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Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance & the financial crisis

Over the last one -and-a-quarter years, since the run on Northern Rock, I’ve been making a concerted effort to understand the credit crunch, the financial crisis and the recession.  The nature of understanding big, bad events is that we are so busy trying to understand them that we have little time to reflect.

Typically, we follow a five stage process.

  • First, we deny the crisis either saying “I’m OK – it doesn’t affect me” or conversely ranting “This can’t be happening.”
  • Then we move on to anger, when we are quite clear we are not to blame and that someone else such as politicians and bankers should be punished for getting us in to our mess.
  • When we are a bit further along, we work out what will stay the same in our lives and what we can can cut out.
  • The next stage is to resign ourselves to our mess dragging on for twenty years or so,  and we are actually secretly relieved because if the mess is that big, there is nothing you and I, ordinary Joe citizen, can do about it.
  • And eventually we begin to dig beneath the surface of the crisis and, in this case, set about upgrading our financial know-how and skills.

Where are you?  And where are the people around you?

My job as a psychologist

I have a page where I store good, accessible explanations of how we got into the financial crisis and I will expand it to include the financial know-how that you and I should have.

Being a psychologist though, I think it is my job to bring to your attention key psychological ideas that equip you for understanding the recession and the ways we react to it.

  • The first psychological idea in this post is described in the at the beginning.  We often respond to bad news in five rough stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  We go through these stages when we hear of the sudden death of a loved one.  And we are going through similar stages as we get our heads around the idea that our financial system has been subject to a the equivalent of a major earthquake.
  • The second psychological idea in this post is that objective knowledge matters.  Positive psychology emphasizes that our attitude to a problem makes a big difference.  It does, and I will return to that in other posts.   But objective information matters too.  It is foolish to pretend that a large box isn’t heavy.  We are much better off when we understand the principle of levers.  We do need to take charge of our education about the financial system.  We clearly did not understand it well enough to play our role as informed voters, wise buyers and sellers of stocks and shares, and savvy consumers of mortgages and credit cards.
  • The third psychological idea is the one I wanted to highlight today because I think it will be key to the mental housekeeping required to come to terms with the recession.

In the west, we have a weird idea that time is linear

Of course, we ‘know’ that yesterday was before today and today comes before tomorrow.  Unfortunately our separation of time into yesterday, today and tomorrow, has some peculiar side effects.   This works in two ways.

  • In good times, we spend like mad and rack up debt.   We take ‘Carpe Diem‘ or ‘seize the day’ far too far.   Tomorrow features insufficiently in our thinking about today, and when tomorrow comes, we are in a mess.
  • Equally, in bad times, we look ahead, see a diminished tomorrow, and we feel dejected.  In short, we bring tomorrow far too much into today.

This inability to act appropriately in time is an inability to ‘give unto Ceasar’ or to accept that ‘for everything there is a season’.  The net effect is that we enjoy life a lot less.  We also rack up unhealthy deficits and one day we wake up very disappointed with our lives and where we have taken ourselves.

And then we are into the five stage process I described at the outset. This cannot be happening. It is not my fault.  OK, I will compromise.  Oh, this is impossible.  And then ultimately: OK, I’d better get on and understand this.

Are you acquainted with philosopher Alan Watts?

At the end of this post is a video presentation, about 3 minutes long, that accompanies the late English philosopher, Alan Watts, talking about the way we confuse time.

He begins “you get into kindegarten, then you get into first grade  .  .   .”  And ends, life “was a musical thing and you were supposed to dance or sing while the music was being played”.

Do watch it!

I grew up in a competitive culture so this resonated with me.  I have long protested that we should let 3 year olds be 3, and 18 years olds be 18.  Preparing for the next year is part of a 3 year old’s experience but it is not all of their task.  And being 3 should never be dreary.  Nor should being 84!

Recessions are simply part of life

Like preparing for a test or examination, they are there to be enjoyed (!) along with all the other activities that come at the same stage.

It takes time to work through the five stages of our reaction to bad news.  And we work through at different paces.  So we need to be patient with ourselves and each other.  But we also do need to resolve not to become stuck at any stage.

We may be in for a long and difficult time in this financial crisis.  What I am suggesting is that we sing and dance to the music nonetheless!

Come with me!

Here is the link to this great presentation accompanying Alan Watts.  Do enjoy it and have a good weekend!  There is a season for everything!

