Currently redesigning my life, again.

1 01 2011

I am currently redesigning my life, again.

What’s happened in the past is that I have written all my inspired ideas on pieces of paper and put them in a book. Occasionally I would take out that book and re-inspire myself by looking at the entries.

That’s great and I love doing it but it doesn’t really go anywhere, there’s no forward motion.

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Do something for you..

1 11 2010

Photo by lincolnian (click for site)

Hi Guys,

If you wake up feeling down the chances are that emotion will rule the rest of your day.

I had a period in my life where I felt my life was being defined by someone other than me, every single day.

I would wake up feeling down, and trudge into work with no personal empowerment whatsoever. I think this happens a lot in this world, especially as the demands of work seem to increase year by year.

Your boss/kids/dog/mother/wife/ does NOT rule your life, YOU do. You may need to attend to their needs soon but who has the right to say you have to do that first.

Read the rest of this entry »

New ‘About Me’ page text

9 09 2009

My New ‘About Me’ page for this blog

Photo0612Early on in andrew’s life he decided that a non-conformist route would suit him best. Something perhaps to do with a rigid catholic school upbringing, but whatever it was, it has taken him down some interesting routes.

Andrew has been a ski-instructor, psychology teacher, I.T. consultant, car-park atendant, barrista, ski boot fitter, running shoe gait analyser, directory enquiries operator, shop worker. Phew!

What Andrew does for a living is important to him, whatever it happens to be at that time, it’s always something which resonates with his inner life.

“I want to connect with people, help them in some way, but I also feel it’s important to help myself by enjoying the process. Life can be about excitement and that’s what I constantly strive for.”

Writing is a integral part of Andrews life. His words allow him to express thoughts and ideas which otherwise would go unsaid and he wants his primary writing focus- topics of self-help and insight – to be that which will help others on their way. He is also in the process of writing a childrens book about a young girl who daydreams alot!

The way he wishes to help people as well as himself is not something he has fully defined yet but this blog has been a starting point on the road of inspiration. Read his post on ‘Life is like a game of table football’ for the type of writing he loves to do.

For the warriors, remembering who we want to be.

5 09 2009

Recently I have been reading pages upon pages of articles about making money on the internet and of being your own boss.

I am interested in the other side of life, the non-conformist route to living. That route which takes me away from 9-5, takes me away from spending the majority of my waking hours sitting uninspired in front of a computer monitor earning money for someone else.

When we talk about the industrial revolution we talk of poor working conditions, of slavery like pay and hours. We believe its gone away, as if it’s somewhere in the past. Is it really?

Perhaps if you work uninspired behind a computer in a dimly lit, cave-like, office, you might like to think about whether that belief is true.

As I write these words a feeling of shame pervades my system, as if I should take those almost inflamatory words back. But I won’t, as I know that feeling is born of the need to conform, to apologise for the way I am and what I feel.

Well, I won’t do that. And I won’t listen to the people who tell me I should either. They are not my friends.

What I will do is point you towards places and people you can read about and listen to. People who have chosen to leave the ‘new industrial revolution’ to live a life that they themselves dreamt up.

This is fast becoming a passion of mine. And I am not alone.

Here’s a starter for you. Chris Guillebeau has an uncommon perspective on working life as he has never worked a ‘normal’ job. Embracing the possibilities the internet has to offer to communicate with people, he decided to live the way he wanted to, tell people about it and help them to do similarly, but importantly, only if they want to.

He sounds like a great guy, check out his site (subscribe to his blog, it makes some enlightening reading)…oh and download his pdf’s, they’re a great inspiration.

The Art of Non-Conformity


Play the circle game (organizing your life)

18 08 2009

Buy a copy of Steve Chandler’s (link) 100 Ways To Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever. For those people who wish for a better life, reading one page a day is a fantastic way of giving yourself a reminder in the morning of the possibilites your life could hold. It’s an inspirational speed-up 🙂

I thought I would share one of the ‘100 ways’ I read this morning. This is Number 67 ‘Play the circle game ‘.

The day to day activities of life will serve to move your focus away from your dreams of a perfect life if you let it. By incorporating this game into your daily habits you can bring your focus back to what you want it to be.

Use this for realising your dreams. By ‘realising’ I mean not only bringing them to fruition but also understanding how they are not something in the far off future but are now, in this day, in every action you take.

Here are my efforts from this morning (excuse the scrawl!).

One of my life goals  (click for larger image)

One of my life goals (click for larger image)

The idea is to draw four circles.

Label the first:

“Lifelong Dream”

Then write something into it.

For simplicity Steve Chandler uses a monetary example.

