Category Archives: blog inspiration

Writing life’s tapestry and our journey in life

I was sharing coffee with one of my great author friends recently, discussing my new book “Meaningful Conversations” and we discussed how do we write life’s tapestry if the heart is blocked.

The feeling I am describing is when you sit down to write and instead of feeling an energetic creative flow, you sit completely paralyzed, staring at your computer screen & seething at the injustice of your lack of creative life, many people describe this as writer’s block.

Studies have found writer’s block to be a simpler problem: an inability to allow the creative process to flow because of unhappiness, this happened to me personally when I wrote “Freedom after the Sharks”. But there are different kinds of unhappiness, and it’s the writers job to be honest about which one they’re suffering from and in some respect this can be a very important part of a writer revealing the truth about his or her unhappiness, the truth is always revealed in writing as in photography Robert Louis Stevenson, wrote: “I doubt if these islanders are acquainted with any other mode of representation but photography; so that the picture of an event (on the old melodrama principle that ‘the camera cannot lie, would appear strong proof of its occurrence.”

Woody Allen makes fun of writer’s block. He wrote a play called “Writer’s Block”, and he wrote, directed, and starred in a film called “Deconstructing Harry”, in which the protagonist, Harry Block, tells his therapist; ‘For the first time in my life I experience writers block….Now this, to me, is unheard of….I start these short stories and I can’t finish them….I can’t get into my novel at all…..because I took an advance.’

This is the trailer:

Writers block immediately disqualifies Harry Block from being Woody Allen because Woody Allen is one of the most productive film makers of his and possibly any generation. Between 1965 and 2014, Allen was credited in for than sixty six films as a director, writer or actor, often and more than not, all three. To take writing alone; Allen has written forty nine full-length theatrical films, eight stage plays, two television films and two short films, in less than sixty six years, a rate of a script a year.

I have studied Woody Allen and when you look at his miraculous life you can ascertain that time was of the most importance to his every moment, this quote really says everything about his passion for writing:
‘I never like to let any time go unused. When I walk somewhere in the morning, I still plan what I’m going to think about, which problem I’m going to tackle. I may say, this morning I’m going to think of titles. When I get in the shower in the morning, I try to use that time. So much of my time is spent thinking because that’s the only way to attack these writing problems’
Allen had many philosophies which I admire but I feel the one that resonates with me the most is intrinsic motivation, ‘self-motivation is the only motivation’. In life there are natural forces that we cannot guide or control, but I have learned as a writer that the power to create always comes from within, you will see some of my personal quotes where I use ‘never, never give up on your dreams’, the truth always comes down to how much you really want to achieve your dream, do you like the idea, or are your driven to achieve your idea.

One of my mentors many years ago would say to me stop procrastinating and just do what needs to be achieved, I have never forgotten these words.

Writing is subjective, each and everyone of us has a distinctive view, like and dislike to genre, fiction, non-fiction, biographical or fantasy, you will never please everyone, but with passion you can create your best.

Much of writer’s block comes from fear of the unknown, worry across what others will think, Woody Allen also quoted why indifference is so important, something that we all can relate to in business today, when he said: ‘longevity is an achievement, yes, but the achievement that I’m going for is to try to make great films. That has eluded me over the decades.’

Finally, I would like to leave you with some thoughts on passion, I believe every single person on the planet has passion whether we like to recognize this or not, passion if directed in the right way or focus can create amazing things, however passion in the opposite can destroy. So many of us, for reasons only we can answer, do not implement, execute or action our true and resolute passion/s. Unfulfilled passion creates a cavity between our present and our true potential. You have all heard of the saying ‘if only’ or ‘it might have been different if’, we all need to chase our dreams, you need to be careful what you wish for, because it may just come true. Unfulfilled passion can only create negative and malicious intent which takes us away from our ultimate desires and purpose in life.

