me as I rolled around my Living Room Floor doing my daily Warm Up exercises.
I’m at an age where it helps to do Warm Up Exercises just to get through the day. As I rolled around my Living Room floor doing them today, the sounds around me contrasted with my vain attempt at fitness and suggested why I may be as unfit as I am. First there was the clunk of the weekends empty beer tins discarded beside where I lay. Next the clink of the glasses stacked in my Living Room Bar. It is a happy life of contrast for sure 🙂
Lonely Vulnerable Silence Shadows Tearful Tender Sad Afraid Invisible Cold Sleepless Love Prayer Sunrise Courage Fight First Light New Day Hope Energy Smile Movement Success Belief Dreams Me You Here Now True
Even in an age of online Courses or Google Translate nothing beats travelling and learning a new language among the people who speak it.
I leaned in towards the girl of my dreams and, in a low, sexy voice, whispered the German phrase my mates had recently taught me. “Mein Luftcushion ist voller igle.” If you speak German, by now I’d imagine you are laughing as hard as that girl that night. My mates said those words were how to ask her out. In fact I had just told her that my hovercraft was full of hedgehogs.
When you’re doing something as important as asking a girl out in her native language, I guess the first advice I can give is not to ask your mates, when you’ve all been drinking, to tell you what to say. Learning German from these guys was tough. The first meal I ordered in German, on their advice, was an ashtray and chips.
The Basics To Speak In Any Language
Soon, I had grasped the principles of what I called ‘Beer Deutsche’ and if you’re a beer drinking fool like me, these principles will get you started in any language…
Learn to say ‘Beer’
Learn to count to 10
Learn to say; small, medium and large
Aspiring linguists can take these principles on to the ‘advanced’ stage.
Learn to say, “Put it on his bill.”
Learn to ask for chicken
Learn the words for ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ before you go for a pee. (Quite important)
Learn By Observing
At times you can learn useful words and phrases from places such as airports or other international transport hubs where things are announced or printed in the local language and in English. This is how I learnt to say, “Mind your step,” and, “This toilet flushes automatically” in Dutch.
Learn Necessary Phrases
It can be helpful to learn phrases associated with your activity when travelling abroad. As a not so fit mountain trekker I can now say, “Slowly, slowly” in Nepali, Kiswahili and Arabic. What I really need to learn before the next time I head to the Himalayas in Spring 2021 is to learn, “Can you show me how to get back to Nepal?” in Mandarin Chinese.
Whilst in a night club in the Philippines some of the local ladies taught me how to say, “I am handsome.” “You are beautiful.” and “I love you.” in Tagalog (National language of the Philippines). This I found to be very helpful.
Learn By Drinking Beer
My most successful conversation with someone who couldn’t speak English came about in the Paulander Tent at the Munich Beer Festival 1996. I arrived unplanned, unannounced and severely hungover off a slow train from Frankfurt and drifted into the beer tent. As I wandered the packed tent looking for a seat I soon came to realize that most people who were sitting on them had booked the seat they were on since somewhere close to birth. Only having heard that the Munich Beerfest was on last night, my chances of getting a seat looked slimmer than I was.
Finally some elderly gentleman indicated for me to sit beside him. He had several generations of family around him at the table and he adopted me as his friend. Very quickly we established that I couldn’t speak much German and he couldn’t speak much English. I bought him a beer, we clinked steins and decided to muddle through. Though very awkward at first, after 3 litres of strong German Beer we were involved in a heavy conversation about world football and the relative merits of Glasgow Celtic and Bayern Munchen. Thing is, to this day, I couldn’t tell you which language we were talking in but it was a great night.
Teach Your Own Language
Of course the fun in learning language and culture is in the exchange of the same. If you’re learning a language, return the favour in kind. As a Scottish person, there are many traits of my dialect of the English Language that can be fun to share with others. For example, I taught the ladies in the Philippines the special way in which a Scottish person greets his friend in England. So, to all my English friends out there, if you find yourself in the Pampanga Region of Luzon Island in the Philippines and a young lady greets you with, “Away ya wee jobbie!” tell them ‘Bob’ says hi.
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It was a moment of every Dad’s nightmares. Sean McBride, blogger extraordinaire and international adventurer, received a chat on Social Media from his daughter. It looked like she was wearing some form of space suit and was in the process of being transported into an alien spacecraft.
Following a frantic call to Emergency Services, Julia McBride’s location was urgently traced via the signal from her Mobile Phone and police rushed to the scene. Julia was quickly located safe and well in a Glasgow Hairdressers. No aliens or spacecraft were anywhere to be seen.
