Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England. 
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 “ 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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March 22, 2022

Regaining our curiosity with those we know the most

My friend, Hermann du Plessis, has a new book out called ‘Lead with Intent’. I’m enjoying it! It’s been a while since I’ve read a book on leadership; I’m learning lots, and being reminded of plenty too. This morning I read a section on curiosity. Though his focus is leadership, I couldn’t help but think about it in a wider life context...
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March 18, 2022

Stop trying to win arguments

We all want to be right. I’m still waiting to meet that person who just loves to be wrong! And when we disagree with someone, it’s natural to want to win then over to our way of seeing things. Here’s the thing though: People change their minds slowly. Do you remember the last time you heard a counter-argument to a view you hold strongl...
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March 16, 2022

Creating space between home and work

I started working from home eight months before the Covid pandemic hit. I love it. It’d be a real struggle to go back to office-based working now. The only thing I miss is the commute. Well, not the waiting at bus stops in the rain. Nor being on crowded buses. No, it’s the time—the headspace—between leaving home and getting to work. Th...
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March 11, 2022

Empathy is always a strength

I wrote last week about consuming news sanely. But it’s hard, isn’t it? There’s a war going on! It’s all well and good for me to decide to only check in with the news once or twice a day. But what about those women and children getting attacked in Ukraine by Russian soldiers? They can’t view the news a couple of times each day in order...
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March 10, 2022

One degree of realignment

When we decide we want to change, it’s easy in our initial enthusiasm to go all in, do a complete about turn, and go full steam ahead in a new direction. This can work in some scenarios, but not all. If we want to get fitter after doing no exercise for a long time, going straight on a 10 mile run isn’t the way to go. Small steps and gr...
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March 4, 2022

Consuming news sanely

Oliver Burkeman makes the case for cultivating new skills to ensure we engage with news in ways that don’t destroy us: “…figuring out how to consume news sanely – how to keep your head, when everyone on social media is losing theirs – is only going to become an even more critical skill for living a composed and purposeful life.” He say...
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March 3, 2022

Little things

Sometimes the big things in life are beyond our control. Take 2022. We entered the year full of renewed hope and expectation. Then, barely a week in, my wife got ill with what was more than likely Covid. She’s not been back in work since. She’s getting better. Slowly. But it’s fair to say this isn’t how we hoped the year would go. And ...
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March 2, 2022

What would I tell my best friend to do?

We’re all faced with decisions every day—some trivial, some vital. When it comes to the big ones though, we often end up paralysed by indecision. We don’t know what to do. Daniel Pink addresses this in his latest ‘Pinkcast’ and offers a suggestion that makes so much sense. When struggling with a decision, Pink says we should ask oursel...
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February 24, 2022

Russia & Ukraine: “This is not for ordinary people”

I asked someone I know in Russia for their perspective on Russia attacking Ukraine. Here’s how the conversation unfolded (shared with permission): “ME: What is your take on the Ukraine situation? THEM: It’s very hard to explain. It is a war. And it’s very scary. All my colleagues are very quiet today. They have been all day. Usually we...
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February 23, 2022

Out of control

I was thirteen when I first visited Ghana. I was tagging along with my dad while he had various speaking engagements. Most of these were in the evenings, leaving plenty of free time during the day. The time of year we were there mean that, like clockwork, there was a thirty minute tropical downpour every afternoon. This was when I chos...
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February 16, 2022

Keep changing your mind

I’m a regular subscriber to The Economist. One of my favourite subscription features is an email each morning called ‘The World in Brief’. It’s a handy, short overview of the biggest news stories from around the globe, along with succinct commentary. In addition, each email closes with a quote for the day too. Here’s today’s: “Only stu...
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February 11, 2022

Never stop learning

Though I haven’t studied in an official capacity for years, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped learning. In fact, I’m more committed to learning and growing now than at any point in my life. Why? I enjoy learning new things! It’s as simple as that. I’m curious and I like discovering more—particularly if it’s connected to humans and how we ...
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February 9, 2022

When less is more—the path to satisfaction

My friend, Ryan, sent me a quite brilliant article in The Atlantic by Arthur C. Brooks this morning. It’s adapted from a book he has coming out next month. He explores the age-old dilemma of how we find satisfaction in life. The key, it seems, is wanting less, but we all know that isn’t easy. It is abundantly clear though, as Brooks wr...
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February 4, 2022

Focus on your food!

I’ve been reading ‘The Expectation Effect’ by David Robson this week. It’s a fascinating read! There’s countless themes I’ve been tempted to write about, but one stood out and it was in a chapter about food. In short, our expectations around food and how we approach it can make a tangible difference to digestion, weight loss or gain, a...
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February 2, 2022

What would keep me alive?

My German friend, Armin Ruser, wrote a blog post this week reflecting on the writing of Victor Frankl about his time in Auschwitz. This in particular stood out: “When [Frankl] once fell ill with typhoid fever during his detention in the camp, he began to [re]write parts of [his confiscated book] manuscript on notes. According to his ow...
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