S W O T

S W O T

 

No doubt you will have heard of this type of analysis
Intended to ensure no business is caught in paralysis
Strengths and Weaknesses we need to assess
Opportunities and Threats we have to address

But all this sounds like turgid ‘management speak’
Pointless obscure words concealed in mystique
To what does it amount? I hear you ask
Why waste any effort on this pointless task?

Well let’s leave the business world to its own devices
Might the SWOT analysis be for each of us decisive
Measuring our own strengths by a little introspection
Confessing our weaknesses in earnest reflection

Strengths come in a variety of guises
To realise this might provide surprises
Dormant skills and knowledge can be drawn into service
To compensate for weaknesses doing us disservice

Opportunities are the things that help us to advance
Sometimes we discover them as if by chance
But we need not just rely on luck to bring us progress
Exploiting new ideas often the hallmark of success

Finally there are threats – these can scupper our endeavour
But to negative thoughts or consternation we should not surrender
Each danger should be faced in the cool light of day
Problems thoughtfully overcome, we advance on our way

Ken Fisher

Is Thinking Good or Bad for our Health?

Is thinking good or bad for our health?
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”
Hamlet  –  William Shakespeare

As eyelids open and consciousness returns
Befuddled mind once more becomes aware
Of issues, anxious subjects of concern
That burden the fragile soul with care

It is not thinking of itself that brings us harm
But doubts and fears arising from this cogitation
Mere reasoning ought not to spawn alarm
But minds whipped up in angst and agitation

Moments dominated by endless thought
Anxiety o’er past hasty words or foolish deeds
Fear of the future, a battlefield quite fraught
Doubts where the tangled paths might lead

We must set each thought into its context
Past assumptions so quickly become out-dated
Future plans should not our hearts perplex
Only the present should leave us animated

So what e’er comprise our everyday reflection
Let not our thinking the hope of fuller life impair
Flights of fancy amounting to mere speculation
Should not obscure joy abounding everywhere

Ken Fisher

Massaging the Eyeballs

Massaging the Eyeballs

It has been suggested our eyeballs need a massage
Perhaps these dark shadows it might camouflage
But I think the reason is not just cosmetic
Perhaps it’s intended to be therapeutic

One website says it can stimulate the vagus nerve
Slowing the heart rate, relieving much stress
But I don’t recommend any vigorous rubbing
Or eyewashing incurring relentless scrubbing

The eyeball massage concept is more about vision
Of things we espy in life or television
Of sights that amount to mere titillation
Which many believe are blatant temptation

The phrase ‘eye-candy’ is now commonplace
To label female tv presenters with a beguiling face
I suppose hunky men might make a similar claim
Their rugged looks – their passport to fame

In the world of high tech there are endless images
Used to grab our attention, to pass on their messages
Whether we consider our eyes are thus being massaged
When our settled view of the world is sabotaged

Anyway what do we do to protect precious eyes?
Avoiding sights that offend, even mesmerise
What is the answer to crack this tough nut?
It’s really quite simple, just keep your eyes shut!

Ken Fisher

Declutter

Declutter

Why wait for Spring before you declutter?
Oh give us peace! Do I hear you mutter?
But I think you’ll agree without any doubt
There comes a time when we need a clear out

But what has triggered this irresistible urge?
Which of all our affairs now demands that we purge
Is it clothing or towels making drawers overflow
Where it’s clearly time that all this junk must go

We live in an age of relative affluence
Where the advertising moguls have exerted great influence
So most of us have far more stuff than we need
And our comfort and warmth is thus guaranteed

Maybe our bookshelves are simply groaning
And in literary works we find ourselves drowning
Or computer storage, of which we are proud
Has now almost inundated that overhead ‘cloud’

Indeed it might even be that our own tiny mind
Finds its content too great to be thus confined
And our brain is demanding to have a spring clean
It’s incumbent on us to improve its hygiene

Perhaps our whole life a declutter demands
Many problems and issues filling our hands
We feel over-committed in every direction
And from many of these it’s time for defection

So to decluttering we should all now pay close attention
Thus ensuring that in future we consider prevention
Of that malady which typifies the modern age
And from all such excesses we might disengage

Ken Fisher

Flexitarian

Flexitarian

 

What on earth is a flexitarian?
What is the meaning of this neologism
Perhaps I should ask my local librarian
Before my weary brain suffers a paroxysm