After an urgent investigation of the scene the strange ‘light like’ objects from the picture were found to be… lights. Investigators could not find any trace of teleportation or other transport qualities about them. The popular theory is that they are in place just to light the area up.
Julia had taken and posted the horror picture whilst in the process of having her hair dyed. Following the incident, Julia is now seeking minimum association or contact with her Dad.
“I’m just glad she’s safe.” Sean said once Julia had been found. “Oh… and her hair looks amazing…”
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Despite turning round before the summit, I still found a moment of my dreams.
Mera High Camp 5,800m
I woke in a panic, gasping for air as I had done a dozen times during the night and, as each time before, reassured myself that all was actually well. One tends to work through a cycle when trying to sleep in the thin air of high altitude. As your conscious mind drifts off to sleep, your subconscious triggers an alarm that there’s not enough air and you wake with a start gasping like a newly landed fish. This time I realized there would be no more sleep tonight as the sound of the Sherpas rousing people in the other tents broke through the wind and the canvas of the tent flapping in the light breeze. It was close to midnight and the summit bid was on.
“How do you feel?” My Guide asked as I sat hunched in the darkness panting heavily.“Absolutely…. exhausted.” I gasped back at him between pants.“Are you sick or do you have a headache?”“No… Just…. exhausted.” This was the conversation during a fleeting moment which changed my life. In the short podcast which follows you can hear the story of the years leading up to that moment and the incredible few hours which followed.
Below are 2 crazy stories which apparently happened to me. One of them is true. Guess which one in the comments.
I was soon running full pelt down the hill, out of control and screaming with my willie in my hand still peeing.
A few years ago in the dead of winter on a freezing night I had been drinking down town and was walking home steaming drunk. As it was dark I decided to face into a hedge to have a quick pee. Hearing a car heading along the road but, having already started, I shuffled forward a bit to get deeper into the hedge and hide. As I found out to my horror, the hedge was quite thin and on the top of a hill.
I was soon running full pelt down the hill, out of control and screaming with my willie in my hand still peeing. There was a pond which had frozen over at the bottom and a couple sitting at the edge of it on a bench. Unable to do anything else, I sprinted past them headlong straight into the pond.
Not sure when the pee stopped but I found myself sitting freezing up to my waist in the shallow, frozen water. The guy from the couple asked if I was alright. “Yep.” I replied trying to look as sober and casual as I could. They headed off into the darkness and I picked myself up and tucked myself in. Probably wetting myself would have been warmer and more comfortable.
Hide and Seek
I stood looking on with the waves breaking round me. Wide eyed and panting.
As I’m sure everyone did, there was a whole crowd of us used to play hide and seek on a caravan site on holiday. I had found the ultimate hiding spot, behind a small tree, beside one of the caravans from which no one could see me but I could see the den. I was soon on a winning run. I was gleefully hiding there watching the den fill up with people getting caught and a small crowd trying to figure out where I was. I heard a low growl at my shoulder and looked behind me. Turns out that my tree had been discovered by a dog the size of a horse and, judging by his reaction, it was a part of his territory.
They say you shouldn’t run from a dog. But I was up and off like a gazelle screaming like a banshee and sprinting for the den with the horse-dog in hot pursuit. I don’t know what protection I thought the small rock which identified the den would offer. Maybe if I got there before the dog it would understand and give up the chase.
Whatever protection I thought that den might provide was not shared by our gang of kids waiting at it. There had been a brief moment of elation when everyone realized where I had been hiding followed by sheer terror when they saw the monster dog, hot on my tail.
Screaming kids scattered in every direction to hide from the beast and I sprinted past the den onto the beach and into the sea. The dog paused seemingly confused when it saw small people running in every direction. In a bizarre twist no one could have predicted our game had changed dramatically. We were now all hiding for our lives from a horse sized dog who seemed to be ‘het’.
The dog slunk slowly back to the caravan past my ‘hiding tree’ and little heads began to peer round corners followed by kids nervously heading back to the den. I stood looking on with the waves breaking round me. Wide eyed and panting.
Subscribe to the Worth Your Weight In Gold Podcast and start living an amazing life from today! Over 6 episodes, you will learn how I changed my life despite not losing my excess weight and how you could too.
Listen to Episode 1, Worth Your Weight In Gold for free.
Episode 1 is an introduction discussing my obese Body Mass Index (BMI), my fears and the achievements I managed to reach despite them. Reaching Everest Base Camp, The rim of Kilimanjaro and Open Water Swimming in the Mersey. It’s not about what I’ve done, it’s a flavour of what you could do.
Episode 2 How The Tortoise Won That Race, looks at using humility to recognise your physical capabilities and work within them and still believe in yourself enough to do a Marathon.
