Podcast #039: Overcoming Failure

"Everyone has their own Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb." (Seth Godin)

Failure. How do you handle it? The 2 minute video below by Will Smith is an encouragement to view failure in a positive way. As he says - fail early, fail often and fail forward.

In this podcast my co-host Andrew Horton and I discuss how failure is not something to be feared, but actually an opportunity to grow and learn.

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball play of all time has said:

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been entrusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

Do join us on this podcast as we discuss:

How everyone has their own story of failure along with our own personal examples.

What is the relationship between failure and guilt or shame? Is failure necessarily a bad thing?

What can we learn from some famous examples of failure such as Abraham Lincoln and J K Rowling?

Why it is not as simple as just saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

What is the secret to turning failure around?

How can we see our failures through the eyes of faith?

How understanding failure is part of inside-out transformation?

You may also find of interest:

What Can J K Rowling Teach Us About Failure?

Failure and Depression: The Other Side of Lincoln's Life

9 Ways To Look At Your Failures With The Eyes Of Faith. Especially #7

How To Fail And Lose Well Part 1

How To Fail And Lose Well Part 2

Podcast #021: Grit

Podcast #013 How To Grow In Resilience

Podcast #030 Do You Need More Sleep?

Podcast #031: How Can I Live With Hope Today?

Podcast #038: How technology impacts time and sex

"The new is always better than the old." Do you agree? Disagree? As the impact of technology on our lives has accelerated this assumption has become increasingly taken for granted.
In our third and final conversation with Pete Nicholas about his book 'Virtually Human: Flourishing In A Digital World' we explore the powerful messages that come to us through technology around the subjects of time and sexuality.


While technology presents a narrative of never-ending progress when it comes to new devices and software , the impact on us as human beings grappling with its ramifications is far from straight-forward.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this in terms of what he called "Chronological snobbery." That is 'the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate of our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of of date is on that count discredited.' Pete in his book (p.114) shows us how this leads to the following kind of thinking:

  • We think we are the most technologically developed culture on earth.
  • Since time is an arrow to the future, that means we are at the head of the curve.
  • Therefore, our decisions (about morality, society, technology) are the most 'progressive'.
  • So, if other people/countries/cultures disagree, it is because they are lagging behind (but in time they will catch up and probably agree with us).

We tend to think of time as linear with a beginning and definite end, ultimately when the universe at some point in the future will come to a grinding halt. Here are some challenges to these assumptions we discuss from the book:

  • "Time is not a straight line heading for a finish. God is taking the cosmos towards its goal. In one sense this goal is the end of time; in another sense it is just the beginning.
  • The timeline is God's and not ours. We are graciously part of His story, but we need to watch out for the ways technology can be used to write Him out and put us centre stage."
  • Time is not a commodity, but a gift to be stewarded. As technology gives me such a variety of choices with what to do with my time, I need to become discerning about what I should do today and what can be left for tomorrow or another time.

For more on this also see Podcast #024: Making Sense of Time.

Technology has also had a huge influence on our view of sex an sexuality. On this podcast we go on to discuss:

  • How the digital story of sex is linked to the sexual revolution of the 20th century with its desire to liberate from previous norms and taboos.
  • How my sexual identity cannot be separated from my psychology and spirituality.
  • The dangers of pornography in objectifying women and men.
  • How the male editor of a pornographic magazine radically changed his views following the birth of his daughter.
  • How pornography while promising satisfaction and fulfilment actually leads to a growing addiction and enslavement with significant problems in relating to others.
  • How the Bible is able to be both open about sex without being crude and objectifying. There is emphasis on restraint without being oppressive while emphasising the beauty of sexual love within the marriage covenant.

In conclusion, the challenges technology brings into our lives are about living in wisdom. Tomorrow's problems from technology are going to be very different from today's problems. The key is becoming the right kind of person who can learn to cope and flourish while living by grace. In other words we need to live in wisdom.

Details on Covenant Eyes and more resources on sexual addiction we mention in our discussion is here.

Our previous discussions on the book are at Podcast #036 and #037

More details on the book are available at the Virtually Human website here.

What questions and comments does our discussion raise for you?

Podcast #037: Making sense of technology

Learning to flourish in a digital world

Technology impacts and influences our lives in increasingly powerful and profound ways. How do I make sense of technology in a way that truly enhances and enriches my life? This podcast is a continuation of my conversation with author Pete Nicholas on the book he has co-authored with Ed Brooks called "Virtually Human: Flourishing In a Digital World".

