Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Simple truths, surprises and help to face the challenges of life.: Our Global Financial Crisis

Simple truths, surprises and help to face the challenges of life.: Our Global Financial Crisis

Our Global Financial Crisis

Fear, Risk, Reward and Greed – A Global Menace – by Mike Wash

In my simple view of the world it seems to me that fear, risk, reward and greed has been the dominating values in global financial strategy. Combine this with short term political gain and we have a recipe for social and economic meltdown.

The world today is an integrated mesh of complex interdependencies and therefore any global crises must surely be debated on a global scale involving every nation.
The G20 formed after the Asian crises in 1998 is a start but its brief must be inclusive as I believe we need a new set of values to underpin the decision making that affects our global economy.

I am no expert but I understand how to manage my own finances and one thing that you should avoid is taking on future debt to pay off existing debt. Without a plan for generating more wealth and/or cutting back on expenses this becomes a recipe for bankruptcy. This seems to be happening with Greece and other Eurozone countries.
If they default then of course all countries that have loans and investments linked to the Eurozone debts will be devalued and the spiral to melt down gathers pace.

I believe the developing countries of our world have the most potential yet they are the most vulnerable as aid and development budgets will be squeezed. Our developed countries could do worse by sharing best practice building on entrepreneurship. We need innovation and investment in long term success in those countries still struggling to feed their own people. This should be on the agenda of the next G20 summit but I doubt it.

The agenda will be dominated by Greece’s decision to ask the people whether they are prepared to accept the bail out plan which will involve major austerity packages and influence the personal wealth of every citizen.
I hope they accept as this is yet an inevitable short term but essential step to take to allow some breathing space for the global financiers to work out next steps!

In any crises fear will dominate and self protection and self interest will play a part. It is going to take incredible leadership and courageous debate with insightful global empathy to recognise we need a new order of governance and cooperation for all nations.

The looming public sector strikes, and the growing number of tent city protests are understandable blocks of protest yet they also seem to be deflecting away some sense of personal responsibility. We are all in this situation and therefore must play a part and pay our way out of it. I believe tax increases are inevitable – these increases must be world wide and perhaps channelled into a world wide fund. Of course we must create an environment of confidence and belief that our leaders are underpinning their decisions without the dominance of fear, risk, reward and greed but with a new set of values and principles which I propose below – they maybe a useful check list for the G20 to see how they measure up against these right now;

1/ Long term  investment in the development of all nations raising the poverty bar beyond the need for basic food and water to encouraging self sustained innovative and technologically savvy ways for improving standards of living for all.

2/ A global agreement for cooperation and governance in the way markets, exchange rates and major financial bodies work together to ensure the weaker members of our world order do not become the dependant life long poor relative.

3/ A recognition that the current equation of population growth and finite resources will, unless abated, at minimum create further unfair gain or loss at worse result in major conflict or war. We must all take steps to reduce the population and protect our planet therefore financial decisions should do nothing to worsen depletion of resources and should enhance sustainability.

4/ A moral undertaking from all for profit organisations that a proportion of this profit should be ploughed back into improving social infrastructure. This gives recognition that their success has in part being due to the efforts of the people leading and working for the company. These people have been, in part, a result of an educated, trained and healthy upbringing brought about by a society that gives people choices.
It seems right that organisations that benefit from this society should plough a proportion of their profits back to increase the chance of succession planning being a sustainable local story.

5/ The politics of self interest must be made discussable at a global level and a recognition that any one going into a negotiation with a win lose attitude has lost the commitment for a stable world order and must be helped to recognise they have a significant role to minimise death by poverty and war – these are indeed the real risks.

6/ Any loans or bail out package should be accompanied by supportive resources to aid the decision making in how best to use these packages in the short to medium term.

7/ The context of economic decision making needs to take into account the future dominance of India and China and the importance of a working partnership. Also the instability of the middle east and the power and influence of oil – how can we bring these factors into the global family of economic and social well being?

No doubt this last couple of hours writing this will have added little value apart from getting stuff off my chest for the record.

