Sam Radford

October 25, 2021

Enjoying my girls at every age and stage

“I always become suspicious when other parents tell me to enjoy every second of having a baby, to make the most of these years, since their enthusiasm never seems to extend to whatever age their children are now. Finn won’t disappoint me by being eight years old, or fourteen, or thirty-six. He won’t hurt my feelings by growing up. —Not...
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October 21, 2021

Book Notes: ‘Spook Street’ by Mick Herron

I finished reading book four of Mick Heron’s Slough House spy series of novels yesterday. The fact I’ve read four of them tells it’s own story. I love them. I’ve actually listened to the last two novels. Seán Barrett’s narration is pitch perfect; he captures the characters completely. There’s something delightfully gritty about these L...
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October 20, 2021

Killing the moment by controlling our experience

My friend Ryan sent me this powerful quote from the American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön earlier: “We think that if we just meditated enough or jogged enough or ate perfect food, everything would be perfect. But from the point of view of someone who's awake, that's death. Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and...
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October 19, 2021

Don’t resist life’s seasons

Life is full of seasons. Here in England, we’re deep into the transition away from summer and into autumn. But our individual lives have seasons too. Nothing stays the same for long. When our daughters were young, my wife and I had a mantra for the various (trying) stages kids go through. ‘It’s just a season,’ or ‘it’s only a stage,’ w...
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October 18, 2021

When the belief bubble bursts

“The nature of illusion is that it’s designed to make you feel good. About yourself, about your country, about where you’re going – in that sense it functions like a drug. Those who question that illusion are challenged not so much for the veracity of what they say, but for puncturing those feelings. —Chris Hedges, Journalist” This quo...
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October 15, 2021

Shaking up my morning routine

I loved this observation from Oliver Burkeman in his most recent newsletter: “…efforts to implement morning routines… have a way of becoming utterly deadening the moment you try to define them too strictly: “630am get up, 645am journalling”, and so forth. Far better, in my experience, to draw up a “menu” of things you'd ideally like to...
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October 14, 2021

Givers or takers?

“The more you create, the more powerful you become. The more you consume, the more powerful others become.” I’ve been pondering these words since I read them in James Clear’s newsletter last week. Another way of framing this is as a question: Am I a giver or a taker? When we fill our lives with taking – or consumption – we are disempow...
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October 13, 2021

Writing is easy – until it is hard

I get asked, ‘How do you manage to write so much?’, a lot. And the truth is that, like most established habits, it’s quite easy once you’ve done the work of making it a routine in your life. The routine – and the accompanying triggers – do a lot of the heavy lifting of making the habit continue. For much of this year, that’s where I’ve...
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October 4, 2021

Guard the good treasure entrusted to you

I read a letter recently, written several thousand years ago, from a master to his apprentice. The author included the line that titles this post: guard the good treasure entrusted to you. He’s talking about the gifts the apprentice has. Earlier in the same letter, he writes about, ‘rekindl[ing] the gift of God that is within you’. Gua...
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September 30, 2021

When words don’t sync with reality

“Writing or words not backed up by action will end up ringing hollow. Similarly, a person who only talks but does not practise ends up living a hollow existence. There is nothing at the core – no real substance – because the actions don’t match up to the intentions. So that is the danger of writing – when the words are out of sync from...
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