December 8, 2019  


This Episode is sponsored by Kelly Stark

Today I will be talking about AFFIRMATIONS and how they can be used to change your life. Before I go on to that though, I hope that you have found the time to listen to the last show, episode 47 - BULLIES AND THE SILENT MAJORITY which ended up being my longest show yet at nearly 50 minutes. Like the LAW OF SUCCESS series, however, once I’d gotten into that topic, I just couldn’t bring myself to split it over 2 or to shorten it much more than it already was. Bullies are sometimes hard to spot but once they have been identified, they can be stopped by simple direct actions that allow YOU to take control and set them straight. You can also stand up and defend others when you see bullies raise their ugly heads.

An affirmation is almost like a mantra. It does not really matter if what you are affirming is not totally true as yet. By repeating an affirmation over and over again, it becomes embedded in the subconscious mind, and eventually, it becomes your reality. Stuart Wilde UNQUOTE

Today I’m talking about AFFIRMATIONS and it’s part of a subject that came up many times in my LAWS OF SUCCESS series in the form of AUTO SUGGESTION. Napoleon Hill was a real believer in this and used it to achieve the success of which he speaks. As a reminder AUTO SUGGESTION is the hypnotic or subconscious adoption of an idea which one has originated oneself. It is like REPROGRAMMING YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND to believe what you want it to believe and Hill used it very often to replace old beliefs with new ones that will serve us better.

Before I ever knew what affirmations were or how they worked I was using them. I haven’t talked about it too much lately so for those of you that are new listeners, but following my first feature film, I had what used to be known as a nervous breakdown. Looking back now, I would more accurately call it a stress-related dissociative breakdown or episode, followed by PTSD. It was not a fun time, in fact it was extremely destructive, but without it you wouldn’t have FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY - I honestly don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t had that negative experience in my life and the positive that has come of it, in the form of this show and a healthier outlook and work/ life ethic I don’t think would ever have come to pass.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. Oprah Winfrey UNQUOTE

When I had my breakdown, I was lost and uncertain of what was going on, and despite what you may think, there wasn’t any immediate help for me. Well that’s not entirely true, my family and some friends were there, but it is sadly notable that many of those whom I thought to be my friends melted into the background and disappeared. That is the stigma of mental health. It was a small price to pay perhaps though, for learning who were my real friends and who were not.

My experience with the NHS was really pretty atrocious. When I went to the doctor, I saw a locum GP for 5 minutes who sent me out the door with a leaflet and a prescription for Prozac. That was his solution to the complex problem of a mental health matter. I gave up on the Prozac after 2 weeks, as the last thing I needed was to be drugged into distancing myself further from my problem. It took the NHS three months to get me an appointment to meet a psychiatrist who was absolutely frickin’ useless – if anything he annoyed me – but thanks though to my friend Loraine, who is a psychiatric nurse and a very influential doctor whom she knew from down south and in chief too by financial aid from British Actors Equity’s medical partner BAPAM, I was eventually able to attend therapy sessions with an awesome therapist who helped me get back on track. As an aside here, talking therapy, even expert therapy doesn’t cost as much as you might think it does. It’s a good thing, and I think that a lot of folk might make use of the services that are available.

Before all that kicked in though I had nothing but that leaflet, the GP gave me to help me out. It was for a service called STEPS, an organisation that ran classes on stress and on depression. With no other options, I signed up for both. They’ve killed that organisation now, or renamed it and reorganised it to save money but at the time it ran classes every 6 weeks for an intake of 130 people who were suffering from stress. I’ll go into some of what I learned in a future episode as I plan to do a show on STRESS AND ANXIETY quite soon.  

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour, and more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close UNQUOTE

What I learned from the other class, the depression one is that I didn’t have depression, but it was very interesting nonetheless. More of a small talking therapy group with a lot of people that had had a hard time. It was there that I learned that Perfectionism, which I did an episode on in season 1 was likely the chief cause of stress in my life. For that realisation alone the 6 weeks were worth it. I took these classes very seriously and studied for them and that’s what led me, unknowingly, into the world of affirmations.

I, like many others on social networking, post a productivity or positivity quote every day, and I have occasionally been given some grief for doing so. That’s the internet for you. Many think it lazy of me as it’s a popularity tool that some use to make themselves seem intelligent or whatever. I post them for 2 good reasons.

1/ This is a productivity show and these quotes are an awesome gift for promotion of this podcast.

and 2/ because I used quotes like this TO CREATE AFFIRMATIONS which saved me from a life confused by PTSD and stress and put me back on track.

I didn’t call this FIND YOUR WAY with affirmations just to make a snazzy title. I wanted you to know that, if you are lost, or uncertain in your life in some way, that you can use affirmations as I did, to get yourself on a new and better track, to create a positive lifestyle and live a better, happier and more prosperous life. In effect, although I certainly didn’t think in these terms at the time, it also reasserts your values and that in turn strengthens your ability to make decisions.

When I was on my knees, post breakdown, I found myself naturally building this list of 50 affirmations, many of them built or shortened from quotes I had found online and I used it for at least a year, probably two, whenever I was uncertain or frightened, nervous or demoralised - to help me move forward. For the record, this was my list.

  1. Be Content.
  2. Master what you do most often.
  3. Give your mum a call.
  4. Practice Stoicism - Stoicism is centred around being unaffected by misfortune. Recognize that mishaps will inevitably occur so be constantly ready and open to experiencing them.
  5. Get up early.
  6. Perfection is not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.
  7. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.
  8. Justify less.
  9. Go for a walk in the park.
  10. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
  11. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  12. Pay off your debts and don't go in debt.
  13. Send your loved one's flowers. Think of a reason later.
  14. Eat a piece of fruit.
  15. Drink your water.
  16. Whistle.
  17. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
  18. Keep your friends' secrets.
  19. Listen more than you talk.
  20. Be frugal.
  21. Take classes.
  22. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
  23. Stop worrying so much.
  24. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect.
  25. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.
  26. Take naps.
  27. If you are not saving at least 10% of your salary, you are not saving enough.
  28. Yield to peace.
  29. Stop letting others bring you down to their level.
  30. Your family and true friends love you, no matter what.
  31. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
  32. You should not confuse your career/job with your life.
  33. Eat Healthily.
  34. Take the opportunity to watch the sunrise and sunset. Notice the beauty of small moments.
  35. Listen to Music.
  36. Smile.
  37. Get a life mantra - change it when you think you need another… e.g. Life is short - get on with it.
  38. Stop endlessly checking emails and surfing the web, look for something good to do.
  39. Do not work harder when the solution is working smarter.
  40. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
  41. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  42. Invest in Relationships.
  43. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. When upset, remember: "This too shall pass"
  44. Stop spending time with the wrong people. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.
  45. Mind Your Own Business.
  46. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
  47. Never confuse the complex with the difficult.
  48. Nothing is permanent. However good or bad a situation is now, it will change. Heraclitus
  49. The best is yet to come.
  50. Never confuse perception with reality.

These were my 50 affirmations. If you were to do this for yourself I’m certain that some or all would be different. I used it until I could get back on top and trust my instincts again. As I said before – I really used it to re-train my inner self and re-learn my values. Trust me, when you are lost and uncertain, you need all the help you can get.

And when I say I used them, I didn’t speak them out as affirmations are more commonly used, I just read and re-read them very often, and I tried to understand them deeply and believe in them… and this wasn’t a chore either btw, because I really needed them.

I still feel a bit pathetic that I picked up PTSD not from a warzone, but from a breakdown and it’s repercussions on my life and work following a feature film that was made in good spirit and with a lot of hope, but it’s a sad truth here. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events, and that anxiety or fear is constantly with you. It blocks your ability to think straight and make decisions. MY USE of affirmations, as I mentioned earlier was done UNKNOWINGLY of what they actually were, but out of a necessity for focus and order. The affirmations kept me on track. They saved me, and they could save you too.


AFFIRMATIONS are simply sentences aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind, so that in turn, they affect our behaviour, thinking patterns, habits and environment. The words automatically and involuntarily, bring up related mental images which inspire, energize and motivate us. The affirmations and the resultant mental images get engraved on the subconscious mind, which in turn, changes your behaviour, habits, actions and reactions.

  • They motivate.
  • They keep the mind focused on the goal.
  • They influence the subconscious mind and activate its powers.
  • They change the way you think and behave, and this can bring you into contact with new people, who can help you with your goals.
  • The positive statements make you feel positive, energetic and active, and therefore, put you in a better position to transform your inner and external worlds.

Stephen Covey says that: A good affirmation has five basic ingredients: it's personal, it's positive, it's present tense, it's visual, and it's emotional. UNQUOTE

The affirmations will affect your subconscious mind, and trigger it to act on your behalf. It is important that you don’t just repeat positive affirmations as lip service. You need to believe in them and want them to come true.

They change your mindset and do not allow room for negative thoughts in our mind. This leads to positivity, optimism, and recognizing opportunities. In turn, your positive and encouraging words enhance our energy and your skill to take advantage of opportunities.

I totally realise that all this might be a little difficult to get your head around, as there will be some inner resistance and disbelief, especially if you have been thinking negative thoughts all your life. As you continue though, the resistance will fade away, and your life will begin to change and improve in accordance with the words you are repeating.

Swami Kriyananda wrote, “The greatest mistake people make, is to belittle their own power to change themselves.”

It is natural for the mind to bring up doubts and negative thoughts, especially if your current environment and situation are very different from what you want to achieve. Persevere, and don’t let your negative thoughts and doubts conquer you. says that AFFIRMATIONS ARE DYNAMIC AND PRACTICAL — not wishful thinking. One reason they work is because they are based on higher truths, which, perhaps, we have yet to realize on a conscious level. The thoughts you often think and the words you often repeat, have a great effect on your life, your behaviour, and on how people treat you. These thoughts and words, in time, become reality.

This article also warns that you have to be careful with the words you repeat, and stay away from words and thoughts, which you do not want to become reality in your life. You must stay away from negative thinking, dwelling on the past and thinking about problems and fears.

Instead - program your mind to think on WHAT YOU REALLY WANT, not on what you don’t.

When I created my list, I read it every day, several times, and at night just before I went to sleep. As I researched this show though, many articles suggest that you devote some special times during the day for repeating them. Others say that you should repeat them wherever you are, and whenever you want and have the time. There’s a mixed message if ever I heard one. In short, do what works for you. This is just a tool, but another very powerful one that comes to you entirely free. Be the master of your own destiny. Take AFFIRMATIONS seriously and you will benefit from them.

Call To Action

As You Think, So Shall You Be.

Your call to action today is to create your own list. Look around the internet and build an affirmations map which will help you to find your way. If you are lost then you will likely know that you are.

This is a tool and a crutch which will give you strength and focus. Take it seriously and it will be immensely useful to you. “Don’t let your struggle become your identity.” Find the affirmations you need to move you forward and take back control.

REPLACE your NEGATIVE THOUGHTS with POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS, over and again, until this becomes a habit.


Thanks for taking the time to listen to my musings on the subject of affirmations. Autosuggestion is a powerful tool and if you have the courage to believe in it then you will benefit from this.

