The Wisdom Of Marty McCormick

MartyI think I’ve probably said this before, but the very best part of being an author – more so than even putting the words down – is interacting with readers and hearing how so many of you have taken some of the simple ideas I write about, and used them to make huge changes for the better.

With that in mind let me introduce you to my new best pal; Marty. He’s currently in India somewhere, ticking things off his Now List long before those ideas even make it out of his head and onto a piece of paper – and I can’t claim any credit!

Hi Peter. My name is Martin McCormick, and two and a half years ago I started a journey that I thought you’d find interesting.

I was a normal teenager, but in my case things didn’t always work for me. Apprenticeships came and went, jobs didn’t work out. Also I didn’t have a girlfriend and never had. So similar to your book, I woke up one Monday morning wanting to get away from this pointless life off mine, and the never ending disappointment of dead ends and missed opportunities. I packed up my bags, said my goodbyes, and tried to start a fresh.

I moved to the middle of England with no plan, no job prospect – just me and my suitcase. But ever since that day my life went from nothing to everything. Just by taking that leap into the unknown and by using techniques similar to your book. I too met the perfect blonde, and found a job which made me feel good about getting up in the morning. My life changed dramatically!

I used England as a stepping stone and now me and my girlfriend are currently in India exploring the world. I really couldnt be happier. Just by using simple things that you suggest for people in your book made the world of a difference. And believe it or not, your book – which I found for sale in South India (Bangalore) – will be the first I have ever read. A new goal achieved! (I was never the best at school, lol). It’s probably a bit strange for a man to read his first book at 23 – and this kind of book too – but I just wanted to say, on behalf of all the people in a dark place right now, thank you for writing it.

Marty2P.S. here’s a pic of me and your book in a small cafe in India. And my first ever bookmark made for me by my girlfriend.

All the best

If you have an inspiring tale to tell, drop me a line – if you have a photo to go with it, even better!

And if you’re sitting there wishing you had an inspiring story of how your life changed for the better after making a few crucial changes – well, what’s stopping you? Why not make 2014 the year that everything changes?

Pop back this time next week for the first in a series of weekly NEW YEAR NEW YOU blog posts. Next week; Goals and Goal Setting!

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To Begin With

Once upon a time I got sold a dream: I would grow up – big and strong – marry a blonde (my mother was convinced of this), father children, and live happily ever after in a big house, whilst I held down a job as an astronaut. Or a train driver. Or a fireman. And this wasn’t a ‘maybe’ – something to aspire to – this was my God given right. This is what was going to happen. All I had to do was wait.

The opening Chapter from ‘How To Do Everything and Be Happy’…

Once upon a time I got sold a dream: I would grow up big and strong, marry a blonde (my mother was convinced of this), have children, and live happily ever after in a big house, whilst I held down a job as an astronaut. Or a train driver. Or a how-to-be-an-astronaught-230x300fireman. And this wasn’t a ‘maybe’ – something to aspire to – this was my God given right. This is what was going to happen. All I had to do was wait.

Not that I was very good at waiting. I’m still not very good at waiting! I wanted this idyllic life now. I didn’t want to wait until next week or some other distant point in the future. I must have told my parents this because they would smile and tell me not to be in such a rush. “Peter,” they would say, “schooldays are the best days of your life.”

Obviously they were mistaken. They had to be. When my parents’ eyes glazed over and they talked fondly of ‘schooldays’ they must have been recalling the days of their own distant childhood, days sitting around camp fires outside the school mud hut, marking bits of slate with chalk whilst village elders told stories of dragons. Their schooldays were clearly a far cry from the mixture of humiliation, bullying and boredom that I endured. They had to be. Because if they weren’t, for schooldays to be the ‘best’ days they would logically have to be followed by ‘something worse.’

Then I got older, and things got worse.

Actually, that’s not quite true. They didn’t get any worse – not really – but they certainly didn’t get much better, and they definitely got more complex.

‘Work’ turned out to be very similar to ‘school’ – different bullies, same rules, just as boring. And whereas I was given money in return for surrendering five days out of seven – more money than I’d ever dreamed possible – now there was a slew of people queuing up to take it away from me.

And then there were relationships. Just when I’d got classroom note passing down to a fine art, the game changed completely, and note passing wasn’t going to cut it.
I could go on, but suffice it to say, the initial ‘dream’ seemed less and less likely. It was clear that I was never going to be an astronaut. Or a train driver. Or a fireman. It also seemed unlikely that I would ever live in a big house. Big houses needed big money. I was on small to medium money. Two bedroom flat money.

Finally, on my thirty second birthday, I realised there was a distinct possibility that I might never ever find ‘the blonde’.
This was a serious blow. Without the blonde I might never be married, I might never have children – and whilst I could probably cope without being married or having kids, or my blonde actually being a blonde, I couldn’t imagine being single for the rest of my days. That was unacceptable. Something had to be done.

So, for the first time in my life, I started to plan – to make lists, and take control of my own destiny. Many of the techniques in this book are nothing more than the skills I had to develop to avoid a life of bachelorhood. But it worked. Eventually I found the blonde. Took me a few more years, considerable effort on my part, and a somewhat unorthodox approach to dating, but I found her.

And we did marry.

And when she died in my arms three years later I was heartbroken.

People rarely ask me how Kate died. It’s just not the sort of question they feel comfortable asking. Most assume she must have had cancer – that we’d have had some warning. We didn’t.

I was off to our place in Croatia for a few days to finish my novel. Kate drove me to the airport and as she dropped me off she gave me the world’s biggest hug, bit back a few tears, thumped me in the arm, and told me she loved me – and that I’d better call her when I got to the other end.

I walked towards the main airport building, turned to give her one last wave. Something wasn’t right. I could see our car, but not her.

The next few hours are a bit of a blur. I remember dropping my bags and running back to our vehicle. Taking her in my arms. The lady police officer trying to revive her. I remember the paramedics, the ambulance helicopter, being rushed to the hospital in the back of a police car. And I remember that god awful waiting room, the stoney faces of the doctors as they told me there was nothing they could do, that my wife was gone, and that they’d be switching off the life support machine.

Several hours later I drove our car back to an empty house.

I’ve learnt since that deaths like this – a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage, according to the certificate – are surprisingly common. Kate had a weak part in her brain – probably since birth – it could have happened at any moment. It was almost inevitable.

I’ve learnt too that after the shock comes the guilt. Every cross word, every nasty thought, every lie – they all come back to haunt you. And amongst the demons that were queuing up to torment me was the realisation that I wasn’t happy, and maybe, I never had been.

There had been happy moments, of course. Quite a lot of moments. Most of them in the previous three years, and most of them down to Kate, but they were moments none the less. I wanted to be happy all the time. Not just occasionally. Not just for a moment. And for the second time in my life I decided to tackle a problem in the only way I knew how: by making plans, and lists, and taking control of my own destiny.

Welcome to ‘How To Do Everything and Be Happy!’ If you’re dissatisfied with your life, this book may be for you. If you want to do something – anything – to increase the amount of happiness you feel, this book is probably for you. And if you know how to use a pencil, if you own a diary, if you can make a list, if you’re moderately organised, or could be if you had a good enough reason to be, then this book is definitely for you.

Now then, let me tell you about this dream that I have for you…


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