Sam Radford

October 29, 2021

The superficial self-awareness movement

What is your biggest weakness? I was thinking about this classic interview question today. And we all know the kinds of responses it generates: ““Sometimes I’m too committed for my own good.”” ““I’m a perfectionist.”” ““I work too hard.”” But have you noticed how no one says: ““I’m insecure and claim other team member’s ideas as my own...
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October 27, 2021

Does religion still have a place today?

What is the point of religion? Does it (still) have a role in a rational society? Is it something we should have grown out of by now? Or is their a place – a need, even – for it? And, if there is, what is that place, that point, that purpose? The word ‘religion’ is undeniably a tainted word. And no two people are thinking of the same t...
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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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September 28, 2021

What if worry was prayer?

I took a huge amount of pleasure listening to a conversation between Luke Norsworthy and Barbara Taylor Brown on a recent episode of Luke’s podcast. Though it wasn’t remotely the main focus of the podcast, there was a throwaway line from Barbara that I’ve been pondering since I heard it. She said that worrying about friends and family ...
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September 27, 2021

A good life

“Life is not a problem to be solved. Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you. —Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, ‘Ikaigi’” I love the simplicity of this. Of course, simple doesn’t mean easy! Sometimes the simplest things to understand are the hardest t...
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September 23, 2021

Improve your life with better handling of notifications

I don’t write much about technology any more. And when I do, I aim to write about it in ways that are relevant to everyone – not just geeks like me! Today’s post is, as such, technology focussed but will, I hope, help us all. Let’s get to it. As of this week, the iPhone has a new feature that I want to highlight. It’s part of iOS and i...
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September 22, 2021

Fewer blog posts of late

I’ve been writing less frequently the last couple of weeks. But don’t worry: I do intended to get back to writing each week day. Lately I’ve had no extra headspace though. Work has been all-consuming whilst we’ve launched a major new programme for thousands of teachers here in England. This busy spell has left me with less time for rea...
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September 21, 2021

Flexibility = resilience

I finished reading ‘Ikigai’ by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles this week and, towards the end of the book, there’s a chapter on resilience. This paragraph in particular resonated: “Resilient people know how to stay focused on their objectives, on what matters, without giving in to discouragement. Their flexibility is the source of ...
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September 14, 2021

The thief of happiness

“To compare yourself and your results against anyone is probably like the thief of happiness. —Emma Raducanu” I came across the above quote in an article on the BBC website a couple of days prior to Emma Raducanu’s remarkable win in US Open tennis final in New York. Reading that, it becomes even harder to believe she’s just 18 years ol...
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September 9, 2021

The wherewithal to cope

I was grateful for this reminder from Oliver Burkeman in his latest newsletter: “...imagine you were a member of a prehistoric tribe, setting out on a multi-day hunting expedition into the unknown. You couldn't possibly have felt confident, if “confident” means feeling sure of how things will unfold. But there’s a kind of confidence yo...
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September 8, 2021

Let us be awake to life

One of my morning meditations recently included the mantra that makes for the title of this post: “Let us be awake to life.” I find it all too easy to drift through life. Days blur into weeks, which blur into months, which blur into years. And before long, I’m repeating the tired refrain: Doesn’t time fly? I lose sight of the truth tha...
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September 7, 2021

Lessons from several women who have embraced Orthodox Judaism

There was an intriguing article in The Telegraph over the weekend about several women who have embraced Orthodox Judaism. I found it interesting on various levels. But there was a sentence that captured my attention where one of the women was describing her first Sabbath: “That Friday evening, as well as eating chicken soup, they sang ...
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September 6, 2021

Anger AND love

This from John Philip Newell in his book ‘Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul’ touched a nerve for me over the weekend: “Today we hear many voices denouncing the abuse of the environment. These are important voices, and it is imperative that we listen to them and their dire predictions of the catastrophes we are bringing on ourselves and future ...
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September 3, 2021

Clarity over certainty

I found this quote from Shawn Blanc’s latest newsletter helpful: “Certainty is a destination. Clarity is a direction. Don’t waste too much time in the hunt for certainty, when, often all you need is just a little bit of clarity. With a little bit of clarity, you can start moving in the right direction. And once you’re moving, that acti...
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September 2, 2021

Sunday neurosis

I’m reading a book called Ikigai at the moment. It’s a delightful and insightful read, exploring the lessons we can learn from this Japanese ‘secret’ about living life with purpose. One paragraph about ‘Sunday neurosis’ jumped out at me when I was reading last night: “Sunday neurosis, for example, is what happens when, without the obli...
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September 1, 2021

You teach best what you most need to learn

““You teach best what you most need to learn,” as the author Richard Bach famously put it. You’re drawn to the subjects you struggle with because you struggle with them – because the stakes feel high to you, so you’re motivated to try to puzzle out some solutions.” I appreciated the paragraph above, pulled from the latest newsletter fr...
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August 31, 2021

Note taking or making notes?

“Note taking is what happens when we’re quickly capturing content to refer back to it later while we’re listening. Note making on the other hand is when we generate ideas, like when reading. This is when we form our own ideas and insights based on the information we encounter. It’s the process of connecting the dots, or plotting new on...
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August 27, 2021

‘We have become flesh and blood billboards’

Om Malik’s latest blog post on how humans today engage with one another is worth sharing in full: “Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn: that is now part of our daily vernacular. Did you see my TikTok or read my Tweet? We don’t interact. We transact. Read the papers, and you will quickly learn that everyone is an influencer or ...
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August 26, 2021

Bearing with one another

I’m sharing more wisdom today from Saul of Tarsus, the first century writer. Though this particular line may or may not have come from his quill*, the insight is clear (and challenging). In Ephesians 4:2, the author encourages the faith community in Ephesus to be people committed to ‘bearing with one another in love’. I appreciate the ...
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August 24, 2021

What to wear

“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. —Colossians 3” ‘Clothe yourselves’ is one of my favourite metaphors used by the first century writer Saul of Tarsus. He uses this, and variations of it, in various of his writings when encouraging his readers to live a life of moral virtue. I find this help...
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August 23, 2021

Bravery has many faces

Glennon Doyle shared some astute thoughts in a post on Instagram last week. Here’s what she said: “There is a family next to me at the store. I just heard the dad say to his kid: “Well, it’s brave to go on a roller coaster. And it’s also brave to say you don’t want to go on a roller coaster.” Wanted to tell you something. That is good....
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