Next week I’m going to be talking about a blight on the modern world which comes in the form of Outrage Porn. It’s possibly not what you are thinking of but it’s another fascinating subject and one you won't want to miss. For now, though let me end with my 48th Affirmation which was based on the words of  Heraclitus

Nothing is permanent. However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.

Now, take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!

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Positive Affirmations and Statements and Why They Work

25 Positive Affirmations for a Positive Lifestyle

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December 1, 2019  


Today’s Episode is sponsored by THE FILMMAKERS PODCAST



Today I’ll be tackling a form of behaviour which I see more and more often and it took me a number of years to realise that BULLIES are as much a part of adult life as they were in school - but I’ve had enough of them, and I have started calling them out when they raise their ugly heads. They don’t like it though. They don’t like it at all....

Let me forewarn you that today’s show will be the longest episode to date and in numerous examples, I am about to relate I’m choosing not to name names so many years after most of the events took place.

With all that said, hang on to your seats and let’s talk about BULLIES AND THE SILENT MAJORITY.

 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt UNQUOTE


As I sit and think of examples for this show, I find that only a few of these hurts still linger painfully on my consciousness – the majority of the bullying experiences that I have been the victim of over the years have actually been put to rest. These examples therefore are not exhaustive and I don’t look for pity by recounting them -  Instead I offer them up as examples, warnings, if you may, of what you must look out for in life, and in work.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. Abraham Lincoln UNQUOTE

I’ll kick this off by talking about assistant directors – for those of you listeners that are not in the business, these are the people who manage the on set dealings on a film and who lead and drive the productions forward. Most of the 1sts I work with are good people. They are focussed on their work, and run a safe and happy ship, with a happy cast and crew, but which runs at a fast and driven creative pace that ensures it meets the planned schedule. There are those amongst the breed though which use gameplaying, sarcasm and in effect bullying, to meet the same fast and driven schedule.

There’s one AD that comes to mind that treated me in a way that they would never get away with now – As I’d be sure set them straight if they tried it. I had been working as fight director on a feature and one day I was given a background artiste, who was monumentally miscast and totally unable to perform in a fight with any level of competence. Now I’m good at what I do, but I am not a miracle worker and on this film, I was just not given the support I needed. The way that AD spoke to me when he saw this poor guy try and perform, was utterly unforgivable. He spoke to me like some lower life form and treated me like crap during the whole production.

One day he even left me behind at a location in the middle of nowhere with a crash mat so huge that it needed a truck to move – If it wasn’t for a junior producer who I respect greatly and who has now become quite successful in his own right, I might still be standing there. We had to squash it into the last vehicle left except us - The honey wagon, or toilet truck as you might know it, in order to get it to the next location. To say I was upset at that stage by my mistreatment is an understatement.

That AD’s behaviour towards me was terrible and yet he was never brought to task. These days I like to know who the 1st AD is before I agree to work as I have a list of horrible 1st AD’s that I avoid. A very shortlist, and that guy is top of it, but a list nonetheless.

Next, today, are the actors – not all actors I hasten to add – but the needy actors that drop me in it for no other reason than that they are seeking attention. An example of this would be those who - some way into the filming of a fight scene which I have carefully worked out with the actors, and on which I have checked in with them after each and every take to ensure they are happy and safe and been given the affirmative - to my surprise suddenly announce that they are actually finding it very tough and are struggling on despite the pain when asked by SOMEONE ELSE in production, for example, a 1st AD or a producer. I REALLY HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS AND IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. This is really just attention-seeking, which has the side effect of placing me in a bad position and threatens my future re-employment, but it is a form of bullying nonetheless.

On another feature, I was working as both fight director and second unit director and I picked up an incredibly painful injury called shin splints whilst rehearsing fights pre-shoot in a cold cold warehouse set. On this picture there was a makeup guy, with a very egotistic personality, who decided, not for a laugh, but out of sheer badness, to move my chair away from the secondary monitors whilst I had briefly stepped onto the set- and I’m up and down a lot during these things... When I returned I found my chair gone, and the space in which it had sat, now filled with other people, and heard giggles from that group, I was baffled by the behaviour. I hadn’t seen anything so overtly bully-ish since I was a child, and here it was in a so-called professional environment.

At the time I let it go as I wasn’t exactly sure who had done it but the incident was quite upsetting and unnerving to me I am a genuinely hard worker with a pleasant professional demeanour. I had done nothing wrong, I was injured and I found myself to be the butt of some evil joke with no explanation. I was genuinely taken aback by the disrespect with which I was shown.

One thing I’ve noted over the years incidentally is that some people read my pleasant professional and relaxed manner as a sign of weakness and on occasion, I have to kinda strengthen my resolve to something more authoritative when dealing with certain types of people - still remaining professional of course. Here I found myself being put through extreme pain seemingly for the pleasure of this bullish makeup guy and his cronies, all over seemingly over the real estate space my chair had been taking up next to the monitors. All this didn’t change the fact too that it was UTTERLY ESSENTIAL FOR SAFETY AND DIRECTORIAL REASONS THAT I SEE CAN ACTUALLY SEE A MONITOR. I found myself, injured and in pain, having to stand at the back and look over these fools to view the monitors. AFTER THIS HAPPENED, AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT, I NEVER SAT WITH THEM OR INTEGRATED WITH THEM AGAIN.

A more subtle form of bullying behaviour which I’ve experienced a significant number of times, and another key reason why I finally gave up producing and directing films, comes from THE SIDELINER. I’ve talked about this form of toxic behaviour in the past and it mostly happened to me at producer and director level - a SIDELINER is a person that you are collaborating with who starts to shut you out of communications, usually because they pertain to money or ownership of a piece of creative work, despite it being ESSENTIAL and CORRECT that you are included. If this starts to happen, let me tell you one thing I have learned from hard-won experience. You are being scammed. Either out of credit for the work or out of money, and you can guarantee you are being talked about in a negative light. If there’s one thing that’s happened all too often recently in fact - that really gets my goat - it’s people tricking others into believing that they to speak with my voice, my thoughts and my opinions.

Bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It's a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than good    Zack W. Van UNQUOTE

I’ve not been physically threatened very often, that’s just not the sort of behaviour I come across, but I know a crewmember who was physically threatened on an independent picture quite recently.

The bully, in this case, had made an incorrect assumption about that crewmember and they went barrelling after the innocent party, cornered them and gave them a ton of abuse about what the bully believed had been disrespect or uncaring attitude towards his “team”.

Now, this is something I do come across - There are people out there, who DESPITE HAVING NOT A CLUE, count themselves EXPERTS on many things and decide to give you their opinion on whatever it is you are doing. This guy took it further even than that.

Anyway, it reads to me that the BULLY was actually trying to show off to other crew members by confronting an innocent and trying to frame them for a crime they didn’t commit. Disappointingly for the bully, who was of the large muscly variety, the victim, in this case, a consummate professional, just calmly explained that his assumption was wrong.

In turn, the self-appointed righter of some imagined wrong took it as far as he could and even with a producer witnessing it, until the victim, and I use that word with a certain sense of irony as they were, in fact, a martial arts expert of very high standing, finally took bully took him up on their offer to fight. The bully, as you might expect in a bullying story like this suddenly had a change of heart, backed down and slinked off.

I’ll come back to these incidents later in the episode though as it’s not the end of the story or the lesson. 



When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour. Piers Anthony UNQUOTE

It’s not always easy to identify bullying as it can start out quite subtly and quietly. A bully will assess just how far they can go and even kind of befriend you or try to win your trust in the first place before targeting you. They may only turn on you in fact when they realise that their beliefs or passions or attitudes or religion or whatever are not the same as your own and it may at first be disguised in chit chat or sarcasm and be difficult for you to spot.

Elsewhere, what may read as bullying might not be. When bad behaviour is pointed out to some people, they may be profusely sorry – maybe they had been having a bad day – or they have trouble at home – I can certainly recall times I’ve been shorter than I like with people because I was worried about something at home – so remember the old adage Be kind, for everyone else is fighting battles that you likely do not know about.”

Some people too, just have large or loud or brash personalities and may not intend their actions or words to be hurtful.

I think what I’m saying is that it’s complicated - seemingly bad behaviour is not always intentionally bullying, but unintentional bad behaviour can still affect others in a negative way. I’m pussyfooting around another bullying territory, where some people have refined their character of VICTIM to such an art form, that they themselves have become the bully, and lie in wait to be offended and victimised. I’ll come back to these horrors in a bit as it’s kinda interesting… I’ll be using the term snowflake to capture this particular bully, but I do not intend to offend you with its use unless you really want to be of course.

I’m sure you know this but… A Snowflake is a derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, OR ARE overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.

I’ll be using the term SNOWFLAKE to identify a bully who is so easily offended and ready to complain or play the victim card as to be classified a BULLY themselves.

Michael J. Fox said “One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”

So BULLYING can include being yelled at, which I’ve seen happen a good few times in professional life – but I’ve also seen the opposite – people being accused of shouting when they are not – a true bully setting someone else up to seem like they are a bully - I’ve seen people being needled, sidelined or gaslighted by true bullies to the point where they are exasperated and kick off in frustration – then, in turn, they get unfairly accused of bullying while the instigator smiles quietly to themself.

Eye-rolling is a small annoyance but one worth mentioning nonetheless –  Eye rolling drifts into the area of bullying when it is used to undermine someone either quietly behind their backs for the benefit of others or directly to put them off, inferring “here we go again” or some other rudeness. I was once in an early meeting with the 1st AD for a feature film and when it ended, was told by my assistant that the 3rd AD was eye-rolling behind my back as I talked about avoiding a few particularly dangerous extras that were attracted to low budget action films. I never pulled her up about it, but do you know what? On the very 1st day of shooting, that 3rd AD put one of the three extras I had asked her to avoid onto the set with me. I couldn’t fucking believe it.

A quick Google search threw up a few more examples of workplace bullying.

  • There’s obviously verbal abuse, not necessarily shouting - like telling someone they are useless or unreliable or stupid or being ‘talked down to’ like what happened to me in my first example
  • Ill-treatment such as ostracism (‘being sent to Coventry’). I had that happen to me last year and will talk about it a little later.
  • Being constantly criticised, having duties and responsibility taken away without good reason – Yip tick that one-off, I’ve experienced that.
  • Shouting, aggressive behaviour or threats. – On occasion yes.
  • Being put down or made to feel the butt of the jokes – Yes tick that one too.
  • Being persistently picked on in front of others or in private – Yes but not so much these days. I can give off an air of supreme indifference to this sort of thing so they usually don’t bother me much.
  • Being constantly ignored, victimised or excluded regularly. Oh yes. Very annoying. Big tick on that one.
  • Constantly mocking and attacking - yip
  • Spreading malicious rumours – yip, two ticks on that one.
  • Misuse of power or position to make someone feel uncomfortable or victimised – yip – very prevalent in my experience.
  • Making threats about job security – absolutely
  • Blocking promotion or progress within the workplace. I’m sure it happens. Progress within the industry is near impossible at the best of times though so I can’t think of an example off the bat.