In our earlier discussion (Podcast #036: Virtually Human Part 1) we looked at while new technologies hold awesome potential for good there is another side to them. Surprisingly the essence of technology is not technological, but what it truly means to be human. When we engage unthinkingly with the online world there is a danger we begin to become like the technologies we use, relating and thinking without human connection. We fall short of what we were made to be and become virtually human.

So technology is much more than just a tool by which we engage with the world. It also changes us in both subtle and profound ways. Those who uncritically promote technology are keen to tell a story of never ending human flourishing and progress (For an example see the short Facebook video: The Things That Connect Us). However, this is far too simplistic. We need to both affirm the good that technology provides us while at the same time being realistic about its limitations to change basic human nature.

On this podcast we particularly focus on how technology impacts our identity and relationships. Do join us as we discuss:

  • How digital technologies like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram enable us to re-imagine and re-create who we are. What kind of online identity am I going to create and how much is it in integrity with who I am offline?
  • How Rene Descartes from 1639 has deeply affected our understanding of identity and the way we think of ourselves in the online world. We find ourselves caught between two conflicting narratives of 'be true to yourself' and at the same time 'shape yourself as you have no ultimate identity'.
  • While there is a very positive outworking of this in empowering someone like Malala Yousafzai to have a global voice in influencing and challenging the oppression of women there is another side in terms of raising questions around what ultimately is identity that can lead to loss of a sense of belonging anywhere.
  • How John Calvin from 1589  gives us a framework for understanding identity. We are made for worship - that is to find our ultimate identity and fulfilment in someone, something or some idea. We cannot stop ourselves from worshipping and the implications that has for us.
  • How social media has affected our relationships. There has been huge benefits in being able to connect with people from around the world and find out what friends and family are doing.
  • At the same time, quoting psychologist Sherry Turkle, "we have moved from conversation to connection, from talking to texting, from solitude to isolation, from interdependent to interconnected". (p.104)
  • How big business and huge amounts of investment and research is undertaken to make sure we stay connected to technology as much as possible.
  • The seriousness of these challenges when you consider how many Silicon Valley executives send their children to schools with a no device policy.
  • How technology makes it so easy to separate ourselves from people we don't like or whose views we disagree with. We lose the ability to work through problems we have with others and instead take the path of least resistance by dismissing them from our lives.
  • Why we need to learn how to dialogue with people who hold views different to our own without getting abusive or dismissive or demonising them.

You may also find of interest:

Podcast #025: Is there a difficult person in your life?

Discovering Silence and Solitude

More details on the book are available at the Virtually Human website here.

What questions and comments does our discussion raise for you?

Podcast #036: Virtually Human

Making sense of technology in our lives

Technology is now such a fundamental part of our lives that we so often take it completely for granted. From the moment we wake up to to check our clocks, or more likely our smartphones, to then often seamlessly go onto the Internet, social media and email, we hardly give a moment's thought to the incredible power we have available to us. Today's teenagers have never known a time when the Internet was not there. But how do we navigate with discernment and wisdom through the vast plethora of information and choices technology makes available to us?

Someone who has given a lot of thought to this is Pete Nicholas, who with co-author Ed Brooks, has written about the impact of technology on our lives in their book Virtually Human. The short 1 minute video above gives an introduction to the book.

Do come and join Pete Nicholas and I on this podcast as we discuss the implications of technology on our lives.

In particular on this podcast we explore how:

  • While technologies hold awesome potential for good, when we engage unthinkingly with the online world , there is a danger we become increasingly like the technologies we use, relating and thinking without human connection.
  • Technology should cause us to think about what does it actually mean to be human and how technology is changing us.
  • What do we actually mean by technology? Why technology is not a neutral tool but actually a frame through which we see the world that in turn then becomes the world in which we live.
  • We like to think we are in control of technology and creating a bold new future for ourselves of never ending progress. That is far too simplistic, or as C. S. Lewis put it:

"Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."

  • How we need to both affirm the good that technology provides us while at the same time being realistic about its limitations in changing basic human nature. We may have smart phones with amazing potential, but we are still the same greedy, self-centred and self-absorbed human beings we have always been.
  • What does the Biblical narrative have to say about how fulfilling the hope technology seeks to give us really comes from challenging and redeeming the failures and problems technology causes?

But perhaps most surprisingly and most importantly of all discussing technology is really about discussing what does it mean to be human.

We will carry on our discussion with Pete Nicholas in future podcasts, particularly looking at practical implications of how we handle technology in our challenging and complex world.

