1.) Being spontaneous is what life is all about
So I'm sat in the pub with a group of friends. Me and Rory are saying that it'd be great to go to New York together. We've been all over the place together; we always have a laugh, learn loads and it's great to go running all over the world.
But we've never been to New York. Why have we never been to New York? Well, all the usual reasons: never have the money; always too busy; not enough holiday days blah blah.
While we're discussing this I go onto my iPhone secretly and book two tickets. Done. If we had anything else sorted for those dates, we'll go to New York anyway - what's more important than going to New York with a good mate? We're off mid-June and we're looking for interesting people to meet. Drop me a line with ideas.
What this taught me: The excitement of doing something without planning it to the Nth degree is really inspirational. There's only us stopping us doing stuff, people. That thing you've been putting off for ages? That thing you're thinking about next year? Do it now. The reason you have for not doing it is probably not a real reason at all.
2.) A small amount of pain is worth it for a larger part of happiness
I hate injections. Needles in general. In fact, any kind of pain. I may be a stocky, rough looking northerner, but I'm a bit soft. As my mam used to say: "Stop being a big girls blouse, Mark like..."
I'm off to Mumbai in two weeks. Another place to experience, another lifestyle to learn about, more new food to eat, societies to try and understand - I love travelling. Unfortunately, so do lots of bugs and diseases.
On Saturday I had to be innoculated against Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. That's three needles. The Typhoid one bloody stung I can tell you...
I closed my eyes, talked bollocks for a few minutes to take my mind off it ("I work in advertising... yeah, we do categorise people... sometimes by age... sometimes by mindset...") and then it was done. Done. (Besides the dead arms I had for a few days after - I resembled Keyser Soze.)
What this taught me: Doing things you don't like is fine if the thing you're doing it for is worth it. If the ultimate goal never seems to be getting closer, or if the pain that's getting you there is too painful then the balance is wrong.
3.) Art that truly moves you is a magical thing
As I've mentioned before - I'm a big Pink Floyd fan. Their music is such an important part of my life. More than that, the story of Pink Floyd is important too. A big part of this story is their artwork.
For me, the way they portray their music visually is very very important for a couple of reasons: 1) Their music is such an emotionally-led, multi-layered experience that it gets the imagination going immediately. If my brain is showing me this image when I listen to 'Dogs', what was in their brains? Their artwork gives me an indication of this. 2) Most of them met at Architecture school. I studied a degree in Architecture before getting into Advertising. So I think in pictures like they do. When I listen to their songs and close my eyes I envisage walking through spaces.
So over the weekend I visited the Idea Generation Gallery to see Storm Thorgerson's exhibition about his album art - for Floyd and other bands. It was excellent. (I'm quite happy they didn't have an original print from the Animals cover as I would have bought it and I'm skint...)
What this taught me: When something moves you, it transcends the human senses.
4.) We can all learn from Newcastle United
I'm a Newcastle fan. We got promoted at the weekend. It's easy to say this now we've been promoted - we're a cut above in the Championship, but not good enough for the Premiership.
In previous seasons we've had a bigger wage bill, more star footballers, more flair in our play and managers that love the limelight.
This season we've cut our wage bill, we have no star players, we're effective in what we do (but still play attractively) and a manager that is there to manage effectively.
You see - this season we're a team. In previous seasons we've been a team based around one or two individuals.
What this taught me: Success is achieved when everyone pulls together in the same direction, with the same ultimate goal. Sure, there'll be differences of opinion along the way, but if you're in it as a team you stand a much better chance of succeeding. Agencies take note.
5.) I look better with a dummy
What this taught me: I don't suit yellow. Oh and my dental bill will be huge one day.