And it’s not listed here but cyberbullying should probably be mentioned. It’s a whole other thing but it can’t be ignored. I went through a couple of years where my website and email were attacked again and again, possibly by bots that had found a weakness in the sites structure or my email address which at that point was more easily online or maybe it was just by a troll with nothing better to do. For the record, I solved it by moving my site off of WordPress and changing my email host to Gmail, but it was a bit of a drag nonetheless.

Coming back to the topic of SNOWFLAKES; In an article in Psychology Today which I’ll link to in the show notes, Psychologist Jon Haidt contends that instead of learning to grapple with viewpoints that diverge from their own, students are now learning the “twin habits of defensive self-censorship and vindictive protectiveness.” In other words, they pretty quickly grasp WHICH VIEWS ARE PERMITTED AND WHICH ARE NOT, and LEARN TO CONFORM. When they disagree with accepted opinions, they know to keep quiet because others who hold accepted views will thoroughly lambast anyone who dares speak up. This is an incredible snapshot of modern society, not just students. I’ve certainly seen this behaviour many times in the film industry.

I’m trying to keep this show in ADULT territory but the article is a fascinating read – It says that in school “Good” children learn they can get away with mean-spirited behaviour like name-calling and social exclusion as long as there is unspoken peer agreement regarding which children are acceptable targets — and those targets are typically the unconventional, nonconformist, “different” kids – That’s probably us creatives btw. And these unspoken peer agreements of course, in school or in adult professional life, make it more difficult or certainly more high risk for us to call out, bullies.

In too many ways, political correctness has been a bully. JudgeJudy Sheindlin


Bullying can build too, to the point where you dread going to work, and where your home and family life is affected.

I can’t explain to you the misery I was put through at in a regional theatre show I was cast in when I was an actor and just starting out. Another actor in the production used to needle me and give me notes at every opportunity and got me so worked up about a certain scene that required our joint timing that I dreaded not only that scene but going into the theatre at all. I was stuck there though as there isn’t an option for an actor to drop out of something without causing a whole lot of trouble, so I suffered it and it was a miserable time for me. Years later, incidentally, that actor came and apologised to me, which was an interesting and welcome turn of events. I respect him greatly for that.

Another form of bullying I’ve experienced, although it may be regarded as just bad behaviour by most, is that of BEING USED AS A PROP FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S EGO. Last year I was hired to work on a show which had a lot of background re-enactor fighting extras, but not as fight director, as a safety advisor instead - and I was happy to fulfil that role. Now at the risk of this sounding like this is a promo for my fight work, I can say that I am really good at what I do, extremely experienced, stupidly good with a sword and beyond that, I am pretty darn fast. I had been asked to attend by the producer who was clearly concerned about safety, and quite rightly so.

On a few rare occasions that day, I found I had to intercede, very politely and quickly to keep things safe, but the director - who REALLY didn’t want me there in the first place it became clear - pulled me aside early on and told me he didn’t have time for my intervention. He only pulled me about 6 feet away from the others though so this ensured that everyone heard him in effect TELLING ME OFF. As he rushed back to continue his work I announced quite loudly, in response, that whether he had time for me or not, I was going to go right on ensuring that we do it in all a safe way anyway.

He didn’t say two words to me the rest of that day, but nobody got hurt and the number of background artistes that came and thanked me that day for my help in keeping them safe was very significant. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had so many people thank me on any other production – THE REENACTORS were clearly very happy I was there to keep them safe. About halfway through the day, I spoke to the producer about the incident as I was unnerved. He simply said I wasn’t there to be liked. I couldn’t really disagree so I went along with it. I’m just not in the habit of making enemies…

So how do we begin to combat this? What do you do if you are being bullied?

Most advice that I’ve read online says that in the first instance, you should seek to solve your problem informally. If you feel safe and comfortable speaking to them that is. Informing them that you will be taking a more official route if they don’t change their behaviour may be enough to stop the attack.

Michael Caine talks about this, but kinda in reverse - I’ve been looking for the exact quote but haven’t yet discovered it. He was to be working with a director who he’d heard was known for shouting at his actors. Before he started the film he said to the director “I hear you like to shout at people - I don’t like being shouted at” and he says “you know, that director never shouted at me once". Maybe that director was a bully and maybe he wasn’t but Michael Caine short-circuited any opportunity for bullying before it even started.

For many, the informal way isn't an option so if this is the case you should make management aware of what’s happening. If you are STILL not satisfied that the harassment has stopped, if it is not taken seriously by your line manager, or if the problem gets worse, you should seek to make an official complaint or, if you have one, take it to your union.

  1. Amy Cooper Hakim of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY SAYS BE CONFIDENT AND USE SIMPLE, UNEMOTIONAL LANGUAGE. She says “Bullies lose their power if you don’t cower. Deep down, they doubt they deserve your respect. They admire you for speaking with self-assurance and confidence. So when they bombard, don’t counterpunch. Rather, win them over with your strong, firm, courteous demeanour.” And she says “know that the victim does not intend to be victimized. It does not seek forgiveness, but does not pose a challenge either.” I tried this approach once, The bully became so enraged by my calm response and presentation of facts that it makes me laugh even now. I had caught them with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar and their rage was IN EFFECT staged to hide their embarrassment and humiliation at being caught out.
  2. Signe Whitsonsays, STAY CONNECTED. “Bullies operate by making their victims feel alone and powerless.” So you should keep people informed of your situation. It will also alleviate your stress about the matter when you share your problem and gain an ally.
  3. Psychology Today also recommends that we SET LIMITS. This is exactly what Michael Caine did in my earlier example. Chrissy Scivicque writes, “The trick is to remain polite and professional while still setting your limits firmly. Don't let the bully get under your skin—that's what he wants. Practice your response so you're prepared the next time something happens and you can respond swiftly without getting emotional. Keep it simple and straightforward, for example: ‘I won’t be talked to in this way.’”
  4. Whitson further tells us to ACT QUICKLY AND CONSISTENTLY. “The longer a bully has power over a victim, the stronger the hold becomes. Oftentimes, bullying begins in a relatively mild form—name calling, teasing, or minor physical aggression. After the bully has tested the waters and confirmed that a victim is not going to tell anyone or stand up for their rights, the aggression worsens.”
  5. Sometimes all you have to do with a bully is wait a little while and STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS COLD.. Rather than exchanging hostilities, step back so that you are not responding in the heat of the moment and meeting them on their own level. Cool heads find solutions more easily than hot ones. Besides, if you step back, they may do the dirty work for you. 

Wand another thing that all of the articles I looked at had in common was that YOU MUSTN’T SEE YOURSELF AS THE PROBLEM.

"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."  —​ Mahatma Gandhi UNQUOTE and he also said that Bullies are always to be found where there are cowards btw.

One article said that the reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of bully’s attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes.

I say that the person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you. It’s just the way things are. You don’t have to give yourself the additional burden of trying to change them. Remember that sometimes, a bully will always be a bully.


I’d like to look back over the situations which I have previously outlined, and by using Napoleon Hill’s method of ACCURATE THOUGHT, try and  figure out why they occurred and how we can protect protecting ourselves and others from it in future.

The 1st AD who talked down to me is fairly regularly employed for one very clear reason - he brings productions in on time: and that, in the end, seems to be all that really matters to many production companies. And the production company who put the film together to be fair, may never have even heard about my mistreatment, or the mistreatment of others  – And why not? Because I let it go and continued to work on in fear. My keenness, especially in my younger days, to make an impression and drive things on meant that making a formal complaint was not an option because I wanted to keep my job.

I 100% certain that at the time, if I had reported a grievance, that it would have been me that got dropped from the production and not the bully who was running the show. In hindsight what I SHOULD HAVE DONE was to confront the bully right then, just as Michael Caine did, and set out my limits. That talking to me in the way he did, dismissing my experience and my qualifications and placing me in situations in which I had absolutely no support, WAS NOT AND NEVER WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE. If I had done that, I believe things would have been different.  

Let’s look at another situation. The actor that drops me in it. Actors often don’t get taken to task over bullying behaviour as the aim of everyone on any given production is to keep things moving and shoot what’s on the call sheet OR if it’s a longer shoot and they are a main character, they may kinda get away with it, very likely with a talking to along the way from a producer, until they leave the production. The last thing we do on a busy shoot day is upset an actor that has important scenes coming up and 99 times out of 100 replacing them is usually not an option. Much of the time, therefor, a bullish actor is allowed to badly for a time at least, for the sake of peace, the saving of budget and for the sake of the show.

Over time though, what I’ve discovered is that an actor that does this to me will be playing other games with other people and their reputation will surely dive. This sort of trouble bothers me less than it used to as I mostly work with very awesome and very professional people.

Although the actors of which I speak may not know it, and you should know this now if you are one, causing upset and trouble, or playing games or bullying other actors or crew inevitably leads to one thing - being dropped sooner or later from the production or finding that unemployment occurs more often than it used to. What goes around comes around remember. A situation happened to me once with an actor who thought he’d give his opinion very loudly about a fight scene I had directed. It bothered me as it was early days in my career and I spoke to the producer about it. He said this to me. “Ignore him - he’s a wee BEEP”. And in one stroke this both calmed and reassured me. Unbeknownst to me, everyone already knew how difficult the actor could be. The act of complaining, was like water off a ducks back to the producer as he’d cried wolf so many times before. He was known for his power plays especially with bit-part actors or crew who were on dailies - and my reputation was untarnished.

Martin Luther King Jr said “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And this represents my greatest revelation about bullying in recent years…

I can affirm that now, I remember the inaction of my friends and colleagues with far greater clarity than the actions of the bullies themselves.

It probably doesn’t sound it but the bully that had moved my chair was one of the more troubling incidences that I recounted. This guy was an ass of the highest order, but I have noted over the years that asses, if they have talent or some other redeeming feature in the eyes of the producers - are very often left to behave in the worst ways.

Personally, if I’d been in a group when someone did this for sheer badness I would have spoken up - but not one of these people did. Why didn’t they though? Well, I’d put my money on peer pressure. They were scared to go against him for fear of being targeted themselves. It was a very poor show by my so-called colleagues that day but I’m happy to report that karma caught up with him on another production and one of his targets straightened up his attitude for him.

Finally, I want to revisit the situation that happened with the crewmember who was physically threatened. Unfortunately, they decided to walk away from that production as the immediate stance that the producers took was not to fire the bully but to let it pass. I think there was some noise created by those in his department which sounds something along the line of; if he goes I go, effectively putting the producers in a tight situation. From what I can gather though, by the very act of walking off the production brought about a number of fresh bullying complaints by other crewmembers about the same guy.

I get that the producers found themselves in a tricky situation and I wonder how I would have handled it myself – but this is a retrospective so I’ll say that I understand it but I disagree with how they handled it. With a producer having witnessed the threatening behaviour of one crewmember to another, they should have fired the bully. They didn’t, and this has had repercussions beyond that production. I’m sure too that this would have unnerved and caused upset right across their production as word went round that this sort of behaviour had been let to pass.

