Oct 26

Do you need to get a life?

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Do you need to get a life?

You may remember the story of Curtis Woodhouse, who was a boxer taunted by Twitter trolls in March 2013? Essentially having lost a bout (on points) he was branded a “disgrace”, amongst other things.

Why was this news?

Many famous people are the subject of inappropriate comments via various media channels on a daily basis. However, after suffering abuse of this sort for many months, Woodhouse decided he needed to take matters into his own hands. In part this was motivated by the impact the abuse was having on his family. So he offered a bounty of £1,000 to anyone who could help him find the person responsible. One Twitter user provided the trolls details to Woodhouse, declining the reward as they were intrigued by what Woodhouse would do. Upon discovering that the troll only lived 50 miles away from him, in Sheffield, Woodhouse set off telling his followers:

“Just on my way to Sheffield to have a little chat with an old friend, get the kettle on”.

After some initial banter with the troll pouring scorn on the idea that Woodhouse knew where he was and his ability to find him, reality started to dawn. Woodhouse sent message after message detailing his progress on satnav. The nearer he got, the more nervous the troll became. Eventually Woodhouse tweeted a picture of the street sign with the name of the road on which this person lived. After finding their house and knocking on the door many times, Woodhouse realised he would not get the opportunity to meet his tormentor in person and went home.

The story resonated with a huge number of people tired of abusive behaviour online, and I am sure many had secretly hoped that Woodhouse would have the opportunity to carry out his initial threat to give them “a right pasting”.

How are you defined?

Looking at this superficially, you might wonder what insight we get from the story – in reality it is the behaviour of the troll that is more enlightening. They were clearly someone who defined and validated themselves through making unpleasant and offensive remarks in a public forum that attracted positive (from other trolls) and negative (from the rest of the world) attention.

The troll was eventually named and appeared on television with Woodhouse, having offered profuse public apologies and acknowledged that they had let down friends and family and embarrassed themselves.

In some ways, this is about choice. Despite having friends and family who were clearly important to them they were drawn to inappropriate behaviours.

Perhaps we are all to some degree drawn to, and choose to be defined by, inappropriate behaviours?

One again, how are you defined?

If you are reading this thinking, what inappropriate behaviours am I exhibiting?; ask yourself, what gives you your sense of self-worth? It doesn’t have to be something as offensive as trolling and there are plenty of everyday examples.

Is it being at the beck and call of work, where you believe your skills, knowledge and behaviours are so essential that the enterprise faces disaster without you? Is it the volume of email and phone calls you get that shows that you are a vital cog in the machine? Is it something else? These things are not necessarily bad as there are plenty of people who have big goals and ambitions that are driving them forward where they will be immersed in worthwhile busyness.

It is when people are busy without a purpose where the challenges start and where your personal behaviours may be misdirected an inappropriate. In this respect I define purpose as something more than offering second hand opinions on other people’s lives, drifting without goals or are defined by the ‘stuff’ that you do which in reality doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. You will know when this is an issue because you will have the feeling that you are not being authentic to yourself or that life isn’t quite working for you.
A final thought

It is the Invictus games in Sydney, Australia at the moment. This week, former Royal Mark Ormrod has claimed two gold medals in the indoor rowing events, winning gold in both the Men’s IR1 Four Minute Endurance and the Men’s IR1 One Minute Sprint. 10 years ago, Mark lost both legs and an arm in Afghanistan. Having learned to walk again and adapt to his injuries, he took up competitive sport.

Interviewed on the BBC this week, he was asked why he was now doing what he was doing. His response:

“I have a few more difficulties than other people, but I am living a life. Just living a life”.

Mark deserves a lot of recognition and respect for simply getting on with it. When he was injured at the age of 24, he could so easily have chosen to be defined by bitterness for the rest of his life. Great testament to what can be achieved through tenacity and sheer bloody-minded determination.

What life are you choosing to live? If it isn’t working or isn’t leading where you want to go, what are you going to do about it? Do you need to make some different choices?

After all, as the graphic above states:

“If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done”.

If you want some help to redefine your goals, why not give us a call?

  1. JP, Chesterfield 28 Oct 2018 | reply

    Thought provoking

  2. FD, Nottingham 28 Oct 2018 | reply

    Very uplifting article.

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