Steve Brunkhorst once said: ‘As we weave the tapestries of our lives, we gradually begin to see our designs from a wider angle of years. We may or may not be pleased with what we see. Yet, no design–not in the living world–is carved in stone. We have the gift of free will to change our designs as we wish. We are each a thread in the tapestry of our human family. Our outcome is woven of endless possibilities, because we can choose from a universe of endless possibilities. Every person can make a difference. Each thread is a possibility, chosen by the design of divine imagination. Our life-time designs arise from our divine gifts, unique talents, desires, thoughts, choices, and actions. At times, old choices–old threads–wear out. We see the past while we live in the present, and we can replace the old…with new ideas, new choices, and new actions. We can view the future through today’s eyes, and time blends all experiences, dark and light, into an awareness of authentic joy. May you live joyfully and abundantly today and throughout every season of life!’

Has technology killed love and romance?

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The London transport system commonly renowned for ‘The Tube’ and ‘Mind the Gap’ reliably transports 1.34 billion people a year across its network and the busiest train station in London is Waterloo station which commutes 95.1 million passengers a year (research provided by transport for London http://tflgov.uk). The most common factor in any commuters possession is a mobile device, catching up of online dating, facebook, linkedin, email or an embarrassing phone call for everyone to hear to the date, girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband about what is wrong with the relationship.

The facts, do we actually have time for our most precious relationships, do we give the time to build lasting, loving relationships around trust and values or do we constantly feel we can always do better with the latest api or technology app?

As children, we are taught that there will be one true love and that they’re going to solve all our problems and we’ll be happy forever, we are taught to wait for our perfect fit. But that’s not really how it works, is it?

Staggering advances in technology, communications and sciences across the world is one of the defining aspects of the last few decades. From social media websites to free video calling services from anywhere in the world just being a phone’s click away it would appear that the millennial generation has it all. But if we move past all the smartphones and gadgets and websites and take a hard look at the lives of Gen Y, we will notice that dating has become harder than ever.

Some people find it easy to fall in love, others not so much. We tend to fall in love with people who meet a certain criteria in our mind. This subconscious criterion is based on our past experiences, relationship with our parents or events that have happened in our lives. Based on each individual’s subconscious criterion, the reasons vary from person to person on why it’s so hard to fall in love.
When you think about it, despite feeling difficult, the problems people struggle with in dating sound pretty trivial.

For instance, we have been walking and talking our entire lives, yet walking up to an attractive person and opening our mouths to say “hi” can feel impossibly complex to us. People have been using a phone since they were children, yet given the agony some go through just to dial a person’s phone number, you would think they were being waterboarded. Most of us have kissed someone before and we have seen hundreds of movies and instances in real life of other people kissing, yet we still stare dreamily into the object of our affection’s eyes hour after hour, telling ourselves we can never find the “right moment” to do it.

Why? It sounds simple, but why is it so hard?

We build businesses, write novels, scale mountains, help strangers and friends alike through difficult times, tackle the thorniest of the world’s social ills — and yet, when we come face-to-face with someone we find attractive, our hearts race and our minds are sent reeling. And we stall.

Dating advice often compares improving one’s dating life to improving at some practical skill, such as playing piano or learning a foreign language. Sure, there are some overlapping principles, but it’s hard to imagine most people trembling with anxiety every time they sit in front of the keyboard. And I have never met someone who became depressed for a week after failing to conjugate a verb correctly. They are just not the same.

Generally speaking, if someone practices piano daily for two years, they will eventually become quite competent at it. Yet many people spend most of their lives with one romantic failure after another.

Why?

What is it about this one area of life that the most basic actions can feel impossible, that repetitive behaviour often leads to little or no change, and that our psychological defense mechanisms run rampant trying to convince us to not pursue what we want?

Why dating and not, say, skiing? Or even our careers? Why is it that a person can conquer the corporate ladder, become a militant CEO, demanding and receiving the respect and admiration of hundreds of brilliant minds, and then flounder through a simple dinner date with a beautiful stranger?

As children, none of us get 100% of our needs met. This is true of you. It is true of me. It is true of everyone. The degree of which our needs are not met varies widely, and the nature of how our needs are unfulfilled differs as well. But it is the sad truth about growing up: we have all got baggage. And some of us have a lot of it. Whether it is a parent who did not hold us enough, who didn’t feed us regularly enough, a father who was not around often, a mother who left us and moved away, being forced to move from school to school as a child and never having friends — all of these experiences leave their mark as a series of micro-traumas that shape and define us.