If they had stood their ground, and NOT ALLOWED THEMSELVES TO BE BLACKMAILED by that department, the film would have continued with different people in those roles and a happier and healthier and I’d like to think better production to show for it. As we discovered earlier in the season, they one broke the golden rule of success when they let behaviour like this pass.

If you are a producer it would time well spent, if you ensured you have an anti-bullying policy, or build it into your contracts from now on.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr. UNQUOTE

I’ve got to wrap this up but before I do I must go back to the situation where I found myself being side-lined, and which led to a very aggressive bullying attempt by someone, that to be honest - I had always known was difficult.

This was a situation where I did expect others to step up and help me – but I can only conclude that they didn’t want to put their head above the proverbial parapet for fear of being targeted themselves, and by doing so they chose to stand by and let me be abused. While a known bully is targeting one person, you see, it means they are not targeting someone else, and the others then feel safe. It’s a very sad and disappointing observation, but I believe that this is what was in play. In the long run of course, the bully will turn on them, and finally they too will realise that the time has come to stand their ground, or depart.

Summing Up

Desmond Tutu said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

I was that mouse and in the situations, I listed above and would have appreciated the help of a bystander if it had been offered… and if I was ever a neutral in the past I am determined not to stand by and let a bully get away with it any more.

The Bully has a Jekyll and Hyde nature - is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target of the serial bully's aggression sees both sides; whilst the Jekyll side is described as "charming" and convincing enough to deceive personnel, management and a tribunal, the Hyde side is frequently described as "evil"; Hyde is the real person, Jekyll is an act. Tim Field UNQUOTE

There are complicating factors in talking about bullies that I must mention, if you’ve not yet had enough. Issues raised when confronting BULLIES can be followed by counter-allegations of ill-treatment and unfairness and allegations of bullying will often follow on from disciplinary or grievance procedures.

When you call out a bully, they may well instigate some form of tit for tat response so be prepared for this. To protect yourself you should "document any incident of harassment in detail and include the date, times, place, who was involved, what happened, and the names of any witnesses.” I use the call recorder app to help me out in difficult situations like this that may happen on the telephone. If you haven’t heard it then look back to Episode 27 - FIVE MORE FREE APPS TO MAKE YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE to find out more. Bullies melt like the wicked witch of the north when faced with facts and figures, believe me, and armed with facts you will always come out on top.

My pain may be the reason for somebody's laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody's pain. Charlie Chaplin UNQUOTE

Call To Action

Your call to action today is simple.

1/ If you witness bullying, remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And step in and help.

2/ and If you are being bullied at the moment then use the tips that I have listed here to get back control. Hopefully, others will step up and help you, but if not, then:




And if that isn’t an option



And STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS COLD. Cool heads find solutions more easily than hot ones.


Bullies are bullish by nature and need to be called out. This doesn’t mean that they will stop their inherent bullying tendencies, but they will know that if they try it that they won’t get away with it.

That’s been a helluva long episode but I couldn’t let another series pass without going into this topic and once I started I knew I couldn’t do it by halves. I want to thank everyone that’s spoken to me about their experiences lately and all of the awesome production people that have supported me over the years. I have worked and continue to work with some truly amazing producers, production companies and 1st AD’s etc who really care about how things are done and how people are treated. I am lucky to have been working for many years with the BBC who are all over any form of bullying and I’m eternally grateful for the help I have found there over the years. I’m also thankful to British Actors equity, Bectu and BAPAM for being there whenever I need them. I’d also like to thank Giles Alderson of The Filmmakers Podcast for sponsoring this episode. It’s a great show so get subscribing.

I’ve got links to many of the references that I made here in the show notes and if someone would care to recommend any further links on this topic please do so and I’ll add them to the page.

I’ll end with the words of Abraham Lincoln “I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.”

For now, though, take control of your own destiny, stand up to bullies, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!

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November 24, 2019  

Mailbag Show FAKE FRIENDS AND OVERWHELM - Episode 46

EPISODE 46 – MAILBAG SHOW 1 “Fake Friends and Overwhelm”


During the last few weeks, you will have heard my special six-part series within the series based on Napoleon Hill’s awesome book, the Law of Success in 16 Lessons. I have been waiting with bated breath to see how it went down and from the positive vibes it’s been getting on social media all seems to be well. It was a very serious undertaking which nearly dragged me under but once I had started it I realised that I couldn’t back down or deliver it to you half-@ssed. I hope you’ve all found it helpful.

If you’ve not checked it out yet then please go back to episode 40 to listen to all 6 episodes in order. It’s over 3 hours of content which outlines A FORMULA FOR SUCCESS which is accessible to all. Please tell people about it and get them listening too. I plan to take the 6 episodes and make a FREE Udemy course with them for show promotion reasons so I’ll let you know when I get that together too.

Today I am answering various questions which you have been sending in, and I’ll get on to that in a minute - but first I must tell you how I managed to make myself a productivity nightmare out of this episode before I even started – and how you can avoid it if you ever have to do something similar.

The problem was that I asked people to get in touch with questions for the show but I was very broad on HOW TO DO IT. I created a rod for my own back as I have had questions in via Facebook, Twitter, the official website contact form, the official website’s speak pipe app, via WhatApp, my personal email address and the show one, Instagram messenger and verbally. Pulling these together was nightmarish.

For at least some of the questions I was able to forward them to the official email address as they came in but as I didn’t do it for all when I got really busy and had to focus on the fight work at hand. As a result - I have really struggled to find all of the messages that have come in but I have done my best,

For all future mailbag shows I will ask that messages be sent to the shows official email account which for the record is with the word MAILBAG placed in the Subject line. Further to that, I would request that questions come in which only have up to 50 words in them.

If you ever plan to ask folks for questions, whether you run a podcast, or if it’s just a social media post or something, I urge you to do the same.

Now as I have been working on this I have decided to split this episode over two shows. Although I didn’t have a particularly vast number of questions - the ones you did hit me with were really quite complex to answer. Part 2 of this episode will be released as an inbetweenisode in January.

Without further ado though, let's go on.


“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” ― Mark Twain Unquote

Ok so this first question, I’ve been struggling to cut down in length, but I’ve done my best – It’s from RHEA who is a screenwriter and producer in LIVERPOOL, UK. She says:

I made a film with someone that I thought was my friend but too late realised that they were very controlling and just liked to be the centre of attention.

My initial frustration was that they would say they had done things only for me to later discover when we were running out of time to get things done, that they hadn’t. I’d then have to do it myself, and they’d turn around and say ‘That was my job, you are just trying to take everything away from me!’

This happened time and again with important and imminent production level matters that the project would come to a standstill without. They’d put in the minimal effort like make one phone call and when they draw a blank, they’d just give up.

One time I very luckily saw the very thing we urgently needed, an action vehicle; so-called the company there and then and got it. When I went to a production meeting with this person and the director, they seemed happy that I’d got what we were looking for, but as soon as I was home I got lots of long nasty messages because they hadn’t been the one to get what we needed, even though they had previously admitted to giving up on it.

More often, they would openly criticise me IN FRONT of others. Once, in a room full of people they made a personal comment about me that silenced the room. Fortunately, those people then defended me.

The last straw for me was listening to them talk badly about someone else as they did with many people. I stopped working with them after that and they became nasty. They’d tell lies and makeup stories to make me look bad and make them look better and they would always play the victim, although I’ve since found out that’s something they’ve always done.

Their messages became abusive and threatening. I blocked every way they had of contacting me, but I know that any chance they’d get they’d try to make me look bad and gossip about me, even though I have never talked about them.

I have discovered since, that a lot of people already knew what they were like but didn’t tell me because we were “friends” and even admitted that they had avoided working with me because of them.

I know most people are grown up enough to listen to both sides of a story and get to know people before accepting what someone says about them, but it seems to be those few small-minded, not very smart people that believe a one-sided story, that stay in your head.

If you’re friends with someone and put time, effort and in some cases money into projects with them to only too late discover that they’re not your friend –

  1. How do you get over and move on from it?
  2. …and not let the lies and gossip affect you?

Better a good enemy than a bad friend. Plato UNQUOTE

Okay, Rhea, there’s a lot going here and I’ve done my best to streamline your questions, I hope without losing too much of the content. Let me deal with your last question first - How do you not let lies and gossip affect you?

"Zig" Ziglar was an incredibly successful American author, salesman, and motivational speaker who passed away in 2012. I quote from him often in my quotes of the day on social media as he gets right to the point of many of the problems that I have faced myself, and I trust his instincts and teachings.

He said that we should “Live in such a way that if someone should talk badly of you, no one would believe it.” (repeat)

You are not alone in having faced this sort of thing - I’ve faced it myself now and again as have many others. It used to cause me more concern than it does now, but I also understand how it can eat away at you, and burn up your mental energy and cause you upset and distress.

Zig Ziglar’s statement should give you the assurance that if this person is as you describe them, that the people who matter and whose opinion you actually care about have already very likely sussed them out. Or if they haven’t, they will soon enough. I think your point that others didn’t want to work with you because of them backs this up. Remember too the words of Eleanor Roosevelt who once said: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."

In a quote attributed to David Foster Wallace, although I did have to go into the quote investigator website to verify that as my Google search attributed it to someones Facebook page in 2012 which is ridiculous- Wallace said: You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do. I was looking up who said, “What other people think of you is none of your business” when I found that one – but I never did find the answer.

I’ll sum up on this though by also stating that what someone else thinks about you really does not matter. The only thing that matters is what you think about yourself. Do not give those who don’t even know you the power to determine your happiness. Take control of that – as you unhook yourself from other people’s validation, you become truly powerful.

An article by gives this advice

  1. You cannot read minds, so stop acting like you can. We all have a kind of negativity bias so we usually assume negative things. How many times have you found yourself thinking “Oh they all love my dress”? Never. Our brains just aren’t wired that way and as a result, you are probably making the wrong assumptions.
  2. Your own thoughts are the only thing you can control. Marcus Aurelius said: “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts” so you need to intelligently take control of them and not let them be hijacked by others. I know it’s not always easy, but you can do this. When you are preoccupied with what other people think, you are not in control of your own thoughts.
  3. A focused mind is one of the most powerful things on earth, We are all living in the future, living in the past or trying to live in someone else’s mind. If you are worried about what other people think, you will never really focus on what you want in life. If you spend your limited mental energy worrying about other people you won’t have anything left to focus on what really makes you happy.

Rhea’s first question was How do you get over and move on from a negative experience like what she went through with her once friend?

I’ve had very similar experiences to what you describe, and I doubt it’s limited just to creative work. I think we all face similar problems when interacting with others in life and work.

