The Year I Saved the World

Apologies for being a bit slow in updating Next Starfish over recent months.

Blogging can be quite time consuming, and I’ve been devoting a lot of attention to a number of different things, but I will be posting again on a far more frequent basis from the New Year.

One of the things I’ve been working on is my first Next Starfish ebook – The Year I Saved the World – the first part of which is now finally available.

The Year I Saved the World is a series of one-action-a-day ebooks  that present a wide range of ideas and suggestions for making a positive change, either in your own life, or the lives of others. Each book contains over a hundred links to various online resources.

Priced at only around £1.50 each, they are available for download from a variety of sources, including Amazon Kindle and the Google Play Store.

I really hope you enjoy it, and would love to hear what you think of it.

The January I Saved the World

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The February I Saved the World (coming soon)

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Take a Break

If you’re a regular reader of Next Starfish then you’ll know I occasionally take a short break from blogging.

I think taking a break from things is a very healthy thing to do from time to time . It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day to day – work, routine and commitments – and loose touch with what’s important, enjoyable and right.

A short break let’s you get perspective back, takes off the pressure, and helps keep you fresh.

As the late Steven Covey pointed out: it’s all too easy to confuse URGENT with IMPORTANT.

Many of the things we do because they’re urgent, not because they’re important . . . taking a break can help with sorting out which is which.

Join me – take a short break from doing something, and afterwards you’ll come back to it refreshed and revitalised. Alternatively you might decide it’s not that important after all, and decide to ditch it. Either way is good !

I’ll be back in a week (refreshed and revitalised) – untill then, quotes:

“Once in a while you have to take a break and visit yourself” – AUDREY GIORGI

“You should never take life so seriously that you forget to play” - ANON

“There is more to life than increasing it’s speed” – MAHATMA GANDHI

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is what are we busy about ?” - HENRY DAVID THOREAU

“If you’re too busy to help those around you succeed, you’re too busy” - ANON

 Photo by Michael Pollak, via Flickr

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The End of Summer

It’s not been the best of summers here in the UK, in fact that’s something of an understatement.

But even so, the next couple of months will see things getting (even) cooler, (even) wetter, and the days (once again) getting shorter.

To make the most of what little sunshine might be left, I’m enjoying a few days away down in Devon – in fact I’m writing this looking out over the sea right now, and I’ll be taking another of my regular breaks from blogging while I do.

I’ll be back in September with a range of new posts, and a couple of other changes to the site I’ve been planning – hope to see you then.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to leave you with a few selected music videos – I’ve subjected you all to my musical taste a couple of times before, and no one has complained yet, so I thought I’d give it another go.

Feel free to let me know what I should be listening to if my idea of good music is a million miles from yours :o)

Enjoy the End of Your Summer.

         

Photo by Mohamed Malik, via Flickr

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It’s Finally Stopped Raining !

As my regular readers will know, I take breaks from updating Next Starfish from time to time, either to catch up with various other things I’m meant to be doing, or sometimes just to enjoy a short rest . . . and it’s one of those times again.

Obviously I should be worried about maintaining my web traffic, increasing my followers, expanding my network and promoting my site – but as you’ll hopefully all realise, there’s much more to life, and I’m sure you’ll all be back again in a weeks time anyway.

I will be posing to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ in the meantime, so feel free to drop me a line if you spot anything interesting, or think anything I’ve said is rubbish !

I’ve decided to leave you with a few videos that have made me smile in recent weeks . . . but perhaps I’ve just got no sense of humour :)

 

 

Photo by dingbat 2005, via Flickr

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Next Starfish – A Manifesto

There is supposedly an old Jewish proverb that says:

“If you don’t want to do something one excuse is as good as another”

It won’t make a difference. I haven’t got the energy. I don’t have the time. I need to concentrate more on my family/work. I don’t have the skills. I can’t seem to get started. I’ve too much on right now. It’s too complicated to know what to do. It’s someone else’s responsibility. There’s no perfect solution. Doing something will only make things worse. We should concentrate on something else instead. It’s a waste of time. It probably wont work anyway.

The world has many problems – poverty and hunger, conflict and injustice, scarcity of resources and environmental damage.

There are over 7 billion people on the planet, of whom more than a billion live in extreme poverty on less than $1.25. It’s not widely understood, but that figure is locally adjusted, to equate to what $1.25 would buy in the United States – perhaps half a hot dog, and no healthcare, no education, no clothes, nowhere to live !

Another 2 billion live on less than $2.50 a day.

According to UNICEF, of the 2.2 billion children in the world; 1 in 3 don’t have adequate shelter, 1 in 5 don’t have access to safe drinking water, and around 22,000 will die each day from poverty – more than 70 in the time it takes to read this blog post.

The world is also living unsustainably. Our rising appetite for energy, food, water and raw materials is causing problems, and outstripping what the environment can provide – we have exceeded our limits. But if we want to lift billions out of poverty we will need to use even more . . . clearly we’re going to need to change the way we do things.

But we can’t change the world so what’s the point ?

The reason I started writing Next Starfish was to try and answer this question – to challenge attitudes of powerlessness, apathy and indifference.

The idea is by informing, encouraging, inspiring and by providing ideas and examples of changes we can make in our own individual lives, families, organisations, communities and social networks, we can not only minimise our negative impact on the world, but maximise our positive one! In the (disputed) words of anthropologist Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”.

We all have a tendency to compartmentalise our lives, thinking of poverty or environmental damage as something that happens to someone else, or somewhere else, but the fact is the world is interconnected and our own lives and lifestyles cannot be divorced from these problems. Our world is not the world ! Making the connections between our own attitudes and beliefs, our behaviours and actions and the state of the planet and the lives of others is both a challenging and empowering journey.

All good ideas need a manifesto (or perhaps I just like the word manifesto):

CHANGE LIVES - commit to being the change we want to see in the world

ACT NOW - make a start today, don’t overestimate what will be achieved tomorrow

THERE IS ENOUGH - challenge ourselves to live more generous lives

RIGHT HERE bloom where we’re planted - thinking globally and acting locally

TOGETHER - don’t underestimate the ability of collective passion to change the world

ENCOURAGE -  go easy on the criticism and lend a hand instead, don’t do guilt

IT’S COMPLICATED - accept that every complex problem has a solution that is clear, simple and wrong

AGREE TO DISAGREE - no-one has all the answers, debate is an opportunity to learn

HOPEFUL BUT REALISTIC - cynical pessimism & rose-tinted optimism both lead to denial & inaction

SMILE - we are generally as happy as we choose to be, enjoy life and help others enjoy theirs

So why Next Starfish ? Read this short story.

Of course as individuals we can’t change the entire world, but everything we do, or don’t do, makes a difference.

There is another, perhaps better known, Jewish saying:

“Whoever saves a life, saves the world entire”

Photo by The Marque, via Flickr 

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