The incredible power of saying ‘I don’t know’

There are so many questions that we answer every day. Some of these are straightforward – ‘what should I eat today?’ or ‘what TV channel should I put on?’.

But we also quickly amass large, existential questions that are so overwhelming and complex that they become frightening.

In our society, we’ve learnt that we must answer every question, as if it were a pop quiz. But what we have missed is that there are certain questions that go beyond the capabilities of the mind – the spiritual, emotional or philosophical.

I was speaking to a friend recently about the end of her relationship. The logical reasons for this end of relationship did not make sense to her – why did it end like it did?

Another instance I see is at work, and in particular people working on large social issues like climate change. A term I’ve recently learnt of is ‘eco-anxiety’ – the feeling of fear of the impending doom of climate change. How can we ever solve the climate crisis?

How about large scale questions about our lives – do I want kids? Where do I want to live? Am I living the life I’m meant to be living?

These questions are anxiety inducing because they are so large and difficult. Our brains cannot create a rational answer with so many data points in a realm of great subjectivity.. But sometimes, the realisation that we do not need all the answers can be the biggest freedom that we can have in life.

Let’s take these one by one:

Why did the relationship end? Well, there may or may not be a clear reason. The chances are it will be a mix of many different subtle reasons. On the other hand, what has happened has happened. The relationship is over, and getting a clear answer of why it ended is actually not really that important. The important part is seeing what can be created now, rather than dwelling on the past.

How can we solve the climate crisis? Well, I don’t know the full answer, but I do work on sustainability issues. Here, I do the best job I can do. But I also realise that spending my life stressed and miserable is not helpful – it just makes me unhappy. And when I’m unhappy, I’m far less effective at my job.

It’s no wonder that there is so much burnout in the space of NGOs and social justice. The constant worry is making people sick. And whilst it is admirable to want to make a difference, it is also massively self-defeating to spend so much time worrying about it because you will both harm yourself and the cause you support because you cannot do what you want to to help.

Am I living the life I’m meant to be living? I don’t know. I see this philosophically in that I only have one life path, and that is the one I am right now. And even if I didn’t believe this, I can also realise how anxiety inducing the question is. If I spent more time enjoying my life and doing the things I wanted to do, I would have a far greater likelihood of living my life to the fullest. Questioning myself only makes me withdraw.

To me, the phrase ‘I don’t know’ is my own acceptance of surrendering to something bigger than me. The important thing here is to not see ‘I don’t know’ as a negative. It can be interpreted as this lack of understanding or stupidity.

But in reality, there is a deeper wisdom in accepting that I am not meant to have all the answers, so I don’t quickly create one to sound smart. It’s no surprise that the best leaders are the ones who are the quickest to admit that they are not sure about something, because they realise the limits of their intellect.

If the larger questions in life are causing you stress. It’s okay to not know the answer.

Releasing the mind through the form of movement

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

This week, I’ve started work with a new coach around body movement. I’ve been working a lot on myself, but an area I hadn’t really addressed was around my comfort in my own body.

I remember being in India in February and seeing people dancing. I felt absolutely paralysed by the idea of it. More broadly, the moment anyone suggested dancing I felt frozen to the spot.

Somewhere along the way I had created body movement to be such a complicated thing that I felt an anxiety cycle the moment a situation came up.

The option I took without realising was to shut off my relationship with my body. If I stopped going to places where dancing or instinctive movement was required, then it would never be an issue. Or at least that was somewhat the logic.

This option deprived me of the pleasures of movement. Dancing can be very fun, and I had forgotten that after so many years since my more exuberant days in university.

I hadn’t realised how much my lack of connection with my body has been showing up. My mind has been completely dominating my existence – I only listened to my body when it was crying out in pain or tiredness. Likewise, I am limiting my impact in work through my ability to project my voice. In a recent Toastmasters speech, I got feedback about how I was quite static whilst speaking. It made it harder to connect with the audience.

Last night, I went out to dance. I was quite tired and stressed from the week, so I didn’t feel particularly energised. When I’m in this state, going to a party can feel quite overwhelming. It feels like a conflict between my mind analysing all the stimuli around me versus my body wanting to move with the rhythm of the beat.

I know that letting go of the analytical thoughts of the mind is what I need. And the best way to do that is moving the body. Meditation can be great to find stillness, but we were not born to sit at a desk all day (which is what I’ve been doing most of the last 5 years of my life!)