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Yesterday, I was talking to a young man who apologized for his loss of confidence.  He has had the spectacular privilege of being shipwrecked not once, but twice, in the grand drama of the 2008 financial crisis in the UK.

“Of course your confidence has been knocked”, I replied.  “But you’ve lost confidence in the world rather than yourself.  You just don’t get that yet.”

The earth is moving under our feet and I am seasick

The first time I went on a cross-Channel ferry,  I found myself suddenly feeling immensely ill, almost as if I had woken up in the middle of the night with food poisoning.  I was wide awake though.  I sat down abruptly, quite alarmed by the sensation of being critically ill.  Fortunately, my companions were experienced sailors and they realized the cause of my distress.  “We’re moving”, they said, very gently.  I would have worked it out eventually, but their kind words saved me from several minutes of worrying and the magnification of my physical discomfort.

I still get seasick, though I pride myself on my ability to puke neatly, to lie down quietly, and to take the discomfort without disturbing the rest of the party.  Yachting in the Caribbean last year, I resolved this has simply got to stop.  If I want to go on boats, and enjoy swimming in a warm sea, I have to learn to cope with ‘the earth moving under my feet’.

The unknown and the unknowable

I would rather not be made redundant of course,  and I would rather this had not happened to my young friend and many of his friends.  But it will happen. To many of us.

We have no way of knowing how long the recession will last.  This recession fits into the category of unknowable rather than unknown.  I learn all about it that I can.  I am collecting good explanations on the page Financial Crisis Visually.

But it is not knowable. Not even the experts know what is happening, or how long it will last.

So how do I cope with this ‘unknowableness’ and the equivalent feeling of being very seasick?

I need to plan for the very short term and keep lots in reserve.

  • What can I get done right now, today?
  • What are the wide range of choices of things I might do tomorrow?

If I can keep those two in balance, I’ll do OK.

A practical plan

Practically-speaking:

  • I need to spend some time every evening going over what I achieved each day, and adding it to my resume.
  • I need to be on top of my finances, to the last penny, and know exactly what I’ve spent and what I owe.  I also need to collect what is owing to me, promptly.
  • Then I need to list all my opportunities in a file or a loose leaf binder.
  • My fourth evening task is to pick out what I must do and will finish on the morrow.   I want achievements in-hand and on my resume.
  • Lastly, I leave plenty of time for the unusual and the unexpected.  About 80%.  That’s what’s needed in uncertain times.

It’s OK for me

Yes, I know. When we are facing a crisis, all of this feels like busy work. We just want it done.  We want it over.  Look at my posts from yesterday and last week.  I was in a blue funk myself.

But if you are in a ship wreck, the last thing you do is start swimming madly hoping to chance on another boat.  You must get clear of the boat that is sinking, but it’s best to get in a lifeboat with as much food, water and safety equipment that you can.

You can bring the sense of panic, or sea-sickness, down by sitting down every evening and doing the exercise I listed.

And if you miss a night, don’t beat yourself up. This is not a religious ritual.  It is a process which helps you get the results you want.   Get back to it the next day.

And let’s do it together

Let me know how to improve the advice.  When all is said and done, we are in the same boat, on stormy seas.

Plan for the near term, finish today what can be done today, put it on your resume, and keep lots in reserve.

See you on the beach!

UPDATE: For an HR Managers perspective on the Recession, I have written a summary on a new post.

The Recession: How big is the problem?

Six years ago, before I left Zimbabwe, I did some work for the UNDP in Harare. Their Representative, whom you might think of as the UN Ambassador, was, as you might expect calm, multilingual, knowledgeable, worldly, and very experienced. He said something to me that was memorable, as I am sure he intended it to be.  He said:

Right now you are in a tunnel, and you cannot see the light at the end. But you will pass through the tunnel and see light at the end again one day.

As it happened, I left Zimbabwe, as have three to four million others, and I have found myself in the ‘West’ in the middle of the financial crisis, experiencing deja vu.

Where are we in our understanding?

The stage theory of bereavement is often criticized, but is nonetheless useful for thinking in an organized way, about catastrophic events.  We aren’t in a deep dark tunnel, as we were in Zimbabwe, and as Zimbabwe still is.  We are in the very early phase of denial.  After this will come anger, then bargaining and at the every last, accommodation.

