Maxims & Philosophy

If the most powerful voice in your head isn’t yours, there’s work to do

The principles behind Castle Coaching

It does not matter how different or similar our life circumstances were or are. We all have a history unique to us. Naturally, we seek similarity in others as a gauge for our self, an essential element of discovering the world and forming understanding. At some point however, we must seek peace with our self as it is.
Because truly, ‘comparison is the death of joy’, as Mark Twain wrote in the latter half of the 1800s. Itself a personal and succinct version of a notion written about 1700 years prior by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and philosopher. History brings gifts of wisdom if we pay attention. And reminds us that human nature is fairly constant over time, even millennia.

Who you are and how you feel should not be decided by who others are or what they have. Much of modern culture is saturated with media. Never before have we been bombarded with comparisons to such a degree throughout our daily lives. The eternal question all sellers/propagandists want to make you think is: Are they better than me?! And to feel inferiority at an emotional level.

It should be very alarming if your self-esteem is being chauffeured by the values and opinions of others, whether they are family, friends, people you’ve never met or the media. It is time to clamber to the front seat, open the door and kick them out. Close the door, seat belt on, click: Now the steering wheel is in your hands.


We are taught that working together is important. It is. We are taught that we need to think of others. We do. We are asked explicitly or implicitly to sacrifice ourselves. We shouldn’t – not without consideration. I believe the world would function better as the giant organism it is if each of our individual needs are met. This isn’t carte blanche to be amoral spoilt brats – actually the opposite. I’m referring to the essentials for healthy wellbeing beyond the material; Unconditional love; Protection; Nurture; Reliability; Guidance; Social bonding; Positive/Negative feedback; Emotional literacy; of Logical and explained decisions. Some of those we receive. Some we don’t. These needs are necessary to be balanced individuals. Finding the imbalances is key to restoring the self.

You can only reveal the best future if you can deal with the worst past

Consider this simple idea: Would you prefer to travel to a destination the short way? Or actively spend time and resources going the long way? – perhaps without even reaching a destination. The answer should be obvious. Aim to be direct and decisive. Both are tenet’s of samurai thinking. That doesn’t mean you don’t think through your actions – only that once you have, you act – hesitation can be compromising.

People can hesitate for a split second or a lifetime. As for directness, if as an example, you are blaming one person for another person’s misgivings, your thinking process is lacking rationale. Get to the point, get to the source and act.

You need a fixed destination, or at least a direction to travel towards. Otherwise you’re a grounded astronaut watching as others launch for the stars. Think of the ramifications: if you do not choose where to go you have not understood yourself and the power you possess to alter your future – yet.

Time Travel

And part of solving personal issues can be revisiting the past. The emotions associated with memories are perhaps stronger than anything else in deciding your future.
If you do not have the courage to examine your archeology, your personal museum, you’ll never realise your full potential. Honesty with ourselves is utterly essential to establishing and anchoring our personalities in reality. Without that, not only is your perception of yourself not aligned with reality, your perception of the external world is unaligned with reality. If opening doors to the ‘darkest’ rooms of your mind scares you, what should scare you more is that you are not entirely rooted in reality. And the energy it takes to keep doors shut will exhaust you and manifest in undesirable ways.
Learning to leave doors open is a lifetime process not a rush job.

Now, and Then

You are not your memories, or who you were yesterday. Or ten years ago. As you read you’re breathing. Your heart beats. Eyes blink. You are not the same as when you started this sentence. You are who you are right now. The past should hold lessons, not fear or unresolved emotions.

We can imagine the future, but we cannot be there – and the past is gone. The concept of being present is an ancient one. Remember what I said about wisdom from the past? To develop your potential there’s no greater time to act than now. There will never be a better time to improve your life than now. And, it’s never too late.

When our brain is left to think without distraction the majority of our thoughts are towards the future. It’s in our nature to be predictors, guessing and estimating what the future will bring, forecasters of our own stock market. It’s a protective process.

Perhaps surprisingly, typically, a smaller percentage of processing power is dedicated to thoughts of the past. They can be happy, sad, traumatic, knowledge based and so on. Often memorable events are light bulb moments of events we’d like to forget or suppress. It’s a way for us to avoid repeating mistakes. Sure, we can have anxiety of future events, but there is no anxiety there, only in our perception now.

The past however, although gone, does have tangible emotions and thoughts associated with it that are a part of your life story of key memories. As strange a concept as it seems, living in the past is possible! And it’s never good. When a memory or memories have us by the ankles, there is work to do be done.
Ask yourself this: Will I let a memory/memories and associated emotions define me and my future, perhaps for the rest of my life?

The Hero/Heroine

I hope you have been fortunate enough to have many hero’s in your life. If not, I can relate. But there comes a time when the idolised should become mortals, a time to realise that they are a person, another human made of much the same biological materials as us.

Who is the hero in your life now? If you didn’t think of yourself – I understand. I wasn’t able to do so either for many years. Yes, I have people I admire greatly close and distant. But there’s only one hero in my life and that’s me, and in your life, it should be you. This is a realisation I truly believe people need to get to evolve. No one is here to save you. The aim of the warrior that we are all capable of being, is to become a fully independent personality. Native Americans raised warriors through ritual and actions. You had to prove it, it didn’t just happen at 18 for everyone. Nowadays there’s little to compare in so called Western society. Toughness, resilience and inner strength are lacking. Yes, it’s often said but it’s an undeniable truth: We need to go through hardships to evolve. Don’t avoid them, embrace them.

Based On A True Story

If you are chasing someone else’s dream, you better wake up. If you are trying to be someone else, you better get real.

If you wrote a book of your existence following your exploits so far, who do you picture at different stages? Firstly, you need an accurate recall of your life unclouded by fantasy. Facts can be denied, but they will always be facts, and even if you don’t consciously recall your past, your subconscious does. And there’s a high chance a battle royale is taking place within your brain. You need to buy the ticket and enter the arena. The demons in there are yours to fight when you’re ready.

No story is complete without dialogue. Crucially, what is the dialogue like in your story so far? Are you gentle with yourself in your inner thoughts? Harsh? Forgiving? Catastrophising? Regretful? Positive? Berating? Realistic? Reassuring? Inspiring? Dissociative?
Mastering your inner world is key to forging your future. How you talk to yourself at the semantic level, and the thoughts you hold, whether given to you by others or of your own production, is absolutely critical to enjoying life.

You, Incorporated

You’re CEO of your own company, incorporating all aspects of life. There’s just one chair in the boardroom. Do you feel in control?

Take in what is useful and discard what is not: one of Bruce Lee’s aphorisms. Learning lessons, failing, succeeding, stalling, falling, and rising are all part of living. I encourage you to be your own social scientist acting with integrity, honesty and a willingness to be brave, to question your philosophy, even if you haven’t thought of your belief system as a philosophy yet.

How many people does it take to change a broken lightbulb? One. But they have to want to change it. So an old joke goes. Willingness to change lies at the heart of any successful coaching endeavours you embark on with me or anyone else. Thank you for taking the time to read my life coaching philosophy. I have just one question now: Are you ready to evolve?

Fionn has lived in or visited over 30 countries and was part of a record setting journey around the world by unusual means giving him a truly universal outlook and approach to life which he brings to each of his clients.
He studied Psychology/ Film & Media at the University of Stirling and then attended Heriot-Watt University graduating with a Masters in Applied Psychology and continues to read and study widely on psychology with many convergent areas of interest. He embraces the wisdom that a healthy body is essential for a healthy mind and incorporates a daily regimen of fitness and good nutrition.