Let there be Light in 2016: No 169
22nd December 2016
Artist David Hockney said “Listening is a positive act: you have to put yourself out to do it.”

There is a huge difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak but how often do we really listen instead of formulating our next response? Active listening and others’ listening of us are way more than just the words. It is not so much understanding the words but why the question was asked in the first place.

In these frenetic last spending days before Christmas how about choosing to give someone the gift of truly listening to them? It will let them know that they are important to you; that their opinions really matter, and that they are valued.

Putting our own worries, opinions and judgements to one side takes a simple decision. Deploying our senses to see subtle changes in the face and body, or hear the nuances of tone, emphasis, language and sentence construction only requires us to be present and not off in our heads worrying about something else.

Happy Christmas.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 168
13th December 2016
Eleanor Roosevelt wrote “There is nothing to regret- either for those who go or those who are left behind.”

I am so deeply touched this morning for a friend who’s dear wife took her life yesterday under the deep sadness induced by suffering chronic pain. No more wise, kind nor gentle a man have I known in my life.

People leave. We leave jobs, relationships and life itself when the pain of staying gets so much bigger than the pain of leaving. I wish I had got this as a young man and not now as an older one with the scars to show for it.

Being the one left behind is tough duty.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 167
9th December 2016
Noel Coward wrote “I love criticism just so long as it is unqualified praise.”

We can all defend ourselves against criticism but we are defenceless in the face of praise. What’s more we all tend to praise those who praise us.

Odd then that is so low profile and so often difficult to accept and receive.

Why not pick someone worthy of praise and give it to them today? It might just improve the day for at least two people.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 167
5th December 2016
Thomas Edison wrote “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Being defeated is a temporary condition unless we give up and make it permanent.

And as Sun Tzu tells us in the Art of War “If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.”

Better then to live like a lone lion today than one of a million sheep.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 166
21st November 2016
Greek author Aesop (622BC) said “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

I’ve been thinking about kindness a lot recently. It’s a language that the deaf can hear, the blind can see and the Dalai Lama describes as his religion and yet it is so often softly spoken and hidden from general view.

A good deed is never lost. If we sow courtesy, we reap friendship, If we plant kindness we gather love. We need more love in the world.

So, how about a little more thought and a little extra kindness today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 165
15th November 2016
Benjamin Franklin said “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”.

Last night I saw an entrepreneur take this to a new level with a self-administered early morning electronic tagging product which gives you an electric shock if you don’t get up and get downstairs to remove it in time.

The idea is to not so much to wake you up but to get you up and avoid a snooze button approach to life.

Self-discipline is an area with which we can all do with help from time to time. Why stop with an alarm shock? How about a fridge shock, smokers’ shock, choc shock or booze shock? Each could all electrify their respective markets.

Where would you benefit from a bit of personal shock treatment?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 164
10th November 2016
Brazilian businessman Eike Batista said “What I learned from my father is to think big.”

From time to time we all get lost in our own minutiae, but the trick in life is not to live there permanently, because this can only lead to a small life focused on the essentially unimportant.

Love him or loathe him, we all have to admit that Donald Trump didn’t become the most powerful man on the planet by thinking small. How about us today? Will we be focusing on the small details that will keep us small or on big ideas that could change the lives of others for the better?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 163
9th November 2016
Confucius said “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

I am calling the US election, even if Hilary isn’t ready yet.

An unexpected victory by Donald Trump contrasts with the recent similar Brexit outcome when the world also went to bed expecting one answer to experience an alternative dawn.

Irrespective of your views about The Donald, nobody can claim that he has hidden his controversial views. He may have struggled a little with the truth on occasion but there was no hiding his plans to demolish trade deals and redraw other key relationships with the likes of NATO, Mexico and Muslims. He has offended many people, not minced his words and been abundantly clear.

Contrast this with Brexit. The Leave campaign, by comparison were disingenuous about Turkish membership of the EU, used misdirection on NHS funding, and did not come clean that they were planning to take us out of the single market.

You have to hand it to Trump. He took everybody on, didn’t hide behind a cloak of pretence and he won fairly by carrying enough of the American people with him.

Donald…you are not a safe pair of hands but nonetheless…..You’re Hired!

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 162
7th November 2016
Marcus Aurelius “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

Yesterday, one of you sent me a list of ‘The golden rules to happiness.’ It covers stuff like ‘don’t stress over the little things’ and advice about staying healthy, eating well, and establishing a healthy balance between spending your money on what you love and saving it for a rainy day.

All good advice, but it strikes me that you cannot create happiness; it is a feeling to be discovered and is either in your life or something to which you are not attuned.

Why don’t we all simply choose to be happy today, no matter what is in our lives at this moment? Happy is a way of being, not a goal achieved by doing.

Don’t worry, be happy……

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 161
3rd November 2016
Rudolf Nureyev said “You live as long as you dance.”

They also say that life is best spent not waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain. I get it.

We’ve all faced that moment when dancing in a group when a circle is formed and it’s your turn to strut your stuff in the middle. The majority cringe if they can’t avoid it by peeling off to the toilet, and step up self-consciously into the vacant space riddle with self-conscience, all the time praying they don’t look too embarrassing. There are a few polished dancers who show off and dance to impress, and occasionally, one or two, usually drunk who let loose with abandon.

The difference between the first two groups and the drunks is the latter have lost their compelling fear of looking bad which holds us all back from being who we could be.

Dance to express not to impress. Get drunk on living an extraordinary life. Step into the circle and let go more often. I dare you to try it today. Go on……

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 160
31st October 2016
Actress Demi Moore said “The thing is most people are afraid to step out, to take a chance beyond their established identity.”

Who are you, really? Which of the roles that you play is really you? Are you a father or a son? A mother or daughter? Friend or foe? Partner or Ex? Fearful or hopeful? Worried or excited? A critic or a fan? A teacher, a coach or a learner? A supplier or a customer?

We are most of these are we not, and usually simultaneously?

And…. are you what you feel or what others believe of you?

The next time you hear yourself say ‘I’ you might pause to consider the ‘who’ that you mean.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 159
20th October 2016
Donald Trump said “If people can just pour into the country illegally, you don't have a country.” In saying so he touched a raw nerve on the surface in many countries, as seen in Brexit and other recent votes.

When those who seek office speak the truth our whole way of life is threatened if they choose to make their points in divisive ways. If Hilary is a witch, doctors can’t be trusted, Mexicans are to blame and the EU is the root of all that is wrong, our lives descend into blame, recrimination and perpetual in-fighting.

Take UKIP. They win their case blaming the EU for all ills, and with that battle won and our grandchildren facing the long term consequences good or bad, they turn on each other and literally start fighting in the street.

Imagine if that were to take place in the US Presidency. Let’s you and I not descend to the depths of blaming others today, and set a better example.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 158
14th October 2016
On July 20th 1969, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin said “Contact Light” when Apollo 11 landed. These were the first words from the moon. It was six hours later before Neil Armstrong took one small step for man.

What we think we know is actually a fiction that we carry with us offering a context through which we interpret all we encounter in life, but it’s not real.

1. For example do you know what plasma is? Well, it accounts for 99% of the known Universe. A Plasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter, the others being solid, liquid, and gas. They are used to etch the tiniest holes in phone and computer chips which at ten nanometers are smaller than a bacterium. They also offer the prospect of limitless clean energy.

The Northern Lights are light energy emitted by plasma from the Sun which are forced around the Earth by the Ionosphere and Magnetosphere. The what? I rest my case.

And there I was thinking I am clever because I’ve finally worked out how to speak to Siri on my iphone.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 157
13th October 2016
Willem Dafoe said “I set myself challenges every time I work. Ideally, I approach everything as though it's the first time - with a beginner's mind and an amateur's love.”

Yesterday was a day of firsts.

One of you took me to Maze restaurant in London and I got to create my own dessert in a Gordon Ramsey kitchen. Another invited me to an inspirational service at St Paul’s Cathedral where under its famous dome the beautiful choral music lifted our spirits high.

When we do something for the first time, it releases a wee demon in us, which offers up sight of new possibilities for ourselves and our lives.

What are you going to do for the first time today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 156
10th October 2016
Bob Dylan said “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”

I’ve just spent a couple of wonderful weeks with my dad who at 83 is of course no longer the towering powerful lion I remember as a boy. We talked a lot about about our memories of the past and I saw how we each remember uniquely.

Some moments still vivid in my mind have been completely forgotten by my dad, others we recalled very differently, and only a few were remembered similarly.

Our memories become subject to the perpetual stories we hold in our heads about life and get continually replayed within the context of these stories, time and time again and are therefore as unreliable in fact as they are reliable in how each moment made us feel.

I will forever remember these past two weeks for the deep love we have always shared for each other, despite heated differences of opinion between father and son over the years.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 155
6th October 2016
Marilyn Monroe said “Sometimes I feel my whole life has been one big rejection.”

Some of us are crushed by even minor put downs, criticisms or rejections. It always hurts at some level to receive ‘feedback’.

Separating the event itself from the accompanying emotion is not always easy. It is a learned behaviour that distinguishes the great from the good.

Write, build, perform or create something and you are bound to attract fans and critics, usually not in equal measure, but both the praise and criticism heaped upon you are worthless and meaningless. They are just the projections of their own internal stories of your critics onto your behaviour.

When you get neither, or just praise or just criticism, the challenge of reaching your audience has probably not been overcome.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 154
30th September 2016
Sepp Blatter famously said “Fifa cannot sit by and see greed rule the football world. Nor shall we.” (LOL!)

Whoever fights monsters needs to watch that in the process he does not become a monster. If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear, and our deepest fears are never satisfied or relieved. This is why we keep chasing things like money, food, education, attention when we already have enough.

Few will keep fitting more and more heating into their homes or keep layering more and more tarmac onto their drives. The ‘Enough’ gene kicks in. But we all have areas where we are greedy and can never have enough.

What role will greed play in your life today? Do you even realise he’s with you?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 153
29th September 2016
Richard Branson said “You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

Did you know that it is ok to publish a photograph of the Eiffel Tower taken during the day but if you snap it after dark the image belongs to the firm who set up the lights who can sue you?

We learn rules about honesty and integrity - that the truth matters..... and that success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square. Our relationship to rules is complex and it matters which rules we choose to follow.

The Golden Rule is to keep your word, including that to yourself, for without this we lose all control of our being and relinquish it to the five year old who’s deep hurts and fears have now become our automatic responses to life.

What role do rules play in your life?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 152
28th September 2016
Lewis Carrol wrote of Alice in Wonderland that one day she came upon a fork in the road and a Cheshire cat atop a tree:

‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' 'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat. 'I don't much care where -' said Alice. 'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat. '- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation. 'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.”

It has taken me a lifetime to realise that our journey is not about the decision as to which route to take but the opportunity of meeting others on the road.

The opportunity to share and be at one with the cat was in Alice’s blind spot. Her real opportunity was not one of gaining a direction for herself but of welcoming the cat into her life with all the possibilities that this would inspire.

This discovery has come to me as an outcome in my participation in something called the Landmark Forum. Check it out.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 151
26th September 2016
Scottish poet Robbie Burns wrote “The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy”

Visiting Ayr in Scotland this week with my dad who has always been a massive ‘Rabbie’ Burns fan I’ve been struck by just how deep-rooted and long in the tooth is the human condition. We’ve been grappling with the same issues for centuries.

Another Burn’s poem opines:

‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us! It wad frae mony a blunder free us, An' foolish notion: What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us, An' ev'n devotion!’ In the end it seemingly all comes down to now and our decisions in this moment.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 151
20th September 2016
American Author Joyce Meyer wrote “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind."

So much of our life experience and how life shows up for us is governed by the way we choose to view what is in our lives. My experience is that once we set our minds onto a negative track we find it hard to recover any relationship.

Who in your life are you starting to resent because they don't match up to your ideals? Resentment is the beginning of the end for every relationship because it is felt by both parties if only held by one. Do you still want that person in your life?

The road of resentment has but one destination and staying off it needs careful balance of the good with the imperfect. Once we fixate on the latter, that relationship is dead.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 150
14th September 2016
American Spiritualist Marianne Williamson wrote “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us."

I've been doing something called the Landmark Forum which is transforming what it means to be a human being to break us out of the psychosis that the world we each think we see, that is different to what everyone else sees, is real. If we all see and experience something different driven by what we have learned to believe, reality disappears and is replaced by the battle of opinions with which we now live. It lies at the heart of war, genocide, and all relationship collapses.

Such a world is characterised by people being passionately AGAINST stuff. What we need is to recapture a mindset of being FOR what matters. You might think this to be semantics but language is everything…literally, because an idea or a view only exists in language whether shared or inside our heads.

Why not share what you are for today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 149
9th September 2016
American Clergyman Edward Everett Hale wrote “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Sometimes all you can do is take the next step on the climb, on the basis that your only other choices are to go backwards or to die where you are. I find this helps when I'm tired, stressed or worried…..just keep going.

When the going gets tough………

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 148
8th September 2016
American Educator Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote "The course of life in unpredictable. No one can write his autobiography in advance."

So far in 2016, the price of oil has dropped by half, over 10 million people have voted for Donald Trump, Iceland and Ireland made the Semi's in the Euros, and more people voted for the UK to leave the European Union than for anything, ever, in the history of our democracy.

Clearly, extrapolation from the past is an unreliable source for the future. Literally anything could happen. Yesterday a successful businessman told me he was seriously considering a pet hamster for the office to keep the troops happy. See what I mean?

What will you do today that is completely out of character for you in response to the changes going on all around you? Start breeding hamsters perhaps in advance of the opening opportunity in the corporate market? If not this, then what?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 147
7th September 2016
Bee Gee Barry Gibb said "As long as you're having fun, that's the key. The moment it becomes a grind, it's over."

I am often surprised by the number of people who choose not to have fun and seem addicted to the grind, liked self-imposed slavery and misery merchants. Sometimes the expectation amongst people is that you are not supposed to have fun, especially at work. Nonsense of course.

Working hard and having a laugh go hand in hand, as do enjoying our wider lives and having fun.

In a retail business you get to experience all sorts but you find the ones you warm to and want to help are those who are polite and humorous, while the angry ones who insult you might get what they want but at the cost of their dignity and humanity.

Why not tweak your next out of office message or deliberately smile at 10 people today? Why on earth wouldn't you, no matter what you are suffering?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 146
6th September 2016
Welcome back.

Aristotle wrote "My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake."

Some friends you don’t see for 30 years and you re-click in an instant. Others you see every day while the flame of friendship is slowly extinguished. Often, in retrospect your best friends, with whom you share most common cause turn out to have been those who you thought were colleagues, not friends.

It's always a slightly tricky moment when old friends re-unite because some are deemed more successful than others, at least in their own minds by their own measures. Some 'friendships' can feel pretty competitive but the ones that endure are founded on love and are bereft of comparison, competition and criticism when imperfections come to the fore. We've all known long term pseudo-friendships that become unmasked in the light of events.

To whom are you truly a great friend? Be honest. And if the chips were down, who could you reach out to for help who you just know would be there for you in a crisis? Who looks after you more than you look after yourself?

Why not give them a little more of your time today……?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 145
24th August 2016
Voltaire wrote ""Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is absurd."

Every day I'm reminded of Benjamin Franklin's line about nothing in life being certain save death and taxes, because we all live as though so much else is so certain. We may not last the hour, your trust and faith will be tested daily, and you will let yourself down. Nothing is certain, not even death ccording to many, and definitely not taxes if you are Amazon or Starbucks.

Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds and fanatics and exists as an unattainable ideal in the minds of the wise and the curious. We strive not so much for knowledge but for a feeling of certainty. In business, when I meet the certain I am reminded of Decca who were so certain that guitar bands were on the way out that they passed on the Beatles. Another phrase for a certainty junkie might be 'blind fool'.

Try embracing doubt today and notice just how uncomfortable it feels. What if everything you believe were nothing but a fiction created by your mind to explain away your life journey? What if you were completely uncertain about everything and all there ever was were the events happening in the moment?