You want to, say, save half a million dollars for your retirement, write it into your circle.

Label the second “My Year”. Here you write what you need to save this year and every year (remember to include interest), in order to reach your Lifelong Dream target.

Then label the third circle “My Month”. What do you need to save this month in order to meet your yearly target. So now, half a million dollars doesn’t look so scary, you know if you that if you save XX thousands per month and repeat it, you’ll get there automatically.

Now label the fourth circle “My Day”. This is what you need to save today and could repeat every day, in order for it to be a successful month (It’s probably a much smaller number that you would imagine.)

You would need to read the book to get the proper description (and more inspirationally than I can put it over) but you get the idea.

It’s a process of goal setting but by spending 4 minutes a day reviewing this, you will keep your focus on your goals.

I have realised, for one of my lifelong dreams, ‘To be doing inspirational things everyday which will earn me $40,000 per year”, all I need to do is one inspired thing per day. Example, read an uplifting book or rss feed or listen to some great tunes.

From now on, my focus is to do one small inspirational thing per day, one medium sized one per month and one big one per year and I will actually be living an inspired life!!! Hold on, I thought an inspirational life was something I should aspire to. A life is a series of days so, no, I can actually do it right now!

100 Ways To Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever has so many novel ideas for keep your spirit aloft, I love it.


6 07 2009
Motivation and hard work

Motivation and hard work

I have been thinking about how to motivate myself. How to spur myself on to do something when there is no-one else to do it for me, or no-one to apologise to when it isn’t done.

This has permeated my life and reduced my potential.

So I decided to consider what it was that made me do things, that helped me to achieve goals and to see what it would take to replicate them in a way I could feel comfortable with.

I was recently given the honor of being a best man. Which meant that I needed to organise a stag party and give a speech at the wedding.

Now these were two very specific dates I *had* to do things by.

I am a person who doesn’t necessarily like, but is highly motivated by deadlines. It’s a perverse ‘like’ to feel myself forced to do something by a particular time.

I was able to produce, by the deadline, an enjoyed by all stag do and one of the best best man speeches many in the room had ever heard.

After analysing the whole process I noticed four features enabled me to complete this goal:

One-  Deadline
If I hadn’t had that deadline, laid down by others, I know I wouldnt have had it done by that time, if at all.

Interestingly, whilst I felt forced by the timescale into doing these things, i enjoyed putting it all together.

So I need a concrete end date…a finish line if you will. One which does not move, will enable me to get things done, and by that I mean finished.

Two- Shame
I completed the task becuase I did not want to let other people down. Well actually I have come to realise that at heart I am somewhat selfish. So I realised it was more to do with, not letting myself down in the eyes of others, specifically friends (hmm, or I suppose clients too…interesting thought).

In the past I have comitted to going on a course, got half way through and run off, not completing it. But with this, I couldn’t run away from my friends even if i had wanted to.

Three- Reminders
When I have set myself mini goals and not achieved them, I had been motivated right at the beginning, in fact, perhaps for at least the first week. Then *boom*, lose focus, do something else instead and there goes the goal.

And I was doing this with the stag do, i have to admit. It took my friend the groom, to call me up occasionally to ask how it was going, that kick started me again into the work. It was amost like I had forgotten what i was doing, lost my way a little.

Reminders  will work to keep myself on track, now to figure out what kind.

Four- Inspiration
I know that when i am inspired I will focus and enjoy doing the thing I don’t want to do, so trick number four is to find what inspires me and look at it once a week. Which means, scheduling a slot to look, listen or talk about something. This however brings about its own problems, because that is a mini goal in itself I need to keep….for myself!

All of this is no one-off. Writing this page I remembered writing a school play which I was bulled into doing. I stressed out for days on end about it but it ended up being the most humerous play of the entire school show!! (and it will remain one of my most proud moments.)

Do I need glasses?

1 10 2008


virtual glasses

virtual glasses

I went to the opticians (specsavers) last week for an eye check. They diagnosed me with +1 long sight in both eyes, with a slight Cylindrical and Axis distortion in the left over the right. The optician said that I would benefit from glasses, especially while watching TV and using the computer.


I was quite chuffed, strangely you may think. Perhaps many people don’t want glasses, but I was looking forward to getting some.


Today I booked myself in to the local independant opticians for again, an eye test. This time, the prescription was +.5 and +.25 (L and R), over half what the Specsavers optician had said.

Why would this be different?

A couple of ideas popped into my head. 

1) Specsavers are a mass market glasses retailer who will sell anyone glasses.

2) Bearing in mind the test was only a tenner, the optician at Specsavers was perhaps on a low rate of pay and was working in a dimly lit smelly basement, never good for the moral and interest.

