Let there be Light in 2017: No 27
11th November 2017
Mark Twain wrote: ‘Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.’

Getting older, this thought increasingly resonates with me. As we adapt to mid-life the ‘who’ in life grows in importance while ideas recede; how we feel in the end trumps what we think. Life is the emotion we consistently feel.

To thrive amidst systemic change you have to let go of what you think should happen, live in what is actually happening, and feel great about it.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 26
23rd October 2017
French President Emmanuel Macron said: ‘My priority is my economy minister mandate and to create momentum.’

It strikes me that the critical role of momentum is often forgotten in life.

It is nigh-on impossible to turn the wheels of a stationary car without the aid of power steering, but edge forward or back just a touch and the impact on you ability to steer is remarkable. With forward or reverse motion, steering becomes a light-touch easy affair.

Our responsibilities show up in much the same way. If we have momentum we can take-on seemingly herculean tasks and challenges but if you get stuck and bogged down, even the slightest demand can feel crushingly heavy.

The point? Keep moving because the energy needed to overcome inertia is immense under the weight of your busy life. Keep rolling. Never come to a stop.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 25
9th October 2017
Happiness author Doe Zantamata wrote: ‘’Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them…your smile, your hope, and your courage.”

A meeting up with great friends can prove a major tonic, especially when you know each other well enough to avoid political correctness. The Jolly German suffers continual ribbing about the war and the early arrival of his towel, the perpetually fat guy floats upon a sea of jokes about the Japanese whaling fleet, and the Frenchman is of course obsessed by garlic and needs several alarms to wake him up in time for the arrival of the Germans.

Enduring lifetime friendships are those in which ribaldry about your differences become the resin which binds you together over the decades. Laughing kindly at yourself and others keeps you close.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 25
2nd October 2017
German novelist Johan Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: ‘Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.’

Put another way, everything does not matter to the same extent. This is the place from where the Pareto 80:20 principle is derived. The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. I have been unwise in my life. You?

The science of being successful is the science of doing what you say you are going to do. Without this integrity there is little point in deciding anything.

Our greatest possession is the 24hrs we each have immediately in front of us. If we don’t take responsibility for how it is spent, then someone else will. So ask yourself now….

What is required of me today? What will give me the biggest return on my time? What will give me the biggest reward?

Choose to be Shakespeare not a monkey.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 24
25th September 2017
American author Helen Keller wrote: ‘Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.’

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them, behaviour which can sometimes shock those not used to your relationship.

Sometimes we can confuse the people we are always with, with the people who are always there. The former tend to be loyal to their need of you; once circumstances change so too do such loyalties. The latter will defend you to the death behind your back.

Journalist Walter Winchel said that ‘a real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.’ On this score, I reckon we can count true friends on the fingers of one hand.

Blood makes you related but loyalty makes you family.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 23
18th September 2017
Bruce Lee said: ‘The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus’

If there is one of the many maxims that I have not lived up to that stands head and shoulders above the rest it is that I have spread myself too thinly in life. My mum used to say ‘be anything you like Alex, but be the best.’ She would be a touch disappointed I suspect to find me a Jack of many trades and master of nowt.

They say that the man who chases two rabbits catches neither and yet we persist in chasing a whole colony simultaneously. Which one is in your sights? Wealth? Health? Humour? Anger? Regret? Happiness? Where focus goes, energy flows.

Today I am the possibility of being in rude health.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 22
11th September 2017
Entrepreneur Roger James Hamilton: ‘Wealth is the crystalisation of trust.’'

The usual comment about trust one hears is that it takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.

In a relationship you have to trust the person you love, or love someone else you can trust because love bereft of trust is painful. Love can be unconditional but trust and respect are not. They are earned and lost.

In business, the loyalty you get from suppliers, customers and your team flows like water in a stream. It flows naturally in one direction, from the higher to the lower ground, because anything other than this requires extra energy to lift the flow.

For loyalty, and the success which accompanies it to flow in your direction, in the end there is no alternative to being trustworthy. If your word is not your bond you have no hope, but more than that it is the your perceived promises in the minds of others which matter. You can be 100% trustworthy and still not trusted.

Nobody said life was easy.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 21
4th September 2017
Mark Twain wrote: ‘My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.'

Having never been one, but benefitted so much from having one, I sometimes feel uneasy at the life-stories of friends who’s relationship with their mums have been overly challenging. There seem to be more of these than there have been troubles with dad, at least in my friendship groups.

My mum is long passed now, but I remember her well and I see the evidence of loving mothers all around me. It strikes me that motherhood is both the greatest thing and the hardest thing. If you think on it, mothers are the future because they give birth to it. It seems odd to me that as a society we have convinced ourselves that working to earn a dollar is of more value than raising children; one of the many perceived wisdoms worthy of challenge in the modern world.

