Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, and pragmatic idealist exploring what it means to be human.
December 4, 2022

Are you energising or draining the people around you?

What is your impact on others? Are the people you interact with better off from their being around you, or worse? Do you elevate the people you interact with, or bring them down? When you’re with others do they end up being more-than they would or could have been, or less-than? Are those around you energised or drained by your presenc...
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November 3, 2022

Changing my mind more

“Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw” I came across this quote in the daily The World in Brief email I get from The Economist. I appreciated the reminder. Politicians have given changing your mind a bad reputation. The moment a political opponent c...
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October 29, 2022

Figuring it out, or getting found out?

Adam Grant, in a recent newsletter wrote this: “Impostor syndrome: “I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s only a matter of time until everyone finds out." Growth mindset: “I don’t know what I’m doing yet. It’s only a matter of time until I figure it out.” The highest form of self-confidence is believing in your ability to learn.” As someon...
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October 16, 2022

Turning towards

I listened to an episode of Brené Brown’s ‘Unlocking Us’ podcast last week where her guests were Drs. John and Julie Gottman. They have studied relationships for years, and their insights were fascinating. Though they were primarily talking in the context of couples, one thing they shared made so much sense to me across multiple contex...
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September 23, 2022

An obligation to be hopeful

I was watching an episode of ‘Gutsy’ on Apple TV+ last week and something Hilary Clinton said has stayed with me. She said, ‘we have an obligation to be hopeful’. The context was a conversation between women refusing to hate despite being the victims of all manner of violent and abusive personal attacks. But apt as the line about hope ...
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August 31, 2022

All change

Hello! It’s been a while. After enjoying a two week holiday in Switzerland in late July / early August, I’ve been adapting to a new role at work that I officially start tomorrow. Hence I’ve been quiet. And, in truth, I find it healthy to step away from writing sometimes. I do intend to start writing more again in the coming weeks, but ...
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July 13, 2022

Without innovation tradition dies

I can’t recall where I read it, but the words, ‘without innovation tradition dies,’ immediately made sense to me. It sounds contradictory. Aren’t the ideas of innovation and tradition incompatible? Not necessarily. No tradition should ever carry on uncritically. ‘We always do this because it’s always what’s been done,’ is never a good ...
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July 7, 2022

Don't lose sight of the present

This post references sport but if sport isn’t your thing, don’t worry, the point is not about sport. Stay with me! Sport is simply the backdrop for this idea. Eddie Jones is the head coach of England rugby side. For the last couple of years the side has struggled with poor form and lots of defeats. He is still head coach though and his...
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July 6, 2022

Telling people you appreciate them

Reflecting on my own life, too much gratitude and appreciation goes unspoken. I think it. But I don’t say it. And unexpressed gratitude and appreciation is a pretty useless thing. Why do I hold back? Pride, perhaps. Not wanting to appear vulnerable. But it’s also just habit. Or lack of it. The more I do something, the more I start to d...
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July 1, 2022

Gratitude in the small moments, not just the big

It’s easy to be grateful for the big moments in life. A new job. A fantastic holiday. A loved-one’s birthday. That’s not to say gratitude is a given though. It’s still very much a choice. But gratitude truly finds its wings when it reaches beyond the exceptional and extends to the mundane. There’s a reason millions of religious people ...
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June 22, 2022

Passion is… bad?

I love it when something I believe gets throughly challenged by something I read. Today’s daily meditation from the Centre for Action and Contemplation does exactly that. Cynthia Bourgeault, the author of the post, writes about the difference between our modern understanding of emotions and the teachings of the Desert Fathers and Mothe...
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June 21, 2022

To hope is to jump

I’ve been watching a few episodes of season two of ‘Home’ on AppleTV+ this week. It’s a fascinating looking at incredible homes from around the world. That’s not what I want to write about though. It simply happened that one of the home owners, a Swedish lady, said during an interview that the Swedish word for hope also means to jump. ...
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June 14, 2022

Resistance muscles

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘fasting’? With my religious background, my mind goes to the religious practice of abstaining from something (usually food) for spiritual purposes. For others, maybe your mind jumps to dieting and trying to lose weight. The other thing that comes to mind for me is Lent. That period in the run u...
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June 8, 2022

Just do it

Oliver Burkeman, in his latest newsletter, suggests that sometimes the goal of habit formation gets in the way of just doing what would be good to do: “You want to become, say, the kind of person who meditates, or writes or makes videos or podcasts on a regular basis, or finds more time for your kids – and so you conclude, understandab...
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June 4, 2022

Thoughts from away

I’m in Mallorca with extended family at the moment. That explains my lack of posts this week. And also last week, as preparing for our first international travel since March 2019 was all consuming! What follows is a somewhat random and eclectic collection of thoughts I’ve had while away. • Guaranteed sunshine is nice! Waking up each mo...
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May 19, 2022