3) The local independent optician given that he has set up his own ‘surgery’ has a greater self interest in serving the needs of his clients and probably a greater respect and keenness on his chosen profession.

I worked in a photography company which was run who I imagine Specsavers to be. Charge’m nothing, pack’em in, make the money on volume of sales (debateably at the expense of quality and care taken).

Compare that to working for an independant photographer who has been doing his own thing for 20 years and you begin to see why I went for a second opinion.


I found the independent optician to be more interested, happy, keen and knowledgeable (thus confirming my suspicions). But taking that out of the equation and assuming each were equally as competent. Why so different on 2 different days?

I can put this down to a few factors..

Specsavers used a projector to display the sight charts (similar in experience to your computer LCD screen), Mr Independent used a traditional ‘sight box’ (flat translucent screen with a light behind).  I found the projected image more difficult to read than the light box and the specsavers optician took readings in complete darkness whereas the independent’s room was well light with natural light.

The second factor may have been that over the last few days I have been taking copious amounts of vitamin C for a cold I currently have. This does tend to make my eyes feel better and it was confirmed by the optician today that VitC is good for the eyes.

My vision certainly felt sharper today compared to last week, but still who was right, glasses or not glasses?


I figure that in the worst case scenario (ie with the lights out watching tv or the computer lcd screen) glasses would help. But in a normal scenario I don’t need them. Most of the time I will be in a ‘normal’ scenario, so why bother.


I am still looking forward (no pun intended) to getting glasses if the true need ever arises.

Running for the Heart Foundation

18 07 2008


On the way

On the way

Yeah, I did it. 2 and a half miles. Who would’ve thought it hey?


If you wish to sponsor me for doing it 🙂 paste this into your browser’s address bar..


At the finish

At the finish

Fasting for Ramadan

10 10 2007

Nectar A couple of weeks ago I was asked to partake in a sponsored fast on 10th October. The idea being to better understand the Muslim faith.

During Ramadan one is not allowed to eat or drink between sun-up and sun-down. That translates to 5.30am to 6.30pm.

At 5pm the few at the college who are doing this will drive down to Radio Ramadan, Bristol to join a group of Muslims who run the station break their fast.

I couldn’t resist writing a blog…

<< Written @ 8am >>

I woke at 5.30 to organise breakfast, of course it took half an hour to get out of bed so i rushed to get my large meal organised by the 6.30 cut off time. Bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms..mmmmmmmmm. I finished it off on time and went back to bed for an hour! Still woke feeling groggy 😦

At this point I must admit to forgetting the nil-by-mouth rule by groggily brushing my teeth at 8am. I am sure all willl be ok 🙂

<< Written @ 12.30pm >>

It’s now 12.30 and I neeed to stop thinking about the hugh nosh-up at Radio Ramadan this evening – the more I think about those steaming bowls of rice and veggie’s and…and….drooooooll!! How Muslisms do this in hot countries for a whole month I don’t know. I was thirsty about half an hour after leaving for walk….no water all day..aggghh!

Well, if millions of people can do this for weeks on end, I am sure I can!!

6 hours to go!


Ok, so now my concentration is going, I feel a bit spacey as my blood sugar level drops below critical! If this was a nuclear reactor men in silver suits would be running around waving their hands in the air. But it’s not and I must peresvere. It’s a shame I haven’t vast stores of fat on me to cushion the blow. Ahh, the perils of being thin.

5 1/2 hours to go.


I am flagging. I feel spacey, a touch high. Complete lack of concentration and I don’t care about anything. Tired because I woke early and from a lack of food. But its strange I don’t feel that hungry. 4 hours to go!


I just want to eat, give me sugar. My legs are weak and my hands are shaking slightly. I am SO tired!

2 1/2 hours to go.


I have arrived at Radio Ramadan, Bristol and it appears we are expected to be on the air to talk about ourselves. If anyone would like to tune to 87.7fm and are in the Bristol area they will hear me and a couple of tutors talking about our experiences of the day. Can’t write anymore, i’m going into the studio!

<< @7pm >>

Well my brush with local fame is over. It was interesting having the headphones over my ears and hearing myself talk. I sound studly! Apparently, according to their website there are 30,000 Muslims in bristol….i wonder who was listening to my dribble. It went something like this. …

Presenter: ” So Andy, you have told us that you work with students with learning difficulties. What do you think are the benefits of having a multi-faith community at the college”

Me: “erm…right..well….i think it’s great that there are people of all faiths at the college, it’s helpful to learn about people with different faiths to your own”

I started to loose it a little here…no idea what to say next and was completely unprepeared for this question so my brain was saying… ‘you are repeating yourself Andy, wrap this up, now’ so I said the killer line…

Me: “….and after all, we are all the same right, just with different beliefs. ”

OOOH baby, a rubbish beginning with a cracking end…..ahhh. the fonze is back!