William Blake wrote It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. UNQUOTE

I heard a new word today whilst watching a YouTube video – The word was POUTRAGE. POUT-RAGE. That’s someone showing an expression of petulant annoyance and attacking you when they are revealed to be divisive, lazy or deceiving in some way. When you took over from that person and solved the problems which they had created, you showed them up to be one or all of the above. From the sounds of things, all of the above would be pretty accurate. I’ve faced it myself, and I talked about it in an earlier show, I can’t recall where. I found someone with their hand in the proverbial till, and they created a smokescreen of POUTRAGE to cover up the fact that they were caught out. Pout-ragers don’t immediately back down because they can’t – they are too committed to their fake outrage - but they do eventually lose steam. In the face of facts, they get very loud and angry but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

A good demonstrative example of this was that I once caught someone trying to scam me on my car’s dashcam. I pulled in behind a parked car and went into a shop. When I came out they had backed into me. They raged at me and ranted about how I had driven in and hit them and I simply said, I have a dashcam mate. They raged and raged and raged about it before buggering off. I posted that video on youtube to warn others. That video 100% proved they had lied and tried to scam me.

Those without evidence to back up their actions eventually lose steam because they don’t want to highlight the fact that they are wrong or have lied.

I’d say that your negative experiences on this film mirror many other filmmakers journey. My friend Bryan warned me of certain problems he’d faced on his first feature, and I, in turn, had many mirrors to his problems on my own so I think you can take heart in that you are not alone in your experiences.

The biggest frustration I personally experienced is similar to your own - that “some people” - perhaps even professionals you have to work with – seemingly believe the words of the person who has been poutraging.

I eventually let this go as those people that are unwilling to do a minimal investigation into claims, who accept what an enemy says about me or who despite overwhelming evidence still side with the poutrager, are not people I want to be connected. They who will soon learn the hard way that they have aligned with someone who is bringing them down. I shouldn’t say it but I smile quietly to myself now when I think of the foolish people who have not yet realised their error.

You don't lose when you lose fake friends. Joan Jett UNQUOTE

I’ve kinda covered getting rid of fake or bad friends in my episodes about toxic relationships etc so to finally answer your question directly, as I have wondered a little, I move on from bad or negative experiences by adapting and learning from them. I realise that’s another one of those productivity statements that sounds simple but is harder to put into action than it first appears btw.

For that reason, I’ll go a bit further. To move on you must:

1/ Learn from the past but don’t dwell there. No matter how painful they are, take some time to reflect on your experiences and realise that they will actually benefit you down the road. I never made a second feature (at least not yet) but the bad experiences I faced on my first, and it’s still causing me strife btw, almost make me want to make a second one because I feel like the bad experiences taught me so much. Instead of doing a second feature though, I make this podcast to ensure that the experiences at least benefit others.

2/ Next, Get the pain you’re feeling off your chest. Venting to a friend or writing it down like you did here for this episode will have helped you. Expressing your feelings will help sort out what, if anything, needs to be done to move on.

3/ Try and avoid taking on the role of the victim. It’s too easy and sometimes it feels good, but the problem is, blaming others prevents you from going forward and removes your ability to take control. It’s a form of auto-suggestion that if you are not careful, might permanently make you the victim, and forever take away your control.

4/ Another effective way to let go of the past is to embrace the present. Keep yourself active and enjoy the current moment. Learn a new skill. Meditate. Exercise. Whatever it is, just live in the moment. Look back to episode 22 on Rumination to find other ways to break that cycle. It will in effect freeze up your ability to move on.

5/ Before moving on again you might want to Disconnect. Take some time away so that you can clear your head. Remove yourself from the situation by distancing yourself from the people, places and things that remind you of it. When you return to start a new project, you’ll have a perspective on the past.

6/ Another thing to do before returning to this and possibly making the same mistake again, is to take inventory of the people around you. Who is negative and always bringing you down? Who are the people associated with the past that you’re trying to move away from? You may need to move away from these people to find more positive people who will empower you. I often refer to Jim Rohn who said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. This relates to the law of averages, which is the theory that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. If you have even one lazy person, one negative person or one divisive or toxic person in that group it will greatly affect your ability to move on as you will always be carrying, covering for or being frustrated by them. This, in turn, will ensure that you cannot ever bring all your focus to bear on the matter at hand. Look back to episode 40 to find out about THE MASTER MIND which is effectively what you need to create if you want to move forward with others.

7/ The final piece of advice I’d give is, as much as it rubs me the wrong way in principle, all the advice that I can see out there says that If you’ve been hurt by someone you need to forgive them. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth.” He presents 15 steps to help you forgive someone, which include things like embracing the past while moving on, making a new agreement with yourself, not going to sleep angry and being kind and generous.

In my experience, which has been strengthened by the GOLDEN RULE presented in the last episode of THE LAW OF SUCCESS. Forgiving others helps you to move on as it disempowers those who have bullied, frustrated or cheated us. It’s distasteful at first, but powerful and effective.

A fake friend likes to see you do well, but not better than them. Your negative experiences with that person on your project have been a costly lesson for you but one which will strengthen you as you go forward.

Today’s second question for this episode comes from my friend Ian O’Neill of the How They Did It Filmmaking Podcast in Canada – He asks: How do you cope when overwhelmed by a project?

Overwhelm is a 20-foot wave crashing into you. Repeatedly. Psychologist Marla W. Deibler described overwhelm as “feeling completely overcome in mind or emotion. When we think a stressor is too great for us to manage, we feel overwhelmed.” UNQUOTE

Part of my answer to this Ian is encapsulated in season 1 of this podcast, which I almost called Save Yourself or From Burnout to Badass. I created FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY to help people head off OVERWHELM and BURNOUT before it crashes upon them as I’d already had it pretty bad myself on my own first feature.

  • In Episode 1 I introduce the concept of intellectually taking control of our lives through the principle of higher-level thinking because this allows us to get in a headspace where we can take on the productivity advice that I offer. Without assuming a higher level of thinking. Of intelligent and accurate thought, we are going nowhere fast.
  • In Episode 2 I encouraged people to say “NO” to anything that didn’t further their own dreams and objectives – I continued this in the first part of the Law Of Success series, which talks about setting out a definite chief aim for ourselves. If you know exactly what you are trying to achieve, you can say no to anything that doesn’t take you closer to it. This frees up time and energy you would be giving away to others and allows you to bring it to bear on your own problems.
  • Finally, in Episode 3 I introduced a system for prioritising what is important over what is not. Separating the important and the unimportant, from what is urgent and what is not, along with the principle of saying NO often - will save many of us from being overwhelmed in the first instance.

Anxiety and fear are cousins but not twins. Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one. Max Lucado UNQUOTE

I do recognise however that it’s not always easy to do these seemingly simple things as life can be relentless as curveballs such as illness or changes in circumstances can get in the way. Your question was though, How do you cope when overwhelmed by a project?

As I researched my answer here, I noted that Anxiety seems to be the most common cause of overwhelm.

BTW I should clarify here that the overwhelm we are talking about is sometimes known as EMOTIONAL OVERWHELM - a state of being beset by intense emotion that is difficult to manage. When we relate this to projects, it manifests for many as STRESS AND ANXIETY and I will be taking that topic on later in the season as it’s a big one that deserves its own show. I might even make it my New Year episode. Who knows.

Feeling overwhelmed has many faces. It might manifest as an intense emotion, such as anxiety, anger or irritability; worry, doubt or helplessness; and behaviour, such as crying, lashing out or experiencing a panic attack. It can affect our ability to think and act rationally and prevent us from performing daily tasks. As we lock up in its grip we seem to achieve less and less and get more and more overwhelmed by the tasks that sit before us. suggests you consider these 6 things when dealing with overwhelm.

  1. Accept your anxiety. Has fighting your feelings of overwhelm ever helped you erase them? Probably not. More likely, battling your emotions only boosted them. Think of acceptance as riding out a wave of overwhelm.
  2. Change overwhelm-inducing thoughts. Thoughts of uncontrollability or unpredictability are the backbone of overwhelm. It’s the unrealistic or unreasonable thoughts that spark our stressed-out reaction. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to what we tell ourselves and learn to create helpful thoughts. Let’s say you have a mile-long to-do list, and all you keep thinking is “I’ll never get this done.” That’s a damaging thought that can lead to distress and anxiety. It paralyzes you from problem-solving and taking action. It goes right back to the rumination thing I spoke about earlier. Rumination is a poisonous and damaging habit to get into. Try and intellectually break it’s cycle so ask yourself “In what ways might this [thought] be inaccurate, unreasonable or unhelpful?” then re-write them in your conscious mind - If you think “I may not get it all finished today, but if I work on it or if I seek assistance, I will likely get it done;” then this conscious thought will affect your unconscious mind and put you back in control. If you stick to, I’ll never get this done, let's face it – you are already in trouble.
  3. Stop multitasking.“’Multitasking’ by definition implies that we are doing too many things at once,” so shift your perspective and change your expectation that everything has to be completed right now ‘or else. Do things one at a time. Use some of the simple techniques I describe in episode 9 FOUR HACKS TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION – to help you achieve things.
  4. Focus on the “now”. When you’re consumed with what may or may not happen in several minutes or months, you can’t appreciate the here and now. Schedule time to plan for the future, so you can breathe in the present moment.
  5. Take a deep breath. Deep breathing encourages our body’s relaxation response. Sometimes you just have to ta a minute to get your head straight. It can make all the difference to your mindset and your stress levels.
  6. Take action. And that action doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the project which is causing you overwhelm. Just engage in an activity that you enjoy, such as listening to music, swimming, reading a book or taking a walk. This can be enough to jump you out of the negative headspace you find yourself in and offer a solution.

I’ll add here that you should take a leaf out of the HOW DO YOU EAT AN ELEPHANT episode and if you are having difficulty dealing with it as it is, break your project down into a series of smaller parts. This can be done even if you have already split it down once already. Divisions can always be subdivided. Not thinking of your project as one big problem is a very direct way of stopping overwhelm as when you can intelligently break it down into a series of small tasks that you can chip away at it. That overwhelm feeling, although it may not entirely go away, at least becomes somewhat manageable in that instance.

This series is a good example of this. I am right now very frustrated that I still haven’t recorded the whole season as I was working so much and then picked up a cold, and even now have a chest infection which is slowing me down drastically. I feel frustrated but I don’t feel OVERWHELMED.

Another thing I do to help combat overwhelm is that I have a whiteboard written up and in an obvious place in the house which shows the progress of this series. I can see how close I am to completing each episode – which in turn is split into research, write, record, create promo image, find a sponsor and create a promo video. It’s frustrating when I am only very slowly ticking stuff off but it’s not overwhelming as I can still see progress.

One last thing that you should consider is to see what you can delegate to others. If you are trying to do it all yourself, you may find that you are feeling overwhelmed because you are simply taking on too much. If you can find people that will genuinely help, and who are not going to let you down, or betray you, as happened in Rhea’s case, then it will mean that you will progress further and faster than you will on your own. Listen again to episode 40 and the MASTER MIND LESSON as you must find people who will with you in HARMONY of purpose and effort.

My final question for today is this – and it’s come in from quite a few of you. It’s going to sound like I have set this up but I haven’t – The question is what you can do to help the show?