Even if I’m still learning, I am seeing the benefits. I’ve lost around 8 kilograms in the last month, and I’ve also been having a healthier routine with skincare and sleep. I find myself naturally feeling the urge to go for a walk, rather than it being a task I have to accomplish during the day.

These activities are so beneficial for me as it takes me away from the world of thought and analysis. I know this is something that would really help other people too – there are so many people who spend so much time in their minds that they find themselves at an energetic imbalance. The sign of this are lethargy, tiredness and ongoing work stress.

If you want to get better in your job or just simply be happier in life, look at how much a movement plays a part in your life.

Finding an energetic balance will put you in a heightened state of being.

The stick-or-twist of whether to celebrate a birthday

I turned 30 this week. And I wasn’t sure how much I should celebrate or not.

I have a somewhat difficult relationship with birthdays. I found it hard to celebrate the occasion over the years because I felt it came at an inconvenient time. It was just after the school holidays, or just as the university term had started and everyone went home. Nobody was really around to do much for it.

On reflection, I think I learnt to dread my birthday. It was a day where I heard a lot about what I should experience, and how it was meant to be such a great day. I found that generally any such expectations were not met. Looking back on it I found the whole ordeal rather painful emotionally for many years.

In my adult years, my newest line has been to reject the notion of birthdays as a concept. ‘What’s in a day anyway?’. It made it a lot easier to just not engage with the idea of it, rather than deal with the expectations that came with it.

There is some truth to the fact that a single day does not make us nor break us. Yet If i’m honest with myself it’s also been a self defense mechanism I built up. It’s become so instilled in me I hadn’t even realised I had created it.

I’ve been travelling a bunch in the lead up to my birthday. I had a few social engagements dotted around before and after, so it got to the point where planning felt inconvenient. In the end, I didn’t really do a whole lot. And whilst I think ‘regret’ is too strong a word, a few days later I feel I probably missed an opportunity to mark the moment more vividly.

The beauty of personal development is that every opportunity is a moment where we can learn deep things about ourselves. This experience fits in with my journey of the last few weeks, notably realising how emotionally sensitive I am as a person.

I am reopening my heart to the world. Honestly, it’s a pretty painful experience. I am letting down guards that have been up for so long I didn’t even realise they were there. And opening up means both reexperiencing things I had shut away, but also coming into a deeper state of vulnerability. I’m having to reevaluate things like my ‘who cares’ attitude towards birthdays. I’ve also noticed that the bitterness towards my own experiences has been souring how I show up for others in their celebrations too.

All is not lost, birthdays are a great opportunity to reflect no matter how much or little we actively celebrate them. I’ve heard someone describe them as our own personal new year, which I’m quite fond of as a concept.

This last year has been a crazy journey for me. I’ve had many people talk about how much I have changed and evolved. I’ve had achievements like writing my book. But more profoundly, friends around me talk about the way I have shown up for them in a deeper, more powerful and loving way.

Life is opening up in ways that I didn’t think possible. I feel my 30s are going to be more fun and wild than my 20s, which is an exciting feeling. I am clearer in who I am choosing to be.

I’m on the path to self betterment and creating the life I want to live.

Constant ordinary action creates the extraordinary

This weekend I’m at another personal development intensive in London. Over this weekend, we have spoken about the way in which we create the different aspects of the things we want in life.

I continuously go to these learning experiences because I learn something new each time. I’ve found that hearing something the first time sometimes doesn’t mean too much for me, but revisiting it later can make a profound shift.

Yesterday, we spoke about how we create the extraordinary. The idea of running a marathon, getting a six-pack or writing a book may sound unfathomable because of the colossal nature of the goal.

But if we gave ourselves a few minutes to figure out ‘how to’ do these things, we could most likely figure out a way. Want to lose weight? Eat better and exercise more. Want to write a book? Schedule writing sessions several times a week.

We generally know the answers.

When we break down the extraordinary tasks into multiple ordinary ones, it can be empowering because it makes it achievable. But it can also be daunting – suddenly the weight shifts towards our own responsibility. It’s up to us to achieve what we want.

This newsletter is an example of that. Recently, I saw that my subscribers passed 1500 – amazing! I couldn’t have imagined that so many people would receive what I write week in and week out. The statistics show that I’m probably getting around 500 people reading what I write each week. To me, this is an extraordinary achievement.