At the moment, we are still trying to fix things, to make them stay the same. We lop off a few workers here, and cut back on some expenditure there.   And in the process, in all likelihood, we make the recession worse!  We retreat into what we know, or into the laager as they say in South Africa, and cut off all possible creative and generative engagement with the unknown.

But if we don’t take immediate action to retrench and downsize, will we survive?  Won’t we just be overrun, and go out of business?

What is the alternative?

Situations like these are exactly what positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship address. Our dread of the tunnel does not make the tunnel go away. And sadly, our dread of the tunnel leads us to do things that feel so right, yet could be so deadly. For example, is it a good idea to conserve the batteries on our torch?  It is?  When we don’t know how long the tunnel is going to be?  Maybe we need a fresher look at what it happening.

The principle of positive human sciences, whether we are looking at psychology generally, or ‘organizational scholarship’, is to identify the processes that have led to our strengths.   As we have no idea what the future holds, we don’t want to squander those strengths, and more importantly, we don’t want to destroy the processes that generated those strengths, and that will sustain and regenerate them.  It is not just the strength we look for, in other words, it is the process that generated the strength that we seek.

Capital we have seen is as volatile as pure alcohol – it evaporates in a flash.  It is part of the business package.  We need it.  But it is not dependable.

The distinct role and contribution of HRM

Our job in HRM during the recession, is to focus our attention on our human strengths, and on the value of our relationships with each other.  It is tough to do this when people are in a panic.  They want relief from the terror of the tunnel.  And they want relief now.

Calming the panic is our first duty.   When the Chief Executive, to the high school student on-work-attachment, are calm, they bring their technical knowledge to bear, and find innovative solutions that last week, we didn’t know were possible. They turn the tunnel from an object of dread, and real danger, into a place of opportunity and growth.

We also need to remember that some people don’t show their panic.  So we have to judge their mood by their activity.  Are they suggesting solutions, or is their very lack of complaint, suggestive of loss of efficacy?  Calming different personalities, from the voluble executive to the quiet person who falls into passive-aggression, calls on our unique technical training.

Our chances

Will we always succeed?  No of course not.  In business, winning is not a given.  But, if we do not believe that our people are capable of working constructively and together, on the challenges we face, then we can be sure of one thing.  We will communicate our doubt.  And our doubt contributes to a downward spiral of self-efficacy and collective efficacy.  We become part of the problem.

Our ethical responsibility, when we don’t believe in our company and more importantly, its people, is to resign, and make way for someone who can work with them, to find the sweet spot where they will surge ahead.

Sadly, when we take short term actions to ‘feel safe’, we may experience the satisfaction of immediate relief.  We might feel less exposed, temporarily, until our customers and suppliers are in trouble, as has happened in the financial sector.  It is a case of making haste and less speed.

To quote @Pistachio of yesterday.

The world seems to run on courage.  When mine falters, things get so stuck and difficult.  When it flows, things start to flow also.


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Recommended reading:  David Whyte, British-born corporate poet now living in Seattle has a marvellous CD, Mid-Life and the Great Unknown, available through Amazon.

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The way ahead at John Lewis, a British department store where the staff are shareholders in the business.

UPDATE: For an HR Managers perspective on the Recession, I have written a summary on a new post.



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Applying positive organizational scholarship . . . with difficulty

Last week, I was lucky to attend Amplifed08 in London which I described here under BHAG for Britain! The post mortem of the meeting has illustrated, with quite delicious irony, how difficult it is to implement the ideas of positive organizational scholarship.

The day-after, the organizers, humble as they are, went on to the wiki, which is open as is the way of new organizations, and asked “What went wrong?”

A day or so later, I posted the appreciative alternative “What went right and what should we do more of?”

The two approaches

The “What went wrong?” question attracted at lot more traffic: it got in first, it was posed by the organizers, and we are used to that question.  People have lots to get off their chests!

The “What went right?” question has generated a third of the edits and at a rough glance, a tenth of volume.

Both questions have attracted information about props and stage directions (right down to the pips in the olives).

Under the appreciative question, we got a comment about something new happening and some information about social structures (A lister and B listers).

Better questions

I did a quick Google for better questions (appreciative inquiry questions). There are plenty of help sites on the web.