Harming others without realising it

‘When Things Fall Apart’ by Pema Chödrön has been on my radar for a while now. But it’s sat on my reading list without ever making it to the top. This week I started reading it though, and it’s full of wisdom! Challenging too. I appreciate when a book calls me out on my shit and I’m in a place to receive it, learn from it, and grow. Th...
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May 17, 2022

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic goals

When I read ‘From Strength to Strength’ by Arthur Brooks earlier this year, one of the ideas I noted down was the importance of having a balance of intrinsic goals and extrinsic goals. If you were to ask me what my goals are for this year, or the next five years, my response would probably be entirely made up of extrinsic goals. They w...
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May 12, 2022

Dethroning money

I finished reading ‘Wild Man to Wise Man: Reflections on Male Spirituality’ by Richard Rohr, Joseph Martos this week. First released in 1990, it’s a fascinating read! Early on in the book, they wrote this on the subject of money: “It is all too easy to fall in love with money, to be captivated by the pursuit of money and to project eve...
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May 6, 2022

Ducking the reality of death

I read ‘The Art of Gathering’ by Priya Parker last week. It’s a great—if somewhat too long—look at helping people gather together in better, more meaningful ways. The segment I want to quote below though is less about gathering and more an observation on how we handle death nowadays. I’ve been reflecting on this over the last week, sha...
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May 3, 2022

44 insights I try to live by

Inspired by Kevin Kelly’s ‘103 bits of advice I wish I had known’, I decided to write my own list of things I’ve learned or am learning in the 44 years I’ve been alive so far. These are a collection of insights I try—with varying degrees of success—to hold onto as I go through life. This is by no means an exhaustive list; I hope I will...
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April 29, 2022

Why we need to keep meeting strangers

At the start of the year, I added ‘More quality time with friends’ to my More and Less list. I then reflected on friendship some more after reading ’Friends‘ by Robin Dunbar. As someone who is now into my forties, I am acutely aware that making new friends tends to be something that happens less and less. Not only that, even maintainin...
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April 27, 2022

Love people, like things

I don’t think this blog post will lead to a global revolution whereby people reevaluate how they use the word ‘love’. But I would like it to! I read something the other week—and, sadly, I can’t recall where—that pointed out the dangers of loving ‘things’. I might say, I love Leicester Tigers. Or my iPhone. Or my job. Or pizza. (Okay, m...
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April 20, 2022

Chisoku: When enough is enough

The Japanese have a word for everything, don’t they?! Chisoku is the Japanese word for ‘enough’; it means to feel sufficient or to be satisfied with what we have. Reading about this word over the last week has been a good reminder for me. As Seth Godin’s pointed out in his recent blog post “...by some measures, there’s never enough. We...
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April 15, 2022

Why do we choose bandits over truth?

“Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’ After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no c...
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April 14, 2022

A life of love and faith outside of church services

Richard Rohr’s recent daily meditation is a reflection on ‘expanding circles of love’. He poses the question, ‘How do we love God?’, before saying: “Most of us seem to have concluded we love God by attending church services. For some reason, we think that makes God happy. I’m not sure why. Jesus never talked about attending services, a...
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April 12, 2022

Too much knowledge

I like Instagram. Mostly. I mainly like that I can keep up-to-date with friends via their photographs. That is, for me, a predominantly positive experience. Interspersed with all the photos though is an ever growing stream of self-help type content. Tips, advice, guidance, life-lessons, hacks, how-to’s, and more. It’s not that all of i...
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April 8, 2022

My religious journey

Long-time readers of my blog will know that I have a religious background, and that religion, faith, and spirituality are subjects I write about periodically here too. I have never publicly documented my religious journey in much detail though. There’s been snapshots I’ve shared, but never the whole thing. This year, I’ve been having a...
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April 6, 2022

When self-improvement is self-dislike in disguise

Rebecca Toh posted a new article on her blog the other day and this paragraph jumped right out at me: “Self-improvement can be insidious and a source of stress, because for many people, self-improvement is actually self-dislike in disguise. If we’re not careful, we can spend years on the self-improvement treadmill trying to reach our g...
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April 4, 2022

How would I treat my best friend?

I wrote a few weeks ago about using the question, ‘What would I tell my best friend to do?’, as a decision-making aid. Today I want to share another question to help us be more compassionate to ourselves. And it’s this: How would I treat my best friend? Let’s back up a little before exploring that further though. The problem with terms...
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March 25, 2022

Solitude phobia

I’m continuing to enjoy Hermann du Plessis’s new book ‘Lead with Intent’. This morning I read a powerful section titled ‘Fear of time alone’. It’s inspired by one of the thirteen things Amy Morin writes about in her book ’13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do’: “Mentally strong people do not fear time alone.” Here are what Morin de...
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