#14 – Covid, Conspiracies & Cures with Daniel Dimmock

Daniel Dimmock is a research associate undertaking a joint PhD research and teaching role at Nottingham Trent University. Dan’s research specialises in immunology, particularly of the lung area. In this episode we talk about current vaccines, conspiracy theories, and the future potential for mRNA vaccines.

The current situation has created a lot of mixed feelings, and expectedly so. Some people claim the virus doesn’t exist and that it’s a conspiracy. Many people appreciate it exists but feel they should be allowed to take their own risks (especially when some people are losing hard earned businesses), and on the other extreme some people have put their life on complete hold and are scared to leave their front door – completely understandable for those in the vulnerable categories – not so understandable if you’re not.

With restrictions seemingly never ending, and ICU units still struggling in many areas, the news of a vaccine is a great hope. However, conspiracies online, as well as a lack of clear understanding on the vaccine is creating more divide. So who better to have on the podcast than an immunologist specialising in the lung area.

We also go into conspiracies on a wider level, and talk about Dan’s latest article ‘Conspiratorial Epidemiology – Viewing Conspiracies through the Lens of Public Health’, as well as covering future application of mRNA vaccines in the fight against cancer.

As always, find our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other Android platform, or listen in the browser below. This episode is also available on Youtube.

You can see more from Dan at his blog Immunopolitics

​Read More
Blog, Uncategorized

Snap Judgement – George Floyd

“What we do now echoes in eternity”

Marcus Aurelius

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

George Floyd’s death was tragic, as is any death of an unarmed person caused by people employed to protect society.

To some, the murder of George Floyd could be seen as a societal issue, where poorer members of society are the victims of a system which is rigged against them. However, when an overwhelming majority of that social demographic is black, directly or indirectly it does become a race issue – particularly when you look at the historical influences upon that race.

According to the US Census Bureau, black people represent 13.4% of the population in 2020, yet account for 24% of police deaths. They are 2.5 times more likely to die at police hands and are 1.5 times more likely to be unarmed when killed (Statistica, 2020).

‘But black people commit more crime, so obviously more will die’. Yes, statistically they do commit more crime. But why is that? Across the world crime rates are highest in communities suffering from the highest levels of poverty, and the overwhelming reason why people of colour are in poverty is because of the system. Even after the abolition of slavery, black people were second class citizens. One crucial example of this was the inability to gain a mortgage, build generational wealth, and increase levels of education. There simply hasn’t been time to catch up. This is even seen in a different way in the UK, where the majority of wealth is still held by descendants of the 1066 land grab by the Normans (The Guardian). Wealth flows through generations and it will take a long time to catch up.

Young people born into poverty are more likely to get dragged into crime and ruin their future prospects. Even the legislation by which they are sentenced is rigged against them – as seen through the federal mandatory drug sentences: 5 years for 5 grams of crack cocaine (used in poorer areas with higher levels of black people), as opposed to 5 years for 500 grams of powder cocaine (used by wealthier, predominantly white people). Future job prospects are then limited and the cycle of crime and poverty continues. When police can easily arrest dozens of people in a day driving through a ghetto, it exacerbates the problem.

It is easy to see how anger builds. A common chorus online is ‘yes he shouldn’t have died, but the rioting is bad’. Imagine watching time after time police getting lenient sentences, if a sentence at all, while simultaneously watching the wealth gap increase and getting regularly stopped just for being black. People have been marching in protest since the days of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, and not much has really changed for some people, except the KKK have stopped hanging black people from trees. Now they’re just hunting them down when they jog through a white neighbourhood.

There are many cases where sometimes, rightly or wrongly, people feel that upping the violence is their only answer. As seen when our military resort to violence to defeat a regime that refuses to change, or when people tell children to punch the bully square in the face if they don’t stop. I am not saying that it is the answer, I am saying I can empathise with people that see it as their only option left.

I can also empathise with good police men and women which are now in a position they don’t want (or for many, deserve) to be in. As well as business owners suffering damage at the hands of opportunist looters of all races.

Yes all lives matter, of course they do. By agreeing black lives matter, it doesn’t mean other lives don’t. It is like somebody raising money for breast cancer and us saying ‘oh, so you don’t care about prostate cancer then?’. It just doesn’t make much sense.