Now, how did I get to this point? Well I just started writing articles. I began in 2020. I started erratic, but learnt to build consistency. By 2022 I recommitted to writing an article each week. To me, this is doable. One article each week takes me about 30-60 minutes. I avoid making it a big laborious task. Most people I know could do this. Writing an article in of itself is a pretty ordinary task.

Fast forward to today, I haven’t missed a week since January 26, 2022. I’m on a 75 article hot streak. This will be my 131st article I’ve written. My articles are around ~700 words each, which means I will have written around 92,000 words. Unsurprisingly, my written expression and creative thinking have blossomed through the process.

These achievements have been as a result of doing the ordinary consistently rather than any particular magic formula.

Another related distinction we spoke about was the difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’ – where we are labelling things we can’t do. If we are radically honest with ourselves many of the things we say we ‘can’t’ do are actually things that we just don’t want to. A good check as to whether a task is one where you genuinely can’t do it, ask yourself whether if someone was willing to pay you a million dollars whether this would change whether you could do it.

I used to think that I couldn’t lose weight because when I tried I would often rebound back up. But if I look at myself really honestly, I was playing victim by blaming other circumstances. For example, work getting busy is not a bonified ‘reason’ that I cannot eat healthy. Now I am getting far more committed through sticking with fasting and I am seeing the results start to show – I have lost around 5 kg in the last few weeks.

I write these articles to give you the tools to better your own life. The irony is that deep down, this is all information that you probably already know. Yet we can all forget these things as we get caught up in the daily travails of the world.

But if you want genuine change, get honest. Find the ordinary tasks that you need to do to create the extraordinary.

Then start doing them.

The ultimate freedom of seeing life as a game

This week, I took it relatively easy.

Well, that’s how I felt anyway, the reality was that I actually did rather a lot. It was the first time in a long time I’ve been into the office five days in a week (my own choice!). I also had evening activities on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I also went to a 4 hour Toastmaster officer training on Saturday too. I’ve also been on a diet where I eat one meal a day for a while, so that includes each day of this week.

So why do I feel like this week was relatively relaxed?

Well it is relative. Essentially, it felt like tasks took far less effort this week than what they did last week. During my immersion in Kent a few weeks ago, we spoke about the distinction of living and the game of life, based upon an audio by George Pransky. This distinction has completely changed the game in the way I respond to the stressers from the world around me.

Living is a state that we are constantly in, and we do whether we choose to or not. The game of life are the games that we choose to play. These can be literal games such as tennis, or more abstract games.

Our jobs are elaborate games that we play. We sign a piece of paper and we choose to embody the title of ‘systems engineer’, ‘film critic’ or ‘IT consultant’. There’s nothing wrong with playing these games – they can be fun, rewarding and entertaining. But the issue arises when we mix up the game of life with living. This shows up when our job becomes our identity, or we carry on thinking about work when we leave the office.

I realised that pretty much every thing I do in my life is a game. Work is a game. Play is a game. Once I see these things as games, suddenly the amount of pressure I put on these things start to fall away. I can start to enjoy them far more because I see that they’re actually just games.

I’ve been going to a poker night the last few months. I actually went the night I came back from the immersion. It was the best I played in a while, because I remembered that it was just a game. In the past, I would get psyched out by the odds. I would start playing differently in the late game because the blinds (cost to play) increased, so I felt things were more risky.

But games are there to have fun. It adds a challenge and entertaining element to our lives. If playing a game is making us stressed or miserable it means that we are playing the game wrong.

Once we have fun, we also tend to play better. At poker, I no longer was second-guessing myself. I had a greater level of conviction with my plays, and unsurprisingly I played better. This wasn’t a fluke either as the same thing happened the week after.

Bringing the idea of everything being a game is extremely liberating. The same activities that stress us out can turn into sources of joy simply because of the shift in the way we look at them.

This major shift is available for all of us, including you. It’s simply a matter of seeing it.

The best way to learn is by getting into action

When we are looking for change, we can often get into the trap of constantly searching out more information. A new book or course can be helpful to learn more, but in of itself doesn’t really do anything until you do something with it.

We can get so addicted to learning that we actually learn to infantilize ourselves. Whenever we find a problem we search friends or the internet for guidance, rather than genuinely learning how to do things for ourselves.

For me, this looked like constantly looking for new personal development books and courses. I would finish one non-fiction book and move straight to the next one, without stopping to reflect what I had really learnt. It was more about finishing the books that I told myself that I ‘should’ read, rather than changing myself. whilst I did learnt some things, I didn’t get nearly as much as I could if I focussed on applying my learning.

