Chris Skinner's blog

Shaping the future of finance

I get knocked down, but I get up again

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Life is swings and roundabouts … you win some, you lose some.

Life is Sliding Doors moments … you look back and want to change things or wish you had taken that opportunity (Ed: it’s easy in hindsight).

Life is what you make it … you cannot change the past or present, only the future.

Life is a pop of the cherry … when you’re a boy.

I was thinking about the fact that I’m usually a beast. 100% reliable and always-on. But then I failed. Or did I? Every failure is a learning moment.

You want to go back and change things.

That job interview you messed up; that meeting where you fell asleep; that event your partner attended and caught Covid; the person you thought you could be with forever, who you argued with and split over a tiny thing; the car coming through a red light that you didn’t see; the decisions you made that lost you a fortune; and so on.

You want to go back and change things, but you can’t. You need to own the mistake. This is particularly an issue when you’re younger because, as life goes on, things change. I call it the three ages. The first age is learning; the second is earning; and the third is burning.

I guess one and two are pretty clear, but I’m in number three now. Burning up the house!

I’m burning money and earnings through the years. You might say no! what about the legacy for your kids? well, I don’t want my kids to get a legacy of money. I want them to be hungry. I want them to learn and earn and burn to be great. I'm not always good, but I always try to be great ;-)

Children should inherit their parents hunger and intelligence, not necessarily their money and their wealth. For example, speaking to BBC children’s show Newsround, that struggling pauper David Beckham said his children have to do chores in order to get their hands on their dad’s money:

“Without a doubt, they have to earn it. They have their chores. They have to put their plates in the dishwasher or make their bed in the morning and, if they don't do it, they don't get their pocket money … Victoria's the strict one to a point and after that I kind of take over. But we're both kind of strict. We were brought up like that.”

I was brought up like that.

So, why am I writing this?

Because a lot of people have things going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about. They have parents who are dying; brothers and sisters who are in a war; children who have diseases that may be terminal; debts that they cannot pay; their house being in foreclosure … and we assume they are alright.

I guess most people are alright.

Most people have everything in their lives just tickety-boo. But a friend of mine once said that you can have all the wealth in the world but, when your health goes, priorities change. Another friend said that you get to a stage where you have all of these things (assets) and ask yourself: why? what for?

This is a bit philosophical, but the more you drive yourself to learn and earn, the more you get to the stage that maybe you should just relax and chill. It’s not a particularly human trait. We are driven by money to have ambitions and always focus on the next big thing. But what would happen if you took that away … and just learned to relax?

I’ve met and seen many people who are wired this way. I’m not one of them. My parents taught me to always strive to survive. And yet there are people who don’t strive for anything. They just chill.

Which is better? Be motivated to be the best you can be? Or live life from the sofa and relax?

Maybe it’s the difference between people, countries, nations. It’s also the difference between companies, organisations and leaders.

There’s just some that want it more and some that want it less and some that just don’t care.

Which one are you?

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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