I can fly again

Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting in on a motivational talk given by Alan Brodie of Mindstore. It was aimed at getting local businesses to think differently about employing young people with learning difficulties (not the current politically correct term but better English than the alternative).

It was a fabulous session and I tweeted it on the council Twitter account, much to the amusement of followers more used to school closures and gritting announcements.

But what Alan said applies anywhere, anytime, especially if a bit of creativity is needed so I thought I’d share some of his observations with all of you.

  • the quality of our thinking affects the quality of our performance
  • we live in extraordinary times. To be successful we need to be extraordinary too
  • extraordinary businesses are run by extraordinary people – Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Dave Briggs, Mary McKenna (couldn’t resist the last two)
  • successful people have the ability to bounce back when things don’t work out first time because they manage their stress well
  • successful individuals and organisations are positive – they don’t do negativity
  • use the delete key in your mind to get rid of negative thoughts
  • choose positivity – it costs nothing and rubs off on other people. ‘Try’ is an excuse to fail
  • if you want to influence people, think about the language you use and make it more optimistic
  • we all used to be kids with great imaginations – what happened? Practise using your imagination. You used to be able to fly for goodness’ sake!
  • successful people are futurists – they recognise the past but they start right here and look forward. They make brand new futures
  • goals and objectives that are realistic and achievable don’t stretch people. Nelson Mandela’s goals weren’t realistic but he exceeded them
  • encourage people to think differently. Don’t ask how, ask why. If we thought realistic and achievable kids wouldn’t learn to walk
  • left side of brain is for lists and spreadsheets. Right side is for art and imagination. Successful people use their brains differently. Left side of the brain wants to look back, right side is innovative and looks to the future.
  • school exercises the logical left side of the brain. Einstein failed physics at school but was brilliant at violin. If he’d kept with the left side we’d have known him as a concert violinist playing other people’s music but the right side of his brain was working and he thought outside the solar system never mind the box
  • we’re at our most creative when we’re the most relaxed. Help staff manage stress and they’ll be more creative
  • when you take a break don’t have coffee – it makes the brain more active in the same way as stress and makes you use left side of your brain
  • Lewis Hamilton describes getting himself ‘snug’ before a race rather than hyped up. This is the perfect state for great performance
  • 30 seconds spent somewhere relaxing in your imagination equals an hour spent in the same place in real life

I hope some of this resonates with you the same way it did with me. Before every meeting I’ll be flying myself to Cape Verde for that 30 second holiday I’ve always promised myself. Who wants to join me?


  1. Mary McKenna · January 17, 2012

    You’ve hit the nail on the head there, Carolyne, about really thinking about stuff. It’s something we mention to people at Learning Pool these days as part of their induction. We explain to newbies that we expect them to really think about the stuff that comes at them from all sides every day in the course of their jobs, because if you think, it saves you a lot of time later.

    Also a good point about putting a positive spin on ideas you want to present to other people – but that brings you back to the thinking.

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