Dan had completed his apprenticeship as a locksmith. But ‘fully trained’ doesn’t mean he was quick. Dan was the new boy, so he’d turn up at a job, keen as mustard, but would fumble. He’d explain that he was new to the trade and most customers understood, huffing, puffing and checking their phones as he unpicked their locks. One particular customer got quite irate as she hung around for an hour while Dan attempted to get her back into the front door she’d locked herself out of. He presented the lady with the bill. “£60 for that!” she huffed, rummaging in her purse.
Five years down the line and Dan was the man. He’d gotten so much better – he was a locksmith extraordinaire. Dan could pick any lock, any place, in double quick time.
You guessed it, the same lady rings him again with the same problem. “It’s my stupid door,” she sighed. “I’m locked out again. And it’s freezing!”
Double-quick Dan was there in a jiffy. He knew his trade, which tool would be best for her particular lock, and hey presto, she was in within 90 seconds. Dan grinned a master craftsman’s grin as he opened the door and let the lady into her warm house. He presented her with the bill. “£60, for two minutes?” she grumbled, rummaging in her purse.
Look folks, there are so many messages buried in Dan’s story that I don’t know where to start. So I won’t. Only bright people subscribe to our blog, so I’m going to let you work out the lessons for yourself.
Thanks for reading.
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“Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes.”
This just in, from our man in Belfast...
Deep breath. Here we go.
The first 14 years of my life were ‘normal’. I had a good upbringing. I had it a lot easier that a lot of children had then and have now - I had a roof over my head, food, clean clothes and a cosy bed. I did all the things that a normal (I use that word loosely) child would do, I got up to mischief, I hung out with friends and played football.
I am not telling you this to boast or brag, I am telling you this because I want you to know that at any time the course of anyone’s path in life can change for better or for worse.
The course of my life took an unfortunate turn for the worse at the age of 14. This is when I had my first ever panic attack - I can still remember it clear to this day. I was in school in the PE hall sitting a test and I had an overwhelming anxiety dump and started to hyperventilate very quickly.
From then on, I had anything between eight and 10 panic attacks a day and with the night time ones being worse I found it very hard to sleep.
Things got progressively worse over the coming months with panic attacks coming thick and fast, each one more intense and long lasting. This is when I started to drink (alcohol) and I quickly realised that with drink I could sleep a lot quicker. It was just at weekends or whenever I could gather up some money or find someone to get it for me. By the age of 16 I had left school to work, and with that I had access to money and had started to drink every day.
Over the next two years I fell deeper and deeper into depression. Where I live, I had the mountains on one side and the sea on the other, what should have been natural beauty was suffocating to me, my world was closing in around me and all I could see, hear and feel was the darkness, cold chills, and death around me. My depression went from grey to pitch black and I noticed an epidemic of suicides around me. Suddenly death made perfect sense. It was all I had left so I had my first botched attempt. I came around in hospital the following day, the ultimate failure. I couldn’t even kill myself properly!
The conversation I had with a so-called ‘professional’ was disturbing to say the least. Firstly, they had two other people to see for the same reason as me that day. And secondly, I was told there was nothing they could do for my problems. I was a lost cause - beyond saving.
I planned my second attempt, this time more carefully. I timed it to coincide with a big family night out so I’d have the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone. Luckily my brother found me this time.
What followed was two years of therapy. Year one was a struggle to stay alive and year two was spent building my coping mechanisms to deal with the world as it is (not the world I needed it to be) Cut to today. I’m more than steady. Textbooks call it ‘adversarial growth’. I call it living proof that you can experience adversity and come out the other side better and stronger. I concluded that I must have experienced all that for a reason - I must be the one that has come through this to help others, why else would I still be alive?
So I quit my factory job and threw myself headlong into personal development. I took suicide prevention courses, as well as counselling and NLP. While studying to be a practitioner I came across the Art of Brilliance team and took the opportunity of sitting in on their school workshops. Just one word – WOWZA! I attended day one, intending to sit at the back and observe but within 10 minutes I was getting involved! Everything fell into place. Delivering positive psychology and wellbeing to adults is all well and good, but delivering for kids is where it’s at – for me at least. If I can save one child from the horrors that I’ve been through, that’ll do for me.
So here I am. My name is Paddy (the team calls me ‘Wee Paddy’) and I’m from Belfast. My journey has only just begun with the Art of Brill team but I’m trained up, revved up and looking forward to helping change lives from the ground up.
If you want your school or workplace to be rocking and rolling, I’m your man.
Wee P x