The Living Wake! When you suit yourself, you suit everyone

What do you want people to say about you?

There is a programme on one of those 753 obscure TV channels called The Cake Boss. Have you seen it? Brilliantly creative, they make the most amazing cakes, combining baking and light engineering! Watching that sort of stuff suits me great because I’m addicted to cooking programmes. Masterchef, Come Dine with Me, the whole kit and kaboodle.

Book Him: But then I cook absolutely nothing. Linda booked me into a lesson (Cooking in the Castle) in Howth as a last-throw of the dice, hoping that I might change my lazy ways. I was one of two guys who attended that night along with about 20 women. Given the quality of the questioning, the women didn’t need to attend any classes; they were already cured. The other guy obviously read about this 2:20 ratio in some ‘dating handbook’ and was looking for a different type of heat in the kitchen. By the time we’d put our aprons on he’d already asked 2 women “what brought you here?” and “are you living local yourself? He’d obviously only read the first chapter in that dating handbook (Chapter 2 was on subtlety).

Cake Boss: Getting back to the TV programme, one guy decided that he wanted to have a living wake. We’ve probably all fantasised about what people would say about us at our funeral; this guy decided to find out. Not something that would go down too well in Dublin. Imagine that phone call: “I’m having a mock funeral on the 14th. Could you get here around 6? Wear something dark. It promises to be a good night”. In Ireland, attendance at funerals tends to be somewhat weather dependant (if you want a big turnout, try to die on a sunny weekend).

Following Convention: After I watched the show, I was trying to figure out if my negative reaction to the ‘Living Wake’ idea was based on the fact that it was simply flouting convention. Perhaps the guy was onto something. Why not throw a party on a theme that suits you? Spend time in places where you want to be. With people that interest you. Now, none of us has perfect control over this and you don’t want to become the Taliban and dismiss people who don’t share your worldview. But… you probably have more control than you think you have.

Becoming Assertive:

Q: What do most parents want for their kids?
A: To be confident and assertive!

Perhaps the best way to achieve this is through role modeling. Demonstrate to your kids that you do stuff you want to do and learning how to say no to things that don’t suit – without carrying a sack of guilt for this. Suiting yourself is not a bad motto. People who attend events based on ‘duty’ are often not good company anyway. Even if it outwardly sounds a bit selfish, when you suit yourself, you suit everyone.

Paul Mooney

Ps I got a good response a couple of weeks back to those exam answers. So, in line with the philosophy of absolutely milking it, here’s more. Think your kids are bad? These are 16 years old’s in the UK sitting GCSE exams. When you go home tonight, tell your kids they are pure genius!

Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants
like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends
to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature
abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A: If you are buying a house, they will insist you are well endowed.

Q: In a democratic society, how important are elections?
A: Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorised? (e.g. abdomen)
A: The body is consisted into three parts – the brainium, the borax
and the abdominal cavity. The branium contains the brain, the borax contains
the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels,
A, E, I, O and U.

Q: What is a terminal illness?
A: When you are sick at the airport

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About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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