The nature and depth of these traumas imprint themselves onto our unconscious and become the map of how we experience love, intimacy and sex throughout our lives.

Psychologists believe that romantic love occurs when our unconscious becomes exposed to someone who matches the archetype of parental love we experienced growing up, someone whose behaviour matches our emotional map for intimacy. Our unconscious is always seeking to return to the unconditional nurturing we received as children, and to re-process and heal the traumas we suffered.
In short, our unconscious is wired to seek out romantic interests who it believes will fulfill our unfulfilled emotional needs, to fill in the gaps of the love and nurturing we missed out on as kids. This is why the people we fall in love with almost always resemble our parents on an emotional level.

AppleMark

AppleMark

The attributes that have come to define us and the overexposure that the 21st century human is subjected to leaves no dearth of psychological problems. More and more people each year are diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety problems. This becomes a detriment when it comes to dating. With dissatisfying home, office or academic environments the relationship in many cases become the dumping ground for emotional baggage.

While sometimes it is good to share and spell out feelings as they stand, it is not healthy to keep using your date as an emotional crutch over and over again. It is therefore advisable to work on your trust, abandonment or other issues before embarking on healthy dating choices.

We as human beings have a nasty tendency to crave for more in every aspect of our lives. Before we desire more, we have to learn to be grateful with what we already posses, only that is going to help us obtain more.

Life is confusing, and dating nowadays is more confusing than it has ever been.

Everyone is a commitmentphobe, everyone has attachment issues, no one takes anything seriously.

Maybe there aren’t any right or wrong answers, maybe nothing is black or white. Maybe life is just a big grey blob and you’re meant to create your own rules as you go along; not what that dating book said, or the advice your friends or your therapist gave you.

The fact of the matter is, romance isn’t dead – we’re just in danger of neglecting it. My advice? Visit your Grandmother and Grandfather and have them re-tell stories of how she was wooed by your grandfather; how they spent evenings dancing on the kitchen tiles and how a love note said it way better than a sweeping 140-character tweet.

Brene Brown puts these words into gret prospective:

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”

10 ways to start 2017 on a positive note

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As someone reminded me recently at a conference, agility is a very positive thing. Apple didn’t create the first digital music player, the first smartphone, or the first tablet computer, yet it came to dominate each category. Amazon wasn’t the first to sell books on the Internet, either. These companies succeeded not because they were faster, but because they developed products that were demonstrably better than their competitors.

2016 was a milestone year, let’s have a look at some of the year’s achievements:
March – Microsoft released a bot framework at BUILD
April – Facebook opened its Messenger platform at F8, and Telegram announced a prize for bot developers
May – Google announced its own Allo Messenger and voice-enabled home speaker at I/O, and Amazon made the successful Alexa accessible via a browser, without Echo hardware.
June – Today at WWDC, Apple opened up iMessage to third-party integrations and announced the Siri SDK
September – Salesforce adds AI: The new Einstein features will be able to deliver more predictive and personalised customer experiences across sales, service, marketing, commerce and other areas.
November – The announcement comes a day before Microsoft is widely expected to release its Skype Teams messaging app. Slack has also been busy in recent weeks making moves to integrate with Microsoft Bot Framework and IBM Watson artificial intelligence services.

But truly great companies don’t scramble to adapt to the future, because they create the future. Take a look at any great business and it becomes clear that what made it great wasn’t the ability to pivot, but a dedication to creating, delivering, and capturing new value in the marketplace. The technology companies that endure are the ones who spend years — or even decades — to create the next generation of products.

Which brings us to something else Theodore Levitt said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” Clearly it is not a particular business category that defines a company, but its ability to solve problems for its customers. And you can’t solve really tough problems by simply moving faster. Great companies prepare the ground long before. Great businesses can be launched any time, even when there’s a downturn in funding.

While the start of 2016 might have spelled trouble for some well-established start-ups, it also saw the birth of companies tackling things like a cure for cancer, superfast internet, and competition for Uber.