I also reflected on the event and the post mortem chatter.  I think people liked the clean white space of NESTA in the middle of London’s financial district.  It felt modern yet solid.

Did we feel that we crossed a Rubicon?  Have we taken the battle to Rome?  Have we gone from fringe to establishment?

And if so, what is next?

What other deep processes accounted for what is ‘true and good, better and possible‘?  I have a few ideas but I would prefer to stop and listen now.

Do you still dream?

What is your BHAG for the UK? What is the Big Hairy Audacious Goal for your industry?

What is the one thing that could take your industry from stagnation to contributing to the 2.5 million new jobs or the equivalent that we need here in the UK?

Big Hairy Audacious Goal

Last night, my heart soared when Roland Harwood welcomed the ‘Network of Networks’ at Amplified08 with this BHAG:

to be the most networked nation in the world.

Getting down and dirty

Toby Moores, founder of Sleepy Dog and Visiting Professor at De Montfort University brought this goal alive.archive-since-nz-0571

Leicester, cotton city of the English Midlands has been transformed from 5% design:95% manufacturing . . . to . . . 50% design:50% import/export.

Networking via Creative Coffee Club and other social media configurations, using technologies like blogs, Twitter and Facebook, provides designers with the hyper-competitive domestic environment, or space, that an industry needs to be competitive in the international world.

Breaking the British reserve?

One of the epiphany moments in my life was visiting Roman ruins at Coimbra in Portugal and imagining running water several centuries before Christ. Superimposed on the ruins I was looking at were mental images of the dams that Italians have built all around the world. Civil engineers, then; civil engineers now.

Leicester is also taking their core competencies and the best of their past into the future.

Something tells me the British may be very good at networking. Something verbal, something witty, . . . .?

A highly networked country also offers advantage that is not here now. Youngsters can find mentoring more easily. New ideas transfuse in that mysterious way they do between two people who have never met yet share a common acquaintance.

As a goal, to be the most networked country in the world, is sufficiently concrete for us to monitor it. It is sufficiently open for us all to agree. It is sufficiently enjoyable for us all to get started.

It is inclusive. It is generative.

Some of the new 2.5 million jobs will be directly in the networking industry.  Most will be because our knowledge workers are finding it easy to access to information, make decisions, and provide services that are valued throughout the world.

Good input NESTA.  Thankyou.  And thanks to @DT, @sleepdog, @loudmouthman and @joannejacobs who did much of the organizing.

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P.S.  2.5 million jobs are Obama’s target for America.  About 30m people work in the UK and 3-4 people may be unemployed before the economic downturn is done.  What is our target?

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Do you use Moo cards?

I have some typical corporate cards, but in truth, I am not sure what I am trying to convey.  That I am a relic of the Emily Bronte era?  But are Moo cards, half the size of a business card, with pictures on one side and minimal contact info on the reverse, too frivolous?

Whatever’s the right choice, Moo cards require quite a lot of conscious decision making.  Which pictures should I use?  What do they say about our products and services?  And what should I say about myself in exactly 6 lines?

Moo cards also require a modicum of administrative efficiency.  I need to load up photos, or find some on Flickr, edit them using an online service like Picnik, and then place them on the Moo interface, pay Moo online and wait – for about 10 days for them to arrive through my letterbox.

Starting from scratch, it took me about 3 days (!) to make a set of 10 cards which will be printed 10 times each.  The magic of Moo is that the customization is done at no extra cost.   I could do 100 unique cards, if I wished, or 100 of a single card.  Anyway, three days is way too much time, so I paid attention to what I was doing and this is the routine that I will use in future.