Doesn't feel comfortable does it? No doubt you have already sought to re-assure yourself that death must surely be a certainty and Starbucks are the exception that prove the rule etc…..Don't worry…it’s part of the human condition to need certainty even when we know its an illusion.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 144
23rd August 2016
Nelson Mandela said "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

Mistakes are always forgivable if we have the courage to admit them and learn from them. As Jules Verne wrote; "Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth."

We all fear failure but having the courage to take it on in the small things as well as the big stuff is where our lives are really won or lost.

Catch yourself today when you say 'no' and ask yourself, what would you do if you were not afraid? Afraid of it looking stupid or losing something. Then just do it.

As Susan Jeffers suggested feeling the fear and doing it anyway releases our lives.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 143
22nd August 2016
Viktor Frankl wrote of his time in Auschwitz "..there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”

Modern times have brought forth the unexpected outcome of an existential vacuum for modern-day man. Robbed of our some of our base animal instincts to tell us what we have to do, and of many traditions that describe what we ought to do, we are left with working out what we wish to do. What we often wish to do is conform with what other people do or the opposite which is itself a product of conformity, or we do what we are told to do (totalitarianism).

Have you ever thought that the meaning of life might simply be to endure whatever suffering we each encounter as best we can, rather than trying to avoid it? Imagine if it were pain and suffering which gave your life meaning and not comfort and consumption.

Why not try welcoming pain today as an opportunity to bring meaning to your life rather than anger, self-pity or misfortune?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 142
15th August 2016
Ho Chi Minh said "Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty."

Here in Hanoi in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is a big name from the past who famously challenged US military might by pointing out that "You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it."

I wonder just how free we or any other people really are these days.

To be critical of a special interest group will have you attacked by a series of internet trolls at the very least. Everybody who shouts angrily cannot get their own way. Perhaps we now expect too much individual freedom for us to actually remain free as a society?

We are today ruled by flash mobs often whipped up by sensationalist reporting of scant facts; a form of special interest terrorism.

Are we each now too big for our collective boots?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 141
9th August 2016
Confucious said "Silence is a true friend who never betrays."

Is there anyone who's life not too busy and over-filled with noise these days? News that runs 24/7, Twitter, always on smart phones, video streaming and the number of possibilities to just do stuff has exploded. The temptation to fill every unforgiving minute with 60 seconds run with itunes blasting in our ears is seemingly too seductive.

Have you actually tried to sit in silence for even just half a day, with no prompts, the voices in your head hushed and distractions in your midst ignored through deliberate choice? No books. No music. No chat. No TV. No meetings…just silence.

Even in the most beautiful music there are silences, which are in there so we can witness the importance of silence. Being truly silent is not as easy as you might think but it brings growth and strength.

In support of silence I will reduce the frequency of this note during August.


Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 140
8th August 2016
American actress Clare Danes suggested "Relationships are a constant negotiation and balance."

What is the quality of our lives if not the quality of our relationships and how they make us feel? Negotiating is possibly the most important life skill they don't teach you at school. It's not about how you get more but about growing, and sharing more of the opportunity cake.

We all know people who choose to quietly grind the other side down, those who will project powerful emotions to win their case, and those who try to bury you in detail and smoke screens to baffle and beat you into submission.

I've recently been on the end of some win/lose negotiations where my teams have won and lost. In each case it has felt pretty uncomfortable. In the end a negotiation is about getting what you feel you need, but the other side must not feel bullied, exploited or done to. This can be a fine balance to keep and a difficult distinction to spot. If anyone forces their way or capitulates it will always end in lose/lose.

How the other side feels about a deal matters just as much as how you do.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 139
5th August 2016
Eleanor Roosevelt is responsible for my favourite quote about the fairer sex; "A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."

I am taking part in the Landmark Forum which is a global action-orientated movement to improve life via the closeness of loving relationships and the possibilities we can create together when released from the stories in our heads which colour everything we feel.

I don't know what is says about me but until joining the forum it had not dawned on me just how most of my strength is drawn from the women in my life and how much angst and irritation flows from my relationships with other men. Of course there are a few exceptions in both genders who prove the rule but the large extent of the imbalance had remained a blind-spot to me until yesterday.

If you've never heard of the Landmark Forum, check it out and seriously consider doing it yourself….and I'm as skeptical as they come……

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 138
4th August 2016
American author Helen Keller wrote "Life is either a great adventure or nothing."

Yesterday morning my friend Sue shared leadership advice and anecdotes with me over a coffee and Danish at St Pancras Station. We talked about the powerful resilience of human beings and our capacity to bounce back, about authenticity and about the willful blindness we allow to persist in our lives. On our parting Sue asked me how I would now shed the light inherent in our discussion.

Thinking about this during the day and about Sue herself it struck me that she dares to take every day as a new opportunity for adventure, she focuses on what is possible rather than waging a perpetual war on her problems, and if she shares herself, her thoughts and her dreams with others. In that moment I saw something for the first time that had always been there but hidden in a blind spot. Adventurers in life don't all carry ice picks and back packs. They do bring all of themselves. They are 'All in' focused on their adventurous outcomes and see problems as doors to different possibilities rather than barriers to progress.

Life is a massive challenging adventure not a game of survival in safety. What posibilities do you see for your own adventure today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 137
3rd August 2016
In Dr Seuss it says "Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act."

Teenagers can be notoriously careless because the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for a child’s ability to plan and think about the consequences of actions, solve problems and control impulses does not mature until early adulthood. Adolescents rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve their problems much more than adults do. It is associated with impulse, aggression and instinctive behaviour. This is why they can seem very careless, say they don’t care and yet can be clearly seen to care deeply by virtue of their actions.

By the same token, as adults we can get so locked into caring about looking good and not looking bad that we can become obsessed with caring about minor inconsequential matters while the important stuff gets ignored like caring for our health, well-being and the key relationships which form our lives.

Teenagers have an excuse but adults do not. Why not pick something today that you know you really care about but have been ignoring and give it some due care and attention?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 136
2nd August 2016
Canadian author Yann Martel wrote " Reality is how we interpret it. Imagination and volition play a part in that interpretation. Which means that all reality is to some extent a fiction."

I recently attended The Landmark Forum, something which I would whole heartedly recommend to you as an enlightening way to spend 3 intense days in thought and feeling.

During the forum I came to understand just how much of life is hidden from our view in what Donald Rumsfeld coined as the domain of the "Unknown Unknowns."

Like the fish swimming through water unaware of, and oblivious to the water in which it exists, so too are we unaware that we exist inside the fictional stories inside our heads through which we interpret and give meaning to all events.

What's your story?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 135
1st August 2016
Aristotle wrote "The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival."

The pace of our lives these days, driven by the instant availability of information and the opportunity to do so much more than was possible when we were kids has led to us all living life in what used to be the fast lane.

The trouble with life in the fast lane is that we may get to visit a lot of places but to do so we must move at pace through the moments that make up our lives. Live in a village and you get to know it. Walk through it and you get a sense of it. Drive through it and you might just notice it. Fly past and the place hardly registers.

Why not take things a bit more slowly today and walk, to be more aware of your life? You can always jump on another plane tomorrow. Slow down, you move to fast….don't they look so young….

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 134
29th July 2016
Jimi Hendrix never made it to thirty but was wise enough to spot " When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."

In these difficult days when hatred, oppression, blame, envy and fear seem to be rampant and on the rise, we seem as a species to be ignoring the wisdom of many like Gandhi who told us an eye for an eye ends up with the whole world blind.

As Yoda opined "When you look at the Dark Side, careful you must be. For the Dark Side looks back."

So, how do we as individuals contribute to the force for good? To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to a family, to bring peace to all, we must first discipline and control our own minds which means we each need to work with a voice that is not our own for you won't outsmart yourself.

So why not smile and reach out for help? Because the voice in your head says you might look stupid? Let's be more than that today.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 133
27th July 2016
Leonardo di Vinci wrote "The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions."

Our strong suits are those attributes to our personalities that we normally mention in relief by for example saying 'Patience is not my strong suit.' When we talk positively about our strong suits we talk instead of what we are 'good at.'

What we are good at tends also to be what we are known for and you can usually pick three or so of these strong suits in each person and upon which they rely to power their success.

But where do these strong suits come from and what brings them into being? It turns out that we simply choose them in response to the formative moments in our lives when we first feel we are not enough, we don’t belong and we are on our own.

If we choose to stay defined by our strong suits we are living the life chosen by an upset 7 year old. Playing to your possibilities and not your strengths might just free you from your fears rather than shield you from them.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 132
26th July 2016
C.S. Lewis wrote "Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching."

We have probably all heard this before and I've always thought it was about your true character, because nobody I know personally behaves the same way all of the time with all people. We all moderate our behaviour according to the situation and our opinion of the person we are with. You do not act the same way with a lifelong friend who you love as with a business contact you have just met.

I now understand that integrity has everything to do with your relationship to yourself rather than the presence of others.

Integrity is about our word and whether we keep it or not. It is all we have as human beings that places us at the controls in the machine of our minds, which otherwise work on automatic according to the powerful stories we each hold in our heads about who we are.

Being who you decide and caging the ever-present meaning machine in your head that gives false meaning to everything you encounter depends on your word to yourself being your bond.

Ask yourself today "what has actually happened?" and avoid asking "what does this mean?"

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 131
25th July 2016
American actress Mary McDonnell said "We have to get back to the beauty of just being alive in this present moment."

Have you ever stopped to think about in how many areas of your life you are actually on the pitch making the plays, taking the decisions and truly making the choices, as distinct from where and when you are really in the stands experiencing the game but as an observer not as a participant? Much of the time you will be in the stands and not even watching your own game as you journey through life on automatic.

The distinction between being on automatic and being who you are is not an obvious one with which to get to grips. The problem with our minds is that they have been programmed since birth to apply meaning to everything and to gather evidence that supports the meanings we have given to events and to ourselves. We are "meaning-making machines."

As we are all unique and therefore all view events differently from one another, the application of meaning to what happens is different in every case. There are as many interpretations of an event as there are people aware of it and yet we all live with the insanity that we see the truth, and that others see what we see. The impact of all being wedded to our unique interpretations is a world of arguments and division.

What if we were to join a movement of people who are prepared to look beyond our individual conditioning and to just see what happens in the moment as an event and not one indicative of the pre-existing story we each carry around?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 130
21st July 2016
Buddha said "The mind is everything. What you think you become."

Staying positive so that good things will happen is a belief system that contrasts against expecting trouble and succumbing to the fear and anxiety in every moment.

No matter what you're going through, there's always light at the end of the tunnel. It can seem hard to reach but this darkness too will pass and make way for the light. Focus on the light. Focus on a laugh. Focus not on your limits and ignore your ego.

I had a little wobble of confidence and mindset when the Brexit vote landed but I must say I've learned and been buoyed by the actions of Theresa May; quick to act as on Trident; decisive, like being clear she would push the button if it ever came to it; humorous in her handling of PMQ's; and honourable in stepping back from our imminent Presidency of the EU, clearly the just move now that we are leaving. There is something so very positive about momentum and taking decisions without getting bogged down in process and detail.

Very often which decision you take matters so much less than whether you take one and just get on with it. What next? How about airport capacity, infrastructure and housing starts?

Onwards and upwards.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 129
20th July 2016
Albert Einstein said "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious."

Don't you just love humble greatness? Any glimpse of arrogance uncovered is always such a stinging disappointment.

Staying humble and positive by living with more humility and realising that there is always room to be a better you is the mark of true maturity. We all get locked into our egos now and again but we don't all live there and those who do are neither wiser nor superior, just myopic.

Being humble doesn't mean you are timid, just as being kind doesn't mean you should be mistaken for being weak. Usain Bolt is confident for good reason and even talks of being a Legend but he is not arrogant.

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is an important competency critical to success. It is motivating and inspiring. It confers the ability to take the risks needed to push progress further ahead. Arrogance crosses the line of confidence. Arrogant people believe they no longer need to learn, grow, or change. They are right and others are wrong. Donald Trump could soon be the Leader of the Free World. Confident or arrogant?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 128
19th July 2016
Mike Tyson said "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth."

We all have to take a punch now and then unless we spend our lives being scared of trying anything difficult or accept being bullied. What do you need to withstand the punch you didn't dodge?

Sir Ranulph Fiennes talks about the small, agile, versatile teams which he uses in his exploration and business ventures. Such teams bring forth ingenuity and remarkable results. Agility it seems offers the potential for great advantage.

In the space of just 3 weeks the Prime Minister has resigned, the heirs to his throne have knifed each other royally in the back, a pretender has stepped forward and backwards again, the quiet one in the shadows has stepped into the light to loud acclaim, the Cabinet has been weeded and replanted with an entirely different harvest in mind, and we've already ratified Trident.

Contrast this with Labour where during the same period most members of the Shadow Cabinet have resigned, but the Leader hasn't despite a 4:1 vote of no confidence from the team he is supposed to be leading. Long-serving members of the National Executive Council have been on the TV in tears claiming threats of violence and intimidation, new members have already had their voting rights removed because their motives are under suspicion and the whole process looks like being subject to legal action in the courts. Protesting is easy. Everything needs discipline.

Let's just be glad that this version of the Labour Party is not in power at such a crucial moment in our Country's history and that the Tories are at least now getting on with the job in hand. When you take an unexpected punch, agility and iginuity count.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 127
18th July 2016
Franklin D Roosevelt said" It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them."

When we refer to something as a being 'a bit of a coup' it generally means the achievement of something perceived as difficult, by someone not expected to achieve it, and it centres around galvanising sufficient support for the action. We seem to be living in the era of the Coup.

On Friday we saw the attempted Coup d'etat in Turkey where a faction of the army failed in its attempt at a sudden, violent illegal seizure of power from the elected Government.

On the other hand, Brexit has undoubtedly been a 'bit of a coup' for Nigel Farage and his followers once waved away by David Cameron as a collection of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.”

The Coup being mounted by the Labour Party Parliamentary Party to snatch back control and power from Jeremy Corbyn has hit the process and legal buffers. If there is one lesson with coups it is to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

The political Coup successfully completed by Theresa May who has dispatched the previous Administration with alacrity is a lesson in biding you time, moving swiftly and taking the moment as it presents itself.

Donald Trump is engaged in a coup to take over the Republican Party but in the end it will be the people who decide and we are learning that the people need to be careful what they wish for.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 126
15th July 2016
Winston Churchill said" A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

The horrors in Nice last night where indiscriminate mass murder of innocent children took place in the name of one cause or another come close on the heels of the murders of five police officers in Texas and of the suicide bombings at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

Checking Wikipedia this morning I found it lists 83 terrorist events but in what period do you think? This year? No, just in July so far. It makes for depressing reading.

Freedom as we know it is under the most sustained attack it has faced at any point in our lifetime. The rise in fanaticism is not limited to extreme terrorist events. It also appears in other quarters. I am minded of the long serving very experienced members of the Labour Party NEC who weres put to tears because of intimidation last week, and of all the lies spouted during the Brexit referendum on both sides and to drive fear into our hearts.

Violent fanaticism is rooted in blame. Blame is rooted in intolerance. Intolerance is rooted in fear. Fear is rooted in lies. So much of modern life seems to have been foreseen by George Orwell who wrote " In a time of universal deceit-telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 125
14th July 2016
George Bernard Shaw wrote" Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

Change doesn't come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek and now would be a pretty good moment to shift gear.

Winston Churchill said ' To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." and it seems to be the case that nothing is permanent except change so our relationship to it defines us.

