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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does your partner say sorry

Saying sorry seems such a simple thing. When you find yourself in an argument with your loved ones in particular, things can become very emotional. You can sometimes find yourself saying and doing things that you later regret. Maybe you shouted, or stormed out, or said painful words. I hate you’, ‘I don’t care about you’ or worse. We know how to push eachother’s buttons. Sometimes we bring up past hurts to put the pressure on and increase the power of our arguments. We are seeking a reaction, feeling overwhelmed, angry and upset. We may find ourselves going to extremes in the moment. An apology may come easily to you, so why doesn’t your partner say sorry?

Just because these things happen from time to time does not mean the relationship is broken. We are all individuals, with a host of different values, beliefs and attitudes. It is only natural that conflict will occur between two loved ones, and often around similar themes.

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In this latest episode of my ‘Inspiring Success’ video series, I talk to Lesley Thomson, best selling writer of the ‘Detective’s Daughter’ series. Lelsley’s new book ‘Distant Dead‘ was published on 13 May 2021. It is the 8th in the series. Naturally we spend some time talking about the book. We cover the challenges of doing research during lockdown and also some of the parallels between the 1940s and today.

As always, we also discuss what motivates Lesley to write, her daily routines and how she overcomes procrastination.

Lesley lives in Sussex and has published several stand-alone crime novels. Her books regularly appear in the best seller lists.

Find out more about Lesley at https://lesleythomson.co.uk/

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Spilt milk

Sometimes a person will reach a point in life where they come to a devastating realisation. ‘It’s all my fault’. In any aspect of our lives we may spend a considerable amount of time feeling that we are the victim and blaming others for our bad experiences, and then suddenly we reach a certain breaking point and it hits us that we are the cause of everything we are experiencing.

It often happens after things have been piling up over a long period of time. You gradually become overwhelmed with all the choices you have made and the path you have found yourself going down.

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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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Controlling anger isn’t something tigers have to think about. These are incredibly beautiful creatures. They represent concepts of pure wildness, untamed beauty, strength and power. Tigers have a reputation for being unpredictable and incredibly dangerous. Keeping a tiger as a pet is definitely inadvisable. It is their wildness that we admire most. A tiger doesn’t need to apologise for being a tiger.

Unlike tigers, we sometimes need to be able to control our anger. Anger is sometimes a perfectly natural response to a situation. Like all emotions it is a signal that something needs to change, and there is something new to learn.

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three men - see no evil hear no evil speak no evil

The murder of Sarah Everard, is still a raw and painful memory as I write this. Rightfully, the subject of women’s safety and male behaviour is an incredibly touchy one. I’ve joined in a few discussions on social media and quickly seen how emotive people naturally are on this subject. I know it might be safer to keep my head below the parapet, but one woman in just such a group pointed out that it is men who need to sort the problem out. So keeping quiet is not really an option.

At the same time, I’m not going to be able to change the world in a blog. This blog is aimed directly at men only. I would like to suggest a few small shifts of thinking and attitude that, if every man were to make them, might help improve the situation.

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I have published this interview on International Women’s Day 2021 because it has particular relevance to the theme of the event, which is #choosetochallenge.

In our ‘Inspiring Success’ interview, Sian Edwards talks about the lack of women at the highest level of orchestral conducting and why that may be. She also tells of the work she and others are doing to redress the balance.

In addition, Sian tells us how she achieved her own success and talks about her passions and pet projects, as well as talking about how to conduct an orchestra in a pandemic.

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Man in a supermarket

Shopping in a supermarket is one of those apparently simple things that can take the most energy and cause us the most stress. Life is full of big problems, and sometimes part of solving those is to make a bit more space for them by making the small problems easier.

Having to sometimes shop for multiple people has caused me to try to hack the process. I can’t say I love shopping, so there is an imperative for me to get the job done as efficiently and thoroughly as possible in one go.

That principle conveniently co-incides with the latest government advice too, so I thought I’d share of my tips for an efficient shop.

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In this, the first ‘Inspiring Success’ video I interview Professor Alyssa Westring, Vincent de Paul Associate Professor of Management and Entrpeneurship at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. We talk about how to create more successful lives as parents.

Juggling work, home, well-being and community life can make life incredibly challenging – even more so during Covid-19. Alyssa’s book ‘Parents Who Lead’ gives a practical framework for creating greater synergy within our lives.  She talks about her focus on Values and the Four-Way view used in her work with families and she explains her research into the impact of Coronavirus.

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