Rikki Beadle-Blair's self-help tips
Actor, activist and writer Rikki Beadle-Blair offers wisdom from his new self-help book
For those who don't know what my book is about, 'What I Learned Today' is a collection of 365 'turnaround' thoughts, offering ways for people to take back the power in their lives.
Working in showbusiness, I am often confronted by frustrated, angry, bitter, exhausted people - many of whom seem to have taken years to get nowhere. And as a gay entertainment activist, I receive emails and Facebook messages every day from queer people who are wondering why, after all that partying, they still feel lonely? Why, after all that primping and selfpimping, they still feel ugly? Why, in a digital age offering almost unlimited opportunities for information and connection, so many of us still feel empty, unfulfilled and lost?
Well, what I have learned - and what I share in the workshops and one-on-one career-coaching sessions that I now regularly hold in my spare time - is that there is only one real problem in any Western adult's life, and only one solution: you. It's that simple, it's that liberating. You are entirely responsible for how you feel and how you experience your existence. Forget blame - it's a lazy distraction.
Almost everything and everyone that you deem as having an influence in your life only has the power that you give them. Change what you do and you will change what they do. And to achieve that you must first change the way you think.
People have generously compared this to Rhonda Byrne's self-help book 'The Secret.' But life is not a secret. Sorry Madonna, but life is not a mystery. Life is not about luck and hell is not other people. hell is you wasting time wishing your situation were different, instead of doing something about it. Life is a daily exercise in reality and humanity. My first book is a practical guide to the freedom that comes with greater self-control.
In a way, the book wrote itself. My work takes me all over the world, bringing me into contact with hundreds of people every day and almost everyone I meet seems to have something special to teach me. I love to learn and I love to share what I learn with other people.
Every day on Facebook, like many others, I enjoy sharing interesting, challenging, quotes, videos and news links that people have sent me. Some people's pages are like cool magazines. I like the days when my page, rather than being just a billboard for my own work, is like that - thought-provoking, informative, inspirational.
One day, while working in America, I decided to start sharing the daily brain bombs that people were hitting me with. These were simple but powerful thoughts - shifts in perspectives, moments of clarity, little epiphanies that were helping me stay on track in my own little mission. Snapshots of what it is to be alive and be human. I thought I was just going to do this while I was away. But I found the act of boiling down a lesson and crystalising the thought so that it fit into a limited word count so useful for myself, that I kept going. It became a nightly meditation for me and I didn't miss a single night for a year, no matter where I was or how late I was to bed.
I was hoping that a few Facebook friends might find them useful, but the reaction was instant and overwhelming. I would find myself meeting strangers in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Hong Kong and Prague who were getting my updates regularly shared on their pages. People kept messaging me to send them my 'back catalogue' of thoughts and asking me to get them published.
So, when the opportunity to expand our entertainment company Team Angelica into the publishing world, 'What I Learned Today', seemed like the obvious first book. I must be honest and say that I really didn't think people would actually want a whole book of my philosophy - but people really seem to be interested in it. I even use a copy myself! I never watch my films back, read my plays or listen to my music unless there's an audience. But I really do dip in and read this book when I need to energise, calm or focus myself.
It's still early days. Team Angelica will be eventually publishing all kinds of stuff - ground-breaking novels, plays by exciting new writers. For instance, our next book, 'Faggamuffin', by John Gordon is an amazingly tender love story set in the world of gay 'yardies' (Jamaican gangsters).
But as we head into the new year, full of the possibility of thrilling new beginnings, 'What I Learned Today' is my perfect dawn.
'What I Learned Today' is published by Team Angelica at £7.99 and available from Gay's The Word and Amazon.