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The Greatest of Gifts

You're always on dangerous ground when you use a superlative, so a little qualification first. 

I'd probably argue that the greatest gift of all is life. 

But given that - as you're reading this musing - life is something we share, a kind of base line delight and privilege, I'm talking about something extra.

And for me, that's imagination.

An example of how it can amuse, engage, entertain, and so much more -

I was riding back from a meeting in Cambridge this week, and saw a delightful view - 

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Planting Ideas and Inspirations

It's long been a habit of mine to eat trees full of apples.

Orchards of the things I must have gotten through in my time.

I think it dates back to my TV reporting days.

I vaguely remember once getting worried about my weight, in one of those angst moments of the thirties, and deciding to cut out biscuits, and chocolate, and other such snacks. 

But that left me lacking energy in a job where energy is essential. So I started eating apples instead, and never stopped. 

I would always respect nature's ingenuity and try to dispose of the cores somewhere they might find new life, in a patch of trees, or scrubland. 

And my dear cameraman, Adie, would often say, "That's another apple tree planted." 

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Return on Investment

One of my goals on moving to Cambridge was to get to know more about business. 

I've spent most of my life in the public sector, so, in my way of trying to never stop growing, wanted to learn about the private sector world. 

It's been a pleasure doing so - and my respect for business people has only increased, with the extraordinary hard work they put in and the risks they take to follow their dreams.

But there is one big collision between my private and public sector self. Which is this - 

There's a phrase in the world of commerce that you hear a lot, because it's so important -

Return on Investment. 

It's all about finding a way to invest money which brings you even more money, and is fair enough. 

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The Finest of First Impressions

I'm going to do something dangerous, and possibly ill-advised here, and enter the debate on dress codes. 

Yes, before you say it, I know I'm hardly one to have much of an opinion on clothing, or fashion, but...

Last week, I gave a Secrets of Success aspiration talk at the excellent Harington School in Rutland. 

You always know what kind of a school you're visiting - well run, with high standards, or sadly otherwise - within the first few minutes.

If everything is organised, you're expected, there's someone waiting for you, your presentation is loaded up and ready to run, then it's going to be a good session. 

But Harington managed to achieve something I've never known before in terms of a welcome - 

Two students were awaiting my arrival at the train station!

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A Stark Divide

There's a stark divide in life, one which separates people I very much want in my world with from those I very, very much don't.

And, happily, there's a straightforward test to work out who's who. 

I did something rare last week, and had a little time off.

Some fine old friends came visiting, I showed them Cambridge, and we watched the World Cup; a simple, but effective plan. 

Steve, Trevor and John (you'll immediately recognise the film star presence of the other buffoon) did't know each other until I introduced them, and I'm proud to say they all got on straight away. 

I was wondering why that might be, and came up with a whole lot of thoughts -

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