Apparently it’s related to our dietary choices
Where the zeitgeist dictates we make radical change
Responding to the many strident voices
Who warn of the fact we can’t stay the same

But it occurs to me this need for flexibility
For other aspects of life might be a wise prescription
Perhaps we should be enhancing our capability
To meet its challenges no matter the description

For instance in employment, the one job for life is gone
Serial careers, like serial marriage, is the modern way
No use hankering for the past, downcast and forlorn
We have to be prepared for living, come what may

Multi-skilling is the message, get it loud and clear
Hone your talents, boost your languishing CV
Step into unknown territory, eschewing all fear
Be ready to become the very best you can be

Go with the flow, catch that tidal wave
Ready for each original movement of trend
In music, or art, cinema or theatre
Ensure that novelty becomes your best friend

To the world of ideas extend your embrace
Let these your prejudices quickly displace
Politics, philosophy, perhaps even faith
In your pliable thinking accord them a place

So just as the flexitarian’s choices in food
Are no longer rigid and tightly constrained
Make open living promote what is good
A lifestyle which therefore is quite unrestrained

Ken Fisher

Existential Threat

Existential Threat

It is the season of year when thoughts become reflection
The darkness of the days shrouding our hearts in gloom
Musing over life’s purposes in maudlin introspection
A frame of mind where good cheer finds little room

At this time pundits give their prognostications
Experts on the media offer up predictions
What challenges and threats will face the nations
But what is fact and what mere speculation?

This New Year the future may seem bleak indeed
Ominous forecasts of the effects of climate change
Our confidence and hope now rapidly recedes
A dark and fear-filled abyss offered in exchange

Melting ice, rising tides, infernos fiercely blazing
Islands swamped, tornados wreak destruction
Forest fires whole communities thus razing
Advancing flames defeating all obstructions

And other threats to settled life, even our existence
Skulk on the landscape whose horizon we now scan
Consciousness filled with angst at their staunch persistence
Against the life of every woman and of man

From whence comes these other threats existential?
We thought the Cold War had become past history
But nuclear war by accident or design is once more potential
Led by zealots or by fools, determined to seek victory

Cyber crime has suddenly become a feature of our life
In times past straightforward fraud was for us sufficient
But nowadays not just theft but social media strife
Executed by perpetrators highly efficient

Centuries ago Rev Thomas Malthus warned of expanding population
He claimed that too many people would lead only to starvation
In modern times, family sizes fell in industrial nations
But elsewhere in our world today we see no limit on creation

And rightfully, many people aspire to improve the quality of living
So they seek refuge in other lands to find a better way
In this endeavour they face dangers unforgiving
The desire of their heart may never see the light of day

All this presents an outlook that offers little cheer
Is there no nostrum that might this angst assuage?
Must our hearts be filled with anxiety and fear
What remedy or cure might our minds persuade?

I think the best thought I can offer is that we must not despair
Trust in the human spirit that goodness might prevail
That collectively for each-other we might truly care
As on these global problems together we assail

Ken Fisher

I Wonder, I Wonder

I Wonder, I Wonder

Have you ever stopped to speculate
Why humans often ruminate
Can’t we be like all other creatures
Where wondering is not a feature?

Do insects spend time trying to guess
Does thinking make a beetle stress?
About the future they have no care
Of politics quite unaware

The fish that glide through deep blue seas
Think nothing of the credit squeeze
Even less of the interest rate
Which makes no difference to their fate

Giraffes and monkeys stay quite composed
Neglecting threats to which they’re exposed
Their minds fixed on the present moment
No worrying thought disturbs enjoyment

So why must we spend time on anxious thought?
Our waking moments often fraught
By concerns for actions in the past
And future fears our mind o’ercast

It’s all because we have to wonder
With thinking, our consciousness encumber
Our minds filled with endless speculation
Our rational reasoning overtaken

Wondering is about imagination
Expanding horizons without limitation
Of new possibilities we become aware
Some will thrill, others scare

Yet we would not lose this wondering skill
Renounce the power to excite or thrill
But use this talent to reflect
Thus enhance the intellect

Ken Fisher

On Realising One’s Own Mortality

On Realising One’s Own Mortality
 

Unexpected news of the passing of a friend
Surely not him, he’s younger than me!
Untimely intimation of death notice
Obituary, the contents of which one knows quite well
All this just as we look forward to annual Christmas cards
Bringing comforting news of settled journeys still progressing
The loved one’s lives harshly filled by inconsolable grief

