Happy Talk

Stand by your beds! Can life lessons from the military bring inner peace?

Simple life lessons from a Sandhurst major-general can create a sense of ease and calm, and add a positive spin to the day, discovers Christine Manby

Sunday 02 February 2020 13:53
Illustration by Tom Ford
Illustration by Tom Ford

You know what they say about buses? You don’t see one for ages then three come along at once? The same is true of deadlines. It seems I’m never working towards just one deadline. I’m always working towards three at the same time. I’ve been toggling between a novel, a non-fiction book and this column while the washing up sits in the sink and the laundry pile threatens to tip over and suffocate me whenever I open the bedroom door. And all the time the dodgy flashing on the roof remains unfixed and the rain continues to pour.

With all that going on, it’s the perfect time to put the kettle on and crack open another self-help book. But not my usual fare, which will tell me that I’m doing just fine even though the house is falling down around me. A feel-good glow isn’t enough. I need some tougher love so this time it’s going to be Stand Up Straight, 10 Life Lessons from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst by Major General Paul Nanson (Century £12.99).

The celebrity puffs are promising. “Sandhurst helped me to discover my potential. Now discover yours,’’ says Tim Peake, the astronaut and Sandhurst alumnus. “Brilliant, practical advice. Can help transform your mindset and life,’’ claims Ollie Ollerton, star of SAS: Who Dares Wins. In the absence of having a real life Ollerton standing over me and yelling while I get those deadlines met, Stand Up Straight has to be the next best thing.

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