The 3 L's

Idol of the Week: Winston Churchill

I no doubt have a lifetime of my father quoting Churchill to thank for this one, but so many of his quotes have stuck with me over the years…

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It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

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This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.

Winston Churchill and Kaiser Wilhelm at Military Review

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

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Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.

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Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.

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If you are going through hell, keep going.

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Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

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The 3 L's

Idol of the Week: Stephen Fry

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I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance.

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Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.

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Having a great intellect is no path to being happy.

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Life, that can shower you with so much splendour is unremittingly cruel to those who have given up.

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What’s great about them is that anybody can go into them and find a book and borrow it free of charge and read it. They don’t have to steal it from a bookshop. … You know when you’re young, you’re growing up, they’re almost sexually exciting places because books are powerhouses of knowledge, and therefore they’re kind of slightly dark and dangerous. You see books that kind of make you go ‘Oh!’

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I used many times to touch my own chest and feel, under its asthmatic quiver, the engine of the heart and lungs and blood and feel amazed at what I sensed was the enormity of the power I possessed. Not magical power, not all that Carrie teenage telekinetic wank, but realpower. The power simply to go on, the power to endure, that is power enough, but I felt I had also the power to create, to add, to delight, to amaze and to transform. Yet I was unwanted, rejected and unthought of. My mother, yes, she believed in me, but everybody’s mother believes in them. No one else believed in me.

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“Principally of course—oh how one sees that now—myself. Principally, I did not believe in me. I believed in ghosts more than I believed in me, and take my word for it, I never believed in ghosts, I’m far too spiritual and emotional and passionate to believe in the supernatural.”

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The 3 L's

Idol of the Week: Emma Watson

Surely you’ve seen it? Everyone’s talking about it – the internet is going crazy over it. Twitter is pinging with supportive tweets and snaps. Celebrities are clamouring over each other to try and associate themselves with it. I’m talking about Emma Watson’s amazing UN Speech, which can be viewed here.

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I’m a big believer in having idols. I think having people to admire and even envy (within reason) is healthy – without losing sight of ourselves, of course – as it inspires us all to embark on a path of self improvement, and so when those who we admire involve themselves in greater causes, such as charities, it inspires those who look up to them to become involved, and to step back and think ‘how can I help? Is there something about my lifestyle that contradicts this amazing cause? Is there something that I can do?’

I’ve heard some people say things such as ‘why is this little actress getting involved with this stuff? What difference can she make – she’s an actress’. Please. As a member of the Harry Potter generation, its fairly obvious to me just how influential Emma Watson is. The series may be over (for now… who knows, after all), but the Harry Potter generation is ongoing, and therefore whatever ‘Hermione Granger’ has to say, this age group sits up and listens.

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It’s so great that she is obviously fully aware of this fact and is therefore using her voice wisely.

So yes, she is someone who I admire, in the mush that is the often-ugly world of Hollywood; a world of twerking, ‘accidental’ wardrobe malfunctions, sex tapes and… Jesus.. the Kardashians I think I’d cry if either of my younger sisters turned around and said that they want to be just like one of the Kardashians or Miley Cyrus when they grow up, to be quite frank.

So this is a little shout out post to someone who actually speaks sense.. simply because I like people who speak sense, but they are such a rare find!

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I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.

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All I can do is follow my instincts, because I’ll never please everyone.

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But it’s a journey and the sad thing is you only learn from experience, so as much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn.

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I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.

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There’s nothing wrong with being afraid. It’s not the absence of fear, it’s overcoming it. Sometimes you’ve got to blast through and have faith.

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I have felt for the last 10 years I have had this battle; I’ve been fighting so hard to have an education. It’s been this uphill struggle. I was Warner Bros’ pain in the butt. I was their scheduling conflict. I was the one who made life difficult.

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I don’t have perfect teeth, I’m not stick thin. I want to be the person who feels great in her body and can say that she loves it and doesn’t want to change anything.

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The saddest thing for a girl to do is to dumb herself down for a guy.

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I feel that young girls are told that they have to be a princess and fragile. It’s bullshit. I identify much more with being a warrior – a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I’d be a warrior princess, definitely.

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Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love.