We might consider that we are in a moment of huge changes to what we have known, expected and banked on. Nobody knows what will come next. We've already got May and Hammond in the Cabinet so I guess it's only a matter of time before Clarkson lands a key job. Perhaps a Top Gear Cabinet and Boris as Foreign Minister will make us that much more interesting and win us more fans and business around the world? You never know.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 124
11th July 2016
Willie Nelson said "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." I think many of us have been in a state of shock since the Brexit vote. Personally, it has felt like the doctor kept saying that blowing a foot off would not solve our psychological problems but we've gone ahead and done it anyway. The point now is that the foot has gone. It is in shreds. It is no more. It cannot be rebuilt. Our allies and our enemies will react accordingly. This die is now cast whether you think this was a colossal mistake or the best move we could have made because gangrene had set in and would have destroyed us in the end. It no longer matters who was right or wrong, what matters is where we now find ourselves. Our politicians are floundering. Only business can show the leadership we now need.

I was reminded yesterday listening to Stevie Wonder in Hyde Park and watching the wheelchair tennis at Wimbledon that we should not be cowed by our mistakes, our disabilities or the odds. A wise American friend told me on Friday that I had seemingly succumbed to all three and asked how long it was going to be until I was honest with myself and got back on the damned horse. It's good to have wise friends.

I've now snapped out of what I can only describe as depression. We must all do so now because life with just one foot is going to be different but it can be just as fulfilling if we don't allow the fact of our new situation to beat us.

Today is the beginning of our bounce back. We must make sure we focus on being competitive and in explaining to our friends in Europe that it is not them as neighbours but the move towards political union which worried us so much.

We are Steve Austin….the 6 Million Dollar Country…we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to be better, stronger, and faster than before!

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 123
8th July 2016
Stephen Covey wrote " Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships."

Early on in my business career I never understood the deep power and importance of trust and its true foundation. I wish I had known then what I know now today and that many will promise the world to gain your friendship and only the truly trustworthy will promise less.

I remember wondering why Eminem said that trust is hard to come by and that he keeps his circle of friends tight and is kind of funny about making new ones.

Trust in the end is something that is steadily earned over time. Where I've made mistakes it's when I've trusted someone else over someone I knew I could bank on not letting me down. Lots of people promise they can do what others do, and sometimes they even believe it themselves, but promises are not as powerful as a deep and long history of never letting you down as a partner.

Who in your life can you really trust who has never let you down, ever? They are a rare breed and like gold dust.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 122
7th July 2016
American Theologian Tryon Edwards wrote "Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past."

My mum always taught me not to look for nor expect any apology. Too few may be given and not enough of those given accepted, but in seeking an apology you become locked either into your ego or into kicking someone else's ego.

Some apologies are of course not real apologies. An apology for someone else for example is not an apology at all. Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn perhaps sought to gain political credit by apologising for the Blair Cabinet that took us to war, but we all see through that sort of thing and it reflects badly on the 'apologiser.'

Neither is a partial apology worth much because we all get some things wrong every day and to apologise for being imperfect is a statement of universal fact. Tony Blair could have said "Look, I'm sorry it turned out as it did." This without the 'but…' would still not have satisfied those baying for his blood, nothing satisfies the desire for revenge, but the rest of us would have understood and respected him for it. But the qualified apologies to which Mr Blair has become used ie"If I was guilty of this then I apologise" are not read as apologies but as denials.

'Sorry' seems to be the hardest word.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 121
6th July 2016
Abraham Lincoln said"You cannot escape the responisibility for tomorrow by evading it today"

On the day of the Chilcott Enquiry findings I am left wondering about responsibility and where it sits in our lives. Whenever you assume a leadership role you will begin to upset people as every decision has winners and losers. Becoming unpopular with many as a leader is as certain an outcome as are death and taxes. If it happened to Churchill, Ghandi and Mandela, it can happen to you, although history might take a different perspective.

Tony Blair and his Cabinet took decisions which led us to war in Iraq and all that has followed. We don't know what horrors might have been in store had we not taken action. We now have a sense of the impact of inaction following our decision not to intervene on the ground in Syria and the resultant horrors. There are no safe choices in these cases. I

don't know if any of these decisions were right or wrong nor what I would have done in the same circumstances. I'm just so glad I wasn't the one who had to make such tough choices. It must be such a gut-wrenching moment to place young men and women directly into harm's way and I don't believe any sane person takes such a moment lightly. Imagine how it must feel to later see the 179 body bags and the mamed return home plus the inevitable carnage of the innocent.

So who is responsible for the death of a loved one doing their duty in war? Is it the evil regime we felt compelled to battle? Is it the Prime Minister for ordering the action? is it the MPs who put the Prime Minister in place? Is it the electorate for voting in those MPs? Is it the MOD for not fighting for the right equipment? Is it the individual for signing up in the first place? Is it the commander who gave the order? In truth perhaps we must all bare and shoulder a little responsibility?

I really don't know but I do know its not as simple as blaming Tony Blair, as much as this might ease the intense pain felt by many. We can all agree that @7 years the report is long overdue.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 120
5th July 2016
Austrian Psychologist Anna Freud wrote"A first visit to a madhouse is always a shock."

Just as the body goes into shock after a physical trauma, so too does the human psyche after the impact of a major loss. Irrespective of your view on Brexit I think we can all agree that we have triggered a global shock that has shaken our stability.

Certainly it has impacted our political leaders with the careers of Cameron, Corbyn, Gove, Farage and Boris in flames, each having poured political petrol onto themselves and lit their own matches to glow brighter than the others.

After the initial panic, in business we need to turn away from the blinding headlights of fear and stress in the thick fog of political indecision and focus hard on staying safe and secure while taking full advantage of the massive changes now in play. There will be winners and losers; which would you rather be?

My own week of panic is now officially over. I'm going to ignore the news from here and instead focus on giving ever more value to our customers so that we remain indispensable to them, no matter which ego or mind set wins through in the politics. When all else fails it's important to remember your customer is your true friend, a relationship based on mutual value that will endure long beyond the latest political meltdown.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 119
1st July 2016
Lyndon B. Johnson said "Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose."

Things change quickly all around us, so it's important to remember that procrastination is like practicing the art of keeping up with yesterday and we know that yyesterday is dead. Tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. It never does seem to materialise.

We have just one day, today. Are you going to be happy in it or do you ascribe to the Age of Anxiety? There is so much we can choose not to enjoy. What we enjoy is a function of what we are programmed or choose to enjoy.

There is a lot to worry about. Plenty to fear. Much we can decide to enjoy. But only if we choose to live for fun and happiness.

Will you choose to live fully today or miss another chance?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 118
30th June 2016
Ronald Reagan said "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat."

This is precisely where we are now as a nation. We need to feel the heat in our decisions and lower the immature sense of kicking the people who need to take tough difficult choices on our behalf. Leading a nation, a party or a team is never a walk in the park.

Triggered by Brexit, but resultant from something much deeper we now face a leadership crisis. I speak of course about English football, our Government and the Labour Party. Scotland, Russia and Germany are all strongly led but we are wallowing in the mire we have created by protesting about the Establishment, despite living in the mother of democracy. We get the leaders we deserve. You don't like your leaders….look first in the mirror.

But leadership is also personal and happens usually in small groups. Last night we led a group of great friends to enjoy spectacular views, dinner, sensual massage and huge bottles of lovely champagne. This wasn't so difficult a challenge to pull off.

Leading people to places that don't seem so wonderful to begin with is much less of an easy task but leaders need followers and perhaps this is our problem; we have forgotten how to be great followers.

Who will you choose to believe in and follow today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 117
29th June 2016
Caroline Kennedy wrote "As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency."

There will always be damaged angry people who rarely have it within themselves to be decent and kind to some others, although everyone has loved ones somewhere. Infact, we all pass up opportunities to be both kind and decent on a daily basis because the opportunities to be so are endless and potentially all-consuming.

In my lifetime, our society has enjoyed decency as its resting state, something which is less strong in other international cultures.

But our society has been growing more disrespectful and less kind. Many bitch too hard about our generosity to others while we have problems at home and the Brexit debate showed the huge extent to which the man and woman in the street have lost respect for experts, the Establishment and others in general. Is it really any wonder when societal leaders re-arrange the facts at will to support their narrow views.

With receding respect, honesty and kindness comes an inevitable degradation in decency within our society.

Let's all lead by example today and be more generous, kind and respectful than yesterday.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 116
28th June 2016
The Dalai Lama wrote "Disagreement is something normal." It has to be ok to disagree with each other if we are to remain friends. Without the ability to be yourself in any relationship, it is doomed to its own demise and already just waiting for the eventual moment of disappointment.

Some of my friends take a different view on Brexit to me, preferring to believe that the burgeoning anti-democatic deficit in the EU is better burst now than left to grow bigger. This view that democracy is under threat is not lost on me. Friends often make different judgement calls and we do so across a number of important issues but stay friends because we understand that judgements are exactly that, just judgements. None of us knows the truth as it has yet to be written or lived.

We all face a common enemy which presents itself in the forms of intolerance and apathy.

The internet trolls, the racists, the haters, blamers and whiners; they are not our friends on whichever side of any particular debate they may stand. We must work together for a brighter future and not let this Dark Side prevail. So, keep shining your light brightly on what is good and fair and decent in life, no matter what your judgement on any particular issue. Shine your light. It will simply glow brighter in the presence of the darkness.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 115
27th June 2016
Ezra Taft Benson wrote " Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. 'How everything affects me' is the centre of all that matters - self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking."

Greetings from Ibiza, where away from the Brexit Melee I've been thinking about it.

I am English but following the Brexit vote, for the first time in my life I no longer feel proud to be so. We have made clear to the world that we are selfish and in the end will let others down; our allies, our own young and of course ourselves.

I've never really warmed to David Cameron but Laura and I both turned to tears when he resigned. It was a surreal moment which was less to do with his demise as PM as it was a really strong deep sense of the sudden and unexpected death of what we thought our country stood for like compassion, a warm welcome, and the confidence to help others.

The Scots will now leave. The Irish should do so too, as will many of our brightest and best. The disgusting comments about our long term friends the Poles who fought for the very freedoms the vile people who target them now exercise, display the views of too significant a minority of the new England. The City of London will diminish. Around the world the news has been welcomed by Donald Trump and Marie Le Penne, the new allies of the English. Putin will be pleased. This possibly says it all.

I never imagined it would feel this way but it does. It really does. RIP Great Britain. We have split the country, unleashed the dogs of hatred and let everyone else down in one fell swoop. This genie ain't going back into the bottle.

I want to say sorry to the generations who are our future and who voted 3 to 1 to remain. I want to hug an immigrant. I want to apologise to the world but it's too late. I don't want to be part of a Little England, nor does Morgan Stanley, and nor will many others of the businesses and immigrants who look after the older English voter who dominated this decision. They have bitten every hand that feeds them, including mine.

I was for remain. Today we are all leavers. Many will choose to leave Little England and take their talent, jobs and taxes with them. In the end the selfish do always lose. We have become the reputation enjoyed by our football fans. Mark my words, in a short while there will be no immigration crisis but an economic mire because too many will leave. The reason we are still the 5th largest economy in the word is in part because of the EU, not despite it.

If we had a referendum on capital punishment. Death would win. This is why we don’t have one. In the end Cameron will be remembered for offering the referendum which removed the Great and the Britain form Great Britain.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 114
24th June 2016
George Orwell wrote "Happiness can only exist in acceptance."

The problem with decisions is that they don’t just affect the people who take them. The problem with referendums is that they demand acceptance in a democracy.

The immediate collapse of the pound today indicates the drop in confidence that the world has in the UK following the Brexit vote. We are in for a bumpy road. Scotland will now seek independence again and will get it this time.

I was for remain and I fear now for the future. I suspect the EU may well begin a collapse and our relationship with our neighbours is set for a pretty tetchy period.

But that was yesterday. Today a decision has been made and we all need to not carp on about what might have been and deal with what is. In different ways I am responsible for the incomes of a few hundred people and I do fear for their future so we must all double down on our efforts to sail ahead safely without sinking through the stormy waters ahead.

It felt like Noah's land yesterday when the rains came but today the sun is up and shining so let's not panic. Let's not allow the divisions highlighted to take hold. And let's hope and work to make the leave camp's view of the positive possibilities a reality rather than try and create an "I told you so" outcome.

I was for remain but today we are all leavers and the sooner we get on board the better.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 114
23rd June 2016
Before his death Steve Jobs said "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."

Today we need to take a big decision, one that will matter hugely to our kids and the generations that follow them. We need to decide what really matters. This is not about rebates, regulations and immigration although many will vote this way. It is about whether we see ourselves as an individual talent or a team player; Independent or interdependent; Together or set apart.

Some will decide that today should be another Dunkirk moment when we escape the ravages of the problems on the Continent by boarding boats and leaving them to it.

Others like me will wish to see us land again in France to help push back the forces of terrorism, sabre-rattling, and econimic stagnation which threaten us all and have begun to over run our neighbours.

Some will say to their grandchildren that they stood up for independence. Others will say that they stood up for our interdependence. The only person you won't want to be is the one who has to say they couldn't be bothered or were too busy to stand up at all.

Don't forget to vote and do get as many others to do so as you can, whichever is your persuasion.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 113
22nd June 2016
The poet W.H. Auden wrote "The friends who met here and embraced are gone, Each to his own mistake."

The decision to turn your back on your friends and walk out of the door leaving them and all you have worked for behind to pursue an independent destiny is a big decision. People leave abusive relationships because they have to. People leave relationships where their partners' values have changed beyond recognition. People leave because they feel trapped, controlled and think they want to live the life of a free unchained singleton.

We are considering leaving our 28 friends in the EU behind. Even the Leave campaign don’t make the case that these friends abuse us. If the values of our neighbours have changed so much that we feel the need to leave then we need to still remember that we can't physically move. We are stuck with the neighbours we have, come what may.

I guess our lives could be made to feel a bit better in the short term by moving out, buying a sporty trade deal and rekindling old flames like the Commonwealth but this usually means a few weeks on a friend's couch and ending up in a small flat on our own. Once the locks are changed, we are locked out of family discussions and we are refused access to the kids without paying maintenance it probably won't feel quite so wonderful.

We will soon know which it is to be. Whatever your view. Do make sure you vote if you have the option.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 112
21st June 2016
Anita Roddick once said "If you can create an honourable livelihood, where you take your skills and use them and you earn a living from it, it gives you a sense of freedom and allows you to balance your life the way you want."

The day after my lad passed his driving test he returned to his parked car to find it smashed by another. What was unusual was the young driver who'd caused the damage had left his details. I ended up contacting his father who immediately offered to make good the damage by paying for the repair.

The estimate came in at £2000. He was fine about this but asked if I could possibly get another reference quote. I was a bit miffed and churlish because I was busy, stressed and just didn't need this additional burden. The second quote came in at less the half.

The repair is now done and dusted but I'm left with a refreshed feeling that there are still plenty of honourable, trustworthy people out there. Just because we can feel irked, doesn't mean we need to choose to do so. Somehow, this small event has helped rekindle my faith in humanity in spite of all the hatred, terrorism, hooliganism and apocryphal politicking that we all have to endure on a daily basis.…….

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 112
20th June 2016
Ian Rankin wrote "The Scots language is especially rich in words to do with the weather: 'dreich' and 'smirr' are only two of them."

Having a Scottish mum, Step mum and wife means the odd Scottish word has invaded the purity of the family discourse. No English person would talk about going out to get the 'messages' (shopping) or say I amn't (I'm not).

Dreich is a word which means 'dull and depressing', something which is a daily matter of discussion in Scotland. There is even a branch of poetry called Dreich Poems. My favourite: "Don't Come! Smirring is to drizzle lightly.

With 23 per cent of the public vote, proving Scotland's love for talking about the weather ‘dreich’ in a recent survey trumped all other classics such as ‘glaikit' (20%), ‘blether' (12%) and ‘crabbit' (11%) as the nation's favourite Scots word.

Today it is smirring and dreich: perfect for a glaikit blethering old crabbit and this blog was not well received by spellchecker…….

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 111
19th June 2016
Frank Pittman American psychiatrist and author said "The guys who fear becoming fathers don't understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the men."

The training we get to be a father all comes from our own experience and we learn from both the good and the bad moments. I learned not to discriminate from my dad who has always walked in Alf Garnet's shoes yet touchingly cried at the death of Mohammed Ali. His head and his heart don't align. I followed his heart.

