A friend of mine recently swerved and crashed to avoid hitting a deer with his car. He is fine. So is the deer. This blog isn’t about reshaping the Bambi narrative where the young, loveable deer grows up to force drivers off the road in a dark twist on the Disney classic. My friend is okay. His car is not. He called for roadside assistance, he was returned safely home and Bambi lived to see another day in the woods. 

So what’s the moral of this story? Is it a valuable lesson about man’s advances being fallible against the natural world’s power? No. 

It is about how my friend was so thrilled to have made it out of the crash relatively unscathed that he lived the rest of his days in the woods? No.

It is simply that he was okay, and sometimes that is enough. 

He was in a place in his life where the inconvenience of losing his prefered mode of transport was not the end of the world. He was in a place where he was able to look at the bigger picture and see the crash as a setback but not sabotage. It was an accident, and it could have been worse. He was able to feel like this, he says, because of the ten daily habits that he embarks upon. But more on that later. 

Money isn’t happiness. That much has been known for millenia. It is in religious texts. The Beatles set it to music. It is widely acknowledged and immediately forgotten, like when daylight savings happen or a star from a reality TV show. 

Happiness is a journey, and if you are lucky, either you’ve not long experienced it, or you might just be approaching it. My hope is happiness is not far away from you. But it will take regular, prolonged effort, not quick and desperate force. 

My name is Andrew, and this is my blog.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Milton Keynes is a destination, not happiness. No offence to any Milton Keynes listeners, but I chose your town at random, and if you don’t believe me…. you’d be correct. 

Happiness can’t be an endpoint. It isn’t a number or a day or a time. The amount of money you make, assuming you make enough to live comfortably, is not a factor in your happiness. The more you make, the more you want. That’s because humans are intrinsically greedy, competitive and hungry. It’s not surprising that we still have this desire to get more. 

But things are more accessible than they were for our ancestors, so we should perhaps take a step back from the alpha/hunter-gatherer mindset and realise we are actually in a pretty good situation. We can even afford to take breaks. Because of it…  

If you’re anything like me, you embrace taking time off with the willingness and confidence of a coeliac eating a loaf of bread. There is a feeling that if I take time off, I will lose momentum, lose focus, and lose everything I have been working to achieve. This is what they want you to think… 

Who are they? I don’t know. But the more I think about it, I am sure everyone has their version of these voices. In this episode, I intend to explore the importance and power and, more often than not, the less than helpful influence these voices have on me and maybe on you as well.

I was talking to a colleague of mine recently, the COO of my company, and he told me to take a break. If you have been keenly reading my blogs in chronological order, thank you and gold stars. Secondly, you might remember I dedicated an entire blog not that long ago to the importance of taking a break. 

And yet my colleague had to tell me to take the afternoon off… I hope you realise by now, wherever you are in this blog journey, that I am very aware that the things I am talking about and the ideas I am encouraging you to bring into your life and practice are challenges that I take on. And sometimes, I struggle. 

When my COO, Krish, told me to take a break, I was reluctant. I pushed back and said it would be better if I didn’t. Like when you ask a child to do something, and they say either “why” or “no” at the speed of light? Yeah. Like that. My happiness comes through my work. I am the CEO, the leader. How could my team possibly continue without me for a couple of hours?

The answer? The same way everything carries on. This idea that I could take an afternoon off was not comfortable. So my COO encouraged me to think of it as an action. Make an effort to relax. Actively be inactive. There are challenges every day. That challenge allowed me to take a break, realise that the world would carry on spinning without me at my desk, and know that I didn’t have to be the Alpha male that many men are led to believe they need to be. It’s a challenge but one worth taking on. 

I developed the ten daily habits to kickstart a positive transformation that will benefit your work and home life. The ten daily habits, which include drinking 2 litres of water a day, having a cold shower, box breathing and abstaining from alcohol, are daily challenges or tasks that I firmly believe improve your life. But it’s not easy…

When I talk about the ten daily habits, I talk about it with an understanding, from experience, that it requires effort. It is not easy to participate in exercise and meditation every day. I know that there are days when you are tired or stressed, and the last thing you feel able to do is to motivate yourself enough to do exercise in the morning.

I also acknowledge that there is little glory in daily habits. If you set yourself the task of running a marathon, I am not saying that’s easy, but I am suggesting that no one will sponsor you to drink 2 litres of water a day. No one will be waiting at the side of the room, cheering you on loudly as you meditate. One, because that would not allow for the quiet mind, you are seeking and two, because the ten daily habits don’t offer a chance for loud encouragement. The ten daily habits are the foundations, the building blocks that allow real change, and I’m sorry to report that it is not easy to ask your family and friends to cheer you on in your living room.

I genuinely believe that these ten daily habits can change your life. They require effort, but that daily effort will mean you have more energy, time, space, and motivation to keep going and doing what you do best. But they will do it quietly, and you have to put in the effort. You can’t force it. 

When my friend swerved and crashed his car to avoid hitting the deer, he felt balanced enough that he couldn’t be derailed. He had been practising the ten daily habits, and that daily practise allowed him to be strong and calm even when he had come off the road. Now I am not saying that the 10 daily habits will always affect everyone, but a daily discomfort like taking a cold shower prepares you for the pain of having to present poor results to the board. Daily, temporary discomfort is valuable. And so if taking the afternoon off on occasion. 

It would help if you were active to be able to achieve balance. But I’m going to stress again, effort, not force. Make an effort to drink two litres of water a day, so you don’t need that third coffee in the afternoon to keep you awake. Take five minutes every morning to meditate, and set an intention for the day ahead so you know what you are aiming for. And that daily discomfort might just mean that if you crash your car to save a deer’s life, you can see the bigger picture. So give the 10 daily habits a go. 

Your blood pressure will thank you. 

And so will the deer. 


P.s Hey, did you know I run a retreat in the Czech Republic? Well, I do, and it’s back on!

November 7th-11th 2022

It’s kind of a secret as we have limited places.

email me at andrew@andrewsillitoe.com if you are interested in joining other like-minded business leaders who are levelling up.