Life in the UK – 10 reasons why it rocks

OK, number 4 of 10 blog posts, and what do I know about (so I can therefore write about)? Hmmm….this week….life in the UK (and why it rocks)!


People seem to bang on about how bad a job “the government” is doing (whichever government is in) and how difficult life is here, but let me tell you: We. Have. Got. It. SWEET. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not “loyal” to the UK, any more than I’m loyal to Pizza Express, and I’m certainly not nuts enough to be loyal to any political party, but I do appreciate having been born here (much like I appreciate a Sloppy Guiseppe with a side of dough balls), and this is why:

  1. We have a welfare system that takes care of our most hard-up members of society (and many that aren’t even truly poor). I know because I’ve had to use it in the past and I know many people from all walks of life who still do.
  2. We have hospitals in which we can be cared for when ill. True enough, two people very close to me have died (partially from misdiagnosis), but compared to all the people who are saved I figure it’s better than not having healthcare by a country mile!
  3. We have schools in which to be educated.
  4. We have laws that prevent a lot of misery, and a judicial system. And Jude Law, whom girls seem to like.
  5. Whilst corruption exists in any large organisation (to a greater or lesser degree), in comparison to most countries we’re not doing too badly!
  6. We have beautiful countryside and vibrant cities. And Slough.
  7. We have very low rates of gun crime.
  8. We have no war.
  9. We can freely choose the industries in which we would like to work, and make efforts to create the lives we want. The welfare system ensures we won’t starve if we mess up (despite what people may say, how many people die of starvation in the UK compared to others? Not many, I’d wager).
  10. We must be one of, if not THE most free kingdom in the world to practise whichever belief system we choose.

Oh, also: Roast dinner, fish & chips and the free choice not to partake in Morris dancing.

Life in the UK with Jude Law
Jude Law being liked by girls in the UK yesterday

Yes, of course, people struggle – we all do – times are tough, and I appreciate that I was born with advantages that other people weren’t (e.g. a home and family), but it’s worth acknowledging from time to time how bloody we lucky we all are to live here (sniffs and wipes away patriotic tear).

Anyway, just my two cents/pence worth. Now, where’s that pizza….?

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Self-Employment: The Paradox of Choice

I’m sat here at 0455 in the morning with a good, strong coffee, after waking before 4am, lying in bed (agitated about life and whether or not I’m making the most of it) and deciding I may as well get up. This happens from time-to-time. A lot. I then proceed to get up (trying not to wake the other half which I invariably do), feel über-productive (because I’m getting up early; therefore I must be), then fidget around, attempting to decide how best to spend my time. Welcome to self-employment.

I did succeed in deciding what to do this morning, however: I decided to write my blog post as I’ve committed to writing one a week for ten weeks. But what to write about? Well, apparently we’re told “write what you know about”, and as I’ve only got ten to write, that shouldn’t be too hard. Last week was “Travel“, so this week can be “Self-Employment”.

Bruce Springsteen: CEO of commercially accessible rock.

“Being self-employed”. “Wow! That sounds amazing! I want that! Living the dream!”. Well, the first paragraph is a pretty good indicator of “living the dream”. If your dream involves a lot of uncertainty, self-doubt, fluctuating earnings and a big, fat, slice of solitude, then climb aboard, old chum (I am painting rather an unfair picture, though…it’s also a lot of fun and extremely rewarding).

But, since the jobs I had as a teenager a) crushed my soul and b) crushed my soul, I knew stacking shelves or sitting at the same desk for 45 years weren’t viable options, so self-employment was the path for me. I’ve been a few things thus far in my self-employed career, namely:

    1. ✏️ Graphic Designer. This is currently my main source of income and I can’t complain. Drawing pictures, colouring in and helping companies sell stuff. Awesome.
    2. 🏠 Property Investor. It’s a nice idea, but very stressful when stuff “goes rubbish”. I’m tempted to write a book called “How not to be a property investor”.
    3. 🎼 Music Producer and DJ. A BIG love of mine. However, doing this for 45+ hours a week (as opposed to part-time which it had been since early teens) with next to no compensation for three years has a shelf-life. Turns out it’s three years. Still, I’ve DJed around the world, played at the Ministry of Sound, been in a couple of bands so I can tick those off the list. This is now a past-time again (albeit slightly paid), and I’ve decided it’s fine for it not be my primary source of income.
    4. 💡 Entrepreneur. Work in Progress. It’s the potential, freedom, excitement and variety of the daily schedule that appeals.

So, why the agitation, when there’s so much choice? I guess the point is exactly that: The Paradox of Choice – how having so much choice ends up being a source of stress. It’s especially prevalent, it seems, among the self-employed, as we have to manage our time (rather than our boss). 1st world problems, right?

But, here are a few mental “tools” I’ve collected to cope with this agitation:

  1. Goals – Make sure you’re moving towards goals you really want, and review them often (daily). Realise that having several, non-compatible goals won’t work, but there’s time to tackle them in sequence. This often seems obvious to everyone but me.
  2. Acquaintances – Spend time working with disciplined, committed partners / friends / clients. This is super important, and shouldn’t be under-estimated.
  3. Routines – Have daily routines, like going to the gym.
  4. Focus – Stick to one task before moving on to the next.
  5. Commitment – Make small commitments (like this blog), then stick to them.

I fail at all the above – often – but life improves when I follow my own advice on them.

Still, despite the challenges and uncertainty of self-employment, for me, the joys far out-weigh the stresses. Kind of like getting up at 0455, but then having a nice coffee and biscuit.

I have several good friends who are self-employed (across a broad variety of work around the world), and we all operate differently. How do you guys and gals cope in the face of seemingly endless possibilities, choose a focus then stick to it? Seriously….let me know!

Righty-ho…That’s three of ten blog posts done in my personal experiment. Kindly leave feedback / questions / answers / suggestions in the comments section, and sign-up below for the next seven. Thanks! 🙂 – Will