We can but dream!
Mike Wash 1/11/11



Monday, 19 September 2011

54000 Reasons Why We Are Great.

54000 Reasons Why We Are Great.

Last Sunday ( 18th Sept 2011) on a cool breezy morning, England smiled and cried with pride as the largest and best organised half marathon on the planet was ran, plodded, walked , drummed and sang from Newcastle to South Shields for the 31st Great North Run.
This was my forth and I can understand why many come back year after year. No other run like it feeds the spirit of generosity, hope, courage and achievement, for everywhere you turn there are banners, a T-shirt and a story of survival or others running for the memory of those who lost there battle against cancer or some other debilitating disease. Before the start through the giant speakers lined a long the mile long sea of runners the hymn ‘Abide with me’ is played dedicated to our causes. The crowds hush a little, some stand or sit in a moment of reflection and a few tears are shed. The poignancy of this year was brought to home when precisely at 1038 the Red Arrows in a missing man formation flew over our heads as we are reminded of the recent tragic loss of Flt Lt Jon Egging.
As the run starts with the pistol fired by the widow of the ‘fallen arrow’ Dr Emma Egging, Radio Metro continues to blast out names of charities, celebrities, characters all smiling to the cameras at the start line and some leaping up to high five our 5000 metre world champion Mo Farrar.
As we pass under each motorway bridge the traditional Geordie call form the runners of ‘ogy ogy ogy – oi, oi, oi, is echoed to the applause of thousands who stand on the Newcastle bridges to catch a glimpse at what must be one of the sporting wonders of the world.
At every point of the run there were cheers of encouragement ‘thank-you’, ‘we are proud of you’, ‘what an achievement’, and of course the occasional joker at the 5 mile marker – ‘well done – you are nearly there!’ From the children’s attempts to hand slap to the Geordies offering drinks, sweets and orange segments, from the double decker charity busses blasting out their support to the bands of drummers and musicians – this must be one of the best supported half marathons in the world.
As we run on towards the coast we are reminded of the seriousness of the challenge we all embrace as on several occasions the sea of runners part to allow an ambulance through to shouts of make way – blue light coming through – you might need them yourself one day – a few runners having to be pulled to the side as they are tuned into there own music, oblivious to the emergency behind them. I passed several fit looking people lying on the ground being attended to by paramedics – reminding us all – this is not a challenge to be taken lightly.
The finish is a majestic crescendo of expectation knowing you have made it and greeted by thousands of supporters with the welcome view of the North Sea you turn into the final mile.
The day is celebrated in the sky as the red arrows show their impressive and daring acrobatic display appropriately signing off with a giant heart pierced with an arrow. A fitting end to a great day.
This was the highlight of my charity events this year. As a cancer survivor myself and running in the memory of loved ones taken so early in life I am running for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. So far I have completed the Great North 10k, the York Jane Tomlinson 10K and I am yet to do a 100K bike challenge and the Scarborough McCain 10K. Any support welcome on www.justgiving.com/Mike-Wash0

Thursday, 18 August 2011

July/August Fast and furious times

JULY/AUGUST

How do you make sense of a world when in one moment we can be witnessing the shaving of the Hubbard Glacier melting before our eyes with thunderous cracking and applause from our cruising friends to hearing the death of thousands of children in drought and war torn Somalia then to witness the looting and arson on our streets at home. What’s going on?

It was ever thus – the rich tapestry of life is coloured and sent to us at a pace through modern communication and the need to know where in the world the latest sensation and or devastation is happening.

In todays fast moving turbulent debt ridden environment we need clear, calm and sensible leadership providing positive role models at every level. Where are these role models?

Politicians ? Fraud – expenses – can we trust their messages tainted with knee jerk populist reactions?

Police? In bed with the media – dealing day in and day out with the dark side of humanity – handling the riots on day one and two – where is the leadership

Media – say no more!

If you read the comments on the Why the riots discussion page ;
you will hear the message loud and clear – the positive role models of leadership has to start in the home – Parents.

As Tony Bell says

it is a failure by us to communicate with our children about what's right and wrong in life and then to model that behaviour. Censorship , 9 0'clock watersheds, curfews, bigger prisons are the guaranteed to fail solutions loved by quick fix merchants. Something which many of us had in our up-bringing has not been handed down and that is - the self discipline to say No - to walk away - to choose not to watch something bad, not to do something bad, not to be someone bad. Aspiration begins in the home, the place where society begins.

I think this quote is so right


"Children Learn What They Live. If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy. If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilty. If a child lives with impropriety, he learns to feel shame. If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate. He a child lives with fairness, he learns justice. If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith. If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world. With what is your child living?"


I believe more investment is needed to help families and communities live together in more harmonious and respectful way. Attention has to be given to the areas of low unemployment, high gang culture and communities that feel shut off and neglected. I believe skilled facilitation with a relatively small budget in partnership with the more wealthy businesses in the area could make a significant difference. The theme being – Respect our homes, our communities and our selves.

Some of this work is going on and there are excellent examples of success eg

This is all after the event and we must find a way of ensuring respect for each other and ourselves become an integral part of our way of life form a very early age – Parenting classes, family dynamics and behaviour, belief and pride in who we are and what we can achieve must be an established priority in today’s education starting in early years and continuing through to at least age 18. This to some extent is seen in the citizenship and social, emotional and environmental studies but only as a side subject and not integrated into every aspect of family and school life.