Some grow up without fathers, some exist with estranged ones distanced by a marital collapse, some lose them to death .Fathers come in many forms. Some are biological, some adopted, and others are simply chosen. The common thread is an undying devotion to serve something greater than himself.

Being a father is no small task. A man must make the choice to step up every day, to work tirelessly to give his love, care, and unwavering passion to another. Talking a good game as a father, and being a man who truly lives that game are not the same. We are all left wanting on one occasion or another.

When it comes to those you love, this is where your most powerful inner strength resides, where you can do more than you ever thought possible to take care of someone else in a way that you’d never do for yourself. The sacrifice, the protection, the unmitigated love. True fathers of this world are courageous and aspiring.

Never let a chance go by to thank your dad, especially because it is not expected of you.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 110
17th June 2016
American musician TobyMac said "On the inside everyone wants to dance."

There are many ways to celebrate but it always begins with a choice to do so in spite of all the disarray and pain in our midst.

We celebrate the impact of others by remembering what they did, like the work of Einstein, the hutzpah of Mohammed Ali and the humanity of Labour MP and mother of two Jo Cox who was murdered in the street yesterday.

In the afternoon I celebrated England's last minute win over Wales in the Euros, last night was spent celebrating the success of some great businesses and today I will be celebrating the work of Year 10 pupils in old school.

There are many reasons to feel sad; many reasons to be worried; many reasons to be stressed. Paradoxically, celebration is at its most powerful when pain looms large so I guess we must never feel guilty about celebrating.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 109
16th June 2016
Geoge W. Bush once said "To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be President of the United States."

Tonight I will be overseeing the Bucks Business Awards where companies and individuals will be recognised for their outstanding work in the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain. We've probably all been awarded something in our lives. It feels good to be picked out from the crowd nowand again, even if we don't ike to admit it.

Awards nights are odd occasions. Part formal and part social you often feel you'd prefer to be down the pub with your mates. But they have a place and that place is to celebrate success publicly and to shine a light not so much on 'best' practice but more on 'next' practice. Above all it’s a night to let your hair down.

That said, we don't learn from successes; we don't learn from awards; we don't learn from celebrity; we only really learn from wounds and scars and mistakes and failures. And that's the truth.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 108
15th June 2016
'The Monk who sold his Ferrari' Robin Sharma wrote "The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal. Take long walks in the woods."

The effect by which one accidentally stumbles across something truly wonderful, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated is called serendipity. We leave no space for serendipity if a dream gets mapped into concrete.

Being completely clear about the future has to be a mugs game. To be sure you want to be a fireman (aged 4) comes from a position of no real knowledge, no experience and no understanding of the world. It’s a good job Mozart and J.K Rowling didn't resolve to become accountants while still in their prams.

Following a dream is like tracking a rainbow; if the dreams don't change as we journey, we are not following our dream but avoiding our fears.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 107
14th June 2016
Mahatma Gandhi said "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."

For hundreds of years the European countries fought and killed each other on a regular basis but now we don't. This is no accident. The EU helps as do NATO, the OECD and other forms of shared resin.

Yesterday 49 souls were gunned down in one go in the States, casualties of a tension between freedoms; one to be gay, another to follow an ideology, and a third to bear lethal arms.

Fragmentation greenhouses differences which in the extreme can lead to hatred. Hatred twinned with the ability to cause serious harm leads to immense pain through violence.

Think hard before you set up conditions for fragmentation. It will hurt in the end.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 106
13th June 2016
Actor Richard E. Grant said "Never give up. You only get one life. Go for it!"

If we laugh a lot, are good to others and never give up, the chances are we are going to look back on our lives with a warm glow. Focus on all the stress, let others down, and quit when the going gets tough and we won't enjoy the glance back.

Don't you find it odd that if you never give up you're bound to succeed and yet we all pack things in? Any fool can give up, and they all do.

Don't quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can sense, even when others can't hear it. Listen closely only to your own drum and your own drum only. This is the beat which will carry you to the end you deserve. Just because others don't hear the music, doesn't make the dancer a fool. If you don't hear your drum, hitch yourself to someone not as deaf as you who does.

Avoid becoming the bitch to a fearful brain. Choose to be its master. Stand guard over the gates to your mind. Never give up. Keep coming for it. Keep on keeping on.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 105
9th June 2016
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106BC) "Knowledge which is divorced from justice, may be called cunning rather than wisdom."

Yesterday, one of you (female) suggested that the reason I haven't spotted many female egoists is due to their superior use of cunning to hide the work of the ego. Donald Trump recently said "the Mexican Government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. I guess the message here is to be careful of female Mexican politicians. I'm not going down the linguist road but I know the association is lurking at the back of your mind…….

Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, while looking to unearth other people's weaknesses. Those weaker in courage tend to be stronger in their cunning. The use of cunning is benign in itself but it sits on a slippery slope. Cunning often leads to knavery. It is a short step from one to the other. Being economical with the truth makes the difference; just add this to cunning and a Knave you will become (as Yoda might say).

Knavery is the home of the dishonest, unscrupulous, deceitful and the unprincipled rogue.

So be careful of your own cunning. It might just outsmart your best intentions..

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 104
8th June 2016
Bee Gee Barry Gibb once said "I have a huge ego and a huge inferiority complex at the same time."

To many this might seem an unusual dichotomy but if you think about it, to have a huge ego means you carry a deep inferiority complex. Why would you need to insist on being right were you not deeply worried that you might be proven wrong?

Because of its phantom nature, and despite elaborate defense mechanisms, the ego is very vulnerable and insecure, and it sees itself as constantly under threat. This is especially the case even if the ego is outwardly super confident. The bigger the ego the bigger the black hole at its core.

Some professions tend to attract big egos. Quite a few politicians, actors and entrepreneurs are full of themselves but fewer great sports men and women are quite so self-obsessed.

Where it goes seriously pear-shaped is when you get a huge ego in a role not built to house it. Public sector executives can sometimes be cases in point. The roles exist to serve us and to follow a democratic lead but sometimes a huge ego will assume control in their own myopic self-certain image. When this happens, it is only a matter of time before the black hole comes to the fore, but often by then the egoist has moved on and left the piper's bill for someone else to pay. Us.

In my personal experience, and we are not talking stubbornness, independent thinking or knowing your own mind here but an obsession with certainty, they have been exclusively male. I don’t know if this says something about gender differences, if I've just been lucky with the women I have worked with, or if the ladies have been better at hiding it.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 103
7th June 2016
Mohammed Ali shouted " I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick."

I found myself in tears on Sat morning when the news of his final round with life broke. I never met him and never saw him in the flesh, but he stood for the greatest of ideals.

When we voted for the sports personality of the Century, he amassed more votes than ALL the other wonderful candidates put together. He told us he was 'The Greatest' and he was.

It makes you think about who inspires you and what and who speaks to you. I would pick Mohammed Ali, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Interestingly, they were all men of colour. I'm not sure what that says. They all fought hard to rise up. They all took on the seemingly impossible. None of them was perfect by any means. They each offered many reasons to attract just criticisim, but in the end they all travelled beyond fighting people, to fighting to bring people together, to powering peace amongst people, and finally to championing forgiveness between people.

Cassius Clay is dead but Mohammed Ali will never die. RIP Mohammed Ali 1942-2016.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 102
5th June 2016
American writer Frank Herbert wrote: "How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him."

Does it not strike you that we live in a world of deep denial, and don’t know what the truth is anymore? One day a glass of wine will kill you, the next it saves you. Who is to blame for my belly? My parents? Cadbury? The Government? Europe? Or could it perhaps be the chap who eats too much of the wrong stuff and sits on his arse too often? Europe obviously. All these immigrants coming over and taking away our chances for physical work, forcing us to watch netflix and scoff chips all day. Denial.

We are seriously considering leaving the EU on the basis of its responsibility for all our woes and an innefectual contribution to our well being, and yet we are the wealthiest and healthiest we have ever been. Denial.

To hear John Major describe the Leave Campaign’s 'facts' as a huge ‘deceipt of the British People' and ‘nonsense on stilts’ highlights something even more worrying. Politicians, pressure groups and zealots of all persuasions never let the actual facts and truth get in the way of their arguments. Caveat voter; voter beware!

As Mark Twain joked: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 101
3rd June 2016
American comedian Rodney Dangerfield joked: "My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too."

Everything we hear is opinion borne of a particular perspective founded on a selected values set. The Brexit debate offers a case in point. There is only one set of facts but two opposite sides that both claim the dedicated support of the evidence.

Yesterday I listened to some highly informed opinion about digital communications involving 'donuts' and 'pulls'. It struck me as being as valuable as gold dust but on looking around the conference, not everyone seemed as gripped as was I.

Perhaps the most important opinion is not that being offered up by the presenter but that of the listener if it gets in the way of listening and learning.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 100
2nd June 2016
Hemingway wrote: "I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

Good morning. How well did we sleep last night?

Walking in Ibiza with one of you who used to be 'big in the bed business' I was reminded that most of us are conceived in a bed, most of us are born in a bed and most of us die in a bed. Important places beds.

The average person sleeps for 8 hours a day and lives for roughly 75 years. So we sleep for 25 years. Rip van Winkle only fell asleep for twenty!

Sleep is like a drug. Your bed is the dealer and the alarm clock the police. It has been shown repeatedly across cultures that the amount of sleep needed by the average person is 5 minutes more. Do you find that at night you can't sleep and in the morning you can't wake up? Odd that.

The Dalai Lama said: "Sleep is the best meditation" so best give it more serious focus. New PJs perhaps? Look into my eyes…3….2…1… when I click my fingers……

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 99
1st June 2016
General Schwarzkopf said; "Nothing gets better until you admit something is wrong."

But, how often do you lie to yourself? I bet you've just done it again!

There has to be a reason why we don't follow-through with our best intentions. We normally explain them away in the moment of decision with softeners, stories and lies. A personal favourite is "I don't have time", closely followed by "I can start this tomorrow with "let me just do this first " providing the perfect excuse for not getting my butt off the couch.

The biggest bin of excuses I dip into most days is the "too" bin: it's too difficult: it's too expensive: I'm too tired: It's too late.

Are you less offended by our own lies than by the lies of others? What fools we are.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 98
31st May 2016
Abraham Lincoln wrote “These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have."

How do you navigate the fairness minefield formed from the very different emphases placed on different values by different people? What is fairness exactly?

Is it fair that someone who has been with you longer should be rewarded better than someone who performs at a higher level? Is it fair that those who take disproportionately more time off should be carried by those who never let the team down? Is it fair that those focused hard on delivering a mission should be rewarded the same as those who watch the clock and go home irrespective of the team need in the moment?

In many respects it is inevitable that some amongst your circle are going to find you or your decisions unfair. If they don't, and they have different values to you, then you are being unfair to yourself and others.

Personally I warm to hard work, a positive attitude, a desire to help and see others do well, aspiring to higher standards and seizing responsibility. We even have a name for it; "Upforitness". Those who are lazy, negative, secretly hope others will fall flat on their faces, who don't try to improve and want to blame others when things go wrong are (to be fair) unlikely to judge me to be fair.

One woman's fair approach is another's unfair disadvantage.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 97
30th May 2016
Social researcher and storyteller Brene Brown wrote “Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, and the first thing I look for in you."

This authenticity paradox sits at the heart of much misery borne of our failure to connect, which travels in our baggage. This failure comes from the sense of shame in all of us that others don’t know what we are really like behind our public masks.

The fear that we are not enough underpins a deep sense that neither are we worthy of deep connection. It drives us to numb our vulnerability via one addiction or another. But we can't just isolate and numb the bad stuff. Our joy, compassion and tenderness also lose all sensation and are lost to our lives.

Do you lean into discomfort or into joy? When fear comes knocking do you remember to be grateful for all that is you and your life, or does it send you spiraling into an examination of all the negative possibilities?

I cried for myself when I watched this TED talk at the weekend. Wait for a relaxed moment of peace and give yourself the gift of watching and listening. Twenty-five million people beat you to it.

TED - Click here

Life is messy. You are enough. Be kinder to yourself. Start today.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 96
27th May 2016
French author Marcel Proust wrote “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

Who are your friends and where did they come from?

After dinner last night with a dozen friends from a previous shared worthy work endeavour I was left with a clear feeling that the best friendships are hewn from tough shared team challenges. What creates real friends is having each other's backs when the chips are down. What breaks the back of friendships are bruised egos.

One line at the end of Jersey Boys captures it for me;

"What was the high point?" Hall of Fame, selling all those records, pulling Sherry out of the hat, it was all great. But four guys under a street lamp, when it was all still ahead of us, the first time we made that sound, our sound. When everything dropped away and all there was, was the music. That was the best."

May there be more street lamps in your future.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 95
26th May 2016
Mark Twain wrote “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."

I was thinking of this last night when I addressed the Goldman Sachs High Growth Leadership Camp at Aston University.

The questions, comments and our discussion over dinner reminded me that we are all winging it and ultimately scared that we'll be found out, it's just that some are not strong enough to admit it to themselves. Only the fool actually believes their own PR. When 'confidence' is borne of factual knowledge it is built upon the shifting sands of change and perspective. True confidence comes from within and knowing that you are enough so you look into the vast unknown rather than defend the status quo.

The world splits us into the wise who realise how little they know and are curious to discover more and the fools who believe they know it already and are scared to look into the deep unknown.

Which one are you?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 94
25h May 2016
British Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote “One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

It isn't. You aren't. None of us is. We are but snowflakes in a blizzard.

To be nervous is a product of the ego and an internal view of the world that what happens to you is important. But in reality, the wonder and largeness of truth and our own smallness in relationship to it render us each inconsequential. To be nervous is to be slightly mad.

I suspect we all a bit mad from time to time but if your life somehow becomes fueled by nervous energy underpinned by the perceived importance of your name, title or role, you have succumbed to insanity.

Roald Dahl said "Nobody gets a nervous breakdown or a heart attack from selling kerosene to gentle country folk from the back of a tanker in Somerset."

He had a point.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 93
24h May 2016
Roman Author Tertullian wrote (160AD) “Hope is patience with the lamp lit."

Hope is of course a positive feeling but it is also imbued with the possibility of a negative outcome. Certainty on the other hand carries no possible deviation from expectation. Do you live in hope or in certainty? Are you hoping for a good day today or certain it is going to be one? Whether you think so or not, you will probably be right.

It strikes me that many of our certainties are borne of hurts. They are reactions to what has been and gone in our lives, because it is our experience which sets our expectation clock. Hopes on the other hand are pictures of what might be and look to a time beyond the old clock face.

Far better to allow our hopes to shape our future, not our hurts.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 92
20th May 2016
American golfer Tom Kite said “You can always find a distraction if you're looking for one."

Forgive me for I have sinned. It has been a few days since my last light confession.

In the moment, when we are not focused on pursuing a deep sense of meaning that matters to us personally, we will distract ourselves with pleasure or pain. We will pick up something we fancy or pick a fight with someone we don't.

Such self-distraction is magnified by wave after wave of incoming distractions which appear in many forms from an email or Facebook post. Recent research indicates that our average attention span has dropped from around 12 to 8 seconds in the last few years- a second less than a goldfish.

As Oscar Wilde said "I can resist everything except temptation."

Being about action and starving our distractions feeds our focus.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 91
17th May 2016
Martha Stewart wrote “So the pie isn't perfect? Cut it into wedges. Stay in control, and never panic."

Panic causes tunnel vision and conjures up fictitious horror stories that we imagine lie in wait on our journey to the fading light at the end of the tunnel. Calm acceptance of danger and threat allows us to more easily assess the situation, see the options and take appropriate action.

Yesterday, as we hit stationary traffic when already very late en route for Ibiza airport after our full body massages had over run (lol!) it seemed we were doomed to miss the flight and undo our new found relaxed states. In these situations the 'what ifs?' kick in as we magnify our fears. Can we get another flight tonight? First thing in the morning? Ferry to Barcelona to connect there? Private jet?

