How Doing Nothing Helped Me To Achieve Everything

How Doing Nothing Helped Me To Achieve Everything

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I have a disability: I can’t actually ‘do’ anything! Anything involving repetitive tasks literally drains all my energy very quickly and sends me into a dark place. I do nothing.

My story begins with my Dad leaving school at 14 and through his own hard work, guile and tenacity, making a lot of money. The problem was, a working class boy from Yorkshire just wasn’t prepared for that kind of success, and one way or another, it took its toll. He still struggles to find complete contentment, to this day. I have learnt a huge amount from observing his successes and failures while I was growing up.

The 3 main lessons that impacted on me in the early years were:

1. Anything is possible
2. Exam results don’t matter
3. Money does not necessarily buy you happiness

I was hampered a lot in life, and it started right back at school. I had the privilege of going to a good school, but because of its rigid standards and structured approach it wasn’t the right school for me. I didn’t buy into the end goal, so why bother doing anything?

They should never have taken me away from the toy cupboard, to be brutally honest. Sitting for hours lining up my toy cars was when I was at my happiest. Those beautiful long straight lines of cars were me at my creative best.

At school, there was no freedom to pursue the things I wanted to do, so I had no motivation to do anything there. It was the same in the early stages of my entrepreneurial career. I had the privileges and resources to achieve anything that I wanted to, but as is the case for many second generation entrepreneurs, the hunger and the fire in the belly that the previous generation had, simply do not exist.< Setting up a business in the traditional way involves a lot of hard work and repetitive tasks. Things I can’t do that well, because I never found the way to do them. They stultified me into inaction. If it wasn’t for the help of others, I would never have got where I am today. Despite that, the toll on me in those years was hard. I carried a lot of weight, drank a lot and had a couple of nervous breakdowns in the process. Trying to work against yourself, with zero motivation, is hard to do. Yet, the ability of humans to adapt is the reason we won the Darwinian race. I initially learnt to get things done through basic human manipulation and lazy slapdash solutions. Like the blind person with a heightened sense of hearing, I learnt to convince people to get things done for me. I would also find out pretty quickly the shortest route to do anything. When you don’t know what you are doing, you probably don’t do it the right way. I could list thousands of things I have said and done that I would not be too happy about, today.  That is the learning of life, I am afraid. But I like that person, and I forgive him, because he made me what I am.  And I like who I am today. The person I was in the past definitely didn’t like himself - because the world kept telling him to get on with it and work harder. And he thought that’s what he had to do. The more you do something, the better you get at it. Two of my biggest strengths are human manipulation and laziness, which can be really bad or really good, depending on how they are used. It was Tim Ferris who cracked it for me, with his book The Four Hour Work Week. Until that moment, I had missed the point. I had always seen my laziness as a weakness, rather than a strength. Now, I help people to work less and to learn more about themselves, all because of the time I have spent coping with my own weaknesses. My super weaknesses have created my super strengths. I keep hearing a saying about individuals within organisations: ‘people get promoted to the level of their incompetence’. But this is a symptom of what is wrong with society as a whole. It is not the person who is the problem - simply that the person is not right for that organisation. Through discovering how to cope with all my personal weaknesses, I have gradually promoted myself away from my initial incompetence. The more you learn about yourself, the more you can develop ways to adapt to what life throws at you. I have learnt the hard way how to make life easier for myself, and through discovery and acceptance of who I am, how to motivate myself. And anyone can replicate that process. I am passionate about what I do today because I don’t really think it should be as hard as that! Every lesson I have learnt in life can be taught - without any pain - to those ready to listen. I say ‘listen’ because I spent decades being an ‘electric fence learner’. I couldn’t learn unless I grabbed hold of the fence. A lot has changed, and now I try to listen and learn from everyone I meet. Part of becoming more open and accepting means that you learn much, much faster. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in life. We all are different and each of us requires a different solution to optimally move forward. You can achieve anything you want in life if you really listen to who you are and start to develop solutions that are tailored to you, your needs and your passions. Happiness is really the only benchmark for me - and that doesn’t actually cost anything or require any qualifications. I do what I love, and I love what I do. It may appear grandiose to some people that I want to change the world or do incredible things. That just isn’t the way I feel about it. All I am doing is getting back to the person I was - having fun all day, lining up toy cars to optimal effect. All that’s changed is what those toys are. I am just going back to being the  happy and fulfilled person I was in the beginning - before the world took over. What made you happy before the world took over? How can you get back to that state? How can you turn your super weaknesses into super strengths? If you have a story about this, I would love to know - so please comment below or send it to

Take care

If the above topic, or indeed any of my blogs are of interest to you, then contact me and let’s talk! Drop me an email at

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  1. “Doing nothing…”

    Marc, as usual, you’ve got me thinking. Of note is this incomgruency in my mind between doing “nothing” and “doing” nothing.

    My homework: to identify the “Nothing” I would want done, if I had the bandwidth to engage. 

    I hear ya, the “doing” is the detail that often gets in my way of things getting done. So, streamlining and/or optimizing my have to dos, to get to my want to experiences…that’s the big intention. Thanks, as always, for giving us something to consider. 

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Nice thinking Jason. I look forward to hearing about the results of that.

  4. I think this is among the most vital information for me.

    And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some
    general things, The site style is great, the articles is really excellent : D.
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  5. fan of your blog, all the way from Asia. Share a lot of your traits and convictions. Keep it up

  6. I loved being out in the nature. Mostly alone listning to the trees and the birds. Just lying in the grass watching and litening. No time for that now. Only Family and work

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