<< @8pm >>

We started eating at 6.30 and boy was I looking forward to that! Rice, meat, potatoes and bahji’s after my low blood sugar level induced babbling over the airwaves..LUSH!! I even got a doggy bag to take home. Thanks to all those at Radio Ramadan 87.7 Bristol.

So that was the text about how much I missed the food….but seriously…

I learned that Ramadan exsists amongst other things ‘ help learn self restraint ‘ (wikipedia), because Muslims are commanded to (person at Radio Station) and because it helps us to understand starving and water deprived people all around the world (another person at the station). So essentially, it is part of their belief system and they do it for a number of reasons. All of which, strangley for a non-relgious person, an infidel, makes sense.

I appreciated the experience, I can see the reasons and I would do it again next year, but perhaps no more than that.

<>The next day>>

I feel really good! I could concentrate and was more focused than normal. Coincidence?

Hi Polly,

22 09 2007

hi polly,

I thought Barrow Gurney village hall sounded a wierd place to play, very local-yokal, but then I had never been there. It turned out to be a warm and atmospheric place with great acoustics. And i really do think that those seaguls hanging from the ceiling helped to set a nice tone in an otherwise quite angular, local, village hall….no, really!


I was so pleased to meet you tonight. I have listened to and loved your music for a few years now and have looked forward to seeing you live for so long. Tonight you blew me away with your music, a great mix of alternate tuning songwriting and vocal emotion, just incredible, thanks.


For all those who haven’t seen Polly, or should I say, seen how her audience reacts to her it’s fascinating. The whole lot of us were all spellbound, i think we all forgot to start clapping at the end of one of the songs because we were too lost in the music!

I hope you come back to Bristol soon.



Back at school :)

16 08 2007


(me, in February, chilling as a teacher)

I have been working back at Filton College for 2 weeks now. Previously I worked there as a teacher, 4 months, covering maternity leave. It was a powerful and enjoyable time and I learned many things about myself, what I was capable of, and what I was not.

I badgered a few people before left about working there next academic year and after waiting for a month they offered me some working interviewing students for this year’s intake.

I really enjoy being there, its a relaxed unpressured place with lovely people.

After work today (10am-4pm, bliss!) i went back to staff room where I spent my days from February to June. I hadn’t returned there since leaving 2 months ago.

It was weird. it felt like I was looking at my old desk through someone else’s eyes, like it hadn’t been me teaching there.

Perhaps it had been me, but a different me. An old me, one from a different time.

I can liken the feeling to if you were to return to your junior school, 20 years later. Everything might be the same as you remember it, but it would feel different, like a different life.

I became wistful about the teaching roll, remembering the camaraderie in the staff room, the friendships forged in battles against time and necessity and the relief at having achieved a tall task. But at the same time knowing that no matter how much I missed them, that role wasn’t me, it wasn’t where my true skills lie, close, but no cigar.

Now I am back there I am scouring the college subversively to find a job, any job, which will keep me there. I have my foot in the door and want to get my leg through the crack.


Keep well.


Finished Stage 1 Kinesiology

12 04 2007

Kinesiology Training, Oxford

I recently finished stage one of an alternative therapy called Health Kinesiology.It was a two weekend course up in Oxford (group picture above), so finishing at College and heading straight up there gave me a very busy two weeks. No time for rest! I had a really interesting time and it was very emotionally and physically exhausting. Save for the work I am doing at college I probably haven’t had to pack that much into my brain since university.Want to know more about it? Read on…..

Traditionally the term ‘Kinesiology’ describes the scientific study of human movement and as you can imagine it is concerned with the skeletal and muscular systems.

Health Kinesiology could be more accurately described as diagnostic kinesiology or ‘applied’ kinesiology. Essentially it uses one or more muscles in the body to help diagnose imbalances in the body’s energy systems.

These imbalances tend to cause a variety of physical, psychological and emotional problems and using Health Kinesiology’s non-invasive techniques and tools, the body can be rebalanced and in effect ‘re-programmed’ to deal with these stressors more positively and accurately.

I know you will want to find out more and I need guinea pigs. If you would like to have some work done on you drop me an email.

andymax1 at

More information on what a session involves can be found here and at the Q&A page on the same site :

I am teaching!

18 03 2007

Filton College Yes, that’s right. I am teaching at an A-Level college here in Bristol.

My friend (and Psychology course leader at Filton College) asked me to cover for one of his teachers on maternity leave.