Routine for designing Moo cards

  1. I’ve set up a directory called Business Cards, and a subdirectory for each month: November, December, etc.  In free moments while I am hanging on to a call centre, for example, I will search Flickr for pictures and download them into the upcoming month’s directory.  I also did one more thing: I went into the Tools of my browser and set it to ask me where to download (or it dumps everything on me desktop/screen).
  2. I explore rather than search Flickr.  Under explore I go to Creative Commons and search pictures that are listed as “By and Share-alike”.  This means the owner is happy for me both to use them and to change them, provided I indicate who took them and provided I allow anyone else the same right to use the picture I come up with.
  3. I am continuously thinking of tags that might represent my business.  Being a psychologist, so far I have searched for words like “horizon”, “dream”, “steps”.   When I find a promising picture, I download it carefully saving it with filename like “Name of the Picture by Photographer via Flickr”.  Normally the picture will save as a .jpg file.
  4. In the future, when I have some free time, I will go into the online editor, Piknic. It’s free and there is nothing to download.  Here is where I hope to save a lot of time that I spent last time around.
    • Use Edit to resize the picture so the width is 330.  The length doesn’t matter so long as it is 900 or so or less.  An alternative is to resize the picture to something bigger and crop to the right width.
    • Go to Create and add frames.  I’ve found the trick is to set the inner and outer frames to full and change the colour to suit the picture.  I’ve also found it simplest to make both frames the same colour.  At a picture width of 330 and both frames on full, the final picture printed by Moo will have no frame along the long sides and a thick frame at both top and bottom where I can add text.
    • Use Text to add a heading at one end or the other. So far I’ve mostly used a variation of the picture’s name, such as “horizons”.  Then I vary the font and colour to suit the picture.  I also found, after much trial and error that the title must fit within the picture width. As a guide, the circle placeholders must be within the picuture, not overlapping its ends.
    • Use Text to add the copyright information “Picture name By author via Flickr” and use Shapes to find the BY and Share-a-like pictures.  These shapes look like a man and a broken c (not full c) respectively.  Occasionally, I put the copyright information on the picture itself.  Whatever looks good.
    • Save the picture with a new file name.  I extend the original filename with the word “pikniked”.
  5. When I need to order some more cards, I will go go to Moo and select mini-cards.  Using upload, I can pick out the images I have already edited and saved onto my harddrive, position them, and preview them.  In the past,  I have done this even if I am not going to proceed with an order, just to make sure I have edited the picture correctly.  As in this run,  if I want say 20 of one card and 10 for 8 others,  then I just upload the first image twice!  Lastly, I whip out my credit card and pay online.   The going price as of the end of November 2008 is 9.99 pounds and 3.68 postage.  Print out the confirmation and wait 10 days!

I am looking forward to the cards I have made especially for Christmas.  Two geese, looking quite fat and prosperous are waddling through the snow.  That’s my metaphor for the recession!  A fun, happy and prosperous 2009!

Supermarket in São Paulo

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State of Retail 2008

On Monday, The Times published a summary of OC&C’s report State of Retail 2008.  As a typical Gen Xer, I love numbers and numbers abound in this article.

Rates of return are slim

They report the EBIT (earnings before interest and taxation) as a profit margin. None of the figures surprised me.  They are quite constant with figures achieved in other countries.  After all, the nature of an industry does define what we do and how we do it.

Grocery stores achieve 2.5-3.5%.  Books & stationery, Electricals and Music, video & gaming achieve similar margins.

Opticians, pharmacies and health & beauty achieve twice that rate at 7%, and clothing, footwear and accessories achieve slightly better at 9%.

What this tells us about work is this:  if we own a business, even a successful one, we have to sell a lot of stuff to make 1 pound profit!  The local convenience store or bookshop must sell 40 pounds to leave 1 pound profit in the hands of the owner.   The local clothes shop must sell about 12 pounds to keep 1 pound in the pocket of the owner.

Some do so much better than others

The article also gave a good comparison of the margins achieved by the top two retailers and the rest.  In almost every case, the top two retailers achieved TWICE the margins of the field.

What the report didn’t tell us were the “HR Costs/Revenue” ratios: how much of the sales dollar do large companies like TESCOs spend on HR?

It is clearly obvious that industries like consultancy where 20-35% of each sales dollar is paid in salaries, more money is spent on training, etc.  When the return on 1 pound on HR is 3 pounds in sales, we pay more attention to HR than when we spend 1 pound on salaries to make 30 pounds such as might happen in a supermarket.  Simply, in a supermarket other factors have a bigger impact on sales.

But when the margins are DOUBLE in one firm than another, then the question arises, WHY?

  • Does the firm have an advantage of size?
  • Does the firm operate in a more lucrative niche?
  • Are the management somehow superior to management in the other firm?
  • Are the management practices better?
  • And how does HR contribute to a better HR costs/Revenue ratio?  (Profit=Sales-Costs-HR Costs)

I do wish OC&C had give us the HR figures too!

UPDATE: For an HR Managers perspective on the Recession, I have written a summary on a new post.