Episode 3 Putting Your Heart Into Your Dreams, looks at the importance of checking your heart rate during training and shows some examples of heart rate analysis. There is also a section discussing heart rate at altitude.
Episode 4 It’s A Stretch But You Can Do It, contains a detailed description of the different stretching exercises that I go through each day to get me moving. The exercises in this routine can be used as part of a Warm Up or Warm Down before or after a Training Session or an event.
Episode 5 9 Ways To Get Moving Again After A Muscle Strain, covers different exercises and routines to help you get moving again after pulling any muscles.
Episode 6 The Dream Of Everest Base Camp, contains lots of inspiration as I recount my trek to Everest Base Camp and look at the mindset which can take you to such amazing places.
Why was I thinking about horses during the morning commute to the office? Where was the Sheriff and would he be able to help? Why was I thinking in cowboy language? I decided to search Google for the answers. Here’s what I found…
It was another dull morning commute to the office. Cars were backed up for miles as usual as we slowly rolled towards the busy interchange. Slowly but surely I arrived at the give way line and waited for the traffic lights to signal me on. That was when the thought erupted into my head. “Holy shit sheriff, the horses have gone plum loco!” I sat shocked and wide eyed to have just thought something like that. It was as if I’d been momentarily possessed by the loud American Chicken in Tom & Jerry. I drove on to the office with a new found sense of purpose. I needed some answers.
I decided to apply a model called the 5 Whys that I had learnt during some Lean Six Sigma Training. The principle of the model is that you ask the question ‘why?’ related to your problem until you have drilled down into 5 layers of detail. Had I been possessed or simply gone mad? Maybe there was a mad horse galloping around at the interchange and I’d caught it on my periphery vision. Whatever the answer, this detailed mode of thinking was sure to dig it out. I fired up Google and typed in the question. Here’s how the conversation went…
Why did I think, “Holy Shit Sheriff, the horses have gone plum loco?”
Initially Google just returned a lot of forum entries by kids who started their statements with the term, “Holy Shit!” None of those foul mouthed kids really said anything that I found to be of any consequence. Scrolling on, Google listed information about horses. There was even an entry from someone who worked with horses saying how the horse icons in some Nintendo game were extremely life like. None of this was really helping.
Considering my thought itself to be somewhat random, I decided to ask Google about random thoughts.
Q: Why did I have such a random thought?
A: People have random thoughts when they are trying to solve a problem.
At last we seemed to be getting somewhere. I tried to consider the problem I might be trying to solve. Again, I was drawing a blank. I hadn’t read or watched any Westerns lately. I had no issue with any Sheriff or even Law Enforcement in general. I was really pretty law abiding and mostly bored. As to horses, or mad horses, I’m neither interested in, or concerned about horses in general. Where you always see the odd bit of madness among the drivers in the morning commute, there’s nothing particularly horse like about it. Time for more questioning to go a level deeper into the detail.
Q: Why not just think about the problem directly and then consider solutions?
A: ‘Solution Only’ thinking creates a Culture of Advocacy rather than a Culture of Enquiry.
So I shouldn’t just say the answer is 4. Somehow I should wonder why it’s 4 or maybe even if it’s 4? I should explore everything about 4 what it is and what it means. Seemed a bit long winded and clouded with doubt.
Q: Why is a Culture of Enquiry better?
A: A culture of enquiry motivates a climate of trust and validation where we understand the value of questions.
Starting to feel like I’m not getting anywhere again. A climate of trust and validation sounds very comfortable. Kind of like going back to bed. I’ve never really found any answers in bed. Not any that I would care to discuss in public anyway. Maybe I need to turn the mattress. Maybe I need a new mattress. I started to stress about the idea that something was not right with my bed and yet here I was in the office unable to do anything much about it. Deep down I knew there was more to this than the bed. Just so many questions.
Q: Why consider the value of questions when, what I’m trying to find is an answer?
A: Questions support the exchange of ideas. They fuel learning and performance improvement.
So now I’m in the deepest depths of Google and it seems I’m getting ever further from any answers. Instead such guru’s as Wikapedia or even the business genius of the Havard Business Review are extolling the value of asking lots of questions. Promoting the ‘adventure’ of finding answers but NOT in fact OFFERING ANY BLOODY ANSWERS!
Q: Why does none of the above provide any answers?
A: What is the question that doesn’t have an answer?
I screamed and swore at Google. The voice App on my mobile picked the profanity up and initiated it’s own search. In the end my mobile swore back at me 10,000s of times in about 6 different languages. As my monitor lay on the floor and flustered staff tried to restrain me from kicking my laptop, I screamed at them that the horses had gone plum loco and no one seemed to know why!