Well there are a few things that you can do to help

  1. REVIEW THE SHOW ON YOUR PODCAST APP. My good friend Gillian from The GoTo Agency in Glasgow always says sell the sizzle and not the steak. Reviews where people rave about the show give me great quotes which I can use to promote it. These reviews create a sizzle which makes others want to listen too. They are more valuable than you might think.
  2. RETWEETS AND SHARES ON SOCIAL MEDIA are more valuable than likes so if you have the opportunity to do so without boring your followers to death with them, please do so.
  3. TALK ABOUT THE SHOW in real life and on social media. If the show helps you, please talk about it. This helps the sizzle I mentioned before.
  4. ASK PEOPLE TO LISTEN. I have to admit that I am asking people to listen a lot myself when I meet them at work. I’m beginning to feel like it’s the kiss of death for getting a new subscriber though as I swear I don’t think anyone I talk to about the show ever actually listens to it. If you are out there listener – please stand up and let me know my efforts were not in vain.

The biggest problem I face with this show is not content or production – It’s simply finding new listeners. It is an inconceivably difficult nut to crack.

The listenership based on the information I have is about 650 to 750 downloads every two weeks which is up about 100 a week on last season, and as solo podcasts go, these numbers are really pretty good, but they are not GREAT. I want my listenership to grow as I make it to help people and so getting people to do that is the entire point of everything I do. It’s just... well – difficult. I make no money from this, far from it. So my frustration is that I just can’t figure out how to improve the numbers and although several listeners (Chris and Sheri are the most recent volunteers) have offered to very directly help me push it on out there - I can’t see where best to put my efforts.

When I apply Napoleon Hill’s Accuracy of Thought lesson it starts to become clear that Social Media, as a tool for podcast audience growth, is a dead loss. I recently said on Twitter that 99.5% of my followers DON’T ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THE SHOW, but the figure is nearer 99.8%. It’s demonstrably atrocious.

Social media does not convert into listeners – it’s just the truth of the matter. There’s plenty of “marketers” out there trying to convince me that it does, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram trying to sell me their services, but I’m yet to see how that dollar commitment to marketing the show turns into any reliable listenership. There are other benefits to social media though, and many current listeners do interact with me there so don’t worry. It will continue!

Call To Action

Your call to action today is to as always consider what has been said. Hopefully, you can apply it to your life and work and relationships. If you really would like to help, then getting on to your podcasting app and reviewing the show would be massively appreciated.


As I mentioned before I have split the content of this show into two separate episodes. The 2nd Mailbag episode, should if all goes as planned, go out in late January. I think it will be called “Technology and The Science of ‘When’” or words to that effect.

That last question there got me to thinking about my marketing. I removed this from the answer but feel it may be of interest to you. I have a few ideas to try, but feel free to get in touch via the contact page on the website if you are an expert in this field. I’m going to, over the next 9 months or so:

  1. Attempt to put up more video content, although I am yet to see evidence that this makes a difference to podcast listener growth.
  2. Sometime next year I will start putting the shows out on youtube. I think perhaps there is a listenership there.
  3. Offer myself up for interviews on other podcasts as their listeners may jump over to my show after listening tp those interviews. Anyone interested.
  4. Find influencers and celebrities to listen to and promote the show.

So we’re just about done here - Next week I’m releasing my longest episode to date, which given that I wanted to shorten my episodes this season shows how well that’s been going. Hashtag DOH! Catch it though as it’s a really good one - It’s called BULLIES and THE SILENT MAJORITY.

Let me end today with a quote from Will Smith If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success.

Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!

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  • You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website
  • You can follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity
  • Please support the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.