Business Insider, http://uk.businessinsider.com, spoke to founders and venture capitalists and took a look at funding data to identify some of the start-ups that had the biggest starts in 2016.

Some names on the list are officially launching out of stealth, while others are still in their early months of forming a company.
Valuations for venture-backed companies doubled over last year to an average of $100 million, the highest in more than a decade, according to Pitchbook, a private financial-market data provider. Total venture dollars invested are on track to hit $74 billion in 2016, second only to 2015 over the past decade. And venture capitalists are basking in their best year since at least 2006, expected to end the year with $32.4 billion after raising $9 billion in the third quarter.

Here are 17 of the top start-ups to launch in 2017
1) Starry – is making more powerful Wi-Fi for your house. Website: https://starry.com
2) Juicero – wants to make the freshest juice you’ve ever tasted. Website: https://www.juicero.com
3) Cheddar – is betting it can be the new CNBC for millennials. Website: http://www.cheddar.com
4) Grail – wants to develop a test for cancer at the earliest possible stage. Website: http://www.grailbio.com
5) Juno – wants to be a driver-friendly alternative to Uber. Website: https://www.gojuno.com
6) Otto’s – self-driving trucks could revolutionise the industry. Website: http://ot.to
7) Simple Habit – wants to help stressed-out millennials. Website: http://www.simplehabitapp.com
8) Comparably – can show you how much you’re being paid compared with your peers. Website: https://www.comparably.com
9) Zipline’s – drones parachute blood and medicine to remote Rwandan cities. Website: http://flyzipline.com/product
10) Nanit – is a super powered baby monitor. Website: https://www.nanit.com
11) Truebill – wants to stop you from getting ripped off on subscriptions. Website: https://www.truebill.com
12) Winnie – wants to be the Yelp for parents. Website: https://winnielabs.com
13) Ritual – is making a better vitamin. Website: http://ritual.com
14) Recharge – lets you rent hotel rooms by the minute for whenever you need a rest. Website: https://recharge.co
15) Lola – is a new kind of a travel agent. Website: https://www.lolatravel.com
16) Pearl – will help turn your ‘dumb car’ into a cutting-edge model. Website: https://pearlauto.com
17) KnuEdge – wants to one-up Google and Intel. Website: https://www.knuedge.com

It is a fact that no business is guaranteed to succeed. But with the right level of energy, passion, determination to a belief in yourself and your product/service you can progress independently with your dream idea and business.
The beginning of the year has arrived and while it’s important to take some time to assess the positives and negatives of 2016, it is also worthwhile ensuring everything is ready for the year ahead so that 2017 does not start with unnecessary stress.

Many entrepreneurs are passionate about their chosen trade but aren’t always strong when it comes to the financial side of business. It is the little things that people often forget about. Simple things, like cash flow and budget that can make all the difference.

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The following 10 tips would make sure business owners cover all their bases and have a successful 2017.

1) Budget for the year ahead
2) Understand your business and its customers
3) Analyse your monthly management accounts
4) Keep your accounts and taxes up to date
5) Secure your IP/IPR
6) Know your limitations
7) Invest in good legal and accountancy experts
8) Build revenue streams with trusted relationships – no matter how small
9) Invest in cash recovery experts
10) Take a holiday and exercise every now and then

If you follow the tips you will see the benefits returned ten-fold.

As Henry Ford once said:

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

A Christmas and New Year Message

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May peace fill all the empty spaces around you, your family and your friends and your colleagues at this special time of year, and in you, may contentment answer all your wishes.

Raise a toast to yesterday’s achievements and tomorrow’s brighter future.

May comfort be yours, warm and soft like a sigh.

And may the coming year show you that every day is really a first day and a new year.

Let abundance be your constant companion, so that you have much to share.

May mirth be near you always, like a lamp shining brightly on the many paths you travel.

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Work with the best of your abilities in 2017 and show to the world your power to create wonderful and superior things.

New Year 2017 may turn out to be a year when you are put on the road to everlasting success and prosperity.

Be the change that you wish to see at your workplace and take initiatives to make things better.

Wish your tomorrow is more prosperous, happy and successful than yesterday and today.