After listening to this podcast you may also find of interest:

Podcast #017: The Last Taboo Subject?

Podcast #029: The Literal End Of The World?

More details on the book are available at the Virtually Human website here.

What questions and comments does our discussion raise for you?

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Podcast #035: What is life really all about?

A frank conversation with Rico Tice

Rico Tice is a senior minister at the church my family and I attend at All Souls, Langham Place in Central London. Rico is married to Lucy and they have three children. He is a Bible teacher and founder of the Christianity Explored course. This is a seven week study through the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament. At any one time there are 10,000 courses running around the world in over 100 countries with 122 official translations.

More recently Rico has helped to develop two further courses, Discipleship Explored which looks through the New Testament book of Philippians what it means to find joy in Christ and Life Explored which is an overview of the Bible as a whole.


On this podcast Rico and I explore:

Why being responsible for evangelism at All Soul's Church is much more than a job role, but something he is deeply passionate about.

His formative experiences growing up, including how the death of his godfather in 1982 had a profound impact on Rico's life.

Continual reminders of the brevity of life.

The importance of crossing the pain line when talking to others of the important issues around death and judgement.

In a world of different religions why it is not arrogant to say Jesus is the only way to God.

The importance of reading the Bible for yourself and doing so in community with others.

How Christ's death rescues us from the penalty, power and the presence of sin.

How the qualification to be a Christian disciple is not are you good enough, but are you bad enough.

The importance of a right understanding of hell and judgement.

Lessons in life Rico has learnt from his failures and mistakes.

Two books that have profoundly influenced Rico's life.

Why he also has a collection of over 300 books on rugby!

You may also find of interest:

Podcast #029: The literal end of the world?

Podcast #017: The last taboo subject?

Podcast #007: Religion

A tribute to my dear friend Abhishek Banerjee (12 October 1981 -17 March 2014)

How does our conversation speak into your own life?


Podcast #034: Life work balance?

Getting it right

We hear a lot about balancing life and work in our day and age. Wherever you look and whoever you talk to, getting the right balance in life is something many people are hungry for. With so many priorities and responsibilities in our lives this is becoming for many of us increasingly important and relevant.

But what do we actually mean when we say we want balance in our lives?

Do come and join my co-host Andrew Horton and I as we unpack this important subject. In particular we discuss:

  • How balance is grossly over-rated as a concept.
  • Why balance is more of a tension to be managed than a problem to be solved.
  • How work-life integration can be more helpful than balance.
  • The power of looking at my life as symphony 
  • The relevance of seasons to life.
  • Counter-intutitive reflections and examples from my favourite hero and book when it comes to balance.

You may also find of interest:

Work-life balance. Is it possible?

It it work-life balance or integration?

Are you in the right season?

Podcast #030: Do you need more sleep?

Podcast #010: Stephen R. Covey

What questions and thoughts on life-work balance does this topic and podcast raise for you?

Podcast #033: Practical ways to find joy through disappointment

Disappointment. We all experience it. We all know what if feels like. We have all at some time or other said and done things when disappointed with our circumstances or other people that we have later regretted. But what are healthy ways to handle disappointment in our lives?

On this podcast I continue my conversation with the author John Hindley on his book, "Dealing With Disappointment: How To Know Joy When Life Doesn't Feel Great". (Our earlier conversation at Podcast #032 is here).

Disappointment can so easily come to dominate life - the nagging thought in the back of our minds and the constant "yes, but..." colouring all our pleasures.

Do join us as we discuss practical ways to find joy through disappointment. In particular we discuss:

  • Disappointment with my circumstances.
    The power of a different perspective rather than relying on the stoicism that we tend to default to.
    Or, in other words, how to defeat those painful things that are true by looking at things that are more true.
    Finding a balance between working too much or too little.
  • Disappointment with people.
    How do I decide if it is something I should forgive and move on from or something I should forgive and then talk with the person concerned about?
    For more on this also see: Podcast #025 Is There A Difficult Person In Your Life?
  • Disappointment with my success.
    John and I confess personal examples of how easy it is to tie up our meaning and identity with things that are actually quite trivial.
    How the good things of life are a signpost to a far greater work and person we should be enamoured by.
    How "the fuel for living a truly successful life is to know that you will one day live it perfectly, and with perfect satisfaction."
    For more on this also see Podcast #002 Success.
  • Disappointment with myself.
    How facing up to the painful reality that I am not the person I wish was can be not the last word in our lives, but part of our story to greater wholeness.
    The freedom that comes from understanding, as John writes, "Your purpose in life is not to be perfect. Your purpose in life is to showcase God's grace to the imperfect."
    Balancing in my life God's gift of forgiveness with the gift of integrity.
  • Disappointment with God.
    For people of faith, this is probably the hardest disappointment to face up to. As John says, "If God is in control - and He is- then behind all your disappointments with your relationships, your circumstances, your ministry and yourself must lie disappointment with God......God could have, should have, might have....and didn't. So often, in so many small and serious ways, it feels as if God doesn't come through."
    For more on this also see Podcast #028 The God I Don't Understand.