The riots, for many, are a build up of years of frustrations. The solution isn’t going to be simple and of course, on both sides, there are legitimate arguments. But burying our heads in the sand under the premise that by agreeing black lives matter, then others don’t, is just going to fuel the divide.

​Read More
Podcast, Uncategorized

Breaking the Norm #13 – Jack Shore

Jack ‘Tank’ Shore is a professional mixed martial artist in the UFC. He was formerly Cage Warriors world champion and is undefeated in both amateur and professional bouts.

In this podcast we talk about Jack’s background, getting into fighting, and get a glimpse into the mindset of what it is like to be a professional fighter, on the world’s biggest stage.

When I asked Jack for his favourite quote, his answer was something we could all probably do with remembering:

Chase the dream and everything else will come

Winning the 50k performance of the night bonus in his UFC debut, as well as being described by Dana White as one of the hottest prospects in MMA at the moment, this is a podcast not to miss.

Make sure to give Jack’s Facebook page a like here, and follow him on Instagram here.

As always, find our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other Android platform, or listen in the browser below.

​Read More
Podcast, Uncategorized

Breaking the Norm #12 – Eric Uresk

Eric Uresk is a former professional mixed martial artist and is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the game. He was a national level wrestler in the USA and holds black belts in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo. Eric was head coach of Phuket Top Team for many years, and now resides in California working with some of the best athletes in the world.

As well as his focus on martial arts, Eric focusses a lot on self development off the mats. He has a crazy background and a very rough youth including many near death experiences.

In this podcast we go over Eric’s background and how he has got to where he is now. We focus a lot on mental attitude and, despite much of our conversation being about our mutual interest of combat sports, the lessons Eric talks about can be applied to all areas of life. During the podcast, I ask Eric for his favourite quote, and it comes from the training room:

“You can either pay now, or pay later, but it is always cheaper to pay now”

Neil Melanson (possibly)

In the podcast Eric recommends his favourite book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The book focusses on some of the things we discuss, such as trying to be present.

Thank you to Eric for coming on. If you want to hear more from Eric, check out his Youtube channel here, or his instagram here.

I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast. If you haven’t already please ensure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or any android podcasting apps. All of our episodes should also be live on Spotify within the next few days.

Listen in the browser below or use this link to take you to your usual podcast app. Thanks, Jack.

​Read More
Blog, Uncategorized

Resetting the target

This pandemic has given a lot of us time to reflect, and if you are anything like me, you are starting to realise something I’m sure we’ve all known for a long time – we’re looking for success in the wrong places.

I took a pause on Breaking the Norm, despite it being much more enjoyable and fulfilling than other work I undertake. In a time when I was focussing on money, I could not afford time to focus on this. However, due to reasons outlined below, I will be picking up where I left off.

Many of us are brought up thinking that the aim in life is to get your qualifications, get a good job, a house, a mortgage etc and you will be happy. But at what price? Many people sacrifice time with their family, time with their friends, time on their hobbies and self-development, just to keep earning money, and in turn keep living the life they don’t truly desire. Obviously, we all need money to survive, otherwise our mate Rishi Sunak wouldn’t be trying his best to give us all a safety net. We also need to make sacrifices to achieve things – without sacrifice there is never success. But I have realised, that these sacrifices must be justified by achieving things in areas that bring happiness, and fulfilment, not just money.

The illusion that getting a job with a big firm will bring you stability and success is incorrect. It is in these times that you see what management is made of. Some firms are doing their utmost to support the lower levels, and other firms are more worried about protecting the higher earners, at the expense of those at the bottom. In times of despair, it very quickly becomes apparent that the supposedly stable position you have taken years to build, isn’t as stable as you initially thought. Therefore, the question must be asked, are you sacrificing for the right things?

Covid-19 has forced many of us to take a break. Although I am still working full time at home, there is no commute, no rushing around in the evenings, no wasting time on the weekend. Suddenly, many of us have more time to read, listen, watch, and enjoy spending time with our housemates or family. We are all craving the simple things, like freely walking, going shopping, meeting our friends down the café or pub, and not staring at everyone with a cough like they’re going to kill you. Things we all once took for granted. I have realised with the slower pace, that it is the small things that make us happy. Of course, while some of us have been forced to take our foot off the pedal, many others are working tirelessly to keep our country safe, and to save lives. The one common thing between these people is a sense of fulfilment from what they do, and a sense of duty in doing it.

