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What gives me the right to talk to you about how to live your life without anxiety? What is it about my life that qualifies me to feel that I have the answers?

The context for these videos

This is the third in a short series of videos in which I am picking stories from my own life to share with you – and using them to illustrate how I have achieved a life in which I feel I have become enormously rich terms of emotional wealth & well-being. In each video I use one of the Anxiety Freedom cards to illustrate my message. And the reason I’m doing this is to show you how you too can live a life free from anxiety and stress.

Please let me know what you think by commenting below!

   The previous video in this series: What I learned from taking LSD

   The next video in this series: Why I do not offer long term therapy.

Hi, in this short video I’m going to share with you why it is that I’ve never been unemployed.

To set the context, this is the third in a short series of videos that I’m putting together to pick stories from my own life that illustrate how I’ve achieved a position where I feel very wealthy in terms of my emotional and mental health. And in each video, I’m also picking one of the Anxiety Freedom Cards to illustrate the message. And I’m doing this to show you how you too can live a life free from anxiety and stress. And in the last video, I talked about what I learnt from taking LSD back in 1973 when I was a teenager. In this one, I’m gonna explore my experience of getting work, getting jobs.

And the card I’m gonna use to illustrate this is rational thinking.

It’s card number one in the Anxiety Freedom Cards. And if you look at this image, you’ll see that it’s rather ordered. It’s rather logical. It’s about measurement. It’s about rationality. It’s about being kind of organized in our approach to life. And I think, to be honest, this is probably one of my strongest assets.

It’s something that everybody has. The degree to which it works depends on your background, your family, the way you were brought up, and your education, and also your attitude to those things. And I felt very strongly, even though I have a good rational mind, it’s only one part of my skills.

And in fact, part of my journey through school was resisting being pushed harder and harder into developing my rational ability. Because I was good at it, I was rewarded for it. And also my parents, I felt, pushed all three kids. I have a brother and a sister. And we were all pushed to work hard and to do our best, and it was the thing that seemed to me to be valued the most. I mean, that may be a little bit of a skewed perspective from my point, but I resented doing homework, and I did a lot of it. I worked really hard. I did very well academically.

And I wanted to do music and woodwork and metalwork at school, but they wouldn’t let me. They wanted me to do more maths and more physics and that kind of stuff. And I felt it was a bit unbalanced. So in some ways, my journey through life has been to try and redress that balance. But I was good at passing exams.

And so where does this story go? I worked hard at school. I wanted to do music and physics, but my dad wasn’t happy with the idea of me doing two sort of half-arsed degrees, and he showed me a way of getting started in engineering. And I was lucky to get sponsored to do an engineering degree. So let’s be honest, I had a lucky start. I’m not saying that it was all down to me. I had some great help, and I had some real luck. But I did work hard.

When I first got my first job, I was, I started those as a design engineer, but the first job I got after qualifying, I ditched the design engineering part of it and I went for a job in servicing. I did that because I wanted to get experience of getting my hands dirty. I wanted to know how industry worked. And so I got a job where I did 24-hour servicing across the U.K. for a company that made a sophisticated piece of hospital equipment.

And then I changed my job again, quite shortly after 18 months, ’cause I wanted to work with computers. And I just decided I want to work with microprocessors, and so I kept hammering on the door of a company locally until they let me in. It took about a year. And then I had a wonderful time working in engineering in electronics.

And then I threw it all away. A guitar company came from London to set up their organization locally, and I thought I’ve gotta work for that company. So I took a massive pay cut. So the message here is that I’ve always done what I enjoyed doing, and in fact I never really considered money. I never got a better job for better pay. I always chose a better job if it was more interesting. And I made some pretty rash decisions. And in fact, if you chart my earnings over the years, they go up and down and sometimes drastically down.

But this is why I’ve never been unemployed. I’ve always done things that I enjoy doing, and I’ve never worried about how much remuneration. And now, that’s not to say I haven’t been broke at times. I have been. It hasn’t always worked in terms of financial reward. But what it has worked at is in terms of emotional reward. So I had this wonderful job working for SynthAxe making guitar synthesizers. I used to travel to America and install upgrades, and that was wonderful ’cause it was electronics and it was music and guitars. You may have seen in the previous video, I played a little bit of a Jimi Hendrix track.

So guitars and electronics, fantastic for me. But I got into software, and I bought a computer. I bought a computer before you could even buy a computer. I had to build it with a soldering iron and with resistors and chips and I had to put them all together. And I built this thing when I was a student. Took me a week to put it together, and of course when I switched it on, it didn’t work. So then I had to figure out why it didn’t work, and so I got the help of some colleagues and some equipment and I got a logic analyzer and I figured out why my computer wouldn’t work. And in that process, I learned an enormous amount about microprocessors and computers. So I’ve always done what was interesting to me, but it’s always paid off. I bought an Amstrad computer early on before there were IBM PCs and things, and I learnt to program. I learnt to write software. And then later in life, I decided to call myself a software engineer.

And then I got a job running a chiropractic school because I wanted to work with people. So I’ve been random in my choices, but I’ve never been out of work. And having said that, I’ve been self-employed for quite a long time now because I don’t like being told what to do, and that has worked for me. But the point is about the computers is I invested in my future. I paid money for things that were maybe stretching it a little bit so that I could learn techniques, I could learn abilities, and then later on I was able to use those to get work.

When in the early, well, it was 2002, I think, when I first became aware of the Human Givens approach to psychotherapy. I was blown away because I, you’ll learn in one of these future videos, I got depressed after my first marriage fell apart. And when I discovered that there was an understanding of depression that made sense, that you could describe to people that was clear in its implications of how to help people with depression, I was amazed, so I dropped all my technical stuff, my software stuff, my engineering. I’d been moving away from it anyway ’cause I wanted to work with people. And so I made a radical change, and I retrained and I studied and I became a psychotherapist. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years.

But the point that I’m really making here is, the main point here is do what you love. If you can do something that is useful to other people, they will give you money for it. And that’s the whole basis that I’ve used for employment throughout the whole of my life. And I’m 63 in a couple of weeks, and I’m very happy that although my financial success has been questionable, my emotional success has been fantastic, and I’ve enjoyed every work, every job that I’ve ever had.

So let me know what you think about this. Let me know whether you invest in your own future and in your own abilities. And let me know if you need any more guitar in these videos(!) Please scroll down, comment below. And whatever else you’re doing, don’t forget to keep breathing.

Thank you.

Alec

 

   The previous video in this series: What I learned from taking LSD

   The next video in this series: Why I do not offer long term therapy.