So many experts will be giving there opinion and many will be at risk of making it over complex – would it be possible to have a common sense committee – so proposals for change can be presented to a group of parents and cross section of people who can give straight forward feedback as to whether any new policies or approaches will work or not.

Oh – and if possible

All politicians to sign up to honesty and ethics clause regards there behaviour.

All journalists to agree not to act in a way that may be construed as illegal or dishonest.

All police officers at every level to be audited by an outside agency to question custom and practice.

I know – lets be realistic – but we can but dream and continue to be a better place to live and to achieve this we all must take responsibility for what happens in our world and ask ourselves – what can I do to help?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

June - The vulnerability of life

June 2011

A number of events recently have stopped me in my tracks.
A trip to Alaska to explore the vast wilderness created the opportunity to get close to the giant glaciers melting and caving in as this planet of ours warms up and begs the question – are we doing enough to sustain our home for future generations.

We were lucky enough to get close to giant hump back whales – one swam under our small boat and then we found 12 Whales feeding together –  they were collectively cooperating to herd fish, and then like some synchronised swim they move and leap into the air with their mouths open to feed. This took our breath away and all of sudden we felt humble and vulnerable. There is something about the power of nature that reminds us of how small and powerless we are in changing the course of nature but we can damage it – and with that comes some responsibility. In particular – the importance of educating now and for  future generations, the importance and power of personal choice and responsibility.

A friend of mine died suddenly – no warning – dropped dead while helping someone with some DIY – he was dead before the paramedics got there – yet days before we were laughing and joking on the golf course – he was large as life and lived it to the full – yet gone in a flash.

Simple Truth 2 Death is inevitable
ST 5 You will grieve
ST 54 The best things in life are free

‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the
moments that take our breath away.’

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Destiny?

A close friend in her efforts of offering me support at a time of real distress, said to me ‘ there is a reason why you have experienced this trauma and survived – a purpose you have yet to discover’ This has never left me and I still wonder today whether my destiny has been fulfilled. I still seek opportunities to give back what I consider I have taken i.e. a rich and wonderful education with a wide experience of life yet, I lack the courage to explore the path of volunteering for the diverse and extremes of global needs that exist through the impoverished and or suppressed people.
The rationalisation revolves around the wish to be comfortable, at home, close to children and grand children and take the safe and narcissistic route.
I am hoping to achieve the latter at the same time also give back – through some sort of volunteer or non executive capacity – still looking – will something appear or how hard must I search?
In the mean time my wife and I still argue about what we would do with the 10 or 20 million pounds win on the lottery – much of the debate relates to who and how we would help others – after the usual selfish purchases of course.

The book 54 Simple Truths with Brutal Advice www.54-self-help-books.com
Touches on some of these issues in several chapters mainly

26. You will want to win a lot of money.
50. You will take for granted your own health and senses
52. You will be faced with a challenge that will consume you and test your resolve to survive
54. The best things in life are free.

‘There are no more pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw ‘
Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Chaotic and worrying times

Latest entry on the website discussion forum - read below.
http://www.54-self-help-books.com/members/viewDiscussionComments.cfm?Discussion1ID=41

The unrest and the rising up of people in the middle east seems to demonstrate the power and the drive for people to have a say in how they should live - breaking the shackles of power and control which for years may not have resulted in decisions being made in the best interest of the majority - but maintaining power and control ( and wealth) within the minority. Thats how the majority of us privileged Westerners see it - those of us enjoying a free democratic society - its difficult to understand these alternative regimes but eventually - years of oppression will create an angry and violent backlash. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan - Earthquake, Tsunami, and now leaking Radiation. The continuous horror movie that was graphically captured takes us closer to what those poor people living on the coast must have experienced - yet without us been there we cannot imagine the reality and the shock that many families must be going through. The force of nature is the greatest force we know - why build the largest Power Station closest to the fault line? Hind site is wonderful - and lessons will be learned - the Japanese will show how great a nation they are in handling this and our prayers and thoughts go with all those who have lost loved ones or are still searching. I remember visiting the Philippines one year after the tsunami that killed 80000 people - the stories of how communities were wiped out were as vivid as the courageous accounts of survival.