I was always at peace because of the way my mum treated me. While others may have been less lucky, there is no denying that a mother shapes who we become either by emulating her or rebelling against her. Either way, a mum is never a benign influence.

Like all things in life, the more you look, the more you realise that for the most part everyone is just out there doing their best for themselves and the people in their lives.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 21
31st August 2017
American rap artist Eminem said ‘My father? I never knew him. Never even seen a picture of him.'

Being both a son and a father makes you realise just how difficult a job it can be to be a great dad, and equally just how deprived those are who have not had a father figure in their lives.A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.

My dad fell and broke his hip at the weekend and at 84 and with just half a heart left I really don’t want to lose my dad even though it sometimes feels he’d be happier to let go now.

My dad is flawed, just as I have been flawed as a dad. It’s the nature of the role…we are all amateurs doing our best. I’d have loved to been father to a daughter as well as my son.

My friend J’s dad died last year and she is still grieving his loss and would give anything to see her dad just one more time. Listening to her speak of him makes you picture a wonderfully flawed loving chap doing his best for his family in the balancing act that is a life. He remains truly loved today.

This chart has it so right. Of course, the younger me wouldn’t have accepted it because of course I knew better.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 20
18th August 2017
American football coach Lou Holtz said ‘The problem with having a sense of humour is often that people you use it on aren't in a very good mood.'

There are of course good and bad times but our mood changes more often than our fortunes and we all sense and dance around the moods of others. It is generally harder to spot our own mood swings.

Do you dress and behave to reflect your mood or to change your mood? I've found (not personally) that something as simple as the application of lipstick or perfume can make a big difference. Music and moving do it for me.

When you wake up in a bad mood or spot yourself inside one, why stay in it?….turn off the news, go for a walk, put on some music, sing or even dance. Do whatever it takes to get back the opportunity to enjoy this moment and the next because neither will be coming back soon.

Not always easy to do, but worth trying don't you think?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 19
1st August 2017
Winston Churchill said ‘You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.’

It seems to be the case that the successful life-warrior is just the average person with a laser-like focus. My mum always used to tell me that it matters not what you do, whether a chimney sweep or a President; what matters is being the best one you can be. Turns out she was wiser than I thought as a teenager….who knew?!

It strikes me that this is a key challenge for us all today. We are aware of so so so much more than when we were kids. There are so many distractions that the art and science of ignoring stuff is very possibly the first pre-requisite to success. At no time is this more important than when the manure hits the windfarm….. focus like a sniper not like a rabbit caught in the headlights nor a kid in a sweet shop.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 18
26th June 2017
My great mate Neil says“Tell you what mate, if your mood is governed by the weather you are going to be one hell of a moody bastard.”

Prophetic words like this are often missed as we speed through our lives but Neil often unwittingly says stuff that makes me think so I listen carefully for these gems.

I’ve come to understand that the most important aspect of any day is to choose to be in a good mood and enjoy life as this choice. Far too often I have simply decided not to feel great simply because the prevailing circumstances justify such a position. But of course like the weather, circumstances change all of the time and with them so does our mood. Being at the mercy of circumstance rather than choosing a great mood no matter what, is in the end all that separates us from the lives we could have enjoyed.

If all you do is remember to take a few seconds as your feet hit the floor in the morning to say out loud ‘It’s going to be a wonderful day today’ you will be amazed how much better life gets.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 17
19th June 2017
The sixteenth century clergyman Saint Francis de Sales wrote“Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.’

In the last few days on a Yoga Retreat I’ve been reminded just how much is going on in the present that our minds are quietly attuned to all of the time. The dog barking in the distance, the car driving past, music in our midst, the heat or cold, even an itch or sensitive skin. Quieting the mind to listen only for what is inside is definitely a learned behaviour requiring daily practice.

I’ve been reminded that we create our own realities by function of the choices we make in so far as what it is that we focus upon. At this moment, which of the infinite possibilities open to you in the now, the past or the future are you focussed upon? Focus on something else and your reality will change.

Silence is not empty. It is full of the answers you seek.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 16
12th June 2017
Eric Cantona said“Children go where they find sincerity and authenticity.”.

To be an authentic person is a beautiful thing I am told; it brings freedom, joy and the possibility of heart felt happiness. It is magnetic.

When you meet someone authentic, they feel real, they offer you their truths with no desire to cause harm. They bring nothing to their listening of you and they appear as marmite because they frighten and insult those not yet ready to receive honest input.

