Lend Me Your Brain for a Minute

16/05/2016 12:10 | Updated 16 May 2016

This may start out sounding a bit wacky so I need you to stick with me until the end of the article and it will start to make sense.

I want you to think about what it is that you really want to do in life - not what career path you're on, not what would it be nice to have if you won the lottery, not going on a date with someone you like. Nothing so superfluous as that. I mean, what you really want to do, deep down. What you wanted to do when you were a kid, before you realised that the realities of daily life would get in the way and people would shout down your childish dreams. What would you spend your time doing if you didn't need to earn money? Got it?

Now imagine a scenario in which you find a safe space, a bubble if you will, where there are people who are full of positivity and possibilities, people who want to enable you. Imagine telling the Bubble what you want to do. This is quite an intimidating prospect in itself as we are often not encouraged to think big. Every time we don't get the job we applied for or go through a relationship breakdown or have a negative interaction with someone, we internalise the negativity and start to believe that we are less and less capable.

The ironic thing is that when we were kids and dreaming big, we actually didn't have the capabilities to carry out those dreams yet. We didn't have the financial independence nor the life experience to know how to achieve the things we wanted. Now, as adults, we have more knowledge of the world, we earn our own money and can choose how to spend it, we understand how to get onto the path to start our journeys. Yet we have only 1% of the get-up-and-go that our 10 year old selves had. We have gained the capabilities but lost the realisation that our lives are what we make them.

So I understand. I understand that telling the Bubble will sound like a scary thing. You're worried people will laugh at you, say there's no way you could cycle around the world, become an actor, build your own home or whatever it is that's running through your mind right now.

Imagine this, though. Imagine that I could guarantee the reaction would be overwhelmingly positive. I can guarantee you that someone in the Bubble will have a similar story, that they would be able to tell you what it's like to be further down the road that you are about to start on. I know that some people in the Bubble would approach you, asking how they can help you to pursue your idea. Some people would just come to chat to you because they think your idea sounds awesome and they are excited for you.

How does that sound? Does it sound too good to be true, that nowhere like that could really exist, because people aren't like that, people don't say things like that to each other?

Here's the secret. It does exist. There are pockets of it all over the place. My Bubble of choice is Project Awesome in London. While it says on the tin that we are a free fitness group who work out three times a week, what's really happening is that we are creating a safe space full of guaranteed positivity and encouragement.


There is another Bubble that I recently discovered, called The Yes Tribe. The activity that I took part in with them was a camp out in a woodland garden north of London. What actually happened was that an intensely supportive group encouraged people to think outside the box.

"I have a sabbatical starting in August," said one guy around the fire, "and I don't know what to do with it yet."
"So let's help you with that," Yes Tribe leader, Dave, said and afterward people started to make a beeline for the young man, bouncing ideas around and offering advice.

Now I have a challenge for you. Go and find a Bubble and tell the people there about what you really want to do with your life. If you are in London, come to Project Awesome or a Yes Tribe event. If you are in Bristol or Edinburgh, go to Project Awesome there. If you don't know of any Bubbles near you, think about positive people you know. All you need is one person. It's astonishing the difference one person's encouragement can make, the way they can change your thinking. If you are reading this because you know me, come and find me. I will be your Bubble, your safe space. I will help you work out a way to do the things you want to do. If you need help finding a Bubble, hunt me down online and let's find you a Bubble.

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And here's the JustGiving page for the 1249 mile run I'm going on in September that I wouldn't be doing if not for the encouragement from my Bubble -