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November 18, 2019  


This episode is sponsored by George Wensley
Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity, the podcast that helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 45 – THE LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS: PART 6
This is the final episode of this special interconnected series within the series focusing on Napoleon Hill’s powerful book THE LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS. In whatever walk of life you are in, WANTING TO BE SUCCESSFUL is a universal theme that I felt vital to explore here on the show and this book based on Napoleon Hills own lecture tour I felt was the key to it’s delivery.
Now if you’ve not yet heard the previous shows on this topic then I’d strongly advise you to go back and listen to episodes 40 through 44 before listening to this one. Seriously, go back now and get listening, or you will not get the best out of this series.
The content in these shows has been my interpretation or direct quotation of NAPOLEON HILL’s words from the book with here and there a sprinkling of information gleaned from Hill’s later life. The main change I make in all of this is in neutralising the gender every now and again simply because I want to make the lessons as accessible for today’s audience as Hill intended it to be in 1928. As proven by Lesson 15, Hill was all about tolerance, equality and inclusion and he wouldn’t want his words of 1928 to be misinterpreted as something intolerant to the ear of a 21st century audience.
Before I proceed to THE GOLDEN RULE let me once again start with this.
Now I’ve used this phrase to precede every lesson so far, but every chapter except LESSON 4 actually begins with these words "You Can Do It if You Believe You Can!" - I deliberately changed it to Hill’s later phrasing WHATEVER THE MIND CAN CONCEIVE AND BELIEVE THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE as I believe he would have wished it to be so.
Bearing that in mind let me proceed to the 16th and final lesson in Napoleon Hill’s LAWS OF SUCCESS book.
That which you do not wish for yourself, DO NOT IMPOSE ON OTHERS. Umar UNQUOTE
LESSON 16 - THE GOLDEN RULE: This lesson is the Guiding Star that will enable you to profitably and constructively use the KNOWLEDGE assembled in the preceding lessons.
Put another way DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WISH THEM TO DO UNTO YOU IF YOUR POSITIONS WERE REVERSED. Hill wants us to understand one thing very clearly here: That there is more power wrapped up in the previous lessons of this course than most could trust themselves with; therefore, this lesson is what Hill refers to as the - GOVERNOR – or LIMITER - that will enable YOU TO STEER YOURSELF SAFELY DOWN THE PATHWAY OF ALL THOSE WHO COME SUDDENLY INTO POSSESSION OF POWER.
The rule is as old as time itself. It’s how we regulate our behaviour in civilised society and it’s the rock on which we build strength of character, as YOUR CHARACTER is but the sum total of your thoughts and deeds!
Socrates said it this way DO NOT DO TO OTHERS what angers you IF DONE TO YOU BY OTHERS.
Hill asks a question of this which you may have already been thinking and which those of us who just blindly accept such statements would not. He asks it as he has honed the art of accurate thinking within himself… The question he asks is why. WHY? What is the real reason for this kindly consideration of others?
His conclusion after years of study is this – That there is an eternal law which simply says WE REAP THAT WHICH WE SOW, also expressed as: AS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP. In more modern speak we may say, WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND or in simpler terms once again, THAT YOU MUST EVENTUALLY FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTIONS.
Hill states that not only is it advisable to “do unto others as you wish them to do unto you,” but to avail yourself fully of the benefits of this great Universal Law you must also “think of others as you wish them to think of you.” as the law upon which the Golden Rule is based begins affecting you, either for good or evil, the moment you release a thought.
As usual here Hill gives many examples of this law in action but he also warns us that a passive attitude toward it will you bring no results; IT IS NOT ENOUGH, he says, merely to believe in this philosophy, while, at the same time, FAILING TO APPLY IT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS.
If you want results you must take an active attitude toward the Golden Rule. A mere passive attitude, represented by belief in its soundness, will simply do you no good.
Richard Branson believes in this principle. He says “Play fair, be prepared for others to play dirty, and don't let them drag you into the mud.” Which is a pretty awesome line in the modern tongue.
What Hill is doing in this lesson though is ensuring that our character remains sound. Perhaps you have wondered, he says, why the subject of honesty has not been mentioned in this course, as a prerequisite to success, and, if so, the answer will be found here in this lesson. The Golden Rule philosophy, when rightly understood and applied, makes dishonesty IMPOSSIBLE. It does more than this – it makes impossible all the other destructive qualities such as selfishness, greed, envy, bigotry, hatred and malice.
When you apply the Golden Rule, you become, at one and the same time, both the judge and the judged - the accused and the accuser. This places one in a position in which honesty begins in one’s own heart, toward one’s self, and extends to all others with equal effect.
He presents in this lesson A CODE OF ETHICS to allow us to more concretely embody the law on which the golden rule is based.
In full this reads as follows:
1. I believe in the Golden Rule as the basis of all human conduct; therefore, I will never do to another person that which I would not be willing for that person to do to me if our positions were reversed.
2. I will be honest, even to the slightest detail, in all my transactions with others, not alone because of my desire to be fair with them, but because of my desire to impress the idea of honesty on my own subconscious mind, thereby weaving this essential quality into my own character.
3. I will forgive those who are unjust toward me, with no thought as to whether they deserve it or not, because I understand the law through which forgiveness of others strengthens my own character and wipes out the effects of my own transgressions, in my subconscious mind.
4. I will be just, generous and fair with others always, even though I know that these acts will go unnoticed and unrecorded, in the ordinary terms of reward, because I understand and intend to apply the law through the aid of which one’s own character is but the sum total of one’s own acts and deeds.
5. Whatever time I may have to devote to the discovery and exposure of the weaknesses and faults of others I will devote, more profitably, to the discovery and correction of my own.
6. I will slander no person, no matter how much I may believe another person may deserve it, because I wish to plant no destructive suggestions in my own subconscious mind.
7. I recognize the power of Thought as being an inlet leading into my brain from the universal ocean of life; therefore, I will set no destructive thoughts afloat upon that ocean lest they pollute the minds of others.
8. I will conquer the common human tendency toward hatred, and envy, and selfishness, and jealousy, and malice, and pessimism, and doubt, and fear; for I believe these to be the seed from which the world harvests most of its troubles.
9. When my mind is not occupied with thoughts that tend toward the attainment of my definite chief aim in life, I will voluntarily keep it filled with thoughts of courage, and self-confidence, and goodwill toward others, and faith, and kindness, and loyalty, and love for truth, and justice, for I believe these to be the seed from which the world reaps its harvest of progressive growth.
10. I understand that a mere passive belief in the soundness of the Golden Rule philosophy is of no value whatsoever, either to myself or to others; therefore, I will actively put into operation this universal rule for good in all my transactions with others.
11. I understand the law through the operation of which my own character is developed from my own acts and thoughts; therefore, I will guard with care all that goes into its development.
12. Realizing that enduring happiness comes only through helping others find it; that no act of kindness is without its reward, even though it may never be directly repaid, I will do my best to assist others when and where the opportunity appears.
As Hill nears the end of this lesson and the book itself he raises the point that “There are people who believe that the Golden Rule philosophy is nothing more than a theory and that it is in no way connected with an immutable law.”
Mike Michalowicz of ENTREPRENEURSHIP MADE SIMPLE, explains that IMMUTABLE LAWS are the rules of our lives. They define you. They define your business. They are a blend of ethics, core values and self-assigned law, all wrapped up into one. They are the rules we have defined for ourselves, almost subconsciously, on what is RIGHT and what is WRONG.
Here he touches upon something which I raised just a few weeks ago in my episode DON’T DO ME A FAVOUR - They have arrived at this conclusion, he says, because of personal experience wherein they rendered service to others without enjoying the benefits of direct reciprocation.
When I created that episode and DISCUSSED THE LAW OF RECIPROCITY, I didn’t know at the time that Napoleon Hill had ventured into the same territory so I’m going to give it a little time here. Hill says: How many are there who have rendered service to others that were neither reciprocated nor appreciated? I am sure that I have had such an experience, not once, but many times, and I am equally sure that I will have similar experiences in the future. I, however, will not discontinue rendering service to others merely because they neither reciprocate nor appreciate my efforts.
This is quite interesting to me as I did at one point discontinue a service to someone to whom I passed work that I couldn’t do myself. I woke up one day though as I had received a complaint about them, following my recommendation, and I realised in that instant that my goodwill had never been reciprocated during that whole time. Whether I stopped my recommendations because it was never reciprocated or whether I stopped it because a complaint came back to me is not something I’ve considered but it was probably a bit of both.
Napolean Hill’s reasoning is as follows: When I render service to another, or indulge in an act of kindness, I store away in my sub-conscious mind the effect of my efforts, which may be likened to the “charging” of an electric battery.
By and by, if I indulge in a sufficient number of such acts I will have developed a positive, dynamic character that will attract to me people who harmonize with or resemble my own character.
Those whom I attract will reciprocate the acts of kindness and the service that I have rendered others, thus the LAW OF COMPENSATION will have balanced the scales of justice for me, bringing back through one source the results of service which I rendered to an entirely different one.
The LAW OF COMPENSATION incidentally was proposed by Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay, "Compensation," – He wrote that EACH PERSON IS COMPENSATED IN LIKE MANNER FOR THAT WHICH HE OR SHE HAS CONTRIBUTED. The Law of Compensation is another restatement of the Law of Sowing and Reaping. The Golder Rule.
Nothing in the Golden Rule says that others will treat us as we have treated them. It only says that we must treat others in a way that we would want to be treated. Rosa Parks UNQUOTE
Hill asks If someone should fail to reciprocate your kindness - what then? He answers that We have profited, nonetheless, because of the effect of our act on our own subconscious mind! This is, of course, an extension of Hill’s belief in the habit of AUTO SUGGESTION and it’s exactly what I was talking about in my episode on favours. DON’T DO A FAVOUR IN EXPECTATION OF RETURN OF THAT FAVOUR. Give it freely and in time your kindness will be repaid.
If you need further proof that the GOLDEN RULE is worth your time and effort, consider how your hostile or unkind acts toward others bring back the effects of retaliation which is usually definite and immediate.
THE LAW OF RETALIATION is more widely known as "An eye for an eye"
This habit is a form of POSITIVE THOUGHT which develops in you a DYNAMIC PERSONALITY and feeds your SELF CONFIDENCE. It will help you to ATTRACT the forces you require to reach your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM.
Summing Up
It will hardly come as surprise to you that have stayed the course of all 6 episodes in which I delve into Napoleon Hill’s LAW OF SUCCESS that I am now about to recap on all of the lessons that have been presented. I’ll let the words of Mr Hill take you forward into this.
You have now arrived at the point at which you should take inventory of yourself for the purpose of ascertaining what qualities you need - to give you a well-balanced and rounded out personality. Fifteen major factors entered into the building of this course. I ask you to ANALYZE YOURSELF CAREFULLY, with the assistance of one or more others if you feel that you need it, for the purpose of ascertaining in which of the fifteen factors of this course you are the weakest, and then CONCENTRATE YOUR EFFORTS UPON THOSE PARTICULAR LESSONS until you HAVE FULLY DEVELOPED THAT WHICH THEY REPRESENT.
In the introduction Hill thanks ANDREW CARNEGIE, who suggested the writing of the course, and HENRY FORD, whose astounding achievements form the foundation for practically all of the Sixteen Lessons contained within. Finally he singles out EDWIN C. BARNES, a business associate of THOMAS EDISON, whose close personal friendship over a period of more than fifteen years served to help the author “carry on” in the face of a great variety of adversities and much temporary defeat which he had met with.
In summary then, THE LAW OF SUCCESS is as follows.
LESSON 1 – The "MASTER MIND": is an invisible stronger third mind, developed through friendly alliance, in a spirit of harmony of purpose, between two or more minds. No two or more minds ever met without creating, out of the contact, another mind. This invisible creation is not always a "Master Mind." Though - That ONLY forms when two or more people work together in harmony of purpose and effort.
LESSON 2 – A DEFINITE CHIEF AIM: You must do away forever with aimlessness and fix your heart and hand upon some definite, well-conceived purpose. In your struggle for success, you should keep constantly in mind the necessity of knowing what it is that you want - Know precisely what your definite purpose is - utilise the principle of organized effort in the attainment of that DEFINITE PURPOSE. If you don’t know where you are going, then you’re never going to get there.
LESSON 3 - SELF CONFIDENCE: Believe that you are worthy of success and that you can attain it. Without truly understanding this - you will probably get nowhere with most of your goals. If you are not confident, then you cannot sell yourself in life.
LESSON 4 - THE HABIT OF SAVING: Formation of the Habit of Saving not only conserves that which you earn, in a systematic manner, but it also places you in the way of greater opportunity and gives you the vision, the self-confidence, the imagination, the enthusiasm, the initiative and leadership to actually increase your earning capacity. Amongst other things if you are trying to develop a HABIT OF SAVING then you must learn to kill the habit of unnecessary spending.
LESSON 5: INITIATIVE AND LEADERSHIP – Initiative is DOING THE RIGHT THING WITHOUT BEING TOLD. Leadership is essential for the attainment of Success, but Initiative is the very foundation upon which this necessary quality is built.
LESSON 6 - IMAGINATION: You will never have a definite purpose in life, you will never have self-confidence, and you will never have initiative and leadership unless you first create these qualities in your imagination and see yourself in possession of them.
LESSON 7 - ENTHUSIASM: A state of mind that inspires and arouses one to put action into the task at hand - it is contagious, and vitally affects not only the enthusiast, but all with whom he comes in contact.
LESSON 8 – SELF CONTROL: When you take control over the thoughts you are thinking, then you can take control of your success. SELF-DISCIPLINE IS THE MOST ESSENTIAL FACTOR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONAL POWER, because LACK OF IT works hardships on those who become its victims, and THOSE WHO DO NOT EXERCISE IT suffer the loss of a great power which they could use in the achievement of their DEFINITE CHIEF AIM.
LESSON 9 – THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR: If you are going to whine about your work, then you are not going anywhere. Do the work you have in front of you, then ask what else you may do. By doing this, you make yourself valuable, and you will surely reach a point where you are being paid handsomely. Valuable employees are... valuable. This is also and especially true when you are working for yourself.
LESSON 10 - PLEASING PERSONALITY: His advice is have one, and if you don’t have one, cultivate one. Mediocrity does not care if you are pleasant or not. Success DOES.
LESSON 11 - ACCURATE THOUGHT: Separate facts from mere information. Then separate facts into two classes; the IMPORTANT and the UNIMPORTANT, or, the RELEVANT and the IRRELEVANT. All facts which will aid you to any extent whatsoever in the attainment of your definite chief aim are important and relevant; All that you cannot use are unimportant and irrelevant.
LESSON 12 - CONCENTRATION: "Concentration is the act of focusing the mind upon a given desire until the ways and means for its realization have been worked out and successfully put into operation"
LESSON 13 –COOPERATION: The implementation of cooperation between yourself and others who are going to help you get to your goal. Cooperation must also exist between your conscious and subconscious mind so that they may work harmoniously in your favour.
LESSON 14 – FAILURE: Yes! Fail, and be happy that it is bringing you one step closer to success. Failure is inevitable, and it is a great step towards the right direction. Replace "failure" with "temporary defeat".
LESSON 15 –TOLERANCE: Don't practice prejudice or racism. It is IGNORANCE, and it is a barrier to success. Just see the best in people and situations, and focus only on your goal and the good for all.
And finally LESSON 16 – THE GOLDEN RULE: “Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you,” and to avail yourself fully of the benefits of this great Universal Law you must also “think of others as you wish them to think of you.” As the law upon which the Golden Rule is based begins affecting you, either for good or evil, the moment you release a thought.
Call To Action
Your call to action today is not only CONSIDER THE GOLDEN RULE but to take up this challenge which Hill lays out: Analyze yourself carefully, with the assistance of one or more other persons if you feel that you need it, for the purpose of ascertaining in which of the fifteen factors detailed in this course you are the weakest, and then concentrate your efforts upon those particular lessons until you have fully developed that which they represent.
I will make my breakdown of the 16 lessons I just went through available through the official website as a PDF download, so go there as a starting point. Also on today’s show notes, I’ll be giving the download links to all of the versions of the text that are available in the public domain, plus an audio download of his 1954 film which encapsulates this and YouTube links to boot.
So that is the end of this 6 episode mini-series. I hope that you have found it beneficial and I hope too that it leads you towards the success which you seek in life.
This has been a helluva undertaking for me which has shoved me beyond a few of my own deadlines, but I realised once I have started that to not properly cover it all would have been a disservice to you.
Thanks too to all of you that have sponsored these episodes and to all of the international listeners in Australia, Hong Kong, the US, Canada and Germany as I get a helluva a lot of downloads in those places. Wherever you are in the world I hope that these lessons have been useful and lead you towards success.
Next week, I will be responding to listeners questions, in a special MAILBAG episode, but for now, bearing in mind all that we have learned from Napoleon Hill over the last six episodes let me end with a quote from
Thomas Sowell who said – “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
Insert of Napoleon Hill's voice.
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When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination. Thomas Sowell UNQUOTE
November 17, 2019  


