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September 13 , 2009

The Nine Rules

The seduction of rest and how to avoid it


Like many people I guess, I used to wake up some mornings and think: 'What's all this about then?' I mean here we are hurtling through space at a whopping 68,000 miles an hour and spinning at who knows what speed on top of a great round ball that for the life of me looks pretty flat, or at least it does from where I'm standing. I didn't ask to be born, didn't get a choice about where I was born either and for a good few years was told what to do and what to think. But little by little I started to find I had more choices. It was so long ago now I can't remember when it all started but I know I was making my mind up fairly young. Will I try this walking thing again or go on crawl- ing? Will I smile at my mum or my dad? Will I spit this out to see that look on their faces; hey it was funny the last time. Watching my own children grow from babies to toddlers to youngsters has reminded me just how determined you have to be to learn all that stuff. Walking, eating, listening and talking, never mind learning to tie your shoelaces or ride a bike without stabilisers. Then there's school and the school playground. Meeting new people, walking home for the first time. Not talking to strangers (who is a stranger anyway?), and remembering to come straight home and not get mucky along the way. Added to that there's the frustration and confusion of not knowing how things work. And I'm not talking electric light bulbs here, we're talk- ing about growing up. Still I guess finding out about the world was exciting enough to make up for the steep learning curve. 'I wonder what it will be like when I'm an adult and I know everything?'. Travelling, journeys; I guess I've always loved them. The first ones were fairly short, to about the end of the sofa as far as I can recall, but gradually they got longer and longer. Now here's a strange thing. I would have said up until about a year ago: 'Wow I'd never have dreamt I'd have achieved so much nor had so many amazing adventures.' But now I realise I was wrong. Compared to what I imagined as a child, expeditions to ski the Saharan sand dunes, fly a bi-plane or run around the Alps are pretty run of the mill. What happened to all those huge amazing dreams? Sailing oceans and flying into space. I've been around long enough to know that in the grand scheme of things, to say I'm insignificant would be making me sound important. I don't need to visit a natural history museum or watch a documentary on the origins of the universe to know my place. So the journey I found myself on recently seemed to have some urgency; to find out why my life seemed so important to me when all the evidence suggested that it wasn't important at all. I hadn't seen the world in quite that way since I was a child, the excitement of trying to figure out what was going on but also at times being very frightened about what was out there. Now let me be honest, when I say recently you might think I'm talk- ing about a few weeks ago or maybe a month or two, but the truth is we're talking years - from about 1985 until 2005 to be exact. Okay so I know what you're thinking, I'm a slow learner. Just remember some people never get this stuff. The result of that twenty-year odyssey is the '9 rules'. For me it's a framework for making sense of my experiences and a tool to plan a successful future. Now you might think that anyone with an ounce of sense would try to make life easier for themselves. Why go around making things any more difficult than they need to be, right? And yet that's the trouble with the '9 rules'; they are simple but not at all easy. If you're eager to know what they are by now, I would advise you to wait. If you can do this, put off the urge to know the answer NOW; I can tell you that you will have a greater chance of following them when we do go there. If I can take 20 years to work this stuff out, you can wait a few more pages. The folks that already use the '9 rules' in their own lives always ask the same question at the start: 'So why did you make them so hard?' That's a good question and to answer it we need to look at the history of how I got here. Welcome to the journey and remember, this is YOUR life so turn up for it. As someone once said to me: 'If you don't care about making a great life for yourself, why would anyone else show up to help you?'
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