Saturday, 24 December 2011

Worry about your character, not your reputation


Worry about your character, not your reputation. Your character is who you are, your reputation is who people think you are.

Sometimes we get too caught up in what people think about us and forget to worry about what really matters in life, like the people who love us for who we really are, and who we really are deep down inside of our hearts. In order to not worry about our reputations, we have to live our own lives, being confident in the goals we have set for ourselves, and also being confident in the fact that though not everyone may like us, and though not everyone will believe in what exactly we are doing.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Scottish Wife


Three friends married women from different parts of the world..... 

The first man married a Greek girl. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away. 

The second man married a Thai.He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking.The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table. 

The third man married a girl from Scotland.He told her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal.He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything either but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher.

He still has some difficulty when he pees.

Merry Christmas Everybody


Sunday, 18 December 2011

What did I learn in 2011

Following on from the blog I wrote back in 2009, I'd like to continue in the same vein with what I've learnt this year.

Don't expect others to treat you the same way you treat them
I'm an optimist who always looks for the good in other people. I take the time to get to know someone, learn what they like or dislike. I'm a people person, and like getting to know people and make new friendships. An assumption I tend to make is that everyone will treat me the same way I treat them. With respect, fairness, kindness and loyalty. I've come to realise that this ideal is far from true. Some people do not appreciate the way in which I have treated them, and have instead treated me unfairly or badly, despite the fact that I have done nothing to deserve such treatment.

This has been a very painful lesson, but one that I'm glad to have learnt. Although it caused me much pain and upset learning this lesson, it has truly made me a much stronger person because of it.

My new mantra from now on:
Demand nothing.
Assume nothing.
Expect nothing.

There is little to be gained from thinking that everyone believes or behaves the same way that I do, because clearly some people simply don't.

Why waste my time on people who hurt me when there are people who are waiting to make me happy.

Everything happens for a reason
I have long believed in this philosophy, and it has come home to roost on several occasions this year. So this is not so much a lesson learnt, but a lesson reaffirmed. Enforcing and reaffirming this particular lesson was the cause of a certain amount of hurt for me this year. You cannot change another person, or force a situation to go in a particular direction. So I found myself in a situation I didn't want to be in, and only by reminding myself of this lesson did I manage to find my way through it.

You can analyse a situation, pick over the pieces and wonder what could have happened differently. Or you can simply walk away and learn from the experience. I think the latter way of dealing with such things is far more constructive.

Don't waste my time defending myself to other people
I'm most certainly guilty of this. If someone says something that is untrue or unfair about me, I always feel the need to defend myself, and set the record straight. I have had things said about me this year by people who I thought were friends. I've since learnt that my true friends won't believe them anyway, and I shouldn't care about what anyone else thinks. This has been a hard lesson to learn, and sometimes the instinct to defend myself (my reputation, my character or whatever) kicks in, but I'm slowly learning that the people who know me and care about me will know me well enough to either ask for my side, or not believe them anyway. People will sometimes deliberately say something hurtful just to get a reaction, and up till now I've foolishly given them what they want. It's a drain on my precious time and energy, so from now on, I don't care who says what about me.

Don't waste my time with negative people
Some people just seem to be constantly negative, unhappy or moody all the time. They never have anything positive to say. They are tiring and draining to be around, they suck the energy from you. If I could measure the energy that I have lost to these people it would be a very sizable quantity. Energy that I could have invested elsewhere. I have also discovered that negative people are experts at defending their negative outlook and refuse to change, or even acknowledge that change is possible. "It's not my fault, I've had a rubbish day" and "I like being moody" are phrases I've actually heard. I would much rather spend my time with people who have a positive outlook on life, and don't constantly blame other people or their situation for their lack of positivity or happiness.

More pearls of wisdom
Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.

I've learnt that it takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof to destroy it.

The past cannot be changed, the future is still in your power.

Don't let today's disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow's dreams.

Do not wait for your ship to come in, get in your boat and row out.

The only place where dreams are impossible is in your own mind.

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.

Never regret anything, because at one time it was what you wanted.

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

Those who look for offence will find it where none was given.

You'll fight with your best friend.

A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.

Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

Always tell someone how you feel about them. You will feel much better when they know.

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

I've made many mistakes this year, and got a lot of things wrong. But I'm the sort of person who reflects on his actions. Life is indeed a journey of continual learning, and every day is an opportunity to gain new wisdom and experience. So it's fair to say that I got a lot of things right too.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blogs this year, I hope you keep reading them next year too :-)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

An open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by Frederick Forsythe

This first appeared in the Daily Express on Tuesday 13th December 2011.


Dear Madame Chancellor,

PERMIT me to begin this letter with a brief description of my knowledge of, and affection for, your country. 