Looking forward to another year with hunger and passion to exceed at work and you are sure to meet with success.

Let new beginnings signify new chapter filled with pages of success and happiness, written by the ink of hard work and intelligence.

May the New Year bring us more wonderful opportunities for success.

Here’s wishing you the gift of peace and prosperity throughout 2017.

What It Takes To Become An Inspiring Author – Huffington Post interview

Today Huffington Post published the interview that Ehsan Khodarahmi (@eksays) held with me on being a writer, my first book (“Freedom after the sharks“) and my second one (“Meaningful Conversations” – to be published in January 2017). As you can understand, I’m very proud and happy to share it with you – enjoy!

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Having read a book called Freedom after the sharks by Geoff Hudson-Searle, I became curious to find out about the author of the book and to learn what drives him. Here are a few questions I asked him and I believe you’ll find what Geoff has to say quite interesting and inspiring.

Why do you write?

Like most writers, I write through experiences, my first book Freedom after the Sharks was a true story, the facts were that I was planning to write another book. Once a writer starts to put pen to paper the truth will run through them, at times it is impossible to stop. It’s not exactly a compulsion, but it really does come quite close to that. Writing makes sense of one’s world, which is what most of us want to do on some level or other.

Which authors do you admire most?

Some of the most powerful authors that have inspired me or touched my life have come from the business world. The first book was from my late Grandmother authored by T.A.B Corley titled Quaker Enterprise in Biscuits, Huntley & Palmers of Reading 1822 -1972, Mark H McCormack was a huge inspiration to me with What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School, Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria with Driven, Stephen M.R. Covey with The Speed of Trust, Meister Eckhart with the book of the same name, Joseph Campbell and Hero with a Thousand Faces, Nicholas Sparks with True Believer, Richard Layard with Happiness, Carl Honore with In the Praise of Slow and Robert Greene with The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery.

Describe the route to ‘Meaningful Conversations’ being published…

I started as a writer with a non-fiction and Meaningful Conversations was always to be a fiction the book deals with the constant root cause of today’s plethora of life and business challenges. It explores the whys and wherefores of communications, strategy and development and growth in our ways of thinking and experiencing the world, and then uncovers a way ahead through 50 short stories based by MIT, Harvard, Stamford, Oxford and Cambridge research in to valuable timeless logic. It draws upon Eastern and Western wisdom and blends philosophy with pioneering new thought. Are you up for crossing the threshold? Here we find the answers to our pressing challenges.

In a few sentences please describe what this book is about?

This book demonstrates the relationship between communications (human-to-human), strategy and business development and growth. It is important to understand that a number of the ideas, developments and techniques employed at the beginning as well as the top of business can be successfully made flexible to apply. This book provides a holistic overview of the essential leading methods of techniques. It will provide you with a “hands on guide” for business professionals and those in higher education.

Where do you write from?

I live in London, United Kingdom however most of the creative origins for the book were established with my time in Arizona, United States of America.

Briefly, what led up to this book?

I was writing weekly on communications, strategy and development and growth as a different persona. The terms ‘Communications’, Strategy’ and Business Development and Growth’ have become overused during the last decade and have become devalued as a result. In this book, I aim to simplify these terms and to re-value management and leadership by addressing topics and subjects in each distinctive chapter.

What was the time frame for writing this book?

I wrote this book in direct response to being told that you cannot call yourself an author with only one book, thanks Lisa! Now I have produced my second book, I am being told you cannot call yourself an author with only two books. The time frame between Freedom after the Sharks and the release of Meaningful Conversations was approximately 3 years.

What were your one or two biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

You have to be yourself in your writing. You have to pick a genre that suits you as a person and you as a writer. There are enough obstacles for a new author, don’t create more for yourself, write in a style you are comfortable with. If you are not enjoying writing it, if you are not comfortable writing it, nobody is going to enjoy reading it.

Do not take it personally, I do read the bad reviews, writing is completely subjective you may have 1,000 people that love your perspective, genre and story but 3 people may just not get your point and they never will, you are in the creative industry accept criticism with a smile.