So here I am, 3 weeks into the course, teaching Psychology and really enjoying it.

I knew I could do it, deep down, with all the experience I have of presenting and teaching. But never having taught uppety 17 year olds before and adding the fact that I had no really knowledge of Psychology from an academic point of view, you can understand why the first week was SO scary.

So 3 weeks in and I am off and running. There is much work to be done: learning new topics and discovering how to mark assignments. All in all it has been and will continue to be a very rewarding experience.

I was initially asked to do two weeks, but this was extended beause of the great response from my students. I am now here until the end of the school year (end of June).

A huge thank you to Mark for the amount of time and effort he has put in to helping me get up to speed with all that needs to be leared. I doubt I would have been able to do it if not for him. Cheers Bro.

Top o’the Mountain

15 08 2006

The fresh flurrys of drifted snow prickle my face like sea spray as I walk to the edge to begin my controlled slide (technical term you know!) to the bottom.

What was it about ski instructing I disliked? I felt really good doing it and proud to come back to tell all my friends. Felt really happy, a different person, healthy and fit too.

But it became frustrating. What with the dark morning early starts and non-stop lessons, it was very restricting. I felt controlled, and, I was. I had no say in what lessons I took, no say in how many a day I did, I was paid by the lesson…no work, then no money. Towards the end I started to turn down the lessons when I could, just to rest and relax.

I said to myself at the end of it all, I would love to do it at weekends but all week, sometimes 6 days…more than i wanted to handle.

You know what? Its the same job as with photography. Huh? You may remark.
Well, it is exactly the same situation, the same customers, the same kids (and doing the same thing with them), the same controlled work schedule.

But it’s not exactly the same surely? No, the ONLY differences are,
– no early starts
– it’s not outdoors
– I am teaching kids how to sit still, not move in the right way!!

So I seem to be attracted to these low paying controlling jobs!

But they do give me change, variety, experiences and people contact. Perhaps I need some work which is self-controlling huh?!!!! And perhaps I need work which provides the opportunity to travel, variety of experiences, people contact and change.

I have been thinking again about Counselling again. Long term, with the aim of doing overseas work, perhaps for charities, the UN or some other aid agency. This work is more in need since the climatic troubles ‘began’ e.g. the Tsunami.
Other than that, SLT, Speech Language Therapy, Mentoring, Coaching are another ideas I am working on.

I got the real urge last night, to setup a Charity, helping young kids to discover the work of their dreams whilst still at school. In my experience the limited experiences of their parental situations and friends cannot provide the inspiration and exposure they need. MY work experience was 2 weeks at an office filing paper. How useful is THAT. Man it makes me mad.

Building up the information base and confidence is now the order of the day. If I have that, I can make an informed decision and move forward, instead of shifting sideways again.

I had an email through the other day. ‘Workers required for US and CA ski fields , Season 2006/7’ Hmmmmm, I am tempted!!!!! 🙂


Life Coach’ed’ experiences

9 06 2006

Been doing the life coaching for 3 weeks now. [one session every week]

The best thing i have found happen is that every week i feel motivated to look a little further into things i want to do, rather than saying to myself, nahh, i will think about that/write this stuff down another day, i now no longer have the choice.

So if you want to make a change and are interested in yourself, its all very interesting.

He/she will probably start by getting you to do some exercises/homework by asking you to make list of things that e.g. you like doing, people you like being around. All of which can help remind you of who you are…stuff which you might have ‘forgotten’ or buried along the way.

The next thing on my best things about coaching list it it gives you a mirror to lookat yourself in, the coach is the mirror reflecting who you are by asking questions which get you to question yourself and your logic.

“So this is what you want to do, xxxxxxx”
(she will put it across in a different way than you did to her)
and you will say
“hey i didn’t see it like that”


“no hey, good point, i dont really want to do that”
or “wow yeah, i want it even more”

The last two weeks i have been quite down on myself and not really wanted to go…i was confused about the stuff i was saying and what i really wanted. I called the coach and told him this and he said, “well, lets talk about that then”…oh yeah! Went along and had a good session. 🙂

I have finally realised that i don’t actually want a ‘career’. And I have become much more calm over the last few weeks about my job because i have finally realised what i want work-wise isn’t going to happen with some authority figure telling me what to do. It was my coach who said he saw this in me. I kind of knew this but had no trust in this feeling until he to pointed this out. I consider the stuff i do in my spare time more important now.

To summise all this. If you need someone to

a) bounce ideas off
b) lead you to finding xxxxx (whatever it is you want to find)
c) be a personal cheerleader in your quest

Then life coaching could be for you.