My Simple Truth number 52 seems pithy and trite in the context of the above but I include it here in part as a way of paying tribute to the potential for us all to find strength and courage to survive in extraordinary circumstances.
 52. You will be faced with a challenge that will consume you and test your resolve to survive. No one can prepare you for the traumas and tragedies of life.
No doubt you will experience the hurt, pain, and devastation associated with your life balance, be it emotional or physical, being threatened. When this happens, it is unlikely that you will be in a fit state of mind to recall what I write here now. I hope you never experience the following: diagnosis of a terminal illness, your child dies, your parents die young, you become disabled, you are involved in a tragic accident or incident resulting in a loss of function of sorts, other loved ones die tragically, everything around you seems to be falling apart, you file for bankruptcy, you get divorced, you feud with your loved ones – and the list goes on. It’s a depressing list, yet it’s reality for the vast majority of people on earth. How do they cope? How can they survive? I am sure there is a point in the traumatic experience where the confidence of survival is low, yet somehow, the resolve of the human spirit breaks through. You can either choose to be subsumed by events and play the full role of victim, or you can fight for survival. Many people turn the experience around and find deep meaning into why this has happened now, to them. They find a renewed or new purpose and somehow become stronger. As a result of the experience, they are able to help others to either avoid what happened to them or cope better. Do not underestimate your ability to achieve extraordinary things. Our potential as human beings is phenomenal. ( Full Version now available in the second edition)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Website progressing

54 Self Help Books Newsletter – 2

Two months have passed since the launch of the website – we have over 100 registered users, have had thousands of hits and the feedback has been positive. I am hopeful that more people will begin to use the discussion forum once the web site moves up in the google hit list.
I have made some improvements to the site and hope you can go and test them out

1/ You can upload your own avatar or image.
2/ We have added a spell check facility
3/ There is an option to chose to have your book signed by the author
4/ You can now post in a url that links in immediately – useful when you want to share information about resources
I hope this Newsletter finds you well and loved this Valentines day and please help raise awareness of this self help site by passing the link on to your contact list – there just maybe someone out there that genuinely will appreciate a little on line support.

Have a good one!
Mike

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Getting old and keeping young

Strange Times 
Improvements on the website continue.
Library and Independent books stores in the USA sent a flyer high lighting the book.
A website for teenage girls publishes an online interview I gave about 54 Simple Truths.
Managed to organise a family celebration for my 89 yr old Aunt
Daily visiting to hospital to my 88yr old father in law admitted after a minor stroke ( can a stroke be minor?)
Successfully facilitated a major conference with good feedback
Book proposal sent to Crown publishers – they are at least considering it.
Wonderful experience watching Cirque du Soliel at the Royal Albert Hall – London
Why do most people at my Gym look super fit!?
                                           
Still wondering how to get the book sold and to stimulate sales via the website and other routes – any ideas?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Publishers

Interesting - Crown of Random House - one of the largest publishers globally have said they would consider my proposal and Harper Collins another publishing giant have said they dont accept unsolicited proposals but invite you to join thier self publishing forum which as far as I can tell is yet another website to entice hungry self publishers to sell their wares - including me - have a look at
http://www.authonomy.com/books/30135/54-simple-truths-with-brutal-advice-how-to-face-the-challenges-of-life-/
So - the last resort in a few weeks time if no takers will be an agent.
Watch this space!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Realistic dreams?

 I don’t know how any self publisher successfully markets their book to a degree where they achieve high number of book sales. By high – I mean over a 1000 books. I am a dreamer and still believe my book 54 Simple Truths could be a million best seller. I suspect, however, many self publishers believe that’s possible. So, am I in cloud cuckoo land? Have I done enough?
Paid for professional Press Release – world wide exposure
Designed and launched a web site specifically linked to the book
Marketing through social websites Facebook and twitter and authors den.
Press articles in the local press
Advertising in the magazine going to all libraries and Independent book sellers in the USA
Entered the book for a book award
Sent the book to all National Newspapers and relevant magazines
The book is available on all major book websites

Why do I still believe it’s a winner?

The first edition achieved some exposure because of Bel Moonies article in the Daily Mail – I sold about 200 copies directly and received a lot of positive feedback.
The second edition is much better – more appealing illustrations ( they support rather than distract ) and a story either challenging or inspirational to support each simple truth. Every review and feedback I have had tells me it’s a book that can offer real help and add value to peoples lives.

Yet still – no one really knows it exists.

If I had a publisher – they would have direct access to major distributors and booksellers. The main book outlets do not talk to self publishers and will only consider stocking a book if the record of sales is significant.

So, where do I go from here?
I await the outcome of the advertising in the States and the book award initiative but don’t have much confidence in these.
I have approached one of the biggest publishers – Crown of Random House – I have offered them the book – they are considering my proposal.

I hope the next blog has some positive news.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Latest press review

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/features/features/8766786.Make_2011_the_year_of_living_courageously/