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As much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn.

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The 3 L's

Motivation from my Idols

I’ve always been a bit of a ‘collector’ of inspirational quotes and idols, people to admire and look up to, and, in any way possible, learn from. Too many people choose the wrong sort of idols now days, celebrities who have too much of a tendency to get caught with drugs, stumbling around drunk, crashing their expensive cars and generally setting a bad example.

Most of my idols are, and have always been, entrepreneurs, and yet while so many people have heard of their companies, so few can name a single founder’s name, besides a few of the ‘A list’ entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I’ve always been someone who wants to be a ‘business polymath’, rather than purely focusing on photography, or design, or writing. There are so many things I wish to do, notebooks full of business ideas. I’m a big dreamer, but I know my strengths and my weaknesses – I’m creative. My creativity completely engulfs the rest of my personality, in fact. However, I’m having to work heard to learn about the business side of things. I’m not sure that I believe that some people are born with the instinctive knowledge required for building a business empire, but if such a person exists, I most certainly am not one of them. That said, I’m intelligent, I’m hard working, and I make the most of my library card, my kindle, I’m always contacting the right people with the right knowledge, picking their brains, and slowly, I’m improving.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from a few of my entrepreneurial idols. Hopefully someone will be blogging about my business(es) one day.

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To be free is not to have the power to do anything you like; it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open future.

-Simone de Beauvoir. Writer, philosopher, political activist.

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Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favors action. Race balls-out toward the extraordinary life that you’ve always dreamed of, or still haven’t had time to dream up.

-Sophia Amoruso. Founder of Nasty Gal.

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I think you can be a jack-of-all-trades and a mistress-of-all-trades. If you study it, and you put reasonable intelligence and reasonable energy, reasonable electricity to it, you can do that.

-Maya Angelou. Author, dancer, actress, singer.

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It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
-JK Rowling. Author.

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Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as a survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling.

-Anita Roddick. Founder of The Body Shop, human rights and environmental activist.

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The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.
-Gisele Bundchen. Model, actress, producer, entrepreneur.

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The thing about us, is we think big. Huge.

-Mary Kate Olsen. Fashion designer, entrepreneur.

I will never stop working. I want to have something to do. When you work, you’re taking part in life.

-Ashley Olsen. Fashion designer, entrepreneur.

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The lesson that I have learned in life is that we should try and try and try again – but never give up.

-Richard Branson. Founder of the Virgin brand, entrepreneur.

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Don’t worry about being successful but work towards being significant and the success will naturally follow.

-Oprah. TV host, producer, entrepreneur.

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How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.

-Coco Chanel. Fashion designer, Founder of the Chanel brand.

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Life-fulfilling work is never about the money – when you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.

-Eileen Fisher. Fashion designer.

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Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.

-Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister, author, historian, artist.

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The 3 L's

My Thoughts on Bucket Lists

*Firstly, scroll down to the bottom of this page and hit play. Read on*

I’ve just had an interesting conversation with a friend. She has just revealed to me that she hates bucket lists. And not just the term ‘bucket list’, but the whole concept of making a list of everything that you want to do in life and working your way through it.

Her argument is that if you make a list for your life, there are only two ways that it will turn out:

1) You’ll write your bucket list, usually when you’re still at school (I myself wrote my first bucket list when I was about fourteen), and then you’ll lock it safely away in a drawer, waiting until you finish school, at which point you can finally start living. And then after that you’ll wait through college… university… your first job (you apparently usually need a bit of financial security before you can start on the list)… your second job… then you get married and have kids and suddenly… you’re too old. You’re retired, and suddenly your OAP heart is striking a big black ‘x’ through half the list: skydiving, surfing, taking part in 4 deserts, etc. As for the other things on your list (and I’m just going by the 50 most common aims to appear on people’s lists), you never became a millionaire, never won the lottery, there’s still big chunks of the world that you never saw, nor have you seen most (if not all) of the seven wonders of the world. Basically, according to my friend (who I’d like to point out, is not as negative and moody as this is making out – she’s apparently only negative and moody when it comes to the ‘dreaded list’ 😉 ), you just end up angry and disappointed that life got in the way, and you didn’t complete what 15 year old you swore you would by the time you were 30/40/50. And then you forget to realise what you did achieve; you married, you had kids, grand-kids, you paid off your mortgage. ‘Normal’ achievements in life.