There’s a reason that we stay in this information-consummation cycle: it’s comfortable. When we don’t have to apply the insights, we can outsource our problems. And let’s be honest, actually making changes can be scary.

Last week I wanted to deliberately break this cycle. I wrote about how I wanted to create my new Make Diversity Matter To You Programme. It’s an experiential learning group bringing people from being unsure about how to deal with diversity issues to becoming active champions.

I’ll be honest, it was nerve-wracking. I created something that I thought would be valuable, but I didn’t know whether people would want it or not. This is not a fairy tale – the results were mixed. Some people were not interested, whilst others were. I got some a few no’s in a short amount of time too which felt like a blow.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel disheartened at some points. I felt like I put myself out into the world and was bearing my soul. But the reality was that I was gaining key information about what people want and what they don’t. Besides, I hadn’t thought about the commitment I was asking for, and how realistic that would be for people.

I wanted to start this programme in July, both putting me under pressure to find people in a few weeks and also expecting people to commit with little notice. In the end, I’ve decided to shift my programme back to September. It gives far more time to prepare for it, both for me and people who want to participate.

I could frame this experience as a failure, or I could frame it as key learning. The only way I could know as to how people would respond to what I create is by sharing it with the world. So rather than sitting in a sense of personal sour grapes, I choose to make this a meaningful learning experience.

If I had sat in inaction, I would have not known whether there was any interest in the programme or not. Now I have a much clearer idea, as well as a key learning about the things people need before committing to something over the space of a month.

So if you want to genuinely learn something new or change something in your life, there is only one real choice: action. Materials are extremely helpful to give the tools, and it’s definitely worth investing in them. But the investment goes down the drain unless you choose to do something with it.

The power of acknowledging our own greatness

This week I attended a coaching immersion down in Kent, UK. I was one of 12 in an awe-inspiring group of people doing incredible things in the world.

I have a notebook filled with a year’s worth of articles. I won’t attempt to summarise them all in a single post here, but the content will pour through over the coming months.

One thing I will share is that at the end of the immersion each of us wrote acknowledgements for one another. I received some of the most powerful and touching acknowledgements I’ve ever received in my life.

Once we had read all these acknowledgements, it was time to write an acknowledgement to ourselves. Here is what I wrote about myself:

Tahmid, you are an exceptional, unique human being with an incredible, one-of-a-kind gift. Greatness is you, awaits you and is your destiny. The trials have been created to take you to ever higher levels. Own it. Embrace it. Be it. The world is at your fingertips.

I have never written a statement like this before. But in the moment it felt like exactly what I both needed to say and to hear. I was in a trance-like state when I wrote it. These are powerful words that even surprise me now when reading them back.

The theme of this week for me has been the realisation, recognition and acknowledgement of my own power. We went deep, and I shared some of my deepest personal struggles that I haven’t spoken about before. The experience got rather intense, and it felt like being in a pressure cooker when we were confronted with some very stark realities about our lives.

But it is in the discomfort that we find our greatest space of growth. Coming through such experiences gives us a new level of self-knowing. Things that once felt scary suddenly start to feel easy. It was unsurprising that a friend remarked that on my return I had a charged energy that was visible before I even talked about the experience on the immersion.

Whilst the experience was powerful, one thing we discussed is how gaining insights in of itself does not actually do really do anything unless we act upon them. (Actually, it was put in less eloquent terms: ‘f*** insights’).

For me, I’ve been sitting on my book, Make Diversity Matter to You since releasing it over six months ago. Despite putting in the work and building my knowledge and experience, I haven’t done as much as I really could to share my work with the world.

It’s why during the immersion I committed to creating the Make Diversity Matter to You Programme. It’s a month long experience starting in July consisting of four 90 min weekly webinars and a community group with peer learning activities and resources. Along with the webinars, each participant will get one recorded 30 minute laser session, along with an hour private coaching session.

This is beyond what other courses I’ve been on in the way it blends the learning on diversity elements with the personal transformation aspects.This was actually part of creating a ‘no-brainer’ offer during the immersion, so all of this is for £350 / €350, even though I know that the value is at least five times this price.

Acknowledging my greatness means sharing it with the world, so it is time I do that. If you’re interested in knowing more about the programme, drop me a message. I would also be really appreciative if you could share this with anyone who you think would be interested by this.

The importance of simplicity in our messaging

Photo by Courtnie Tosana on Unsplash

I’ve worked in technical fields throughout my career, using words that most people would simply not understand. A key skill has been to make these things understandable and relatable for anyone.

