I spend all day, almost every day reading in one form or another, but rarely for pleasure. So, when it comes to learning, I really appreciate a good podcast or video. I can just sit back with my cup of tea, absorb the content …. and try not to fall asleep!

I was listening to a podcast by Dr Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI. If you haven’t heard of it just Google it and if it is something that interests you, because it generates a lot of work for its members, get in touch with your local chapter, or just contact me and I will help you. I am a member in Inverness and Debbie from one of our Elgin offices is our member in Elgin.

Anyway, this recording was an interview. I don’t remember who with, but that does not matter. They were discussing how to overcome situations when the person in front of you is angry, more often than not out of frustration.

Now, when someone is standing in front of you angry, letting off steam at you or trying to (verbally) push you out of the way, what to do is ask yourself a simple question. How would I feel if I was in their position? Take a moment to calmly consider that and you will probably come up with a simple solution that cools the situation and moves everybody on in a positive way.

I have heard similar expressions over the years but capturing it in those 4 words was so simple and powerful. I am sure you can recall situations when customers or clients were venting their frustrations which, if you are human, tends to raise the anger and frustration in you as well. So take a step back and ask yourself “How would I feel”.

Speaking of tea, I came across an article recently with the heading that read “Are tea drinkers smarter than coffee drinkers”. It then went on to explain the reasons. You’ll probably be wondering what I spend my time doing when I am not working and whether I am using that time to improve my mind. I think it is probably past redemption!

Anyway, apparently studies have shown that drinking tea reduces fractures due to osteoporosis, it helps relax you quicker, improves your brain power, and extends your life expectancy.

I drink tea and Helen drinks coffee and she can still beat me hands down when it comes to mental agility. So, if these benefits are real, I have not experienced the benefit yet.

We read this sort of stuff and because it is written in an article, we like to believe it is right. We accept such statements almost without question. Here are some more.

Various Chancellors have spoken about simplifying the tax system but all that means is that they remove short pieces of legislation which invariably means a loss of precision in the legislation and more scope for ambiguity. But they have simplified the tax system by removing pages of legislation.

Then there is the promise not to increase the basic rate of tax. I know that the basic rate was increased in Scotland but not by much. They need to raise more taxes so the basic rate remains the same but National Insurance is increased and allowances and rate band frozen. Everyone is paying a lot more tax but the rate of tax has not been increased.

They complain about the tax gap and blame HMRC for not closing it. But there is currently a cap on staff numbers at HMRC imposed by the government and those still there are insufficient to run the system effectively. Huge amounts of tax go uncollected because the “tax police” have all been made redundant, many of them now working for accountancy firms. I think those in charge must be coffee drinkers. Time to bring in the tea pots.

But we hear the announcements and read the articles that put forward the message they want us to hear. But we work in tax so we understand. Not everything you read is as right as we would like it to be.  I can wind up a few coffee drinkers by saying that I read an article proving tea drinkers are smarter, but that’s about all. There may be some truth in it, but not enough to make a serious difference.

Never mind, I’ll just have to go and put on the kettle for my next cup of tea in the hope that it may improve something.


Alan E Long

The Long Partnership

07770 738770



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