Books and publishing is such an up and down industry – you can be flavour of the month one minute and struggling the next, even when you have had a certain level of success. Until you have enough money coming in to be able to justify it to yourself, don’t give up the day job.

Everyone wants to live the dream and write full time, but it is a very difficult industry to get into and a very difficult industry to stay in. Learn to write around your day job in the beginning.

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Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break into writing?

I think it was what I did wrong that helped me break into writing. In life you survive. You move on but with a purpose. A great philosopher and friend in the US once told me that you are in this world by divine right and you have the right to reach your highest potential through your own uniqueness. I know so many people who are only in bliss when they are miserable. They blame their parents, their spouse, their family, the system, their employers and event friends.

You can do whatever you have to do to get past the challenges of writing and writer block etc., you can do it. The question is how much you want the right way, your dream or the purpose.

On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?

Every audience has a different dynamic, a different rhythm, and a different reaction. The audience wants, needs, and expects pertinent, real-life information to enhance and support their lives and importantly what they’re facing. I believe it was my destiny in life to push things to the limit. You only get one chance to make an impression. I gave Meaningful Conversations every opportunity I had and I believed to be right book at the right time for readership, I am not sure I would change a thing given a second opportunity.

In what ways do you ‘service’ your books?

If one is fortunate enough to have one’s books taken up in a significant way, there is a tremendous amount to do in ‘servicing’ the books. Speaking opportunities, blogging, social media, interviews, PR, travelling and often attending book festivals and other events all over the world. Although it can be quite burdensome, it is always very interesting to meet the readers, and I think that is what keeps me going.

What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?

Trust yourself and never give up. Be determined right to the end. You should always write about what you know and love. This is not just a matter of principle but solid writing advice. Editors and readers have a good understanding whether a book has a purpose, it is their intuitive know-how.

You have a story to tell that cannot be told by anyone else, in any other way, and if you’re talented and lucky and work hard, you will find the right way to tell it. In other words, be truthful to yourself and you can communicate the truth to others through writing. This is not to say that you cannot be creative, but rather that your voice, your true voice, is what will draw people in to your manuscript.

On another note it is quite possible that one publisher will reject your book for a number of reasons while another loves it for those very same reasons. The trick is to secure a great editor and find a publisher whose interests align with yours.

My advice is to write a book and then immediately go on to the next one and to the one after that. In other words, the more you write, the better you will become.

Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?

Always, in every place across the world, people have written. Writing has not changed since the Roman days. Writing affords me a chance each and every day to just sit with my thoughts and be still. I live in a very busy city with people everywhere on mobile devices, and I love that. But I also think it’s important to sit and be quiet, to reflect and to use creativity with yourself and your thoughts. Writing for me is very meditative and calming, and helps to keep me peaceful in a very frantic world.

Every writer is influenced by everything they’ve ever read or seen. All the books and news articles that have passed through your hands have also somehow made their way into your thoughts, whether you are aware of it or not. I love that idea. I love to think that when I write, I am in some ways sitting down with all the books I have ever read, and in some ways, sitting down with the writers who wrote those books. I like to think that I’m connected to a long line of people just like me; people who also loved to write with the ability to leave a legacy of my work that someday will be read and hopefully inspired upon by others.

What’s next?

As my good friends and colleagues constantly remind me on a daily basis, I must write version 3.0. I do have some quite amazing and credible ideas. This is in my thoughts and given the time I am sure it will come. I need to be in a creative space with my notebook and some great coffee. It will happen! Outside of 3.0, I am enjoying my weekly blog writing, spending time with fellow authors, sharing experiences, PR, interviews, and of course my day job which is always challenging and interesting, never ceases to amaze and surprise me in life.

Meaningful Conversations will be available via Amazon in late Janauary 2017. I hope this interview with Geoff Hudson-Searle proved to be helpful to you if you’re planning to write your first or even second book.

ehsan khodarahmi – Follow Ehsan Khodarahmi on Twitter: @eksays

To download this artical in PDF-format, click HERE.

This interview was originally published on 6 December 2016 by Huffington Post UK here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ehsan-khodarahmi/what-it-takes-to-become-a_b_13200850.html