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Daisy Over Glass

 

Image by ccmerino via Flickr

You don’t have to be right all the time. . .

As a youngster, I joined an HR department as resident psychologist & systems manager.  In my first week there, the entire department was summoned by the CEO who had been away at long course at Harvard.  We got a royal bollocking, which as I was new, I could listen to quite dispassionately!

Apart from specifics, such as not controlling the headcount (“We’ve grown like Topsy!”), he had a lot to say about efficiency of delivery.  First, he has unimpressed by the absence of Plan B (flying off to give a presentation the same day rather than the night before).  Second, he wanted to hear an end to whinging.  “You don’t have to be right all the time. You only have to be right 60% of the time and you are winning.”

Contradictory?  Perhaps not.

I think of it like this.  Just as marketers have a sales funnel, an organization needs to an innovation funnel.

  • We think up ideas.
  • A certain proportion are worth following through.
  • Of those, only a proportion work (going on to the next one is Plan B).

Toby Moores of Sleepy Dog, budgets and resources 200 ideas in stage , to finish with 1 winning idea in stage 3.  He is a fascinating speaker and is crystal clear about the recruitment, training and management techniques used at Sleepy Dog to generate ideas at a rate of 200:1.

I have never heard Toby say how many ideas Sleepy Dog abandons after they have sunk a lot of money in them.  Would it shock you to know that flourishing companies expect 40% of ideas to flop?  Who wrote on that today?  Sorry I had to shut my computer down and lost the link.  I think you cited GE.  Anyway, it was not just my CEO of my formative years.

Gary Hamel published this little questionnaire on the state of innovation management in your company.

So what is your innovation policy?  This is ours at Rooi.

1.  Keep blogging.  Write down the good ideas so we can find them again.

2.  Keep reading blogs and conventional sources.

3.  Take part in online communities. The best ideas seem to come from where we least expect it.

4.  Start shaping up goals such as “how long does it take to get an online community humming?”

5.  Take lots of breaks.  Good ideas slow down when we are tired.

What are you yours?

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I am pleased to announce the formation of

ROOI LIMITED

Psychologists working with Social Media

Our mission is to put social media at the service of businesses, colleges and communities to help focus on “the good and the true, the better and the possible”.

We have a clear goal.  As the clock strikes twelve on the 1 January 2010, we will will be looking forward to a year of work and study that is more vital and connected than we had ever thought possible.  I hope you will be there with us!

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Greater London

 

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What’s morale like where you live?

During the last week, I have seen person-after-person say they are exhausted, catch a cold, and just slump, sometimes close to tears.

My favorite radio programme, Any Questions, (here on Fridays 1900 GMT) is normally my laughter medicine for the week.  This week it was sombre.  Jokes ran to not moving the capital because we don’t want to live with banker, politicians and the press.

What is the most cheerful story you heard this week?

But all is not sombre.  On Twitter, one lively entrepreneur opened two new businesses in the last month.  This being the beginning of the academic year in UK, people are starting new courses, making new friends and enjoying themselves.

On another erratically running train, overfull with two lots of passengers (those for our service and the previous service that had also broken down), I opened a conversation with someone carrying a book on classical music.  He has an interesting story.

So what has opera singing to do with hands-on farming?

He introduced himself as an opera singer.  I found it interesting that he l lived so far from London.  Oh, he said I am also a farmer.  And my father sang well, but for fun.  I sing professionally and run my farm of 150 acres.  By day, I work the farm, and then I go by train to London (2.5 hour journey) to sing and return home to midnight (another 2.5 hours).  Often the only sleep I get is on the train.

He had a shock of immaculately coiffered gray hair as you expect from someone appearing on the stage.  And with a happy smile on his face, he said, his son also sang, but he was a dancer.  His son was off working professionally in Europe. (This is Britain – country undefined – just vaguely over there!)

My happy informant was both proud and embarrassed by his double career.   He is lucky to have two jobs he loves but he is not sure which supports which.

I readily reassured him a business school would say he has a wise portfolio of investments.  When one business is down, the other business is up – which is true it seems.

What is your most outrageous combination?

So remembering that the antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness, what are your passions?  What interesting passions are you combining?

And PS What do farming and opera singing have in common?

Apparently, you must be calm in both – calm to sing and calm to handle livestock.

What’s your brand of magic?

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