Sunday, 24 January 2021



As a Coach and Mentor I often work with people to resolve whatever is holding them back. In one recent session the client described their life as entering a new chapter. The use of metaphors can be revealing and useful. We explored how the past, present and future chapters fitted together.  

We then talked about the issues that were making it difficult to more from the past to the future, and played with the chapter metaphor a little. We started by narrowing down what might be on a page and expanding out what might be the whole book. 

We agreed this approach was useful in putting the scale and pace of change into context. Is this a new chapter? Is it a whole new book? Or is it simply turning a page? 

We agreed it would be a great exercise to take three pages and briefly write notes on the past, present and future. The process translates thoughts and feelings into words which can more easily and objectively assessed, and also prepares the ground for future discussions. Conversations can be rehearsed in the script.

By chronicling the past and scripting the future my client was able to gain control over thoughts and feelings, and choose the direction of her story, becoming author for her life.


Apparently a form of brain washing of american soldiers was to get them to copy out texts that denounced americanism and capitalism. Whereas simply reciting words had no effect on the prisoners, apparently the process of copying text caused then to think about what they were writing. Their internal dialogue [what they said to themselves when they were writing] managed to convince themselves of things that their captors could not.

Writing, which inevitably involves self-talk, is a powerful way of surfacing and examining deeper thoughts in a process which explores meaning and truth before committing it to paper. This process is so powerful in self examination and reflection that story telling or narrative coaching is often used when coaching or mentoring clients about assumptions, ambitions and motives. 


Memories are not fixed or frozen. Every time we recall something from the past we examine it in a new context, and indeed may edit or update the memory with new meaning or purpose based on reflection or new data.  Memory therefore can be unreliable since each memory is a store of thoughts and feelings at one particular time, which might be potentially changed each time they are recalled.

For example, If you recite the story of that special day when you did that remarkable thing (remember that, that was huge!). Well the story will change over time. Maybe you add details or don't mention bits if telling your parents or partner or the people at work. Maybe that thing which was huge when you were 5, actually seems quite small now that you are a 5'10" adult. Or maybe that really nice thing looks very different with hindsight, now that you now know about that other thing, which you didn't know then.

It is a good thing to re-examine the past, but best done at a time and a place that does not distort the recollection and update with negative thoughts and feelings. The formula below hints at the problem of inaccurate memory.

Formula: Event + Data + Truth +  Experience = Reality

1) Event is vague: It may be what is, isn't or might or didn't happen (but you wanted it to)?
2) Data is uncertain: Did we get all the sights, sounds and signals?
3) Truth is variable: [1] what is, [2] what is perceived [3] what we noticed
4) Experience is subjective: thought & emotion can change because of circumstance and context

A good coach will help you identify, surface, recognise and navigate these elements.


Having a goal gives people something to strive for, a purpose. Typically this might be family, but not necessarily mother and father type family. It could be colleagues, club, community or country. But it could be artistic, scientifice, literary purpose. Whatever you can conceive you can believe, and if you truly believe that may be your purpose.

This purpose, if it has personal value, will motivate and engage our exploratory and pursuit systems and support that effort with dopamine and analgesia to help us with the pursuit. It is a high, a drive, a passion of positive emotion. We often see this with high performance athletes who push beyond normality and pain. 

We link memories together to form stories of our past. We may do a bit of editorial to make them coherent and flow: we do not like to think of life as random events so we use narrative to create logical consequence, because of this.. then that. We also like to think there is some fate to life: whether the locus of control is external [the world, God, work, politics sets my fate] or the locus of control is internal [I am the captain of my ship].

The result is that these short stories become your lifes work. As director or editor you get to chose the plot simply by deciding which scenes to keep and which to dump on the cutting room floor. If you create a story with purpose, a mission, or goal that transends the every-day (food, drink, sleep, consumption) then you can create and live with positive emotion, by taking responsibility as the screenwriter, director or editor for your life.

Tim HJ Rogers MBA CITP 
Adapt Consulting Company 
Consult CoCreate Deliver
Mob +447797762051

Tim Rogers is an experienced Project and Change Leader and an ICF Trained Coach as well as mentor for the IoD. He is a past curator for TEDx. Roles have included Programme Manager for the incorporation of Ports and Jersey, and Jersey Post, as well as Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI/NatWest. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower. He has a passion for learning and has been a Tutor/Mentor for the Chartered Management Institute. He is a former Chartered Member of the British Computer Society, has an MBA (Management Consultancy) and is both a PRINCE2 and Change Management Practitioner.  


The True Story of Brainwashing and How It Shaped America

Self Authoring Suite | Reviewing Jordan PetersonĂ¢€™s Self Authoring Program

Saturday, 23 January 2021


I have been told the following and invited to comment. 

Tony Robbins was saying that he was shocked that the world would allow businesses, relationships, freedoms, opportunity to be lost by simply complying. He said that the COVID crisis has shown just how powerful fear and fear from Gov can gain compliance 

First I should set out that I am responding to the proposition above, without having heard first hand what Tony Robbins actually said or the context in which it was said. The points below are therefore a response to the proposition, not a reply to Tony Robbins.


