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Pearls of wisdom from Rome’s greatest emperor.

Photo by Simone Savoldi on Unsplash

The first time I learnt about Marcus Aurelius was probably the same time most people became familiar with his name — after watching Gladiator.

In the film, he is portrayed as a wise elder statesmen who knows his reign is coming to an end. Faced with the difficult choice of anointing his narcissistic and sadistic son Commodus, or the General, Maximus, as his successor, he chose the latter.

I won’t spoil the film for you if you haven’t seen it, but things don’t go according to plan.

The Marcus Aurelius that is portrayed in the film is only a glimpse…


What to prioritise if you want to become a better leader

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“I’ve told you a hundred f*cking times already Tom, that’s not how you shovel bitumen!”

When I landed my first job in New Zealand, this was a common retort I had to deal with each day.

Working in construction is hard. It’s even harder when the guy you’re working for belittles you time and time again.

No matter how well we worked or how much we got done, he always found something to criticise. A tool out of place, talking too much, or our attitude. Nothing was ever good enough and praise was rarer than flying pigs!

As bad as…


Don’t jump in before you’ve considered these points

Photo by Elise Bouet on Unsplash

So you’re enjoying creating online and thinking about taking the plunge and going full-time as a creator?

You’re not alone. Many people around the globe are thinking the same thing. With the rise of blogging and internet entrepreneurship, there’s never been an easier time to make a career in writing, art or any other creative endeavour.

For many people, myself included, working for yourself is a dream. Throwing off the shackles of an office job, a profession you dislike or being able to make a living from work you enjoy is what drives many people to take the plunge.

But…


Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong

Photo by Dmitry Tomashek on Unsplash

The biggest story in football this year has been the botched launch of a European Super League. Rumours circulated for years such a league was coming.

These whispers were often used as bargaining tools to gain more concessions for the top clubs at the expense of the ruling body in Europe, UEFA. This time, however, the threat was real. Twelve clubs broke away from their national leagues and UEFA to set up their own ‘Super League.’

Given these clubs are valued in the billions, you’d assume they would have planned this out. …


Entertaining and enlightening in equal measure

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

I have a confession to make: for whatever reason, I tend to read more nonfiction than fiction. I don’t know why. I enjoy reading novels, short stories and work of fiction I can get my hands on.

Yet, I’m always drawn more to nonfiction. Maybe this is the historian in me. Years of schooling and studying history at university have made me gravitate towards reading historical accounts or learning about new subjects.

In the battle for my attention, my curiosity wins out over my desire to read a compelling story. …


The history of the game is being sold out for cold, hard cash

Photo by Jack Hunter on Unsplash

Last year I experienced an event I’d dreamt about for thirty years.

My football team, Liverpool F.C., won the English Premier League. I’m 31, the last time Liverpool were champions of England I was four and a bit months old. This moment is one I’ve wanted to happen for as long as I can remember.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, Liverpool’s biggest rivals, Manchester United, were the dominant force in English football. It was painful watching them win season after season. …


Write for your reasons, not the ‘right’ reasons

Photo by Art Lasovsky on Unsplash

Why do you write? It’s a question often asked of writers and even by writers to other writers.

One reason is we assume one must have a reason for doing everything. We work to put a roof over our heads and provide for our family. We watch TV to relax after a hard day or write to express our feelings and share our thoughts with the world.

Most writers have a reason for why they write. But if you were to ask those same writers for the reason they write, you’d get a range of different answers. …


A reading list for the good of the planet

Photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

Wherever you are in the world, climate change is a reality. It doesn’t matter if you live in the Arctic Circle in Norway, or the South Island of New Zealand, climate change affects us all.

I first became interested in climate change when I was a child. The idea the planet may become too hot for us to inhabit was fascinating and terrifying.

I didn’t understand the potential impacts of climate change until I spent a year in Australia. …


Books to keep me company as a castaway

Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

We have a radio show in the UK called Desert Island Discs.

Guests are asked to select eight songs they’d want with them if they were marooned on a desert island.

It’s an interesting premise and one I thought I adapt for books. Reading is one of my favourite pastimes but what if I was restricted to a certain number of books? Which ones would I choose?

It’s important to note the books wouldn’t be of practical benefit if you were stranded on a desert island. Rather, books which have had a lasting impact on your life.

This could be…


An act of war that led to an act of creative protest

Guernica by Pablo Picasso, 1937.

Guernica is a town in the province of Biscay in the Basque Country, Spain. On 26 April 1937, the town became known around the world. For three hours, the warplanes of the German Condor Legion at the behest of Spanish Nationalists led by General Franco mercilessly bombed the town.

Spain was in the midst of a civil war between the forces of Franco and the ruling Republic. The war, which had begun in 1936, was a brutal battle of attrition set amongst the spectre of totalitarianism sweeping across Europe during the 1930s.

Guernica was being used as a communications centre…

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