Even the richest people in the world are now confined to their homes (granted they probably have a nice gym and pool) but their millions can’t buy them immunity, can’t let them bypass lockdown, and can’t fix this problem we all face. Money can buy happiness through experiences, travel, and helping people. But if you’re not fulfilled, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank. Research even suggests that CEOs may be depressed at more than double the rate of the general public (Forbes, 2015). So why do many of us see that as the target?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to strive to earn money and achieve my goals – I’ll just make sure that I do it in such a way that even if the world’s economy collapses, I’ve still had fun. With all the devastation that Covid-19 has inflicted, I’m sure a few positives can come from it – mainly a change in perspective, and an increase in gratitude for the small things.

​Read More

Breaking the Norm #11 – Vincent Clancy

Vincent Clancy is Chief Executive Officer of Turner & Townsend, the world’s largest independent construction consultancy boasting a revenue in excess of £0.5 Billion. He has twice won Construction CEO of the Year.

‘Tipped for success over a decade ago in Building’s 40 Under 40, he has been a driving force behind the programme management and construction consultancy’s stellar growth during his career with the business’ – Building.co.uk

In this podcast we cover:

  • Vince’s background
  • What it takes to make a good CEO
  • What his greatest achievement is
  • His vision for the company and much more…

Thanks to Vince for coming on. If you would like to learn more about Turner & Townsend, please visit www.turnerandtownsend.com

Listen in the browser below or use this link to take you to your usual podcast app.

​Read More

Breaking the Norm #10 – Louise Giblin

Louise Giblin is a Member of the Royal Society of Sculptors. She grew up on the Isle of Wight and lives and works on the Kent/East Sussex border, UK. Her work is exhibited and collected internationally. 

In 2017 she was the artist invited to represent UK in the G7 of Art, Italy, and was awarded the Lorenzo Il Magnifico Gold, 1st place for Sculpture by the International Jury at the Florence Biennale XI. In April 2018, she received an ATIM International Masters Award for Contemporary Art at the Museum of Art and Design New York. Louise is predominantly known for life casting – covering Olympians, famous people, war veterans, models and private clients with plaster or alternative media. She produces a clay three-dimensional copy of the person’s form that she uses like a blank canvas on which to create the model’s narrative imagery. She is not interested in physical portraiture so much as capturing the achievements, positive experiences and passions that people often project to protect their personal selves from scrutiny: she describes this as their ‘armour‘.

In this podcast we cover: Louise’s background; working with stars such as Kriss Akabusi MBE and Dame Kelly Holmes; how creative people can make a business out of what they do, and how Louise used goal mapping to achieve her targets, as well as more. Below you will find examples of Louise’s work:

To see more please visit www.louisegiblin.co.uk

As usual the podcast is available on iTunes or any Android podcast app.



​Read More

Memento Mori – The biggest motivator

Memento mori is loosely translated as ‘remember you must die’.

As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, the only certain things in this life are death and taxes. Not many people forget the taxes part, but most seem to forget the death part – even when it surrounds them.

I have become increasingly aware of death, it seems to be everywhere, despite the mortality rate actually dropping on average. However, illness and death is still everywhere we look.  We are more connected now, and therefore more aware of the all the tragic losses of life, and people dying before their time. But many people don’t seem to pay attention to it. I’m not saying we should all be depressed about it – quite the opposite. Surely the fact we are going to die is the biggest motivator there is? Every day wasted is a day closer to death and ultimately not achieving our goals.

One thing I often saw at university which confused me, was people paying £9,000 a year to waste their time. Most people were sat in the library pulling all nighters to reach the next days deadline, totally oblivious to the fact they’d spent 8 hours that day on FIFA. I’m sure there are benefits to FIFA, but I doubt it’s going to improve the essay writing skills…

This isn’t to say that every minute of the day needs to be regimented. But the excuse people often give for not reaching their targets or goals is that they don’t have time. Whether the goals are related to fitness, academia, travelling, starting a business or any goal you can possibly think of, it will only be achieved if the time is committed. And every day, week, or month that it isn’t worked on is a day, week, or month closer to it never being achieved.