If your life isn't perfect..... you need to listen to this podcast!

Podcast #032: How to know joy when life feels tough

Life can certainly be challenging at times. There are the unexpected setbacks that occur, but more than that there are also the general frustrations of day to day living. What do we mean?

Photo of disappointment

When we talk about disappointment we are not referring to major calamities or disasters, but things maybe not going the way we expected or success not bringing the fulfilment we thought we might achieve.

How do you handle life when things don't go the way you expect? How can we develop healthy ways to handle disappointment? How can we know joy when life doesn't feel great?

Someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about this is the author John Hindley. On this podcast we have the privilege of interviewing John about his book titled "Dealing With Disappointment: How To Know Joy When Life Doesn't Feel Great."

John defines disappointment as "what we experience when we expect satisfaction and that satisfaction is denied."

Do join us as we discuss:

How in life there are lots of little disappointments that can give us a sense of vague discomfort, which we have a tendency to push away and ignore.

How at times our experiences resonate with that of King Solomon from the 9th century BC in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes as he cried out, "Meaningless! Meaningless! .....Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."

Why if we want to live life to the full then we should expect at times to be disappointed.

Understanding disappointment as what we experience when we expect satisfaction and that satisfaction is denied.

The disappointment that can come with success. How this can push us to long for more.

Ways to break through disappointment and which involve:
- finding hope that destroys despair
- purpose that cuts off escape
- perspective that shrinks disappointment.

What John means when he says, "There is more satisfaction in the smile of Jesus than there is disappointment in a thousand lifetimes. "

Also see How To Rise Stronger When Life Takes You Down


Podcast #031 How can I live with hope today?

Psychologists, psychiatrists, politicians and theologians may differ in their opinion on many things, But one thing they would all seem to agree on is the importance of hope.

“Human beings can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”


Do join my co-host Andrew Horton and I as we discuss:

  • Why hope in the true sense of the word is much more than wishful thinking, but instead a joyful expectation about the future.
  • How we can view hope as "not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." (Vaclav Havel)
  • The dangers of basing my hope on a particular outcome that I want.
  • How the attempted suicide of a friend taught me the dangers of a secular hope.
  • 4 core beliefs in developing hope
  • A Biblical perspective on hope.
  • The forgotten part of the serenity prayer and what that teaches about hope.
  • What to say to someone who is struggling to have hope about the future.

What questions, thoughts and comments does our discussion raise for you?

You may also find of interest:

How Can I Find Hope In My Darkest Days?

Do You Need Hope Today?

Why Understanding Easter Brings Hope.

Podcast #003 Stress

Podcast#007 Religion

Podcast #013 How To Grow In Resilience

Podcast #017 The Last Taboo Subject?

Podcast #020 Baroness Caroline Cox

Podcast #021 Grit

Podcast #022 The Stories We Tell Ourselves




Podcast #030 Do you need more sleep?

“If you want to be a billionaire, sleep as little as possible.” Donald Trump.

“Sleep is a criminal waste of time. A heritage from our cave days.” Thomas Edison.

“Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.” Bill Clinton


Sleep. So easy to take for granted, but so essential – especially if you are not getting enough. And yet there is so much bravado and neglect when we think about sleep. Whatever you may think of Donald Trump and Thomas Edison, their opinions on sleep are way off the mark when it comes to what the research and even what common sense shows. And whatever your opinion of Bill Clinton there is much wisdom in his reflection on sleep and making errors of judgement.

On this podcast my co-host Andrew Horton and I discuss:

The importance of prioritising sleep in our lives.

The dangerous consequences of not having enough sleep.

How do I know I am getting enough sleep?

An embarrassing example in my life of not getting enough sleep.

How much are people in positions of authority making decisions from a place of inadequate sleep?

A Biblical perspective on sleep.

Three suggestions for those struggling to get to sleep.

You may also find of interest:

Do You Need More Sleep?

The Importance Of A Good Night's Sleep

What questions, reflections and comments on sleep do you have?