In the UK government, I went through writing policy on European Accessibility, coordinating statutory instruments for a wide berth of policy areas from product safety to state aid. Now I work on policy around sustainability including terms like net zero, circular economy and industrial decarbonisation. That’s not even mentioning my interest in the spiritual side of personal development and diversity and inclusion.

So I’ve had my fair share of technical topics. I could easily bamboozle the people around me through specialist language, acronyms and obscure terminology. But learning to explain things to people in simple, short sentences has greatly enhanced my ability to get people to actually care about the stuff I’m talking about. Unfortunately, many people are not doing this very basic step, even though it is available to all of us.

I’m really grateful for my time when I worked in government. Our ministers would expect simple, clear language to explain complex issues. The skill to write clearly and effectively is such an important one, and it’s one which is grossly lacking in our complex world.

There is a great missed opportunity for many professionals because they cannot explain things to the layperson. Many very important causes are left into the niches of society, only attracting other subject matter experts who congregate to deepen their understanding of terminology.

One of the really refreshing things about connecting with the coaching world is that it’s a real eye opener as to how much I’m influenced by the bubble I’m in. I remember speaking to a coach about an event I was working on at COP26 (the large climate conference which was taking place in Glasgow two years ago). Once I finished speaking, she asked me what COP was, as she hadn’t heard of it. Considering my existence in the sustainability world is so focussed on such events, it was a wake-up call that most people don’t actually really care about the stuff I do.

Some of my biggest successes has been to speak in clear, relatable language. I wrote a paper to my executive committee with recommendations on race, the first time a network lead had been invited to the highest level of the organisation. All the recommendations were agreed because they were clear and properly explained within two pages without needing additional context. It sounds obvious, but when people actually understand what you’re saying, they’re far more likely to engage.

There’s plenty of space for me to develop here too – yesterday I continued on my Toastmasters pathway with a speech on my leadership journey. Whilst I did a strong speech with a lot of colour, I was a tad guilty of trying to cram in a bit too much. My mind can move very fast, so I wanted to share about three different stories in one speech. I can sometimes overwhelm the people I’m speaking to because of how quickly I’m moving from one topic to the next. So I can improve by slowing down and focussing on a single idea more concretely.

The fascinating thing about personal development is how personal it is. I share my own experiences to demonstrate that we can always continue learning. But the challenges I face are very unlikely to be the same for you. The gift is being able to see what areas we can improve upon, and communication is a key part of our lives.

When I work with coaching clients, a lot of my work is reflecting on how people are showing up in the world. Our gestures and subtle actions say so much about our state of mind. When we are stressed, we are unlikely to be open to receiving people’s energy. This can mean we miss key social and emotional cues from the people around us. We risk falling more into the spiral of stress due to the frustration that this causes.

If you find you’re not being received in the way you like, the first place to look is how clear you are being. Remember, if you’re not clear with yourself, it’s nearly impossible that the other person will get your message clearly either.

Fortunately there are several ways of improving our communication. Simply taking a breath goes a long way in changing the energy we are giving. It also allows us more space to think about how we are being received, rather than only on what we are saying. Clubs like Toastmasters are also great for this due to the amount of feedback you get. If you don’t know anything about Toastmasters, feel free to ask me in a DM. Coaching can give a more in-depth look at how you’re showing up in the world. This gives a chance to go even deeper and explore underlying behaviour. If there’s something that has come up from this article which you’d like to explore further, I’m more than happy to have a conversation with you.

The Power of Movement to Free the Soul

Last evening I went to my first ecstatic dance party in London. I wasn’t really sure about what to expect, but I’ve been enjoying entering into new experiences without too much thought.

Ecstatic dance parties are a no-alcohol, shoes-off, no chit-chat experience. More ethereal vibes and melodic, hypnotic music.

It was probably the most fun I’ve had moving with my body that I’ve had in years. I’ve known for a while that I want to get more comfortable with the way I blend with music, but often my mind would click in and I would get self-conscious if anyone was listening.

But here there was time and space to explore where my body wanted to go. I could wonder around the blends of people whilst throwing my hands and legs around however I liked.

Now, I’m a bit more used to what can be described as ‘woo-woo’ things. So I was not phased by the incense, Indian art prints on the wall or the pause for a guided meditation. One of the reasons I’m enjoying life so much more is because I’ve broken free from the self-consciousness and self-judgement.