Everybody panics but not everybody freezes like a rabbit in the headlights. When panic strikes it pays to recognise you are panicking , smile at yourself and deal with the known knowns a la Donald Rumsfeld, not all the imagined unknown disaster possibilities.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 90
16th May 2016
Author Janet Lane wrote “Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important."

Our expressions are part physical, part emotional and critically seen by others but not by ourselves. To the observant they display our thoughts and feelings. Even those with a poker face I notice will choose to wear sunglasses for the big money games because just the eyes alone can give so much away.

At a pumpin' Ibiza beach bar yesterday it was so clear that some are made for fun and determined to bring it on. They bring bags of energy and communicate through their smile, the laughter they spark and the generosity they share.

Are you aware of your own resting expression? Does your mouth turn up at the edges or down? Is the first picture you paint to people in the split second before you've had the time to decide what you wish to project, positive or do you scowl?

The quality of our thoughts today will determine the faces we offer to the world.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 89
14th May 2016
Japanese Scientist Akira Suzuki wrote: "The concept of serendipity often crops up in research. Serendipity is the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things that were not being sought. I believe that all researchers can be serendipitous."

On one hand, plans are an essential aspect of progress but on the other, sticking to them religiously will always denude any life of the richness it might so easily enjoy. In Beautiful Boy, John Lennon reminded us that 'life is what happens to you while you are making other plans'' and Churchill famously said ' Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

Serendipity is having the will and flexibility to say 'yes!' when your schedule says 'no!. It is the chance meeting of your soul-mate while waiting at a garage. It is being prepared and confident enough to reflect life as it happens and as events unfold and not travelling with blinkers on your eyes, Spotify in your ears and fear in your heart.

Why not say yes! to something unplanned today….it might just change your life.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 88
13th May 2016
Roman Soldier Marcus Aurelius (121) wrote "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."

Any two people can look at the exact same subject and see something totally different. This is the impact of perspective. Bizarrely, we assume everyone sees the same thing and even use this as the basis for fact and legal evidence, and yet fact and perspective rarely match.

In a discussion over the environment last night with two friends over a beer one saw the need to save the planet and the other saw attempts at going green to be really about saving our species as the planet is bound to outlive us in some form.

Oscar Wilde also pointed out that: "the old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything".

So take a problem today that is really worrying you. Ask yourself, will you even remember it this time next month, or in a year's time or on your deathbed. If that doesn't work, how important is your problem in the life of the planet?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 87
12th May 2016
Greek Poet Aeschylus (525BC) wrote "Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times."

We do not all live the same lives in similar circumstances, nor do we enjoy the same events, opportunities, blows or pressures. But, we do all enjoy the same choice: to live in the moment or to die moment by moment.

Every breath gives us a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.

It is a powerful irony that getting lucky enough to discover that a fortunate life brings more freedom to choose but does not actually bring any more choice.

The only choice we enjoy is the choice of our reaction to events and we are all free to choose to be happy. Why not choose to be so today, no matter what happens. Decide to be happy. Why on earth not?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 86
11th May 2016
Einstein wrote “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

Everyone has problems no matter how successful or wise they may have become. Only the dead have no problems.

A problem is a gift. It is an opportunity to grow, mature and to conquer our fears. A problem is nothing more than a great chance to make things better. Of course, it doesn't feel that way at the time. Being fired or suffering the loss of a loved one are soaked in intense emotional distractions but we are shaped not by comfortable highs but by the sad and difficult moments.

Some buckle-under and stress and whine at the unfairness of life. Bitterness is their destination. Others expect and accept problems. They welcome them. If you are dealt lemons then make lemonade. What separates the whiners from the welcomers is fear; pure and simple. Stephen Sutton (RIP) set us all a great example on playing the hand we are dealt.

What problems are you facing today? Name them. Bring them to the fore. Eat them up.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 85
10th May 2016
Mahatma Gandhi said "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

Have you observed that those who give up learning and seeking progress seem to go downhill and decay more quickly?

The question you guys most regularly ask me when we meet up in person is "Where do you find the time?" It's simple really, I've worked out just how important it is to learn and think about something deeper than the stress and strife of the every day. It is too easy and far too comfortable to close our minds to potentially powerful thoughts and insight in our midst.

Eat three times a day and you'll be well fed. Learn three times a day and you'll be well led. We watch TV when all the time at our fingertips are the thoughts of the greatest people who have been here before us. A daily diet of a thoughtful blog, a book always to hand, and a TED talk offers a healthy perspective for the mind.

One idea. One thought. One wisdom is all it takes to let more of your light shine.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 84
9th May 2016
American Writer Napoleon Hill wrote “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness."

Think about it. Every decision involves sacrifice of one form or another. Choose to invest time into one project or activity, and another suffers. Sacrifice what you fancy in the moment to live longer later. Forego what you want to make another smile. Choose to be selfish as we must all do sometimes.

The question is not whether we sacrifice, but whether we are focused on the balance between our sacrificial choices. We can't have it all. In reading this you are sacrificing a moment you could be using to do something else. In writing it, the same is true of me. Are your sacrifices accidental or deliberate?

Take a moment today to think about what you are sacrificing and for which gains. Is your life in balance? Few are, because too few of us are carried by the winds of circumstance not by mission.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 83
5th May 2016
Greek scientist Hippocrates (460BC), the father of medicine wrote “Walking is man's best medicine."

Plato and Aristotle did much of their thinking together while ambulating. The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and even the rhythm of footsteps offer a primal way to connect with our deeper selves.

Repetition is based on body rhythms, so we identify with the heartbeat, or with walking, or with breathing.

Planning a 5 day hike in Ibiza with two mates over dinner this week, the anticipation we felt was not of parties and posing but of hours of quiet reflection, inspirational scenery and comforting camaraderie, not to mention the relaxation felt in the zone of total physical exhaustion and the uninhibited joy of a massage to badly aching limbs. None of us is in the flush of youth nor likely to be selected for the Olympic team. I suspect we might fail the medical for the chess squad.

How far will you walk today?"

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 82
4th May 2016
Sardonic comedian Jack Dee once said “People feel a bit let down if I'm laughing or smiling."

Feeling let down is obviously a function of expectation. If you have no expectation then it's hard to feel disappointed. But we all do, and it explains why many work and personal relationships turn sour in the end.

The problem with expectation is that it is often assumed and can be very different for different people.The more specific we can be, the clearer everyone is about what is to be expected. But, even then 'doing you best' means something different do everybody.

Celebrities are these days expected to be whiter than white, but when you are thrust into the limelight as a footballing genius, there is no agreement that you will behave as a role model to young people. Being able to kick a ball doesn't suddenly make you a Saint, unless you play for Leicester City this week. Talent and leadership are not the same things and are often mixed up.

Setting clear unequivocal expectations at the start of any relationship seems a good start as often too much is left unsaid. You might notice it to be the route-cause of many feelings of being let down in your own life.

When expaectations are clear, understood agreed and regularly unmet, just say goodbye."

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 81
3rd May 2016
American author Leo Buscaglia wrote “Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong."

From where do you draw your strength? We all need inner strength when the going gets tough and we are not prepared to accept a bad situation.

Friedrich Nietzsche perhaps set the tone of the debate when we wrote "That which does not kill us makes us stronger "suggesting strength comes from overcoming adversity. Ghandi claimed more strength from the confession of his mistakes, something also reflected in the Catholic Church confessional. Dale Carnegie suggested our strength comes from overcoming many challenges, however small. Many draw strength from memories and thoughts of loved ones.

Stay strong. Be gentle. Let's all try to contribute more to the beauty than the ugliness in the world today."

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 80
29th April 2016
Leonardo da Vinci said “Tears come from the heart and not from the brain."

I guess we all understand that tears shed for oneself are tears of weakness, but those shed for others are an indication of strength.

Tears are not a mark of weakness, but of power. If a picture paints a thousand words then tears paint a thousand each. Your own speak eloquently and quickly to you and to others. You don’t cry if you don’t care.

They are messengers of deep emotion, the key advantage that separates us from pretty much every other species on the planet. Pointing to overwhelming grief, deep contrition, or unspeakable love they offer rich colour on the blank canvas that defines what we each care about.

And let's never forget tears of laughter and joy best exampled in my own life by the immortal words of the legend that was Sid Waddell "The Voice of Darts" commentating at fever pitch on the World Darts Championship in 1985 "When Alexander of Macedon was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer. Eric Bristow is only 27."

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 79
28th April 2016
Warren Buffet said “Basically, when you get to my age, you'll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you."

How do you measure your success? Is it the distance between your origins and what you have achieved? Is it a single measure or a complex scorecard of different measures with a mixture of weightings? What's on your scorecard? Happiness? How you made others feel? Challenges overcome? Opportunities taken? Years lived?

The average person lives 27, 375 days. If you are average and 54 like me, you have 7665 days left. That just 126 more Bank Holidays and you could easily be below average.

Is what you are going to do this weekend something you love, about which you are passionate, surrounded by people you care for deeply? If not, change it.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 78
27th April 2016
Businessman Harold S. Geneen said “Facts from paper are not the same as facts from people. The reliability of the people giving you the facts is as important as the facts themselves."

This is quite apposite given the war of facts being waged about Europe by some big personalities at the moment. It is also true of the 'facts' that your colleagues might send your way. In some cases you come to realise that they simply lie to you, to further their own ends.

Being reliable and being predictable are not one in the same thing although we do sometimes conflagrate the two into one meaning. 'You can always rely on Roy to let you down' means Roy is predictable but not dependable. So why employ or spend any time with Roy? Let him loose to let others down.

Take a look around you. When the chips are down, who do you know you will be able to rely upon and who will suddenly discover a priority at home or an excuse that trumps being someone you can depend upon?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 77
26th April 2016
Oprah Winfrey said “Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher"

I often think about this. It came up over dinner on Saturday night when discussing the recidivist rate for young offenders with an ex-Copper. It's hard to stand apart from your friends and family. You do pick your friends and you can find friendship in the most unexpected of places, but most stick to what and who they have always known.

They say you become the average of the 5 or 6 people who you spend most time with. I guess if you spend time with me you must be too fat, forever late and always restless. Picking the people to travel with in life is an important decision that we often duck.

Some people climb mountains and run marathons. Some ooze positive energy and will take on the challenge of a speech even if it scares them rigid. Some will stick by your side on a task and not let you down no matter how late or long they have to work.

Pick great people to be around. It matters. It really matters.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 76
25th April 2016
American Scientist Jonas Salk wrote “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality."

What are you hoping for today?

There seem to be two forms of hope, the one which is blind and prays for a miracle to happen, and the one where you work hard for something which is uncertain but achievable even if the odds might seem impossible.

Holding to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon gives us each the energy and determination to push on.

Knowing what you hope for is essential but not enough. Narrowing the odds of success is in your own gift, even if realising each hope is not entirely so.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 75
22nd April 2016
Musician Moby said "People assume that somehow fame and wealth will keep mortality at bay." It doesn't.

Yesterday, like every day can be caught by numbers-

26: The year the Queen was born
90: The Queen's Age
12: Prime Ministers she has worked with
12: American Presidents in her time
64: Years on the Throne
57: Prince Dies
1: Oscar
7: Grammys
100m: No of Albums he sold in his life

In the end we must all leave everyone else behind. The more you have meant to others, the sadder that moment. Such sadness is a paradox. The more pain is felt, the more love, joy and difference you made.

Make today count.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 74
21st April 2016
Victoria Wood wrote “I was never hungry. You’re not if you eat all the time."

I loved her for this line. She died yesterday.

When somebody passes, it is a moment to reflect on what we thought about them, and why. It offers us insight into what we admire.

Victoria Wood was funny, not funny in crass way but in a witty, clever, 'I wish I'd thought of that' kind of way. She made me laugh, and laughing is so much more important than most people realise. Take a moment to smile and giggle. It’s a fitting tribute.

Life's not fair, is it? Some of us drink champagne in the fast lane, and some of us eat our sandwiches by the loose chippings on the A597.

My boyfriend had a sex manual but he was dyslexic. I was lying there and he was looking for my vinegar.

Well, that certainly sounds like a genuine Picasso. But I would have to see it to be sure.

People think I hate sex. I don't. I just don't like things that stop you seeing the television properly.

Clever and witty.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 73
20th April 2016
Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson said “At some stages of your life you will deal with things and at others you are overwhelmed with misery and anxiety."

Feeling overwhelmed is normal as long as it is not a constant state. However, if my own experience is anything to go by, it seems to have become more normal than before. Our freedoms to do more and be more informed have widened. Each of our lives is so much broader than those who went before us, but too much breadth leads to shallowness.

We each have a different, but still limited capacity for handling change, uncertainty and sadness. Supposing that you can do and have 'it all' without limiting your choices is the certain road to finding yourself out of your depth and drowning not waving.

When this feeling takes over, it's time to separate insignificant decisions in our lives from those most critical to who we are trying hard to become.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 72
19th April 2016
Pakistani Poet Muhammad Iqbal wrote “The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something."

We all have an ego. It's that part of us that looks for our significance in the moment. In some it is loud and proud, in others it is tucked away and hidden from general view. But, we all have one. It is there, even if we are more comfortable being in denial about it.

Our egos compete with our souls. Where the ego deals in anger, blame, power, self- importance and envy, our souls swim with gratefulness, sympathy, peace and unity. How is your day looking? Planning to dance with your soul or cuss with your ego?

It is our's to choose.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 71
18th April 2016
Bob Dylan said “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them."

Celebrating my wife's 50th, dancing to Duck Soup's ' Barbara Streisand' at the weekend offered a reminder of the central role that our memories, good and sad play in binding us closely together as friends and family.

Who you choose as your friends defines you. Look at the faces and into the hearts of your friends and you will see yourself reflected back.

The night before the bash, we went through the names of each of the 50 souls invited from primary school days to work today. Each had enjoyed a precious memory which lives on.

The friends and family we have lost, may have passed but are not forgotten. Their memories live on with us.

In the end life comes down to memorable moments left in the hearts of others.

What memories are you going to create with others today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 70
15th April 2016
Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said “Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

Yesterday, I was privy from one of you to a lesson about how we learn and plan.

It turns out that the simple changes are not always the obvious ones and valuable 'learning' is often not really learning at all, but the improved application of what we already know and understand.

You know time well, and that it is finite. It has been your travelling companion since before you were born. You know you can't get it back, and you know that now is all there is. Yet for such a precious resource, do you set any aside to plan its appropriate? Why always block out full or half hours for us? Why not be more specific about the allocation of your time?

We all have the capacity to distort time. Two minutes is two minutes is two minutes irrespective of whether it is invested queueing at Immigration or waiting anxiously for the Ref to blow for full time in the Cup Final. That is seems to fly or drag is our personal time-distortion in action.

If you were going on holiday tomorrow, how differently would you treat your time today? What improvements would this deadline drive? Why do you need a holiday to treat your time with the respect it so richly deserves?

Why not take 8 minutes to think about it today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 69
14th April 2016
Scottish Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said “I've got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom."

As we get older, we find it increasingly hard to stay the pace. It's not just that life seems to move faster and faster. We seem to get slower and slower. Have you noticed? The exhaustion of older age is something the young don't fully appreciate.

Champions are those who still sweat from exhaustion when nobody is watching. Hard work trumps talent, nothing worth having comes easy and your dreams just don't work unless you do.

Hard work does not guarantee success but success is not possible without hard work. Successful people work hard. They succeed on purpose.

Some turn up their sleeves, some their noses, and some don't turn up at all.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 68
13th April 2016
American activist Frances E. Willard wrote “The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum."

I wasn't so sure what this meant until today. I guess it means that you can either put your energies into moving an idea forward and overcoming the inertia you find, or you can deploy your life-energy putting the brakes on what someone else is trying to achieve in the hope of generating stasis and inertia. In the face of evil and oppression we might all find ourselves in such a position.