To be authentic, you have first to take yourself off the hook because authentic people accept themselves, warts and all. They value their strengths and laugh at their weaknesses while all the time trying to limit damage to themselves and others.

Love yourself today. It’s the only door leading to potential happiness.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 15
5th June 2017
J.K Rowling wrote “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

We have seen some incredibly brave people just take on terrorists. Every day in smaller ways the extent of our own bravery is being constantly challenged.

We never quite understand how brave we each are until the moment comes. Will you be the one who runs towards danger while others flee for their own protection? Are you the one who speaks up to a strong bully threatening the weak? Will you be the one who understands just how scared to death you are but pushes ahead anyway? Are you the one who disagrees with Brexit and is prepared to still say so or are you being cowed by the ‘Bremoaner’ tag?

The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, it is conformity.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 14
30th May 2017
Martin Luther King Jr said “All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.”

I’ve always felt that the two underlying needs within each of us is to feel like we are making progress and that we are contributing purposefully to something bigger than our own meagre selves.

Recently and for the first time I’ve begun to question whether as a species we are still making net progress. Of course, there are lots of technological innovations making so much more possible than we ever dreamed. But, on the other hand we have regressed from an interdependent mindset, societies are more gripped with blame and hatred of others, and selfishness now seems to be trumping kindness as a better way to be.

Perhaps this T Shirt says it all? Time for a reset.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 13
22nd May 2017
George Bernard Shaw wrote “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

One critical life distinction lies in the difference between our choices and our decisions. A choice is a selection made irrespective of reasons, while a decision weighs the evidence and is underpinned by reasons. ‘Reason-abled’ decisions are by definition subject to change as and when circumstances change, but our choices define who are and are non-negotiable irrespective of circumstance.

Choice and decision mindsets are equally valuable and are both deployed by successful people. The key point perhaps is that the outstanding are led by their choices, supported by their decisions. They are extra-ordinary because it is ordinary to try to fit your choices around your circumstances and decisions.

Do I choose to write this blog because I choose to write this blog i.e. is it a choice? Or, is it a decision based on circumstance? Answers on a postcard…….

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 12
15th May 2017
The Dalai Lama says “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Physical comfort can be achieved with the supply and use of material goods and objects. Sustained mental and emotional comfort depends on having compassion for oneself and for others.

Odd then, that we all choose perverse self-grasping, ego-protecting, destructive actions in the moment every day. In so doing we hurt ourselves, not just others.

Being mindful of this tendency and having the strength and courage to calm the ego, create an internal dialogue of security, and have compassion for yourself and others will bring us all a much greater chance of truly enjoying life.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 11
8th May 2017
The Dalai Lama wrote “If we lose patience and our minds are swamped with emotion, we lose the ability to think clearly and discover how to remedy the destructive emotions that are upsetting us".

If we take the slower path through troubled times and resist the urge to march on to the next thing in the belief that moving past the moment shows strength, we give ourselves a much better chance to heal.

When we can’t remember why we were hurt, that is when we are healed.

If we don’t heal, we will remember the hurt and it will keep bubbling through and hurt us again and again and again and again……

So, if you feel pain today, try sitting with it rather than running from it.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 10
2nd May 2017
Indian film director Mira Nair said “I'm inspired by people that are marginal. I'm excited by their resilience.” I’ve been noticing lately how so many of us are carried forward by our circumstances so much more than we are our commitments and what we stand for as human beings; myself in particular.

It’s one thing to, in the end do the stuff you need to do to survive, and this need varies greatly between individuals and within any one life at different times, but it is so much more powerful to be able to rely on yourself to stick with the more marginal, optional stuff. Nobody needs to get up at 5am with an injury to practice their technique for years en-route to the Olympics, and so many many more don’t as do and win through.

We so often think of resilience as that ability to keep going through adversity but it is more the resolve to stick with our more marginal commitments to ourselves and others. Hence……why I’m back……

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 9
13th April 2017
American write Denis Waitley wrote “It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.”

In the West we are schooled in working hard today and planning to achieve success tomorrow to reach a ‘someday’ point of being happy; ‘I’ll be truly happy once I’ve passed my exams/got that car/found a partner.’ The trouble is, no matter what you achieve, fulfilment always remains horribly illusive.

In the East people are schooled not to look to the future but to live ‘In the now’ and not get distracted by a feeling tomorrow that never comes. The trouble is, this is the surest way to have your furniture repossessed.

It strikes me that the road less travelled leading to fulfilment is to combine both by setting big goals and having high standards but choosing to love the problems this brings full square into our lives in the now. We need to love getting up at 5 in the morning to train, or the pain we carry, and the ‘t*ssers’ we sometime encounter en route. Love it all or stay unfulfilled.

