Life

What happens when life gets you down. Or up. Or round and around.

The Fear

So you’ve got this idea. And you want it to be good so badly, that you’re scared to even start, in case the reality doesn’t match how it looks inside...

A bicycle for the mind

Daylight savings ain’t good for the soul. The one hour spring-forwards has messed with my body clock and I’ve felt groggy all week.

Maybe it’s the hardest thing

I almost didn’t publish this article, because so far I’ve completely failed to follow the advice at the end of it. But that’s a pretty good reflection of where my...

The only yellow car in the village.

When I was a kid we lived in a patch of quintessentially English countryside known as the Cotswolds. It’s full of picturesque villages with dry stone walls, and huge stately...

Eating the menu instead of the dinner

I’m increasingly glad that the internet and social media wasn’t really a thing when I was growing up. Sure, we had email and newsgroups and chatrooms and simple search engines...

Self-care for the Creative Soul

Last month I was invited to speak at Creative Mornings in Edinburgh on the theme of “taboo”, and decided to talk about mental health and self-care for the creative soul....

Your ideas are holding you hostage

A few years ago, deep in my “I love Bill Cunningham” phase, I pitched a CycleLove x Vulpine French Worker’s jacket to my friend Nick, who runs a cycling clothing...

Trig points for the soul

When you climb a big hill in the Scottish Highlands, you’ll often find a waist-height concrete pillar waiting for you at the top, as well as the more-expected 360 degree...

The freakonomy needs you

Imagine that you found something you desperately wanted to be a part of, but it was happening on the other side of the world. Would you sit at home getting in...

Knowing when to quit

Three clues that it might be time to move onto something new (and why quitting doesn't make you a quitter).

A second-hand bicycle saved my life

What inspired me to start CycleLove? Why and how do we become so attached to our bikes? Does cycling have an image problem? All topics touched on in a short...

On not using all the available space

Everyone knows that packing light makes travel easier, but we've all been that person lugging a suitcase full of never-needed things around a foreign city. What could you offload to lighten...

Keep going.

Humans don't come with an instruction manual, and our lives don't come with a map. How then can we find our way in life?

The false economy of boxes

I’ve just been hiking in the wide open spaces of the Scottish Highlands, where I was turning my head to see the full extent of the sunset instead of my...

How to fix Mondays

Opening up your inbox on a Monday can be a grim experience.  Ideally you'll have done a few hours work before even contemplating it. Let's be realistic though: inbox avoidance...

Why rock the boat?

The status quo is here for a reason. It's best left unquestioned, to follow the rules, to stay inside the lines, to do as you're told. The status quo is...

Snipers gonna snipe

If you make a statement of opinion, snipers gonna snipe. If you dare to stir things up a bit, snipers gonna snipe. If you do things differently, snipers gonna snipe....

Why the world needs more you

Whilst researching my last article, I discovered that someone's written a book about how to think like Steve Jobs. Which goes by the grand title of...What Would Steve Jobs Do?...

Start small.

Big is overrated. Big is a huge leap from nothing. Big is a mental road block that’s holding you back. And at the other end of the scale… Small is...

Don’t consume, create.

Often I find myself lying in bed first or last thing, in a repeating loop of checking various emails and apps. For some reason I think I'll find answers there,...

Why I skipped Christmas this year

I was scared to write this post before Christmas Day itself because I wasn’t sure I would follow through with my plan. Maybe I would turkey out at the last...

S O H N — “The Wheel”

When a track sends a shiver down your spine in the first few seconds of listening, it's generally a sign that you're onto something good.  But sharing discoveries on social...

Creativity is a habit, not a feeling

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait, 2004-2005 There’s a profile question on an online dating service that I (hate to) use, asking how you want to spend your retirement. Amongst the crappy preset...

Sometimes I don’t want to…

Get up in the morning Go to work Tell the truth Tell a lie Talk to ANYONE Do what you think I should Do what I thought I would Let...

Complaining is silly. Act or forget.

There’s usually an interval of a couple of minutes between me broadcasting a throwaway remark or snide comment on Twitter… and me deleting the tweet. I’ll see it nestled amongst...

Itching the scratch

On my walk around the park this afternoon a kid was throwing a temper tantrum at the side of the path. His mum asked him “Why are you choosing to behave...

A machine for dreaming

Sometimes when I wake in the morning, in that halfway state between sleep and being awake, I can see words scrolling in front of me as if a newspaper is...

4 tips for finding work you love

If you’re a TED talk fan, the chances are fairly high that you’re already familiar with a presentation on “The power of introverts” by the American writer Susan Cain. If...

I thought I was an alien

Seriously. Around the age of ten or so, I wasn't sure if I was human or not.  For some reason I had cooked up a theory that I was an...

Everything I know about Chinese food

I was sitting eating pot stickers in Chinatown on Sunday and suddenly realised I’d rather eat them over a traditional British roast dinner on any day of the week. (I’m...

Removing the possibility of stopping

I’m becoming increasingly tired of girls’ online dating profiles quoting the “Here’s to the crazy ones” passage from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  Seriously ladies, you need to dig a...

That thing you want to do

That thing you wake up in the morning thinking about. That thing you keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking about too. That thing you always have...

Mr. Chicken

Almost as soon as I tweeted a link to an article entitled “I’m Thinking. Please. Be. Quiet” yesterday, the security alarm in my house started beeping loudly every sixty seconds. ...

The power of not thinking

Wake up. Roll over. Grab phone. Check emails. Check a load of other crap. Get up. Shower. Eat breakfast watching iPad. Cycle to work mulling over said emails. Stare at...

You will never be ready

"I don't know enough about business to start my own company yet" my friend confessed to me over a beer. And then the conversation slid on to something else. Looking back,...

Your mind is a jail built out of bullshit.

(And why honesty is the long-lost friend you need back in your life...) I sometimes wake early in the morning thinking about stupid stuff I've done and whether or not...

Thirteen variations on less.

I stopped reading the news on a daily basis over a year ago. Newspapers have become a luxury reserved for killing time on long journeys. My TV is also long...

Trust your internal bullshit detector

A generic business estate on the outskirts of town. A generic office building. Generic office spaces lined up neatly inside. (Are these places cloned somewhere? Maybe that's what Milton Keynes...

Ang Lee and the uncertainty of success

The story of director Ang Lee's six year struggle to make it in the movie business serves as an inspirational reminder to any aspiring creative or startup founder of the importance...

Be kind to yourself

You are not a hypocrite. The world is a complicated place and you are doing your best to make sense of it. You haven't sold out, you're just being pragmatic.  All...

What do you want to *not* be afraid of?

“We’re in the richest, best educated, most spectacular moment in the history of the world and we’ve got nothing to be afraid of. There are no saber tooth tigers left....

How to have a year that matters

Let's cut the crap. Life is short, you have less time than you think, and there are no baby unicorns coming to save you. So rather than doling out craptastic...

The opposite of a 4-hour workweek

In the past few weeks, work seems to have taken over, and the boundary between my professional and personal life has blurred to a mere smudge. Any freelance design projects...

Don’t make it perfect. Just make it, now.

The pursuit of perfection is an unnecessary 'designer' habit that I'm trying to unlearn.  I've found that asking "What's the fastest solution to this problem?" instead of "What's the best solution...

Extreme program your life — do first, optimise last

Working as a digital designer (and amateur programmer) in Scotland I was briefly exposed (1) to the software development methodology of 'extreme programming', whose creator Kent Beck advocated coding first, and optimising...

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