Death obviously does not discriminate
The good and the great
The humble and anonymous
High intellect or simple artisan
Those whose contribution is preserved in words
Those who will be remembered in the work of their hands
The fruits of all their labours – gently fading into history

Makes you think!
We always knew life was just a provisional licence
But somehow we thought it might be granted an extension
And here we are, suddenly faced with the grim reality
Life is not a rehearsal as they say
So let’s act out our part to the full
Before our curtain finally falls

Ken Fisher

 

 

Apocalyptic Headlines

Apocalyptic Headlines

It seems news can only be news
If it is apocalyptic

Around the globe this is what we read:

Inundated by floods
Engulfed in uncontrolled grass fires
Ravaged by a rampant epidemic
Swallowed up by erupting volcanoes
Drowned by tsunamis
Devastated by earthquakes
Unrelieved angst about climate change
Civil unrest and international warfare
Corruption abounding
Life cruelly halted in multiple motorway pile-ups
Overwhelmed by economic disaster
Impoverished by hyper inflation
Scourged by widespread unemployment
Imprisoned in over-crowded housing
Education that pays no ‘dividends’

Depressed and despondent mental states
Poor health and short life expectancy
Inadequate health service provision
Loneliness and isolation
Trapped in elderly care provision
A society which has lost faith in anything

And right now (here at home)

Disgust at the antics of politicians
Longing for a Brexit solution
But unconvinced that the election will bring release

But surely there must be something
To bring a little levity to the headlines?

One Press Cartoonist today has said

“At least a December election  will put
a stop to all that ‘Season of Goodwill’ nonsense”

Ken Fisher

From Now On

From Now On

 From Now On…………………!

How often have we said these words?
With resolve and determination
Promising to cast aside the past
Espousing transformation

Why wait for Near Year to make a pledge?
For any time in life’s daily course
Will serve as any other
Our good intention to endorse

But déjà vu comes into mind
When committing to renewal
How often in days gone past
Has failure struck quite cruel?

‘Cause no matter how sincere
Our stated affirmation
‘Ere long, intention cast aside
Amidst life’s trials and tribulation

But let us as in the spider myth
Our efforts not relinquish
Determined that new life to forge
Past failures we would vanquish

Ken Fisher

Niceness is a Thin Veneer

Niceness is a Thin Veneer to give the Impression of Civilisation

I wonder if you agree that niceness can be  just a thin veneer
Which we apply to our persona so that others think well of us?
But many consider the word nice to be really meaningless
Simply anodyne, not likely to provoke dissent or offence

And yet I suppose most of us would like to be considered nice
That is agreeable, pleasant, good-natured, congenial, friendly
Because few of us make it our avowed intent to be the opposite
Nasty, spiteful, argumentative, arrogant, hateful, repulsive

But if our niceness is only a thin veneer, sprayed on for effect
Then it seems to suggest that we are not always good guys
Yet we feel obliged to display qualities that would meet approval
Pressure is forcing us to be hypocrites, needing public praise

Apparently the social media has shown the propensity
For people to be anything but nice to others
On-line harassment is on the rise, computer rage rampant
The uncontrolled release of these emotions is damaging to health

So perhaps we need to recall that aphorism “It’s nice to be nice”
But we don’t need to sacrifice our honesty, or deny the truth
We simply have to calmly accept the reality of life
Stand our ground but be civil in all our dealings

Ken Fisher

 

The expression Niceness is a thin Veneer ………
Is a quote from journalist India Knight in the Sunday Times
Magazine 19 March 2017

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

I don’t know if this is sound culinary advice
Should you heat up your cold porridge twice?
Perhaps this guidance is not about food
But about our lives when we try to do good

Cold porridge is something quite unappetizing
It’s gone off the boil so it is not surprising
That like salt which seems to have lost its savour
This pudding is quite bereft of good flavour

Stale porridge might be just a metaphor
For things we once loved but now seem to abhor
The lost joy from a broken relationship
But no chance to rekindle companionship

Stale porridge my bear some resemblance to
Some passion or cause we no longer pursue
But now all our zeal simply withered away
No light shining forth at the break of each day

Stale porridge is like a thought our hearts once excited
But has lost all its power to make us delighted
No effort the magic can rejuvenate
Or our languid spirits can motivate

So stale porridge is best left quite unattended
No further energy on its substance expended
Sometimes food must simply be cast in the bin
And a new recipe for our life we ought to begin

Ken Fisher