Gary Sutton

Gary Sutton, media analyst, screen-writer and journalist, writes about a defining moment in his education.

My Catholic primary school had a deserved reputation for success at the 11+ examination. What we did – and what other schools in the area failed to do – was hold mock 11+ exams in the weeks approaching the real thing, so on the day of the proper test, we were seasoned, and unsurprised. Passing the 11+ secured a place at the local grammar school and a path to a successful middle-class future. Failure led to the local secondary modern, skewing one’s opportunities towards a blue-collar job.

I was particularly adept at the kind of thinking required by IQ tests like the 11+. There was little doubt that I would pass. My best friend Pascal was a prodigiously gifted artist and seemed no less intelligent than me. But the nature of the 11+ meant that his chances of passing it were slim.

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freedom - represented by a barbed wire fence and a plan in the background

As I write this I’m stuck in a prison – the prison of the mind. A lot of people run aground in their lives and stay in that place most of the time. I am determined to break free and live a life of freedom. Sure, things, or should I say, circumstances, happen in one’s life but the most important emotion is our reactions to these. We can be negative and feel sorry for ourselves or get into a positive state of mind and ‘tighten our belts’ and move on to the next chapter. The most important piont in your life is to not compare yourself with others.

You have been given a blank canvas and it’s up to you what you’re going to paint on it. My own life has had its ups and downs and most of my life I’ve let the downs keep me from experiencing the joys that life has to offer: low in confidence; feeling worthless; lack of self-esteem and hiding away. My aim is to break free and break these chains, start a new journey and use every part of the canvas to paint my picture.

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self-isolation cronavirus

With self-isolation a key response to suspected coronavirus symptoms, many of us are making contingency plans. In the school playground today, I heard people discussing the practicalities of working at home. They discussed using their laptops and talked about holding meetings through video-conferences through Skype and Zoom. They welcomed the opportunity not to commute. Some even felt that their productivity might actually increase because of it.

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january

I’m writing this on 16 January, 2020, so I guess it goes without saying. But life in January does seem to follow some specific themes. Although there are positives, many of these are quite disheartening.

I think if I asked most people in the UK if this is their favourite time of year, not many would punch the air and say yes.

One or two might punch me instead.

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In my mind, there are three times of year when the time always feels particularly ripe for new beginnings.

If I ask any person, when they most start thinking about changing their lives or developing new habits, some are bound to say ‘New Year’: Well yes, of course – resolutions. Others will talk about the symbolism of Spring – the time of new growth. In practical terms though, September is a perfect time for new beginnings.

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change your life (choose not to catch the ball)

I have been a therapist and coach for over 6 years at the time of writing this. I have lost count of the number of people I have helped over that time. Even so, I still get excited when a new client enters my office for the first time. As you can imagine, when you want to change your life, I am curious to know what challenges you are facing. I look forward to exploring clients, the aspects of your lives that you want to change. I love to learn what you hope to achieve.

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Weight-loss at Christmas is something of a nightmare. Someone told me the other day that in order to burn off the calories gained by eating just one mince pie you would have to complete about 25 minutes of Burpees.
Now, if you have ever tried to do a burpee you will know that this is not something you want to spend time on over Christmas.
The thing about a calorie control diet is that it focusses on just that one thing – calories. Our thinking around calories tends to be:

calories in = bad; calories burned = good

If you’re a fan, as I am – the fact that a mince pie is a gorgeous hit of spicy fruity sweetness and we are saying ‘hello’ to a potentially lovely time of year when we have our first one, doesn’t enter into the equation.
In our minds it probably looks more like this:Read more »

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calculating your real hourly rateDo you know your real hourly rate? Many clients come to me because they are trapped in a career or job that they no longer want.  One of the most common reasons that they give for not leaving is that they are paid too well and they can’t take a cut in income.  Sometimes though when you get down to it, that change in income may not be as dramatic as you think. There may be more alternatives than you think.

To help get some clarity it can be worth sitting down and really getting to grips with the figures. One question to ask is, “What is my REAL hourly rate?”Read more »

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Picture this:  You are walking down a local street one warm sunny day and you see this person coming towards you. They are getting on in life, probably around 80 years old. Surprisingly hale and healthy for that age, this person waves and smiles at you and flags you down. They clearly know you very well, and there is something familiar about them now you come to think of it, but you can’t quite place them.

Then you realise, with a shock, who this is.

It’s you. It’s exactly what you would like to think you would look like when you get to that age. Some weird, time-travel experiment has put you face-to-face with the you that you will become in the future when you are eighty years old.Read more »

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Ghost of Christmas PastI know, I know – you’ve probably seen a dozen New Year blogs, New Year products and other activities based around the idea that now is the time to change yourself.

Thing is, it is true. Now is not the only time when you can take hold of your life and really get to grips with the changes, but in many ways it is the best time. Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a delightful tale that can be seen as one man’s epiphany through the lessons of the three ghosts. It’s a bit of a stretch but I’ve used these three ghosts to show why, even though it is a cliche, this is certainly the best time to make those big changes in your life.

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