2) Or, you become so obsessed with your bucket list that you do the exact opposite; life revolves around doing the ‘out there’ stuff; again, skydiving, learning to surf, crazy endurance races, etc, and instead, you never find time for the other side of life: work, friendships, relationships, and so you never marry, never have kids, never settle down, and you’re still a ‘renter’ when you turn 50 because you’ve never stopped fixating on the ‘amazing list’ long enough to think about growing some roots. So then instead, you end up lonely, with no property to call your own, and nothing but memories, photographs, and souvenirs – with no one to show them to.

She paints a pretty grim picture, wouldn’t you say?

And now for my opinion on the matter.

I love bucket lists. In fact, not just bucket lists – I love lists. As someone who was born without an ‘off switch’, they keep me organised, they help me to remember every single one of my crazy thoughts and ideas when my mind is working like a runaway train and I can’t physically start and complete every single idea before the next one comes along. And, best part, when I do need to take some time off and find myself distracted, list-making is the best sort of procrastination, because think about it, when I finally reach a point when my mind body is screaming enough! I can grab a pen/laptop and scribble out a to-do list, and then suddenly, that list turns from procrastination to motivation and boom, I’m off! And as I already have a list there ready, all I have to do is get to work!

But I’m getting off track slightly. Bucket lists.

I probably fit into a much more cheery option 2). I’m 21 years old, and I’ve already completed my first bucket list, and written out a whole new one. Granted, list two may well take longer than seven years to complete, but I’m just proud with myself to have already completed one 58-point list by my twenty-first birthday. My bucket lists (and my day-to-day to-do lists) keep me motivated, they keep me busy, and it gives me something to aim at each day. Recently, I’ve realised that I’ve spent most of this year simply existing – not meaning to sound really cheesy. I’ve thrown myself into work, pushed too many creative projects to the back-burner, and I pretty much forgot how to have fun and to enjoy life. And I ended up completely miserable. I hid my new bucket list away and I dread to think how many days of this year have been wasted.

And then as recently ago as mid-July, it all hit me while I was in Portugal. I spent one day wallowing and convinced that I’d completely forgotten how to genuinely laugh and relax and have fun, two days figuring out what it is that I want in life so that I can set a goal and start working towards it, and two weeks now dragging myself upwards out of that depressing little hole of a life. And now, I feel so upbeat, and so happy, and so positive, motivated, energetic, and excited for the future.

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How I’m feeling today.

I’ve written a ‘second half of 2013’ bucket list. Yes, maybe I focus on my bucket lists a little too much, but I think I’ve re-balanced my life and I’ve started living life spontaneously and equally ticking things off the list again. The way I see it, it’s good to have goals, and to aim to tick something off the list on a regular basis, but equally if something comes up, a spontaneous opportunity, I say yes. Something that I stopped doing for a long, long time.

And then if I think ‘oh, this crazy, spontaneous opportunity that has just arisen, this is a bucket list-worthy event… I add it to my ‘completed’ bucket list.

That’s my list secret. I always keep two; a ‘to do’ list, and a ‘completed’ list. Otherwise you end up sitting there, staring at the list that you’ve just written, be it a to do list, or a bucket list, and it all just looks so overwhelming. There’s so much to do, or so much that you want to do, that it suddenly doesn’t seem possible. There’s suddenly not enough time.

Buttt, if I have two lists, and I can see that I’m already part way there.. brilliant.

Of course, shopping lists are the exception.

As for my friend’s belief that by focusing so much on the things on my list: I mention it again, skydiving (done it) and visiting China (haven’t done it) and everything else I want to do in life – most of which is travel related – I’ll end up alone in a rented apartment full of photographs and souvenirs with no one to show them to. That doesn’t worry me. ‘Get married’ and ‘have kids’ are definitely not on my bucket list, and I’m not about to add them to it just to guarantee that someone is going to be there when I’m 70+.

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PS. R, you’re such a miserable git today 😉

Here.

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