Happy Easter!

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 8
7th April 2017
Russian Novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time” It has been a while since my last confession…time flies. Thanks to those of you who have emailed to say you’ve been missing this regular missive of thought and enquiry into life. Please let me know if you’d like to opt out.

168 is the number of hours in my week and yours. Of course we sleep on avg 7hrs a night so 49hrs are already taken leaving just 119hrs. Then there is all the stuff we have to do like cook, eat, exercise, home chores, bill paying, earn a living etc… what is left is all the time you have left to pursue our dreams or passions.

I’ve always been lucky because I love my work so my passion and work time double up, making every day so much richer and fulfilling. Choosing to work in a role that fans the flames of your dreams seems to me to be something too few people prioritise.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 7
22nd February 2017
Oscar Wilde wrote “The value of an idea has nothing whatever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it.”

Do you feel appalled at the hypocrisy of others? Well, guess what you live as a hypocrite yourself. We all do.

Being polite is hypocritical because it is just cover for thinking one way and being another. Being a parent involves constant hypocrisy in making the case for high standards to our kids. Teachers suggest you do what they say, not what they have done in their own lives. Coaches push you well beyond their own performance capabilities.

Being a hypocrite is the norm but open hypocrites are now even less popular than liars which is why Hilary lost out to The Donald.

I’m learning to value the words of obvious hypocrites because their only difference with others is image, not substance

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 6
13th February 2017
American poet Robert Lee Frost wrote “The best way out is always through.”

We tend to be uncomfortable with our feelings- like feeling hurt, scared or angry so we go to great lengths to avoid and escape them. But the only way past them is to go through them. We just need to let ourselves feel sad and then move on. Only this brings confidence in our ability to deal with the discomfort.

Every time we avoid our fears and tears, we simply prolong our own pain.

Why not try sitting with your pain for a while today? When you get up you might just find you leave it behind and make space for much more fun and laughter.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 5
8th February 2017
The second noble truth of Buddhism says that “Desire is the root of all suffering.”

Desiring a certain outcome can easily slip into an expectation, so it follows that we should pay close attention to our expectations. If our aspirations become expectations we become bound to an unhappy life.

Lowering expectations, like all those should’s and could’s prevents these demands causing us inevitable hurt. We would all do well to practice replacing our expectations of others and life with simply treasuring what there actually is in our lives.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 4
6th February 2017
American Author Arnold H. Glasow wrote “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

Great friends cherish one another’s hopes and are kind to each other’s dreams but more than that they act in their moment of need.

When times get tough, some will listen, some will say a few kind words and give you a hug, and many will want to find out more. But few will quietly step forward to hold you from falling.

Being there to catch and hold someone while they are hurting you is the true measure of friendship.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 3
30th Janaury 2017
Oscar Wilde wrote “Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.”

Forgiving yourself is even more liberating and uplifting. It means recognising and loving your own fragility with humility. It means realising that sometimes circumstances are simply out of your control and need to be accepted. It means that you are capable of mistakes. Who knew?!

Forgiving yourself makes possible the hope and belief that every minute can be lived in a better possibility than the last.

When something bad happens, we have three choices. We can let it define us, destroy us, or strengthen us. Forgiveness is a prerequisite for that added strength.

Which silly mistake are you still blaming yourself for? Who are you making wrong in your life because they have hurt you? Is it time now to forgive, get complete and move on stronger.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 2
16th Janaury 2017
American writer H.L. Mencken said “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

A one level the art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity that takes dedication. All of us in most of our lives skate above the complexity that lies beneath even the most apparently simple aspect of life.

So, few people need nor want to know how the design and components of their iphone came into being, most don’t even know how to use more than 10% of its capability, but everyone who wants to use one needs to understand how to turn it on and take a call.

If simple answers are a mirage, then choosing to communicate complexity to others is very often the power play of the manipulative. Someone who makes stuff seem complicated to you is manipulating you for their own benefit. Watch out for them.

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Let there be Light in 2017: No 1
5th Janaury 2017
Gangsters’ Paradise musician Coolio said “Life is too short to not have fun; we are only here for a short time compared to the sun and the moon and all that.”

Putting our worries, opinions and judgements to one side to have a belly laugh can sometimes feel impossible yet laughter is common in the face of adversity.

Deploying our senses to spot subtle changes in a face or body posture, or to notice the minor nuances of tone, emphasis, language and sentence construction requires us to be present in the moment and not off somewhere else in our heads worrying or dreaming about something else.

Happy 2017. How about a few more belly laughs in the moment this time around?

Alex Pratt - JP OBE

Blog Archive | 2016