The good is the enemy of the best

Good is comfortable, easy and most importantly safe. You’re in the middle of the crowd, right where you want to be, unnoticed and average. This proverb hits the mark in every way, from every angle. We settle for mediocre and good all the time these days and especially in adulthood we slowly lower our standards until there’s barely any pride left. I think it’s because the best is so damn hard and makes us vulnerable to criticism. The problem is we measure the best against others, instead of trying to be the best we, as individuals, can be. Two very different things with incredibly different outcomes.

This can spark some interesting discussion if a teacher introduces this proverb at the right time in class. Different cultures, ages and level of English should impact the discussion and perspective. Look for topics in your coursebook that can compliment this proverb and the subsequent conversation, for example: competition, sport, hobbies/leisure activities, jobs, school and education etc. You can ask follow up questions like:

How important is it in your culture to be the best?

Do you strive to be the best at the things you take on? why?

Why is good the enemy of the best? Is it motivating to think so?

Where does the most pressure to be the best come from? Parents, bosses, teachers, yourself?

Are there any disadvantages to being the best?

Want more proverb ideas to incorporate in your lessons? Then sign up for the newsletter by clicking the ‘Newsletter’ button at the top of this page. Or check out the proverb series videos for more.

95 chin ups…and a crash out

A week ago I reached a pinnacle I never even imagined. It was a wet and cold Friday afternoon and after realizing that my attempted running would be cut short due to a recurring shin splint I headed for the bars. The calisthenics bars that is.

After 20min at 1min pauses I dropped down at 95. The culmination of 16 months of this exercise has given me a lot. Persistence, resilience, strength, determination, stamina and power.

The next day I got sick, more sick than I’d been in a long time and for the last 7 days I’ve struggled to keep myself together. Barely functional, audible, weak and in pain. How quickly the tables can turn. I guess destiny has a wicked sense of humor. I slept lots, and lied on my bed with plenty of time to reflect and wonder:

Have I pushed too hard?

Am I doing too much?

When do you know it’s too much?

The running, the chin ups, the logo sting, the merchandise, the classes, the kids, the website, the newsletter, the YouTube channel, the teacher’s tool…..

What if I stop?

Throw in the towel and just relax for a little? God knows I could use more of this resting that I’ve been doing.

I can’t imagine it.

I can’t stop what I’ve set out to do. These things are meant for something. I believe in this stuff. Destiny and fate might have other plans but I won’t be sitting on the sidelines waiting for them. I’ll meet them when I get to where I am going. When I reach a crossroads and tick some boxes I’ll reassess then and move forward. There’s always time for an ice-cold beer and a stogy.

I’ll enjoy them, when I deserve them. Till then, it’s back to battle. #buildmomentum

What’s your action?

Most of us have never wondered about such things but I love this! I knew the answer to it when I heard it being asked from a famous actor and now, I am taking it for my own.

My action is persuading my class of students at any particular time that their time in that room is not being wasted.

My action is convincing them for 60min in there, that what they chose to skip for this lesson was worthwhile and rewarding.

My action is to introduce language they didn’t know, or knew but weren’t using before.

My action is to prove that there is more to learn and improve upon.

My action is to show that I got action, and that I’m serious and genuine about it and I am . But..

It’s important to keep asking yourself the question when you enter a situation.

What’s your action?


Experience is the best teacher

The youth think they know everything. They give us that look as though they are all-knowing and wise, they got google at their fingertips and there is no doubt they know much more than we did when we were their age. Good for them!

So what?

Information is readily available, so knowing a fact is not even that impressive now. But a story. Your story, that may be worth more than an Ivy league education. I’ve noticed that people plays this down or reject it, and it’s usually but those who don’t have many experiences themselves.

Living life, learning by doing, doing a job you don’t know well are going to be areas where this saying will show it’s true meaning. Go on, find out for yourself.

I’m not sure if this proverb is going to get an active conversation going in class, especially if it is a young class. Reserve this one for adults, who will be able to share an insight that validates the saying. I believe the naysers will be in the minority with this one.

If you want more proverb insights you can watch the video series here.

If anything can go wrong, it will

This proverb is credited as being Murphy’s law. But who cares about that. Our students certainly won’t.

I think we like making excuses….for everything. It’s a way to avoid responsibility, risk and shame. Be ready to accept failure, and to accept that things will go wrong. You can’t avoid the dread and the shame so embrace it and go on the ride, it’s what counts, the adventure that awaits in the unknown ahead.

You can’t prepare for everything, but even if you try would you really want to?

This proverb sucks, but is a good conversation starter in the English classroom. Your students will have an opportunity to share their opinions but agreeing or disagreeing and of course justifying their perspective.

There are no right or wrong answers, that’s the beauty here.

Ep.13 Describing change

Describing Changes

Sign up for the newsletter:… In this episode the focus is on a fantastic word that can transform the way we learn, work and live – Change. It’s very versatile and when we want to express changes we can be as specific/general as we wish. Here are a some examples:


Sweeping/radical/major/wholesale changes welcoming/refreshing change to implement or facilitate (change) transformation, transition, adapt, adjust

End of the year, beginning of the road

There are infinite possibilities in some places for some people in certain situations. I don’t feel them. I can’t comprehend infinite, or the universe expanding for that matter. I just try to accomplish what I set out to do. At the moment it’s raising a family, in the midst of that, building a web tool for teachers and on the fringe of it all is my physical exercise.



There are many obstacles, barriers, pot holes, blind spots which will leave skid marks in my wake. And let’s hope that that is all that is left. I started the decade in my late twenties, with little direction, a party mentality and a rented studio apartment. I am leaving it very differently, there is direction 🙂 I managed to improve stuff, purposely fasted for 22hrs just yesterday and have been taking ice-cold showers for the last 8 months, so something is wrong, just don’t know if it’s good or bad 🙂 The road was windy and bumpy with climbs mostly and few flat straight roads. It was more complicated. I know that.


What will come next? A new decade, is too much to think about. But I got a particular marathon in my sights, a language that requires my undivided attention, a mountain to run up, contentment, and love to give to my daughters and wife. Our dog, deserves the best as well.

Man all battle stations and prepare to engage.

“The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.” – Timothy Gallwey

I also got a weekly newsletter titled ‘The Freshen Up Fridays’ newsletter. You can sign up for access to my popular student insights section(what I learned from my students each week), videos and blog posts. I don’t know what I am doing, really but what the hell right?

Happy 2020!