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Chimes of freedom

Just after midnight on the 1st January this year I confidently asserted that the correct time is on the last of Big Ben’s chimes, not the first.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

A fine way to start the year, although as a very slight sign of personal growth I was willing to check and admit my mistake and in doing so I read each hour hand weighs 300kg and is 2.7m long, and each minute hand weighs 100kg and is 4.2m long, but the clock engineers use nothing more than pennies to speed-up or slow down the mechanism.

The inevitable analogy should be hitting you with all the subtly of a charging rhino. I’ve written before about focusing on changing a world rather than the world. Reading the news at the moment makes it seem like there is little within our control: I believe we should instead focus on hyper-local changes. You, your family, your neighbours, your community.

You could write an email every day (/week/month), wake up fifteen minutes earlier, turn off the TV at 10pm instead of 11pm.

Volunteer for something, pick-up a few pieces of rubbish instead of tutting at the mess, slow down a bit as you drive through a residential neighbourhood.

Email a different client each day to ask how they are, review your to-do list in the morning instead of your Facebook account – or just commit to admitting when you are wrong.

Best wishes,



  • Towards the end of last year I made some changes: started volunteering with a local homeless organisation, joined an art class (after promising myself for 22 years) and joined a gym – the combination of those 3 things (if I’m honest, excluding the gym which is a necessary evil) – those 2 things – have made me happier than anything else in a very long time. The art class is on a Monday afternoon – prime work time and the homeless charity is eating hours and hours into my ‘spare time’ but they both make me happy. So I say, make the changes, see how they feel, and if they work, run with them. I’m guessing the gym might not be my permanent change!

    • Tom Doggett says:

      Thanks Andrea. That’s great to read. Nothing has to be permanent either – as you say, try something and see how it feels.

      The book I’ve just finished reading argues that you’ll get more benefit from exercising outdoors than indoors, but anything is better than nothing.