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Tag: Thrive

9

Wisdom of Wigtown

The people at Wigtown are generating a book of the wisdom of Wigtown during this year’s Wigtown Book Festival, and they asked the following questions:

1. Is there something that someone told you early in life that proved to be useful?

Yes: My father told me never ever ever listen to anyone who tried to hold me back, and to think for myself.

2. What do you wish you knew when you were 18?

I wish I had known how important it is to be original and not try to ape others.

3. What word do you repeat to yourself when the going gets tough? Or what word sums you up?

The word I repeat to myself over is over is: FORWARD!

4. How would you finish the sentence “It’s never too late to…”‘

“…write a book that will change the world.”

0

Inventions

I have already mentioned in passing a number of Arab inventions from the Golden Age. They include a wide range of medical, chemical and astronomical devices. But there are whole other areas in which the Arabs inventors excelled.

         Arab engineers learned from the Romans, Greeks and from their own scientists, and came up with creations that demonstrated their astonishing ingenuity. Some of these creations improved living conditions, while others were more whimsical.

         Engineers were hugely important. When the tenth century Persian engineer and polymath, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), reached Cairo, the Caliph himself went to the gates to greet him. He had been invited to regulate the flooding on the Nile. It soon dawned on him that he couldn’t solve the problem. The only way to save his neck was to feign madness and live for years under house arrest… biding his time until the Caliph’s own death.



TS


2

The Big Picture

Keeping an eye on the detail is of paramount importance, but so is the ability to keep the other on the big picture — micro and macro. It’s hard perhaps to explain this or why it’s so important. But while you’re on an expedition it’s very easy to focus on the hand in front of your face and, by doing do, to lose focus on your surroundings. In my experience, the team will quickly lose all interest in the wider goals, the greater scheme of things. They’re too wound up in the pain their injured feet are giving them, or their groaning stomachs. So, it’s your responsibility to watch the expedition from afar and ask yourself key questions. Are you on track? Is everyone pulling their weight? Could you re-jig and win time? Is morale flagging and, if so, can you pep it up right now? At the same time you must be prepared for disaster. It strikes, of course, when you’re getting complacent and comfortable. What happens if there’s a sudden downpour and the river swells two feet? Or if a man snaps his ankle on the next bend, or if hornets attack? Are you prepared? What would you do to cope? Keep the boy scout spirit alive and always remember that you’re as fragile as a feather on the wind.



TS
2

Blogging

This really follows on from yesterday’s blog, about being primed at all times. It’s something which I myself have only come to appreciate recently… writing blogs. As I have ranted in previous postings, to me it really doesn’t matter is anyone reads the stuff I write, although it’s nice if they do. And writing blogs is a fantastic way of staying primed, and working on your writing skill. Some people I know write long long blogs and get their family and friends to read them by sending annoying little reminders, and mentioning them whenever you meet. I think there ought to be blog etiquette. That means you should allow people to find your blog without much goading, and let them read if they feel like it. The other thing that’s key is, I think, writing a few lines every day, rather than pages and pages once a week. That way you stay primed and the writing develops (or perhaps doesn’t) a kind of continuity. Another wonderful point in the favour of blogs is how damn impressive they look. I encourage any kid over the age of about ten to write a short blog whenever they have the time, about their life, the universe and everything. What a fabulous way to get into writing for the love of writing.



TS