Some people may see the fact we’re going to die anyway as a reason to stay in the comfort zone, or constantly go out drinking, binge watching Netflix (we’re all guilty of this one), or generally dossing about. There’s nothing wrong with that, but just know that the goals won’t be achieved – simple as that.

One of the most common things guests on my podcast mention is that simply following the process will yield the results. What you put in is what you will get out. If you want to start a business, or hit a fitness target but ‘don’t have time’, get up half an hour earlier or cut half an hours TV. Just 30 minutes in a day will be 3.5hours a week of concentrated effort. Nowadays that is enough to open a business bank account online, register at Companies House, set up a business email address, and start creating a basic website; all of that would be done in the first week of getting up 30 minutes earlier. If you’re not interested in business, in 30 minutes you could also fit in a Duolingo lesson (language learning app), 10 minutes meditation, and a 10 minute kettlebell workout.

Once most objectives are broken down to daily or weekly tasks, they’re really quite small. Take deadlifting for example (as mentioned in the podcast with Lindsay Bruce). If you walk into the gym and want to double your deadlift, it won’t happen straight away. But if you increase the weight in small increments every week, you’ll double it in no time.  These principles are the basis of everything. Want to lose weight? Just make sure you’re in a calorie deficit, simple. Want to improve cardio? Make sure you increase your aerobic work. Stronger = lift more. Better informed = read/listen more.

Every single successful person on the planet, still only had 24 hours in the day. From Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Barack Obama, Einstein, and Darwin. They all had the same time, and unless you’ve got access to a time machine (or some very good growth hormone), there is no turning the clock back.

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day…The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” – Seneca

If you enjoyed my first ramblings please subscribe and share. And if you haven’t already checked out the podcast, you can find it on Apple Podcast or any Android App.



​Read More

Breaking the Norm #9 – Matt Jardine

Matt Jardine is an author, writer, athlete, and teacher. He is the founder of Jardine Karate and has helped thousands of students discover their personal potential through his specially designed martial arts programmes. Matt also hold a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Roger Gracie. He teaches in schools throughout London and at his Surrey venues.

Matt’s main publication is The Hardest Path, a book detailing his journey along the 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan. It is a book which I have recently read, and highly recommend. But don’t just take my word for it, the many 5 star reviews on amazon offer greater explanation. One review reads: ‘fantastic book! The authors balance between humour, humility and sensational story is awesome and I cannot wait for another book from this author!’.

In this podcast we cover a lot. Matt’s background: from his tennis career, coaching at the famous Harbour Club, and childhood dreams of winning Wimbledon, to his move into martial arts and his pilgrimage of the 88 temples. We also cover the lessons Matt learnt on his pilgrimage, how he approaches life and business, and an insight into meditation; as well as much, much more.

Matt’s favourite quote:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.” ~ W.H. Murray

Book’s mentioned in the podcast can be found

The Pilgrimage: A Contemporary Quest for Ancient Wisdom
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Love In The Time Of Cholera
Mindset – Updated Edition: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

If you want to learn more about Matt and follow his future projects, you can find him at the links below:

I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast. If you haven’t already please ensure to subscribe on Apple Podcast, any Android podcast app, or Youtube.

Listen in the browser below or use this link to take you to your usual podcast app.

​Read More

Breaking the Norm #8 – Guy Thompson

Guy Thompson is a Premiership rugby player with 100 caps for Wasps (and 24 tries), and is soon to be a Leicester Tiger. Guy’s route to the premiership is quite unconventional – he didn’t get there through the typical academy route, instead he played his way up the leagues as you will hear. Guy recently shared Wasps highest honour with James Haskell and Danny Cipriani – the Ivor Montlake award for special services to Wasps Rugby – presented to them by legend Lawrence Dallaglio. In the podcast Guy cites this as one of the highlights of his career as well as receiving man of the match (and scoring a try) away against Toulon.

In this podcast we cover Guy’s background, how he rose to the premiership, what it takes to make a successful sportsperson, and other areas.

As promised in the podcast here is a link to Guy’s very impressive highlights.

Hope you enjoy the podcast, if you do please share it.

Find guy on Instagram: @guythompson87

And Twitter: @guythompson87

Listen in the browser below or use this link to take you to your usual podcast app.


​Read More