When a positive vision is in prospect, often the very people who have most to gain, will offer the most resistance. The friction and heat this generates is an inevitable part of the task, which never involves taking the Roman route from A to B anyway. Keep going.

What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum towards what success means for you; to overcome the friction others may be placing in your path?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 67
12th April 2016
Leonardo da Vinci wrote “Painting is concerned with all the 10 attributes of sight; which are: Darkness, Light, Solidity and Colour, Form and Position, Distance and Propinquity, Motion and Rest."

Have you ever wondered where your ideas and inspiration come from, assuming you get inspired? I'm not asking what triggers any particular inspiration. There can be many triggers; a smell, a sound, or another observation of some kind. The trigger is not the source of your inspiration; it is the stimulus that produces kinetic energy in the existing imagery stored inside your head.

The paradox of inspiration is that while triggered from the outside it lies all the time inside your mind awaiting missing connections. Inspiration is pretty much like the Channel 4 logo that appears only when separated pictures you already hold in your mind achieve such a propinquity as to combine to bring forth a new perspective on what was already there.

Inspiration is nothing more than the active observation of internal refiling.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 66
11th April 2016
The ancient Greek Poet Aeschylus wrote “It is in the character of very few men to honour without envy a friend who has prospered."

The spirit of envy can destroy; but it can never build. Envy is base and belongs to the base. Envy does not allow your neighbour to enjoy her happiness and progress because you are too busy counting her blessings rather than your own. Even amongst the seven deadly sins…..only envy is no fun at all.

The recent attacks on David Cameron are envy dressed in 'transparency' and 'integrity'. If we expect our leaders to forgoe ALL their privacy and to atone for EVERY uncovered imperfection in their families, we will become increasingly led by those with no private life worth protecting, and fools who believe themselves perfect.

Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 65
8th April 2016
Edmund Burke wrote"Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing."

Are you a hypocrite? Of course you are! To not be one would suggest that you are perfect which would be highly hypocritical. Nobody is always aligned with their best intentions and fully consistent with their core beliefs.

I encourage my teenage son to eat healthily and he retorts that I am 'morbidly obese'!

It is so easy to spot and point out the hypocracy of others. These are cheap shots. Just because Ian Botham hasn't led a perfect life, hasn't made him any less worthy a human spirit and force for good; the opposite in fact.

Dancing with our own hypocacy and not damning others for theirs seems to be good place to focus. Ignoring your own, and pointing out the weaknesses of others is hypocrisy itself.

In the end, it's not what we say or do that really matters.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 64
7th April 2016
Wordsworth wrote"As the evening twilight fades away The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."

When you think of "Blue Sky" the chances are your mind will move either to 'thinking', or if you are of a certain age to memories of the Electric Light Orchestra and 'Mr Blue Sky'. 'Sky Blue Pink' might come to mind.

For some, the Sky's the limit. Others reach for the Sky. The Sky is home to every cloud, sunrise and sunset. The Sky is our window on the Universe and yet it also contains us, even the birds are chained to the Sky.

Like energy passing through the oceans, light energy also travels in waves. Sunlight is scattered in all directions by the gases and particles in the atmosphere. Blue is scattered more than other colours because it travels as short 'choppy' waves. This is why we see a blue sky most of the time. It has nothing to do with the oceans.

Why not take a moment to look up today. What does the sky mean to you?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 63
6th April 2016
Lewis Carroll wrote"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others."

This is surely the foundation stone of any worthwhile partnership, two sides as worried about what the other gains as they are themselves. Each understands that looking after the others' best interests under in the shared space is what truly binds a team together.

It falls apart when the focus is not on growing the fruits of your shared endeavours to make sure you all get what you would wish for, but when a win/lose mentality exists in one or both sides. This is no partnership. It is an accommodation. Win/lose always turns to lose/lose in the end.

It applies at home, in business and in sport. Just as there is no 'I' in TEAM, there is no 'ME' in PARTNERSHIP.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 62
5th April 2016
English writer George Mikes wrote"An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one."

One of the essential life-skills they taught us at school was how to queue, or 'line up properly' as it was called back then. We were not to know how important it would be but anyone who travels a lot internationally will fully appreciate how the art and science of queueing truly matters.

In recent weeks I have travelled to the USA, Germany and most recently to Morroco. In Chicago the arrivals queue at customs literally streteched all but to the door of the plane. In Frankfurt the taxi queue left enough time for Merecedes to build and road test the car, and on leaving Morocco we had to queue not once but six times before they would let us leave the place.

The science is what causes you to pick the line without the Nigerian family toting sufficient luggage to clothe a village, to travel with a carry-on bag with wheels, and to pre-plan your mobile data coverage so you can treat it like time in the office.

The art is choosing to be more mindful, and not think of it as a wasted moment between you and your life. Better to breathe-in and enjoy the multi-cultural body odour, lingual smorgasbord and alternative officialdom than to stress about the smells, pigswill who push-in,or being told to fill out the customs forms again.

Why not try queuing differently today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 61
4th April 2016
Voltaire wrote " Beauty pleases the eyes only; Sweetness of disposition charms the soul. "

Here in 'Red City' of Marrakech the houses are all the same mono colour rouge and its difficult to tell rich from poor. The riads fit with the culture of the Hijab and Thobe where the outside is kept plain so as to not stand out. All differentiation revolves around what is underneath hidden from view. It is why a Lamborghini looks so out of place in an Arabic country and why some of the most beautiful homes can be found in the most non-descript of neighbourhoods.

This is the antithesis of the western culture of bling where the outside is all Vogue, Vuiton and Valentino. When the focus is on projecting an external shiny image like a celebrity, essential energy is diverted away from crafting a more beautiful inside, accomplishing a warm character, nurturing a positive spirit and sharing a kind heart.

Unlike physical beauty, which grabs the spotlight for itself, inner beauty shines on everyone, catching them, holding them in its embrace, making them more beautiful.

The angels only care what we look like on the inside.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 60
1st April 2016
Albert Einstein wrote " Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

I have invested over three decades now in different ways trying to change the way we inculcate our young into the ways of society through the education process. Our system was built by the Victorians as a feeding farm for the professions. It has remained stoically resilient with a focus on academic metrics and the dominance of memory and left brain strength, despite a revolution in life, work and the value of creativity and soft skill superiority.

It amazes me that anyone makes it through the internment camp of a formal State education with their curiosity intact. I guess Shakespeare, Joyce, Orwell and Hemingway all had great English teachers…. what a difference they made to us. Unknown heroes all.

Teaching conformity, rules and fact is important but not as important as green- housing creativity, imagination and social engagement in the young. Remember that our competitive advantages as a species are our social strength and our ideas.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 60
31st March 2016
Julius Caesar said " As a rule, men worry more about what they can't see than about what they can."

Do you worry? If not, don't believe yourself. We all do. I didn't sleep so well last night. I was worrying in my dreams. I woke up three times, each time worrying about a person, a deadline or an unresolved problem.

The truth about worry is that it never robs tomorrow of its sorrows but does sap today of its joy. It is akin to paying interest on trouble before it comes due. It makes no sense at all. None. And yet we all live there.

The secret is not to try and stop worrying but to replace one worry with another. As with most things, creating a vacuum requires the diversion of a lot of sustained energy that can be better employed and will be needed.

Rather than worrying about your liabilities today, why not replace the thought by worrying about the riches you possess…and sleep tighter.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 59
30th March 2016
Christine Lagarde said " Every day, you have to prove yourself and convince - move forward and challenge yourself. And doubt all the time."

It is natural to doubt ourselves. Doubt is the territory of the wise. It is the spark that causes us to question and relive our judgements. Our doubts paradoxically underpin genuine confidence, which is founded on solid emotional and intellectual footings.

To be truly confident is not to rely on faith, on a feeling or on our interpretation of the evidence. Blind confidence is just a convenient darkness for the emotionally immature or intellectually challenged.

Our doubts offer us doors to greater confidence. They are to be walked through, danced through or crawled through. Doubts are doors not roadblocks.

When did you last doubt yourself? If it wasn't today, you might want to look at what you are certain about in this moment and remember that there is no certainty.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 58
29th March 2016
Mark Twain wrote " If you have no time to rest, it's exactly the right time."

There is something about long Bank Holiday weekends that makes it ok to rest, recuperate and leave the holy grail of that ever replenishing challis of opportunity need and threat alone for a while. It used to feel this way every Sunday, but not so much now in our always-on society without a common day of rest.

I've lived under the notion that laziness is the habit of resting before you get tired. Equally, you can also push yourself too hard into exhaustion. In these circumstances a rest becomes as much a cactus as a cushion, re-energising us.

Striking the right balance is a daily challenge. As a teenager I erred too much on the lazy side of this equation and I guess I've been trying to make up for it ever since.

Resting and being lazy are not one in the same thing.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 57
24th March 2016
Paul Weller said " People say that if you're still angry at 52, you're not an angry young man, just a grumpy old git."

Do you do grumpy? I do. A little too often. I am 53.

You know the feeling. Stuff gets on top of you and start spouting about the absurdity of random subjects: political correctness, litter louts, and spare flatpack furniture bolts.

On the other hand, I believe that secretly we're all just that little more absurd than we make ourselves out to be, which is probably a good thing. Einstein was a great advocate of the notion that good ideas look absurd at the outset; from absurdity progress is born.

Just because we have the right and reason to be grumpy sometimes, doesn't make it the right choice nor the wise one…..note to self…..

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 56
23rd March 2016
On Sept 16th, 2001 George W. Bush said "This Crusade. This war on terrorism is going to take a while."

This might well turn out to have been one of the biggest understatements of our time. Looking at the Wikipedia timeline of terrorist attacks makes for depressing reading. In 2001 it lists 12 attacks. In 2015 it catalogues nearly 120, killing and maming so many in so many countries that I couldn't count them. Terrible stuff. I haven't copied you the link. Better to start the day with hope than with anger.

Let's believe in the words of Gandalf: "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."

Terrorism does change how we behave. It is no good pretending it doesn’t. But mankind has been here before. From the Vandals to the genocide in Kosovo, terrorism has been used to manipulate us many times. In the end love is stronger than hate and kindness has always outshone anger. Lets keep it that way.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 55
22nd March 2016
Simon Sinek wrote " We live in times of high stress. Messages that are simple, messages that are inspiring, messages that are life-affirming, are a welcome break from our real lives."

At this moment, I feel stressed, have far too much to do, have made too many promises, feel let down and overwhelmed at my inability to keep all the plates spinning. Does this feel familiar? I guess it will do.

One obvious key to acheiving what we aspire towards whether material or spiritual is poise under stress. Like our appetites for food, water, love and exercise, stress is not something to avoid but something to tame. As Bill Clinton said "Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it's the time when they most need to think."

Time for a tough walk with the dog to clear the mind and reset my stressometer.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 54
21st March 2016
Donald Trump says " Without passion you don't have energy, without energy you have nothing."

As well as perhaps being one of the least contentious amongst many Trumpisms, this illustrates how passion is one of those attributes best described by its own absence. Dial-drivers like passion, quality and innovation, when discussed and described somehow tend to appear as unconvincing meaningless waffle. Their over-use has rendered them meaningless.

Passion is no cerebral concept. It is pure emotional energy. As we watched the French and English rugby crowds and players sing their respective national anthems at the Stade de France on Saturday, we felt their passion. We could sense it in their vibrant voices and see it in their bright eyes.

I'm no Frenchmen but every time I hear the Marseillaise, it stirs my sense of pride in our way of life. It somehow stands for freedom and the resilience of hope in the depths of resignation and despair, as was perhaps best illustrated by Victor Lazlo:

Passion is a feeling. It can be seen and felt but falls flat once described. Let's live with our passions today but not talk about them to others. This can be our unspoken secret.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 53
18th March 2016
Oscar Wilde wrote " We are all in the gutter…but some of us are looking at the stars."

Love is all around us but it is a quiet and unassuming force that goes largely unseen in public when compared to its twin brother hate. The latter enjoys a loud promoter in the news media and a willing audience in the shape of our fears. Our days are soaked in crises, terrorism, war, murder, and abuse.

I once met magician Paul Daniels in an airline queue. He did a trick for my son and made us all smile. He exhibited not one air nor grace: "You'll like this, not a lot, but you'll like it." He was an entertainer who deployed his magic as a way of making us laugh.

But more than this, what is abundantly clear is that he loved and was deeply loved by "the lovely Debbie 'So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?' MaGee. Love may well be blind but its also softly spoken. Love is quiet.

Love sits behind a smile and a tear. Love is really really strong.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 52
17th March 2016
Voltaire wrote " Doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is absurd." Uncertainty creates both fear and excitement, but mostly fear. Without it, our days would be pretty groundhog in nature and we'd probably not survive the ensuing boredom.

Adventurers seek it out but even they minimise known uncertainties through preparation. We all look to maximise the illusion of certainty. Everyone.

Uncertainty creates doubt and advertisers use this to their advantage. It’s a powerful emotion. The avoidance of fear drives the majority of our decisions.

Look for it today. Watch how often others play on your uncertainties. If we leave the EU we might bring a plague of locusts. If Trump wins, we might all end in Armagedon. If you don't insure now you might leave your loved ones destitute. It pays to fight the need for certainty whenever you spot it.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 51
16th March 2016
Benjamin Franklin wrote " Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out."

Do you hate making mistakes but still make whoppers every day? It helps if you are not flying jets or operating as a surgeon. Yesterday I made one with this blog, I let loose some information by mistake, and I upset someone. Every day we get things wrong. Mind you, not everyone is strong enough to see they are mistaken. Personally, I'm disorganised. I swim outside of my depth. I am a living breathing mistake. The chances of being right are slim but the biggest mistake is perhaps to not take a decision and lose momentum.

Mistakes are actually 'the portals of discovery': not my words but those of James Joyce. And Van Gogh suggested "It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent."

It can be easy to confuse some mistakes with being careless, but caring less does not correlate well with making mistakes. Some are always pushing themselves further and are bound to make mistakes even though they care deeply. It's only the ones who don’t care who it is best to avoid.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 50
15th March 2016
Kenneth Branagh said "Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don't get so worked up about things."

Have you noticed how some people rarely seem to smile? This must take a huge effort and identifies those locked inside their own egos, over self-controlled and unable to get out without letting go of the hurt they feel angry about with the world.

My mouth turns up at the sides so I'm blessed with the positive response from others who mistakenly assume I'm smiling. It means they smile back, which in turn makes me smile. Nothing we wear is more important than a smile and it’s a paradox that at the times we hate to smile the most, the best thing to do is smile.

Sometimes joy will be the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy. When all else fails, smile at someone and just say 'hi'. Smiling works.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 49
14th March 2016
Nancy Reagan said "You just get up each day and put one foot in front of the other and go. You know, each day is different."

I was in Boston's Logan Airport when I watched America bury her in the rain at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. They lined up to touch her coffin. I shed a tear, I think simply because caring about each other is all that sets us apart from the mud.

My favourite of the First Lady quotes I have seen came from Eleanor Roosevelt who said "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." She also said "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

So, why not light a candle, pour a cup of tea, take a step forward and take another step forward today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 48
11th March 2016
Donald Trump said "One of the key problems today is that politics is a disgrace. Good people don't go into Government."

Whether you think this displays an insightful level of self-awareness or not, speaking to the ex-General Counsel for the Republican Party yesterday, and watching the election unfold here in the States, it is abundantly clear that Donald Trump has electrified the Presidential Election like nobody before him, and on a shoestring "You cannot poll this level of chaos."

Trump has spent so much less less than others. He has invested the lowest amount per electoral college delegate secured than anyone in recent history at $52k per delegate, which compares to $32.5 Million for Jeb Bush $1.2 Million for Mick Romney. Politics is an expensive sport over here.

At this stage in the game last time Barrack Obama had pulled 8.3m votes and the Republicans just 5.5m votes. Trump has reversed these numbers onto their mirror image. The Republicans are seriously fired-up.

