A master never blames her tools, but she also doesn’t try to force a stone to cut steel.

You can’t put a DSLR into someone’s hand and expect them to shoot a film; it takes more than a pen and paper to produce a novel; and the ingredients for a soufflĂ© are in no way guaranteed to become a soufflĂ©, despite our best laid plans.

Sometimes we need new tools, sometimes we’re what needs to be sharpened.

Don’t be fooled by second chances; there’s no guarantee that your second attempt will be any more fruitful than your first.

For one, you might have grown complacent; you think you know what to expect, but are you really more prepared than the first time around? That depends on how well you’ve learned.

Our focus should not be on success. It should be on how we could have prevented our last failure.

Failure is to be embraced, not overcome.

How might your last failure inform your next attempt?

At the beginning of this pandemic I actually got a little excited at the prospect of having more time to sit back, relax and read.

Well, I’ve had that time and it struck me today that I’ve barely read a thing.

It’s easy to trick ourselves into feeling like we don’t have the time to do the things we know we ought to be doing.

It’s harder, but far more valuable to seizing whatever time we can find and spend it instilling into ourselves the habits we must develop to facilitate those things.

If you’ve been letting yourself down, as I have, consider how you could spend just 20 minutes tomorrow to set yourself on the right track.

I know what I’ll be doing.

Effort can’t take us everywhere… But it can take us most places.

Usually, the only which stands between us and our desires are our own choices. Taking true responsibility for this truth is hard. It’s far easier and much more comfortable to believe the some external force or circumstance is preventing us from accomplishing what we wish to accomplish.

There is almost always a way, and the way is almost always hard work. When the work is hard, persisting is even more challenging.

Persist, and the rest will follow.

Some of us excel at chipping away at task over long periods of time, slowly accumulating progress towards our goals.

Others work better in batches; short bursts of focussed attention through which a large amount can be accomplished in a short period of time.

There are things each of us will chip away at and others we will batch, but we usually have a natural tendency towards one or the other.

Neither is necessarily better or worse, but it’s possible that us natural batchers could learn a thing or two by sequencing our workloads in more digestible chunks over time, freeing us up to harness our batching abilities when we need them most. The chippers could probably learn from us too; that there are times when rigorous, stubborn and sustained short term effort can be a productive and creative force.

Chippers are guaranteed to build something if they stick at it long enough.

Batchers craft opportunities to test the things they’re making before spending all the time which a chipper would need to make it.

Your pace should be determined by whether you’re running a sprint or marathon, not by which race you’re more naturally inclined to run.

Building is always a balancing act, no matter the craft. Whether you’re building houses, PC’s or curries, the quality of your components always influence your final outcome.

When we begin to favour some components too strongly over others, the whole project is at risk of failure.

The structural stability of a modern house is irrelevant if there’s no room for plumbing and electrics. A PC with the fastest CPU on the market won’t be worth a quarter of its price if you don’t invest in other parts capable of taking advantage of its power. Chilli is what makes most curries shine, but add too much and the whole dish becomes unpalatable.

It’s so important to protect ourselves from tunnel vision. Balance is everything.

Adaption requires flexibility, attentiveness and an ability to grow.

Seeing as we never end up exactly where we thought we’d be doing exactly what we thought we’d be doing, it makes sense to learn the art of adaptability.

That way, when confronted by strange circumstance or hard times, we’re ready to act.

A team of excellent players who play in isolation will always lose to a team of good players who play united.

When players play for themselves, their ability is additive; when they play in unison, for eachother and for the team, their abilities mulitply.

A captain’s role is to eking out the best performance from every player through motivation and example.

The coach’s role is create harmony between them, through insightful, strategic planning and elegant design.

Teams which synergise and shine are always greater than the sum of their parts. The job of a leader is to realise that potential.

It’s okay to feel exhausted at the moment. Many of us are. Ironically, lots of people finally have the time to start the projects they’ve been dreaming about, and none of the energy required to develop any momentum.

I’m in that camp too.

Tomorrow, if you’re in that camp with me, let’s find an hour to dedicate solely to the project we most want to align ourselves with.

An hour with no distractions, no excuses and no procrastination.

It’s likely that we’re going to have a lot more time on our hands over the next six months.

A single hour tomorrow, no more and no less, might just be the push we need to get the ball rolling.