I first came to Germany as a boy student aged 13 in 1952, two years before you were born. After three extended vacations with German families who spoke no English I found at the age of 16 and to my pleasure that I could pass for German among Germans.

In my 20s I was posted as a foreign correspondent to East Germany in 1963, when you would have been a schoolgirl just north of East Berlin where I lived.

I know Germany, Frau Merkel, from the alleys of Hamburg to the spires of Dresden, from the Rhine to the Oder, from the bleak Baltic coast to the snows of the Bavarian Alps. I say this only to show you that I am neither ignoramus nor enemy.

I also had occasion in those years to visit the many thousands of my countrymen who held the line of the Elbe against 50,000 Soviet main battle tanks and thus kept Germany free to recover, modernise and prosper at no defence cost to herself.

And from inside the Cold War I saw our decades of effort to defeat the Soviet empire and set your East Germany free.

I was therefore disappointed last Friday to see you take the part of a small and vindictive Frenchman in what can only be seen as a targeted attack on the land of my fathers.

We both know that every country has at least one aspect of its society or economy that is so crucial, so vital that it simply cannot be conceded.

For Germany it is surely your automotive sector, your car industry.

Any foreign-sourced measure to target German cars and render them unsaleable would have to be opposed to vetopoint by a German chancellor.

For France it is the agricultural sector. For more than 50 years members of the EU have been taxed under the terms of the Common Agricultural Policy in order to subsidise France’s agriculture. Indeed, the CAP has been the cornerstone of every EU budget since the first day. 

Attack it and France fights back.

For us the crucial corner of our economy is the financial services industry. Although parts of it exist all over the country it is concentrated in that part of London known even internationally as “the City”.

It is not just a few greedy bankers; we both have those but the City is far more. It is indeed a vast banking agglomeration of more banks than anywhere else in the world. 

But that is the tip of the iceberg. Also in the City is the world’s greatest concentration of insurance companies.

Add to that the brokers; traders in stocks and shares worldwide, second only, and then maybe not, to Wall Street. But it is not just stocks. 

The City is also home to the “exchanges” of gold and precious metals, diamonds, base metals, commodities, futures, derivatives, coffee, cocoa… the list goes on and on. 

And it does not yet touch upon shipping, aviation, fuels, energy, textiles… enough. Suffice to say the City is the biggest and busiest marketplace in the world. 

It makes the Paris Bourse look like a parish council set against the United Nations and even dwarfs your Frankfurt many times. 

That, surely, is the point of what happened in Brussels. The French wish to wreck it and you seem to have agreed. Its contribution to the British economy is not simply useful nor even merely valuable. 

It is absolutely crucial. The financial services industry contributes 10 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product and 17.5 per cent of our taxation revenue. 

A direct and targeted attack on the City is an attack on my country. But that, although devised in Paris, is what you have chosen to support. 

You seem to have decided that Britain is once again Germany’s enemy, a situation that has not existed since 1945. 

I deeply regret this but the choice was yours and entirely yours. The Transaction Tax or Tobin Tax you reserve the right to impose would not even generate money for Brussels.

It would simply lead to massive emigration from London to other havens. Long ago it was necessary to live in a city to trade in it. 

In the days when deals can flash across the world in a nanosecond all a major brokerage needs is a suite of rooms, computers, telephones and the talent of the young people barking offers and agreements down the phone.

Such a suite of rooms could be in Berne, Thun, Zurich or even Singapore. Under your Tobin Tax tens of thousands would leave London. 

This would not help Brussels, it would simply help destroy the British economy.

Your conference did not even save the euro. Permit me a few home truths about it. The euro is a Franco-German construct.

It was a German chancellor (Kohl) who ordered a German banker (Karl Otto Pohl) to get together with a French civil servant (Delors) on the orders of a French president (Mitterrand) and create a common currency. 

Which they did. IT was a flawed construct. Like a ship with a twisted hull it might float in calm water but if it ever hit a force eight it would probably founder.

Even then it might have worked for it was launched with a manual of rules, the Growth And Stability Pact. If the terms of that book of rules had been complied with the Good Ship Euro might have survived.

But compliance was entrusted bto the European Central Bank which catastrophically failed to insist on that compliance. 

Rules governing the growing of cucumbers are more zealously enforced. This was a European Bank in a German city under a French president and it failed in its primary, even its sole, duty. 

This had everything to do with France and Germany and nothing whatever to do with Britain.

Yet in Brussels last week the EU pack seemed intent only on venting its spleen on the country that wisely refused to abolish its pound. 

You did not even address yourselves to saving the euro but only to seeking a way to ensure it might work in some future time. 

But the euro will not be saved. It is crumbling now. And since you have now turned against my country, from this side of the Channel, Madame Chancellor, one can only say of the euro: YOU MADE IT, YOU MEND IT.