This episode is sponsored by U.S. repeat supporter Connie
Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity, the podcast that helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 44 – THE LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS: PART 5
In whatever walk of life you are in, SUCCESS is a universal theme that will be of interest. This is the fifth of six interconnected episodes about Napoleon Hill’s powerful book and if you’ve not yet heard the previous shows then I’d strongly advise you to go back and check out episodes 40 through 44 FIRST before listening to this one. My aim is simply to give you a glimpse of the power that lies within its pages, but there is an order to the lessons that he presents and starting here may cause you some confusion.
For streamlining purposes I don’t always identify sections of quoted text but, for the record, much of the content is either my interpretation or direct quotation of NAPOLEON HILL’s words. The main change I make is in neutralising the gender every now and again because I want to make the lessons as accessible for today’s audience as Hill intended it to be in 1928. As we will discover a little later on, Hill was all about equality and inclusion.
It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that your greatest successes will be derived Ralph Charell UNQUOTE
LESSON 13 - COOPERATION: Hill concluded after his 25 years of research that it is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed and that the top of the LADDER OF SUCCESS will never be lonely as you can't help but bring others with you.
He first explains in this chapter that COOPERATION must exist between your conscious and subconscious mind so that they may work harmoniously in your favour through the use of AUTO SUGGESTION: As we have heard before, this is a form of self-hypnosis or self-induced psychological suggestion which individuals use to guide their thoughts, feelings, or behaviour.
We often hear talk of people using affirmations in this way as part of a morning ritual perhaps and I’ll be looking at AFFIRMATIONS in an upcoming episode later this season so I won’t spend too much time on this here today. In effect what Hill wants us to understand is that it’s a proven fact that the subconscious or what he calls subjective mind can be affected by the conscious mind.
When you impress any idea on your sub-conscious mind you do so WITH THE AID OF THIS SYSTEM: and when your subconscious mind works out a definite plan to achieve any desire with which you impress it, THAT PLAN IS DELIVERED BACK TO YOUR CONSCIOUS MIND THROUGH THIS SAME SYSTEM. This is the first essential part of this lesson in co-operation and a new angle on an old idea which we have previously discussed in the earlier lesson on IMAGINATION.
The second essential element of Co-operation IS THE MORE OBVIOUS ONE - that those who unite or group themselves together for the purpose of attaining a given end do so in the spirit of cooperation. In the first lesson this was discussed in terms of THE MASTER MIND principle and in the second we referred to this sort of cooperation as ORGANIZED EFFORT.
As we learned there, POWER is the ORGANIZED EFFORT with which we will gain success. We will hear more about the power of CO-OPERATIVE EFFORT and see the important part that it plays in the development of power in the final lesson. For now, I will say that the four most important factors that enter into the process of organizing effort are:
  • · Concentration,
  • · Co-operation,
  • · Co-ordination and
  • · ENERGY.
PERSONAL POWER is achieved by developing, organizing and coordinating the faculties of the mind and it is the first step to be taken in the development of the potential power that is available through the medium of what we know as ALLIED EFFORT, CO-OPERATION, or GROUP POWER.
True success in life, hill says, cannot be attained except through peaceful, harmonious, co-operative effort. Success cannot easily be attained single-handed or independently.
If you analyse POWER, he continues, no matter where, or in what form it may be found, you will find organization and co-operation at the back of it. We are living in a world in which the law of the survival of the fittest is everywhere in evidence. Those who are “fit” are those who have power, and their power is ORGANIZED EFFORT.
Even if it doesn't work, there is something healthy and invigorating about direct action. Henry Miller UNQUOTE
Hill gives time in this lesson to make absolutely clear too, that we must become people of action if we are to achieve our DEFINITE CHIEF AIM. Action, in the sense that the term is used in this lesson, comes in two forms. One is physical and the other is mental. You can be very active with your mind while your body is entirely inactive, or you can be very active with both body AND mind.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln UNQUOTE
Hill wants us to know too that there can be as much ACTION in PREPARATION, as in EXECUTION. As the one putting together this podcast I can vouch for that. These six episodes have taken an age to prepare. But without my research, my re-writing and my intelligently concentrated accurate thinking on these topics, it would be a very thin and fragile series indeed.
Hill warns that we cannot become people of action if we are not fit, if we are addicted to substances or if we do not eat properly. I’m skimming over a lot of this here but there is one thing he highlights which again I will be tackling quite soon in another episode. WORRY.
“There is another enemy which you must conquer before you can become a person of action, and that is the WORRY habit. Worry, envy, jealousy, hatred, doubt, and fear are all states of mind which are fatal to ACTION.” He raised these points earlier in the 16 LAWS series when he was discussing SELF CONFIDENCE.
Remember folks that Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. Corrie Ten Boom UNQUOTE
I really have to drive this episode on but as a final word on COOPERATION he points out that “the world pays you for WHAT YOU DO and NOT FOR WHAT YOU KNOW.” And he takes this further, saying “What the world really pays you for is what you do or what you can get others to do.”
He also talks of motivating forces and killing procrastination and a hundred other things, again and again returning to the earlier advice which he has given on achieving your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life.
“If you plan to attain the object of your chief aim through the co-operative efforts of others, you must set up in the minds of those whose cooperation you seek A MOTIVE STRONG ENOUGH TO ENSURE THEIR FULL, UNDIVIDED, UNSELFISH CO-OPERATION.”
This will be made far more achievable when you have developed your pleasing personality and enthusiasm skills which were discussed in earlier lessons.
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Henry Ford Unquote
Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street. Zig Ziglar UNQUOTE
Failure is inevitable, and it is a great step towards the right direction so Hill suggests we embrace it and replace "failure" in our minds with the term "temporary defeat".
Moreover, he says, let us see if this temporary defeat is not usually a blessing in disguise, for the reason that it brings us up with a jerk and redirects our energies along different and more desirable lines.
I looked at this in my inbetweenisode WHY IT’S OK TO GIVE UP and again in my 1st show of this season BEST LAID PLANS and Hill here validates much of what I say there. I won’t spend too much time on his words here today but let’s have a brief look at his angle on it as how we deal with failure is an important lesson in the LAW OF SUCCESS.
STRENGTH GROWS OUT OF RESISTANCE; Hill reminds us, and we shall learn, in this lesson, that SOUND CHARACTER is usually the handiwork of set-backs, and temporary defeats, which the uninformed part of the world calls “FAILURE.”
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. Alexander Graham Bell UNQUOTE
Hill starts this chapter with a list of seven personal anecdotes that demonstrate defeat and recovery, of newly opened doors and opportunities and in the end, he admits that “I am glad to have experienced so much defeat! It has had the effect of tempering me with the courage to undertake tasks that I would never have begun had I been surrounded by protecting influences. Defeat is a destructive force only when it is accepted as failure! When accepted as teaching some needed lesson it is always a blessing.
He continues - In view of what I have learned of the value of enemies, if I had none I would feel it my duty to create a few. They would discover my defects and point them out to me, whereas my friends if they saw my weaknesses at all, would say nothing about them.
Oh how telling that is. Have you ever considered it? An awful lot of us are stuck in a dead-end of work or life problems due to our inability to recognise or accept our flaws and it’s our friends' politeness, or fear of upsetting us, which is stopping them from helping. Again and again here, Hill points out that which I have not spoken aloud myself but which I have give some consideration over the years.
Zig Ziglar says If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost.
Hill’s embrace of the phrase “temporary defeat” is so overwhelmingly complete that he craves it but warns that we must have considerable courage too, to look upon it as a blessing in disguise.
Defeat talks to us in a language all its own, he says, a language to which we must listen, whether we want to or not. He points to the great men of his day who have battled their way to the top despite their failures, or temporary setbacks, and we could level comparisons of our own here too.
My favourite example is that of JK ROWLING: In 1995 all 12 major publishers rejected Harry Potter. A year later a small publishing house, Bloomsbury, accepted it and extended a very small £1500 advance. In 1997, the book was published with only 1000 copies. In 1997 and 1998, the book won awards from Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year. Today, Rowling has sold more than 400 million copies of her books and is considered to be the most successful woman author in the United Kingdom.
I could cite many others. Bill Gates, Stephen King, Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison. It’s hard I know whilst you are in it, as life just wears you down, but we can take heart in seeing that others have made it ahead of us. As I said right at the start of this 6 part mini-series, “Success is a very profound and interesting thing because the line of demarcation between success and failure is so slight that it is often hard to see where one ends and the other begins.”
Be thankful for the defeat which many call failure, because if you can survive it and keep on trying, it gives you a chance to prove your ability and to rise to the heights of achievement in your chosen field of endeavour.
LESSON 15 - TOLERANCE: Hill makes two significant statements about intolerance at the beginning of this lesson.
  • First: INTOLERANCE IS A FORM OF IGNORANCE which must be mastered before any form of enduring success may be attained. It is the chief cause of all wars. It makes enemies in business and in the professions. It disintegrates the organized forces of society in a thousand forms, and stands, like a mighty giant, as a barrier to the abolition of war. It dethrones reason and substitutes mob psychology in its place.
  • Second: Intolerance is the chief disintegrating force in the organized religions of the world, where it plays havoc with the greatest power for good there is on this earth; by breaking up that power into small sects and denominations which spend as much effort opposing each other as they do in destroying the evils of the world.
I thought I’d quote that opening directly as Hill is very specific and likely at the time was incredibly forward-thinking about all of this – He is saying don't practice prejudice or racism. IT IS IGNORANCE, AND IT IS A BARRIER TO SUCCESS. Just see the best in people and situations. Focus only on your goal and the good for all.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. Martin Luther King, Jr. UNQUOTE
It is obvious that anything which impedes the progress of civilization, such as intolerance, stands as a barrier for the individual; and anything that clouds the mind of the individual and stops his mental, moral and spiritual development, impedes, also, the progress of civilization.
We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. Jimmy Carter UNQUOTE
So this whole lesson details a significant number of examples and studies of how INTOLERANCES in religion, in politics, in race relations and in differing cultural or family backgrounds are the direct cause of wars and disruptions and Hill’s point in all this is I think that INTOLERANCE is AN UNFORGIVABLE ELEMENT THAT DISRUPTS ONE OF THE CORNERSTONES OF HIS 16 LESSONS.
Without TOLERANCE our ORGANIZED EFFORTS will fail because the HARMONY that is required will be disrupted beyond repair by INTOLERANCE. ORGANIZED EFFORT and the actions of COOPERATION between us as we work towards our SINGLE CHIEF AIMs will be destroyed by INTOLERANCE and ACCURATE THOUGHT cannot be relied upon if INTOLERANCE is present within it.
Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. Mahatma Gandhi UNQUOTE
Hill ends this lesson with an essay on intolerance. These are the final words of that essay.
I am hoping I will find only human Souls, Brothers and Sisters all, unmarked by race, creed or colour, when I have crossed the Bar to the Other Side. For I shall want to be done with Intolerance so I may lie down and rest an æon or two, undisturbed by the strife, ignorance, superstition and petty misunderstandings which mark with chaos and grief this earthly existence.
Here endeth lesson 15 of the law of success in 16 lessons.
Summing Up
So, to sum up on this episode, let me go over the basics of today’s lessons.
LESSON 13 –COOPERATION: The implementation of cooperation between yourself and others who are going to help you get to your goal. Cooperation must also exist between your conscious and subconscious mind so that they may work harmoniously in your favour.
LESSON 14 – FAILURE: Fail, and be happy that it is bringing you one step closer to success. Failure is inevitable, and it is a great step in the right direction. Don’t let it bring you down. Simply replace "failure" with the words "temporary defeat".
And LESSON 15 –TOLERANCE: Don't practice prejudice or racism. It is IGNORANCE, and it is a barrier to success. Just see the best in people and situations, and focus only on your goal and the good of all.
Call To Action
Your call to action this week is to embrace your failures, and consider how they have brought you closer to success, taught you invaluable lessons and made you a person of character. Gather from them the strength to continue on, and re-write your negative feelings about your experiences, renaming them TEMPORARY SETBACKS instead of failures.
“Success is a very profound and interesting thing because the line of demarcation between success and failure is so slight that it is often hard to see where one ends and the other begins.”
Remember: No one has the right to brand you as a failure except yourself.
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas Jefferson UNQUOTE
The next episode will be the final show in this 6 part series within the series documenting the law of success in 16 lessons. After that, we will be back to the usual style of shows. Next time I will be recapping on all that has come before and introducing LESSON 16. THE GOLDEN RULE.
I’ll end today though with a very famous quote of Mr Hill’s which I riff upon quite often here “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
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