It is not yet a dead-cert that Trump will win the Republican nomination but it is going to take an earthquake to avoid a Trump vs Clinton galdiatorial contest. You can bet on it.

love him or hate him, you cannot ignore Donald Trump and irrespective of your view of his politics, there is a huge amount we can learn by studying him.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 47
10th March 2016
Coco Chanel once said "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different."

It strikes me that that different people grow in different ways, at different times and for different reasons. Typically, such personal growth comes through challenge when we find ourselves outside of our comfort zones or in a place we would not necessarily have chosen to find, had we had perfect control.

It turns out that the people to avoid are the super-safe scared lot who may well be very nice, but in the end become unwilling passengers or brakes on their own aspirations, and yours. Beyond the cowards however, it pays to find diversity in our lives and teams and to remember that different souls develop at alternative paces through unfathomable means.

You can't go on a journey of adventure and discovery with someone who has locked themselves inside their bedroom and barricaded the door. You either have to leave them behind or submit to being held by the same prison of their fears.

I took his photo at La Guardia airport in New York on Monday. So true.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 46
9th March 2016
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote "Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations it is the rule."

Yesterday I spoke to a young man who's response to the 'how are you?' question was that he was 'surviving his continuous personal existential crisis.'

In my experience, most people can't even spell existentialism, let alone define their life experience through it. An existential crisis is a moment at which we as individuals question the very foundations of our lives: whether this life has any meaning, purpose, or value.

The typical signs are that you start looking for answers; you reassess your life. You want to shake people and tell them to WAKE UP! You suddenly don’t feel worthy and start watching TED talks, thinking about how wonderful these people are who now place you in the shade.

Its is not the woman who asks the key questions of herself who is insane, it is the man who avoids the questions because he's scared of what the answers might be.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 45
8th March 2016
Steven Covey wrote "The key is not to prioritise what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."

The irrefutable logic that flows from enjoying a finite time on the planet is that the crucial judgements we make will in the end revolve around how we spend that time.

And yet, most of us seem free and loose with our time. How much of your focus is expended on the fripperies at life's edge and how much on what matters most? What is it vital for you to achieve today? Is this really true? What would it mean if it were not true?

If it is vital that you have a belly laugh today you will lead a different life to one where making a sale is the priority.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 44
7th March 2016
Dr Martin Seligman says that "Happiness is just one-fifth of what human beings choose to do."

He talks of a 'Fidgeting until we die' syndrome for which we need an antidote, because staying busy for ourselves is a mental prison that locks us away from the abundant joy all around us and into which we can all tap if we so choose.

Yes, we can choose to feel happier about the past by cultivating forgiveness. Yes, we can feel happier about this moment by savouring my words. We can feel happier about the future by building up hopes. We can even feel happier by seeking immediate gratification like munching an ice cream, shopping for shoes or buying an Aston Martin. All do the trick at one level but any enhanced feeling is always short-lived, and there is usually an opposite reaction later, normally when the credit card statements land or the scales come into play.

Lasting, serene happiness is not something we can catch by chasing it. It can only ever be found as a by-product of securing ourselves in the pursuit of goodness, family, challenge, justice and community. The happiness that lies within us, is to be found through others. This is a beautiful paradox that too few stop to reflect upon.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 43
5th March 2016
George Orwell wrote " High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic."

Observing the Brexit and US Presidential leadership styles reminds me that some leaders like Donald Trump and others surf the energy of the dissatisfaction in a crowd. In this tradition the likes of Ghandi, Mandela and Churchill have lived.

Others are planters who create new energy and life by appealing to the hopes, aspirations, and possibilities within the crowd. Think Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg.

If you are a politician you will likely be a surfer; if an entrepreneur you will plant. Do you know any planting politicians or surfing entrepreneurs?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 42
4th March 2016
Family therapy expert Virginia Satir said " We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth."

On my phone I have an APP, which helps me record how much water I drink in the day. I use it because I'm trying to get into the habit of avoiding dehydration and the adverse affects this can have.

I don't have an APP for hugs but I've been keeping a rough check and I place myself firmly in the survival group. My hugs are all pretty much at home and in private. There is something about the world of work that somehow makes a hug not the thing to do. Equally, to suggest to your team that they should hug more would place you in the 'new-age-hug a hugger' bracket.

Why not hug a few more people than normal today and see how you feel?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 41
3rd March 2016
Benjamin Franklin said said "We are all born ignorant, but one has to work hard to remain stupid."

Have you noticed how some people seem to know a lot of facts? They may be popular team members in a pub quiz but the essence of knowledge is to have a sense of what we don't understand, or as Confucius put it "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."

Nicolaus Copericus put it this way "To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge."

So the more you know you don't understand, the wiser you are. Sometimes we can confuse those who are certain about things with knowledgeable people but they are in fact the ignorant.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 40
2nd March 2016
Nelson Mandela said " It always seems impossible until it is done."

There is great value in what Edward de Bono calls "Black Hat Thinking". This is the devil's advocate, focussed on why something may not work. It spots the difficulties and dangers; where things might go wrong and is probably the most powerful and useful of his Six Thinking Hats. The trouble is it is massively over used and often with the wrong motives in mind, which can range from 'not invented here syndrome' to 'I'm still miffed about something completely different.'

In my experience the more we each have to lose and the older we become, the more often we don our black hats, which is no bad thing. Even an adventurer like Richard Branson is less gung-ho than his younger self.

The people to spot and then ignore are the ones who are always scared, always fearful and always the first to come forward with reasons 'why not.'

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 39
1st March 2016
Advertising guru David Ogilvy said " If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants."

If you've read Jim Collin's book 'Good to Great' you'll remember he explains how much easier it is to start with the 'who' in a team. Getting the right people on the bus in the right seats is the key to driving any great business journey. Do you tend to hire people you can mentor or who are better than you?

Not everyone is great. I'm not yet. The point is to join with others who want to be so and who are not happy to settle for just being good. Good is the enemy of great. Good softens the need to push on towards better. Good fights to prevent great ever being born. It’s a paradox, but replacing the comfortably good with those less good who have the energy and desire to become great is the only way to become a great team.

Good is the enemy of great.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 38
29th February 2016
American Author David Thoreau (1817) wrote "We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then LEAP in the dark to our success."

Sometimes we all just have to LEAP into the unknown and trust to faith because otherwise we remain contained within the comfortable, comforting fortified walls that our fears build around us. This container we build around ourselves, we call our comfort zone.

Sometimes we just have to go for it, take a risk and punch our way through the thick steel and stone wall we have built around our fears. You can't get to second base without ever taking your foot off first base. Imagine if you wasted your whole life at first base and never tasted deep joy or painful sorrow. What's the point?

It's Feb 29th, in a LEAP Year. We will have just 15-20 of them in our lives. Go on, get up and dance with life! Agree to make a presentation. Tell someone who doesn't know, how much you love them. Today offers a chance to LEAP outside of our mental prisons for a day and soak in the richness, adventure and exhilaration that lives outside our safe comfort zones.

LEAP! LEAP today…..go on, just do it and stop making excuses. I dare you.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 37
26th February 2016
American educator Amos Bronson Alcott (1799) wrote " Observation more than books and experience more than persons, are the prime educators."

Yesterday, as I drove to Abingdon in heavy traffic I found myself observing drivers coming in the opposite direction. Of the 50 I looked at; 35 were alone and seemed in almost trance-like deep thought; 10 had passengers and of these 3 were in conversation. Of the remaining 5, one was balancing a coffee and her phone, 3 were reaching for something and my favourite was animated, singing and smiling. I decided to copy her and enjoyed my journey that much more.

We so often pass through life in a daze without observing what is in full view around us. Take a moment now…..what do you see that’s in your space that you hadn't noticed until you decided to observe.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 36
24th February 2016
X-Files Actress Gillian Anderson said " There is a difference between being listened to and being heard"

Most people don't listen with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply. And yet for the average person being heard is so close to being loved for the average person that they are almost indistinguishable.

How about you? Do you speak up to be heard or suffer in silence? Do you really listen?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 35
23rd February 2016
Oscar Wilde wrote " The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.

It is perhaps a normal Wednesday today, why not make normal a kinder normal?

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. So why not carry out a random act of kindness today and every day, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you?

All it takes is a decision to focus and act.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 34
22nd February 2016
American Author Gretchen Ruben wrote "Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they're big, flashing signs that something needs to change."

What is more important to you than the way you feel? is there anything? We all want to feel better.

How we feel is determined by our emotions which are themselves the result of the meaning we each give to our life experience. A man holds a door open for one woman and is a male chauvenist, yet for another he is kind and considerate. Same event, different meanings, different emotions.

How carefully do you consider the meanings you give to events in your life? Next time you get angry, ask yourself 'why?' What meaning have you given to this event to cause you to feel angry? Is your interpretation really true?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 33
19th February 2016
Cat Stevens said "I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry."

What is your relationship with your memories?

Half of me thinks I know I was me, as imperfect as we each know that to be, but at least it was me. The other half wishes I'd grabbed just one more so-sweet cuddle from my 7 year old boy before he went and grew up on me, and bitten my lip with those harsh words spewed out in unforgiving moments.

I don't like looking back. I get consumed by the inevitable truth that at every moment I could have been that much better.Better to hope than be disappointed. Onwards and upwards.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 32
17th February 2016
Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi said " I don't think of myself as unbreakable. Perhaps I'm just rather flexible and adaptable."

The older and more organised things get, the less adaptable they become. It is why we find the most resilient of of entities to be those which are loosely organised and able to bend with the moment: the Internet, Stock Markets and Biological Life. As we get more set and rigid in our ways it usually pays to become less so.

Precedent and perceived wisdoms need always be subject to challenge, else we might still believe the world to be flat.

Winning an arguement in face of strong opposition does not mean doing what you want. It means knowing the appropriate response to the situation. In the art of war Sun Tzu explains that "leaders must be experts in knowing how to adapt to find an advantage."

71% of the earth's surface is covered by water.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 31
16th February 2016
American author Henry David Thoreau wrote "Wealth is the ability to fully experience life."

On this measure, who is the wealthiest person you know? It is a mindset, not a bank account. There is a huge difference between well-being and being well-off.

In The Monk who Sold his Ferrari, Robbin Sharma writes of his spirit having become 'rusty'. Holding so many certainties in his mind meant that there was no space left for the fresh ideas. If your tea cup is kept full of cold tea, pouring in more tea just makes it overflow. Pour tea into an cup and the vessel holds on to the new fresh aromatic hot tea. So it is with ideas.

A full stale cup comes from doing the same things with the same people in the same way every day. This keeps your world small and 'certain' and makes it hard to be lucky, because luck is the marriage of preparation with opportunity. If your mind is jammed with certainties, it's hard for opportunity and therefore luck to find a space in your cup. Without them we are all poor.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 30
15th February 2016
Winston Churchill said "The price of greatness is responsibility over each of your thoughts."

The quality of our thinking determines the quality of our lives. For a peaceful more meaningful life, we need to think more peacefulmeaningful thoughts. As Carl Jung wrote "He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside, awakens."

Over 95% of your 60,000+ thoughts today will be the same ones you had yesterday. Both these, and the new thoughts, if untended will be dominated by fear and worry. Unless we take control of our thinking we gravitate towards negative thinking. The mind is like a garden, it needs daily tending if not to be overrun by weeds.

Have you tried Opposition Thinking? Every time you think a negative thought, simply replace it with a positive one. The mind can only concentrate consciously hard on one thought at one time.

Whatever works. The key is that your mind will focus on whatever you command it to focus on, but without such a master it will worry and fret for you on its own.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 29
11th February 2016
American novelist Chuck Palahniuk wrote "If I can't be beautiful, I want to be invisible."

How do you ask for the bill? Do you quietly try and catch a waiter's eye and find yourself often cloaked in your apparent invisibility? Feeling invisible is painful. Worse is being clearly visible and ignored when you seek attention.

One of the hardest challenges about growing old is becoming invisible. There's something very front and centre about being young.

Henry Wordswoth Longfellow wrote "The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day". The older we get the more the surrounding light seems to make our star dim and disappear from view.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 28
10th February 2016
Dutch scientist Edsger Dijkstra wrote "Aim for brevity while avoiding jargon." In many ways incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of every profession. Being able to understand the shortcuts in vocabulary used in a closed community helps keep out those who are bereft of the background to participate fully as an equal.

It does however appear ridiculous in general management.

Do you have the core-competency to tackle that bleeding edge by creating a burning platform so that you can make hay in a scalable fashion? This thinking outside the box will ensure your ducks are all in a row in your own brand of a solution-centric ecosystem. This will give you leverage as a unique full-service operator so you don’t have to boil the ocean. You can take a punt by reaching out in a plea for the team to work 110% and to take you to the next level, not forgetting to pick the low hanging fruit on the way. Tosh.

How about a £1 Jargon Box in the office for charity?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 27
9th February 2016
Canadian actress, and my namesake Victoria Pratt said "In the beginning, people think vulnerability will make you weak, but it does the opposite. It shows you're strong enough to care."

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to follow someone who doesn't profess to know all the answers and needs as much help as they are able to give? Odd then that so many would-be leaders feel compelled to project an air of certainty where none exists.

Think about those people you truly admire. Of course they are vulnerable, we all are. I bet what unites them is a willingness to show weakness, uncertainty and vulnerability but to mix it with energy, courage and determination to power progress.

Every time Usain Bolt runs he is vulnerable. To compete at the highest level is to bare your vulnerability to the world. Do you bare your vulnerability or lock it away? We never truly know love if we do, and without love in your heart, what is the point?

Why not share a fear with someone today as one step on the road?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 26
8th February 2016
Desmond Tutu wrote "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."

What is your relationship with hope? Does it sit as part of your daily ritual in the morning or as an occasional thought? Does it grow in you during life's tougher moments or dim down when the darkness descends?

We all need to rediscover the distinction between a great Hope and great expectations. True, at one level one was a comedian and the other a book, but hope and expectation are also easily mixed up. Hope is the light which pulls us forward, expectation is the brake which slows our progress when dashed.

Three essentials to happiness are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. What are you hoping for today?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 25
5th February 2016
Woody Alan said "Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon."

Loneliness drives a suicide rate that I am told kills five times as many people each year as die in road accidents, and is now recognised as a life-shortening condition. It is common in the very people you imagine to be free of it. Tom Hanks for example: "The battles against loneliness that I fought when I was 16 are very different from those I fought when I was 27, and those are very different from the ones I fight at 44."

Do you often feel alone? I do.

Entrepreneurs live in that lonely space. Nobody else sees what you see or believes what you believe. To succeed, you have to be very comfortable on your own. Like a cat, you need to enjoy being alone. Being happy to be alone is the state of solitude. Being unhappy to be alone is the state of loneliness. It comes down to personal choice.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 24
4th February 2016
American Psychologist Erik Erikson wrote "Life doesn't make any sense without inter-dependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all."

As young humans, we experience a much longer period of dependence than other species. So much so that in our teenage years we scream for some independence. Later, most of us come to realise that independence is just a transient life stage en route to our reality which is inter-dependence. Man is a social being.

Independence is the fiction of teenagers. We are adults.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 23
3rd February 2016
Entrepreneur Felix Denis wrote "As with the onset of sudden celebrity, for the newly rich, the world often becomes a darker, narrower, less generous place; a paradox that elicits scant sympathy, but is nonetheless true." The richer we become, the poorer we are.

The wisdom of the paradox is often illuminating. Shakespeare's Hamlet speaks of the need "to be cruel to be kind", and George Orwell wrote "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." George Bernard Shaw lamented "What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young." Socrates said- "I know that I know nothing."

This sentence is false. If it is false then it is true, and if it is true then it is false. Your mission is not to accept this mission. Do you accept?

Possibly the most powerful paradox is that it is in truth the scientific and technological progress of man, based on our ingenuity and desire to improve our lot, which offers up the most profound threats to our very existence. As a species, our likely destruction is heightened by the potential for nuclear holocaust, the impacts of global warming on the planet itself, and our weakening natural defences against pandemic due to progress in antibiotic medication.