I think most of use would agree that blind or misplaced obedience is a bad thing. I highly recommend the book Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril  by Margaret Heffernan

 In the case of the US Government versus Enron, the presiding judge chose to employ the legal concept of willful blindness: you are responsible if you could have known, and should have known, something which instead you strove not to see. The guilty verdict sent shivers down the spine of the corporate world. In this book, Margaret Heffernan draws on psychological studies, social statistics, interviews with relevant protagonists, and her own experience to throw light on willful blindness and why whistleblowers and Cassandras are so rare. Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to the family, this engaging and anecdotal book will explain why willful blindness is so dangerous in a globalized, interconnected world, before suggesting ways in which institutions and individuals can start to combat it. Margaret Heffernan's thought-provoking book will force us to open our eyes.
I am not knocking loyalty, commitment or pursuit of a cause in which you believe. But you should do this with your eyes open, your head engaged and your conscious clear. Anything else is tantamount to being a zombie easily influenced by propaganda and peer pressure to follow like lemmings. 

The problem perhaps is that we seem too willing to throw up leaders who personify our dreams of celebrity, wealth, beauty and success and then follow these people unthinkingly. I wonder how many people who 'Like' a meme, tweet, blog or article actually pause to think carefully about the complexity of the argument beyond the emotional 'me too' endorsement. Perhaps we find safety in the herd or align with the leaders or virtues in the hope that we might share some of the reflected glory or acceptance.


Thinking is actually quite hard and in a world where we are so busy and pre-packaged ideas are as readily available (and unhealthy) as packet food we risk loosing our thinking faculty. I highly recommend the following books.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin

In the book Thinking, Fast and Slow Kahneman defines two systems of the mind.

System 1: operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort, and no sense of voluntary control. Examples: Detect that one object is farther than another; detect sadness in a voice; read words on billboards; understand simple sentences; drive a car on an empty road.

System 2: allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. Often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice and concentration. Examples: Focus attention on a particular person in a crowd; exercise faster than is normal for you; monitor your behavior in a social situation; park in a narrow space; multiply 17 x 24.

I suspect we spend too much time using System 1, and simply do not engage System 2, because it is by comparison hard work.

In the book The Organized Mind Levitin demonstrates how the Information Age is drowning us with an unprecedented deluge of data, and uses the latest brain science to explain how the brain can organize this flood of information. 

Levitin then demonstrates methods that readers can use to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and time. It answers three fundamental questions: Why does the brain pay attention to some things and not others? Why do we remember some things and not others? And how can we use that knowledge to better organize our home and workplaces, our time, social world, and decision making?


Another problem that we have is that we treat people and too many ideas as being equal. 

Too often we think that the counter-balance to a brain surgeon should be an idiot with a belief in homeopathy and we then give them equal billing on television and social media. We somehow make the mistake of thinking that treating people equally means we should also treat all ideas equally. 

Famously Michael Gove said: I think the people in this country have had enough of experts with organisations from acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.

It is true that science sometimes gets things wrong and learns from them. But the learning process that leads from Nicolaus Copernicus, via Albert Einstein to Stephen Hawking and beyond is still more reliable than "Brian from Dudley" And yet Brian, someone with no training, qualification or experience in the matter at hand is often invited to express an opinion which is broadcast in a manner that suggests that his guess, or indeed ours, is as good as any.

We support Brian in some misplaced hope that his opinion, like ours, is valuable. Brian might be a great guy, but I would not want him as my brain surgeon. I'd like an expert. However i am entirely happy for Brian to have a go with Michael Gove on a surgeons table. What could possibly go wrong?


Words are powerful. If we say someone is compliant we might suggest they are weak willed, probably stupid, and possibly malleable . However if we say a bunch of people cooperate, collaborate and communicate to achieve consensus towards a goal, we think that is excellent. I believe thinking (and judgement) is the principle difference between the two.


I think Tony Robbins is a clever guy. He knows a lot about NLP. He is a great speaker and he knows how to whip up a crowd. It would be an unfair comparison, but I could say Joseph Goebbels had many similar stills although his intend was very different. 

I do not believe Tony Robbins is virologist or immunologist. So I would be cautious of his advice on that subject. 

I recommend the book Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which make an interesting point: Be cautious of people who offer advice but no skin in the game. If someone says I recommend you buy xxxxx or you do zzzzz then my response would be have you? What was your experience of xxxxx or zzzzz. I am more likely to believe experience than advice. 

Would Tony Robbins put his money or indeed his life where his mouth is? Perhaps he might!

Something useful would be to think critically: Why might Tony Robbins say this? Some might argue that Tony Robbins stands to make more money through big crowds attending his stadium events like his than he does if they stayed safe at home. 

So on the basis that Tony Robbins is not a virologist or immunologist and what benefits him (more money from stadium events) is a disbenefit to me (a covid crowd super spreader-event) I'm not sure I will be persuaded by this proposition. 

If however Tony Robbins was to talk about NLP and how to pack a stadium then I will pay attention, because this is something in which he can demonstrate expertise and experience, and it is something I can measure and validate.

Tim HJ Rogers MBA CITP 
Adapt Consulting Company 
Consult CoCreate Deliver
Mob +447797762051

Tim Rogers is an experienced Project and Change Leader. He is founder of and curator for TEDxStHelier.Com . Roles have included Programme Manager for the incorporation of Ports and Jersey, and Jersey Post, as well as Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI/NatWest. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower. He has a passion for learning and has been a Tutor/Mentor for the Chartered Management Institute. He is a Chartered Member of the British Computer Society, has an MBA (Management Consultancy) and is both a PRINCE2 and Change Management Practitioner. 


1-Page Book Summary of Thinking, Fast and Slow