I noticed in myself an opening up of my flowing movement. What I saw in myself and other men was a somewhat stilted, disconnection with the body. It was either quite static or jerky motions. But as the evening wore on, these opened up to more rhythmic movements that were more closely aligned with the music.

For the women in the room, it started more closed. Whilst the connection to the rhythm came more naturally, there was a gradual shift away from closed body language to a more open, accepting nature to the world around them.

My personal interpretation is that this was a live rebalancing of our masculine and feminine energy. For the men it’s about reconnecting with the flowing energy of the feminine, whilst for the women it is reconnecting to the directional energy of the masculine.

I really enjoyed my time there and I would love to go back. So I was happy to see that these things exist in Brussels too. Now this stuff might be a bit out there for a lot of people. It does have some more spiritual vibes that might turn people off. But coming with an open mind can lead to a really fun evening, even if you don’t expect to be into this sort of stuff.

It also serves to challenge our narratives around dance and movement. Current western culture puts a premium of dancing only after we get drunk and for when we are seeking sex in a night club. But movements of our bodies are so much more than these things. We do not need to lose our inhibitions to enjoy our own body movements.

I am feeling real benefits in my body the day after. I feel more in tune with myself, and less driven by the thoughts in my mind. I’m calmer and more content with life.

So if you find yourself losing connection to your body, check out ways that you can move it in a delicate, fun way. That might be going to one of these ecstatic dance parties, or it might be one of many other ways.

P.s. if you’re in Brussels and fancy going to one of these anytime soon, let me know!

Self-expression sets us free

Yesterday was Pride in Brussels. This is the third time I’ve been to Pride here, and I love how Brussels converts itself to a colourful, party atmosphere.

I bumped into at least a dozen people I knew from different areas of my life, most of which weren’t LGBT+ identifying. I really get the sense of Pride in Brussels being a community gathering. I also got to know so many new people yesterday, and it’s rare to have such an open atmosphere where making friends is so easy.

Prides are organised to celebrate the diversity of the LGBT+ community. It also serves to highlight the issues, such as higher rates of discrimination and violence. So whilst the party brings the day alive, Pride is a tool for advocacy.

I attended a workshop earlier in the day about the experiences of queer people in public spaces. many people do not feel comfortable using basic facilities. Places that we take for granted – parks, metros, libraries, public toilets – can be a dangerous place for queer people because they are discriminated for the way they dress or look. In a day of partying, I was glad to spend some time taking a look at the more serious issues too.

What I also love about pride is that it gives the space for greater self-expression, particularly around how we look and dress. It’s fun to get playful with basic things like glitter and makeup, which is outside of normal societal convention. For men, it’s actually a fun opportunity to explore these things which are traditionally only for women.

I wore nail glittery nail polish yesterday. I found it actually very fun to have some shine. Whilst this may seem out of the ‘norm’, men have been using makeup thousands of years. Walking through a residential district earlier in the day, it also made me appreciate how self-conscious I felt in doing something outside of the ‘norm’ and how this can be a barrier for many people.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of considering how I look. As someone who used to wear suits to the office each day, I’ve been somewhat programmed into rather unexciting outfits. Beyond basic considerations of hygiene, the way I dress demonstrates how I want to show up in the world.

This has had multiple positive effects. I now take far better care of myself with improved skin care. I enjoy getting ready for the day because there is more intentionality in how I show up. Starting the day this way brings far more positivity then throwing on the same old clothes. I’m also having a new space for a creative outlet which is adding a lot more joy to my life.

There is a lot that men can learn from women in this respect. It is far more common for women to spend more time considering the way they look. The women I know are also far stronger at using colour and wardrobes shift as seasons change. As a man, I’ve generally kept the same t-shirt/jumper/trousers comibations for years. Whilst there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it probably has made my life rather stale at times.

The beauty of Pride for me this year is that I would not have considered these things so deeply if I wasn’t exposed to new ways of thinking. Seeing others dress in all sorts of ways demonstrates what is possible. Having spoken to people from the LGBT+ community too, it’s one of the few days where they get to dress how they really want to, but usually would not do so as they would not feel comfortable to do so. So whilst wearing party outfits may just seem like a bit of fun on the surface, it actually has a real link to our sense of self, our expression and more holistically our wellbeing.

Whether you attend Prides or not, there is a message here for you. Bringing more intentionality and expression in the way you look will bring a greater element of fun and creativity in your life. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want more of those things.