The early global paradox of the 21st Century is that social media seemingly disconnects us, from the people around us and from time with ourselves.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 22
2nd February 2016
American author Zig Ziglar wrote "Everyone is in sales. Maybe you don't hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales."

Not learning to sell is the elephant in our education system. I was thinking about this on Sunday as I observed 30 Young Enterprise teams of near-adults doing their best to bring in customers to their particular product stand in Milton Keynes Shopping Centre. They were thrown in at the deep end. Nobody drowned but some took to it like ducks to water.

None of these future leaders will have been been given the benefit of sales training. I suspect none of them have encountered the impacts of reciprocity, hypnotic language, nor the contrast principle. Come to think of it, I bet you haven't either. These tools of persuasion are not taught to us. You have to go and find them. It is interesting that we all know what happened in 1066 but few really understand how to sell an idea, a product or even ourselves. Which, I wonder will be more useful to the next generation?

Of course, the biggest sales lesson is to learn to love to fail and use this to hone your skill and technique. It is too easy to find reasons not to have the next conversation, and many find one. At least half of sales success is about momentum and the extent to which you are more or less prolific than others in picking up the phone or shaking hands. It's a numbers game. Always.

Tip: Read Dr Robert Cialdini's Book 'Infleuence' to better understand reciprocity etc…

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 21
1st February 2016
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote " Without music, life would be a mistake."

Have you noticed how your mood changes with music and how quickly it can hit? Music is the shorthand of emotion and it follows us around until we die, projecting us in an instant back to earlier life moments and fiilling us with an emotional rush.

It is the world's most popular language and is there for every person on the planet. It can be both your refuge and your inspiration. Put the right lyrics and words together and you create a powerful force but where words fail, the music will speak alone.

Ronald Reagan suggested "Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music". What we each choose to play tells us a lot about ourselves, if only we would stop to listen.

Which role will music play in your life today? Will it give you energy to train and push ahead, drown out the world around you, or offer you peace and an escape from stress?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 20
29th January 2016
JFK said "Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."

As an entrepreneur its part of my DNA that the buck always stops with me, something which a particularly irate customer was at odds to remind me of as she cancelled her £400 order this week after we had messed her around. My fault. I understand.

Understanding that you are accountable for everything helps because you know that you have to hone in on getting stuff right. There are only three ways to do this; yourself; through others; or via automation. Of these, finding people who are, or who want to be far better than you at their roles is the fun part of success.

If you are innovative, many things will go wrong. It's almost a badge of progress. To succeed, all errors need to be addressed with a bright spotlight and a sledge hammer. The first step is in searching out the truth and never hiding from, or softening it.

A smart team continually watches for what could be better, brings errors to the fore and then blows them out of the water. BOOM! A weaker team will hide from, or ignore its mistakes.

The very best team member is the one who says, ' We got these things wrong today, how about these as the right fixes? Too many try and sweep errors under the carpet because they don't want to accept blame or look bad.

Its not enough to work hard. To succeed we also have to be smart. Let's not be scared of mistakes. Bring them boldly into the light. Each one is an opportunity to improve. Nobody wins Olympic Gold by hiding from their errors and weak points.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 19
28th January 2016
Ekhart Tolle wrote "Life is an adventure, it's not a package tour."

This came to mind yesterday when I glanced at a page in a newspaper. The stories were of Donald Trump's alleged proclivities, French air traffic control strikes, and complaints about a Chris Moyles Tv advert. All so very grey and predictable. The story of explorer Henry Worsley (55) who died on Sunday stood out like a beacon of light.

Henry Worsley's courage and determination in attempting to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps and walk across the Antarctic alone, pulling his own supplies, was impressive as was his plan to raise £100k for wounded Services personnel, as were his 71 days trekking 910 miles to within 30 miles of his goal. What was most impressive was his incredibly brave decision to finally halt the expedition; sadly just too late.

No one likes to fail, but he who risks nothing, stands to gain nothing. Everything worth winning can be lost and risks the pain of defeat. This man's legacy will be to shake the manacles of conformity and constraint from the minds of those who will pass by after him and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Better to live a shorter life packed with mini adventures than endure a long safe survival having missed the joy of success and the dark pain of defeat. WIthout the dark there can be no light.

This selfie was one of Henry Worsley's last acts as an explorer. Behold the eyes and face of a brave, courageous, generous, determined spirit. His charity fund is now in excess of £200,000. R.I.P. Henry Worsley.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 18
27th January 2016
Tony Robbins always says "When would now be the right time to take action?"

Every day counts and each day is one more chance to achieve something wonderful, be it to create, to overcome a tough challenge, or to bring on a belly laugh.

Today, Wed Jan 27th is to all intents and purposes a normal unremarkable day. Yet in 1606 it marked the first day of the Guy Fawkes trial. In 1880 Thomas Edison received his first patent for the incandesant lamp. It was the day President Lincoln ordered his armies to advance in the American CIvil War.

In 1926 Logie Baird first demonstrated the TV to the world. In 1970, John Lennon wrote and recorded "Instant Karma". And in 1973 it marked the official end to the Cold War.

People born on this day include Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart, Lewis Carroll and Bridget Fonda. Those who left us today include J.D. Salinger, Francis Drake and Roman Emporer Nerva.

What will you do today? It's just another day.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 17
26th January 2016
It was Aristotle who wrote: "Friendship is essentially a partnership."

We are all involved in partnerships of one sort or another. It might be a marriage, it could be between members of your community or working together in business. Some 'partnerships' are genuine and real, while others are fake, faux and forgettable.

My life is full of them. Long-lasting, healthy relationships are more important than ideas, much harder to come by and require constant attention and energy. But walking in the dark with a friend beats walking alone in the light, so it is worth your focus.

Too many people choose partisanship over partnership, which is to focus on one side rather than what works for all and as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote "The only way to have a friend is to be one."

No friend or partner can ever be perfect which Friedrich Nietzsche understood when he wrote "Love is blind: friendship closes its eyes." So what are you going to do today to help your friends (with your eyes closed)?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 16
25th January 2016
Patrick Swayze said: "My work is my legacy."

American author Henry David Thoreau (1862) wrote: "It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?" Does your answer lie in silence?

Confucious said "Silence is a true friend who never betrays us", meanwhile Francis Bacon wrote "Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom", and Thomas Carlye observed "SIlence is as deep as Eternity; speech is as hallow as Time.

So, when was the last time you took the chance to be completely still and silent so as to restore your mind, body and spirit? This will seem a bit happy-clappy to the busy amongst us and yet all the great wisdoms of the world say the same thing. To be still and silent on a regular basis, free from the constant chatter boxes in our heads releases the deep power of solitude to rebalance and restore us.

I'm no expert. I really struggle to meditate but I'm sticking with it because peace of mind clearly lives where silence is found.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 15
22nd January 2016
Patrick Swayze said: "My work is my legacy."

Last night I was taken to dinner by three souls who've picked up some tasks that I have left behind, so the discussion amongst we four men of 50 also turned to legacy.

Ruminating on it during the car journey home it struck me that legacy is nothing to do with edifices or achievements. Neither is it something reserved for the end of life, but it is alive and kicking in the present in every action and reaction we engender each day.

We either bring the potential for more positive energy to the world or more negativity. We open up doors for others to walk through or we close them in their faces. We reach down to pull others up or pull the ladder up behind us.

Our legacy is not the doors or the ladders we build but their impact on those who walk through or pull themselves up. My legacy is my 3 dinner compadres and what they do next. It is a paradox that your legacy doesn't involve you and is all in the future.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 14
21st January 2016
Benjamin Franklin said: " Energy and persistence conquer all things." Everything is energy. Our thoughts are often its immediate source, our emotions magnify that source and our actions generate added momentum.

Sadly, it is the case that people too weak to follow their own dreams will often find a way to pour acid on yours. Have you noticed you tend to reflect the energy you perceive? Anger begets anger. Kindness begets kindness. Nikola Tesla was pretty clear "If you want to find the secrets of the universe think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration."

So, who and what inject energy into your life, and who saps it like the Nazgul? I love music, interesting ideas, caring about the detail, talent, courage, adventure, kindness and reasons to reach beyond what is comfortable, boring and safe. My Nazgul are reasons why not, petty politics, selfishness, intolerance and those who run others down behind their backs and choose a tiny resentful life over all the possibilities the world offers us. Surround ourselves with positive energy at our frequency and we will be energised.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 13
20th January 2016
Samuel Goldwyn said: " I'll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty."

What’s your view on the value of loyalty? When you just thought of it did your mind jump first to the loyalty of others, to that which you show others, loyalty to yourself or loyalty to ideas? Or did you jump first to an example of disloyalty?

Loyalty is like a flower that occasionally blooms but for the most part remains out of view. It is most noticeable more by its absence in times of difficulty than its presence in good times. Your bank is 'loyal' to you when you don't really need to borrow money, but where is it when the bailiffs come knocking?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 12
19th January 2016
Australian scientist Hugh Mackay wrote: "Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational."

Throw in that we have yet to fully explore the possibilities inside an atom let alone the sheer scale of the Universe. Everything is complex.

It is said that the average person wears 12 items of clothing and jewelry. This decision-tree alone offers up 479,001,600 options when you get dressed.

The DNA instruction book, or genome, for a human contains about 3 billion bases and about 20,000 genes on 23 pairs of chromosomes. Complex.

Which areas of your own life most need you to come out of the paralysis of detail into an uncomplicated sense of what feels right? We all have them.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 11
18th January 2016
Talking about James Bond Barbara Broccoli said: " he's a classical hero, but he's also fallible. He has inner demons, inner conflicts, and he's a romantic."

Where do your demons hide? Do you look for them? Many creative people describe a life-long dance with what scares them most about themselves. Carlos Santana wrote "I knuckle down with my demons, and with my weaknesses."

James Bond, Carlos Santana:you are not alone in holding deep feelings of fraudulence. Only the deluded believe of themselves what others project onto them. Saints don't start out that way, they are simply sinners who kept going.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 10
15th January 2016
American Sociologist Ivan Illich wrote: "Leadership does not depend on being right."

This was brought to mind this week when one of you was kind enough to teach me how great leaders can drive horses to willingly follow them. Whether a horse follows you or not is independent of the destination you pick.

I do hesitate to compare people to horses- only the men feel complimented.

I didn't quite understand until when out walking with the dog yesterday we came across a stable of horses in a field. They carried on munching grass and ignored us. Observing them you very soon realise that their perspective is so very different to our own. For us, 5 minutes can seem an age and just a step en route to the next waiting task. We are always on the move. Horses do not know time, tend to stay where they are all day, and have no concept of a planned future. Neither do they laugh. Only humans laugh. They simply do what they do. They are different to you. You are just a largely unknown temporary presence descended into their world. Why would they follow you any more than a goat or a badger?

Building a great realtionship with horses must take focus, time, patience, a nurturing spirit, plus a tender understanding of what the horse needs and when it needs it.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 9
14th January 2016
Japanese cartoonist Stan Sakai wrote: "A Samurai should always be prepared for death - whether his own or someone else's."

This quote resonated with me as I'm reading "tuesdays with Morrie" in which an mature ex-student receives a download from his old Professor about how to die well. A truly great book.

I had not thought, nor read much about Samurai until yesterday. Have you heard of the Samurai code? "Give way to the strong. Support the weak. Crush the wicked."

In reading about Samurai thinking I am most struck how atuned the teachings are to the immortal words of George Bernard Shaw " The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 8
13th January 2016
Vincent Van Gogh wrote "Normality is a paved road: it's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it."

Personally, I have always tended towards the unorthodox. At school while mates obsessed about their hair and sartorial elegance my nickname was El Trampo….plus ca change! At University when others studied and looked for a job, I traded bankrupt stock and created jobs. At Business School I never quite agreed with any of the theory. And since then? Well most people I encounter simply don't hear the same music and so inevitably think this dancer a wee bit unhinged. Caring too much about what other people think will keep you in the crowd and the place you will most likely end up is at the exit.

Taking the course opposite to custom I suspect means you will almost always do well, as long as you apply the same thinking to what dong well means to you.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 7
12th January 2016
In 2014 David Bowie's wife Iman said "I fell in love with David Jones. I did not fall in love with David Bowie. Bowie is just a persona. He’s a singer, an entertainer."

I didn't know David Jones but I've always loved David Bowie since getting to know his music and lyrics as a teenager, and I admit to shedding a tear on my drive home last night.

When we cry it reveals something to us about ourselves. What I loved about Bowie was he really did make it ok to be colourful, challenging and different from the greyness and fearful banality of the crowd….. See the mice in their million hordes, from Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads….

Bowie's lyrics told us that the real challenge is with ourselves; others are simply camouflage-
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test…

And he told us we could spit in the eyes of fools…'s been my life maxim but until yesterday I never knew where I learned such irreverence for fear.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 6
11th January 2016
Golfer Ben Hogan once said " As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses because you only get to play one round."

As we live our days, so we live our lives. Those tired clichés about life not being a 'dress rehearsal' and being 'what happened while you were making other plans' turn out to have been true all along.

I would dearly love to go back to my younger self and shake him from a life lived in the future, but it's enough of a challenge avoiding the same mistake today. All those moments missed cuddling my son, walking and talking with the dog, and savouring each day more carefully. But who knew? Everybody it seems.

Albert Camus wrote "Real generosity towards the future consists in giving all to what is present."

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 5
8th January 2016
Carl Jung said " Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate."

So much of our life experience and happiness (or not as may be) is determined by our personal reactions to what happens to us. The exact same event or experience will trigger two completely different reactions in two different people.

These instinctive reactions are nothing more than the response we offer to the meaning we associate with stuff. What things mean to us is 100% a learned interpretation and entirely subjective. Do you check yourself to explore if your 'instinct' is actually true.

Foolish joyrider, heart attack victim or photoshopped? Your instinct?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 4
7th January 2016
Mark Twain wrote " You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."

Maintaining a healthy deliberate positive focus is already turning out to be a serious personal challenge just one week into 2016. The incessant negative news, the infiltration of official stress in the guise of a VAT inspection, a fire inspection and an Advertising Standards Agency complaint, the anger, distrust and combative nature of many engaged in business, and people choosing to be economical with the truth is making it tough to stay focussed in my happy-clappy balloon.

Helpfully, one of you reminded me yesterday of the powerful tool of reverse psychology which prompts us to consider the exact opposite of a request. In this vein, don't give yourself time today to be sure you are focussed on what really matters at work and at home.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 3
6th January 2016
Peter Drucker wrote "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

Do you sometimes feel your life might have become too complex and out of control? I suspect we all do, because the possibilities to take an interest in shiny distractions have grown exponentially in recent times.

But, just as the person who chases two rabbits catches neither, so too does the person who tries to do everything ultimately achieve nothing. Mea culpa!

Why not pick one distraction today, ignore it's shiny packaging and put that energy into something that really matters to you like finding time to say 'Thanks' or doing someone a favour?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 2
5th January 2016
Benjamin Disraeli said, "Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go higher than you think."

Amblyopia is the condition where placing a patch over a child's good eye will stunt its growth and render it blind over time. The same condition applies to our own hopes and dreams.

If we go through life with blinkers over our dreams we eventually become blind to them and end up living much smaller lives. Too many die at 40 and are buried at 80, having spent precious time shackled to tiny thoughts and the minutiae.

This is a picture of Einstein's desk on the day he died. It screams deep thought.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2016: No 1
4th January 2016
Stephen Hawking said, " We live on a minor planet of a very average star located within the outer limits of one of a hundred thousand million galaxies."

What is more, we walk the planet for such a short time that our lives barely register as a blip on the canvas of humanity let alone eternity.

Keeping a healthy perspective on daily 'problems', which are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things has to be one way of reserving our limited energy and focus for the more meaningful stuff.

Better to live a series of daily acts of decency, creativity and kindness than to live in the numbing fog of perpetual irritation about the inevitable imperfections| of yourself and others. I'm going to listen more to my heart in 2016. Fingers crossed.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE