Development, Destitution and Death

Three points of learning to be taken from my life this week: development, destitution and death so let’s get cracking.


Training and development is vital for personal continuous improvement, and most businesses have a self-contained training and development team. But not everybody is fortunate to work for a business that sends you on free training courses. For those of you who are out of work, self-employed, or work for a company that just doesn’t care, then I believe you should treat yourself as if you are a business. Each year you should create a series of goals, which include training and development to ensure to continually improve. Last weekend I was transforming my life at the Landmark Forum. There are a number of lessons to learn about my attendance at this wonderful event that I didn’t plan to attend. If you check my goals there is no mention of the Landmark Forum. Training courses cost money and this is why you should plan them in advance – so you can budget accordingly. The Landmark Forum cost me £805 of un-budgeted income. (Course=£375, Hotels=£380 & Food=£50)  If you ran your business this way you would find yourself unemployed very quickly, so don’t behave this way when you are your own business.

Action: Each year you should decide what your training and development budget is going to be and plan accordingly. If you want to attend the Landmark Forum then plan to do so and save the money. Do not randomly attend courses midway through the year because you feel like it. This is how you get into debt.


In last weeks Pick of the Week: Debt and Divorce I told you that I found myself £1,400 overdrawn. It was the first time that I have been overdrawn since I retired from the rail industry and it scared me. I have since read two excellent finance books Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez and The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsay and am midway through my third, I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi. I have taken the best advice from the first two books and have so far created 16 actions. I am going to be sharing each action with you on this blog, but in the meantime just focus on this solitary point.

Action: Stop spending money! Financial independence starts by understanding that you are the reason you are destitute. A picture says a thousand words – over to you Will Smith.

will smith

In a previous blog post Pick of the Week: Love and Blood I wrote about the death of my Nan. During her final weeks on this earth, and in the wake of her death, the family was beset with worry and stress. In fact there was so much worry and stress that when she died there was more relief than actual grief. Obviously the worry and stress cannot be eliminated completely, because by the mere nature of illness and death there is going to be a reaction, but part of the problem lies behind the uncertainty. Nobody really knew what to do when my Nan fell ill, and trying to organise everything in the wake of her death was exactly the same.

There is not much to be certain of in life, but one thing we can be certain of is the fact that we will all die. Yet despite this fact people still refuse to discuss death. But until people start to discuss it, and plan for their eventual demise, people the world over will continue to be dragged through this emotional minefield.

The other thing that bothered me this week was the funeral itself. Funerals are such dire affairs and yet they don’t have to be. I believe it should be a celebration of life, but instead we all stand and sing hymns we don’t even know the words to. It was a Christian service and yet my Nan was not a Christian and neither were most of the people in attendance. So why were we all saying prayers and singing hymns? I had a vision of my own funeral and people were telling stories about my life. Everyone was having a good laugh and a good cry as they took time to share their memories. Then the needle fell off the funeral dream record because unless I pull my finger out of my arse, it will be two hymns and a few prayers to a God I don’t believe exists.

Action: Wake up and smell the death. We are all going to get old and we are all going to die! Make arrangements for your care when you are elderly. It costs money, so make sure you have saved for it. Make sure you have a will so if you should fall severely ill or die people do not need to fret or worry. Last but not least, make sure that you make arrangements for the type of service you want and place it into your will.

Death Photo courtesy of TheTim (CC & Flickr)

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  1. Once again Lee a great post and very thought provoking.

    Yesterday I had a conversation with a Lady who described herself as an “old woman” I mention to her that she didn’t look old to me to which she replied, she was 60 years old. The lady once again referred to herself as an old woman and her tone of voice reflected the fact that she genuinely believed she was very old at just 60 years of age.

    She is just 13 years older than me and the conversation left its mark, according to her I’m going to be an “old man” in next to no time! Even though I disagree that 60 is old, it lead to me having a wake up call. The clock is ticking, it’s counting down and every second counts… I need to get a move on.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Neil,

      It seems like we have known each other a very long time despite not even meeting. When I started my first blog I was beginning a journey of transformation that was very lonely. You were one of the few people in the world who I felt was by my side. You “got it” and I could feel that and it gave me strength.

      Let me ask you a question Neil. What is it that you want to do? What is your life purpose?



  2. You deal with tough subjects in a fresh, matter-of-fact way that tends to soften the sting of the fear people have with them. I am already planning my funeral. I want a party. Of course, I want a prayer but offered by someone who knows me. No wake, no burial, no songs that meant nothing to me personally. No drag-on speeches or photo videos. Why would anyone want to be mourned (rather than celebrated) by a boring, meaningless service?

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Linnea,

      This is how funerals work where I come from. Nobody talks about death because if you did then people would think you were different and nobody wants to be different. So all conversations of death are buried along with the bone in the garden. Then people die and the family members act like Pontius Pilate. Nobody wants to deal with the resultant mess and grief, so some poor soul (usually the closest in proximity or eldest) has to manage the funeral arrangements. But what do they do? There is no will and their wishes were never talked about. So the person does the best they can. They go onto aut-pilot. They think back and ask, “what did I do last time I was in this situation?” Then they do the same. For the large majority of the population funerals have a familiar look to them and in the UK it is all about a vicar talking about God and everyone singing hymns. So when left to our own devices this is what we organise. This is such a shame in my opinion and why I write about it.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. What a complex blog with plenty of food for thought! I love Will Smith’s quote and I’ve been to some really great funerals where they really were a “Celebration of Life.”

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Sandra,

      I am restricted by my view when it comes to funerals. I have never experienced anything near a “celebration of life” and so my only view is of dull and boring services. Hopefully this will expand in the future.

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Strong, clear, blunt advice. Now the tricky thing – do it! 🙂

  5. Hi Lee,
    Your suggestions in your blog are all legitimate suggestions that apply to our lives. The number of people that follow them regardless of whether they have money or not is questionable. We see it in the paper everyday, rich man dies and leaves not will or the will is contested among family members etc. You will never be able to take anything here with you and what happens to it afterwards, you cannot influence because you don’t have any say so anymore.
    As far as funerals are concern, when my mother died, it was a celebration and I had the church laughing at some of the things she did. That was the way she wanted it. You see, she and I had planned her funeral, what she wanted to be dressed in, in her casket and the last pair of earrings she had on at the time of her death had been put in her ears by me.
    My mother was a Christian, and she had a happy going home celebration, so not all Christian funerals are like you described.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Pat,

      I hear you. I understand that a Christian service can be a nice service for a Christian, I am just questionning how my Nan’s service came to being. The service had nothing to do with faith or a celebration of life, instead it just happened as a matter of course – Nan dies and now we need to bury her and have a funeral. This seems very blunt but in reality this is what happened.

      I believe the buck stops with the dead. They need to leave instructions on how their send off should be when they are alive (just like your Mum did). If they don’t do this then it can be tricky for the family members when it comes to organising it. Some people may want a traditional send of, some may want to make it fun and this is where it gets messy.

      Thanks for commenting. I agree not all Christian funerals are like I have described.


      • Lee,
        You are right in the case of someone who knows they are dying. It is the honorable thing to do, leaving instructions, taking care of financial business, etc. Yes, it is difficult to think about one’s own death, but as you say in your original post, we are all going to die. Keep up the good work of addressing matters people would rather keep buried.

        • Hi Lee,
          I have just nominated your blog for the Beautiful Blogger Award. For further instructions please drop by and read my Thank you blog post.

          • Lee Davy says:

            Why thank you Patricia. I have been very busy the past few days but will get to your blog either tonight or tomorrow.

  6. “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan

    Swap the word wants for loves and that sums up what I want from life Lee. I want to be free, independent and to grow, however I’m still looking for the vehicle that will take me where I want to go.

    Growing up I wanted to be a pro cyclist, I quit racing aged 25 when I realized I was not good enough just an average amateur.
    I then went down the corporate route working for what at the time was the biggest building company in the world Hanson, I climbed the greasy pole won promotion after promotion eventually the recession hit and the factories I had once managed closed one by one.

    I had supplemented my income over the years from sports betting, mainly horseracing and had some success I thought I was clever enough to beat that game but my bankroll was never big enough and that to fell by the wayside.

    I now do a job that pays ok and it does stretch and challenge me but I’m dissatisfied, my enjoyment comes from online poker, I love that and would love to be able to do that fulltime but as you know its really hard and the competition is intense even if you run well! I play daily and study but the more I learn about the game the more I feel becoming successful at poker is like climbing Everest and It will only ever be a very enjoyable hobby.

    The thing I have been most successful at has been the input and nurturing that I’ve put into my two step-daughters, even though sadly I’m no longer with their Mum I still have a great relationship with them both and their Mum actively encourages it (I brought them up) I’ve had a varied life and have lots of knowledge and experience so maybe helping and developing young people may be my forte, who knows.

    p.s. my Dads funeral last years was wonderful and truly was a celebration of his life.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Neil,

      I have been in deep thought mode about poker in the past few months. I have really been working on my financial development and I realised two things about poker. 1. It is the single biggest expense and therefore liability in my life 2. The hours and money expended do not align with my life purpose.

      My life purpose: To use my experience, passion and drive to teach and inspire others to excel in their work and family lives.

      You seem like a very intelligent man who recognises the need for change. I hazard a guess that you just need a little push and a little glimpse of steady success at something you love and you will be away. So why don’t we go back to the drawing board? Why don’t you have a read of my blog post Why Am I Here? and create your own list? You could write it as a post and I could post it on the blog. Then I could maybe try to help you to find what you are looking for? We can both be winners as you find the love that Bob Dylan says is out there and I get to help somebody I care about?


  7. Hi Lee,

    I’ve just read the why am I here? blog post again, as I read it the word “Mastery” popped into my head. Growing as a person and achieving independence can be summed up by that word, with that in mind, I’ll do as you suggest, create that list and post it here.


  8. I went to an Irish wake in the US and I liked what I experienced. There was a room with the deceased laid out for those who preferred that experience. I was in the room across the hall with the bar and a bunch of friends telling stories of how their lives were touched by the person who had passed. There was plenty of laughter and appreciation of the relationship they shared with their departed friend.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Gigi,

      I am not sure if I would like to see someone who is deceased…never thought about it. But I do like the idea of the laughter and the tales of the past.


  9. Another service I appreciated was for a fairly young man ( in his 30’s) who lost his life to ALS. It was a life celebration given by his life partner. He had been a D.J. and his favorite music was playing along with posters of his favorite bands hanging on the walls. ALS is an ugly disease and everyone was relieved that he no longer was imprisoned in a body that no longer allowed him to enjoy his life.

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