A series of short articles on everything, from practical ways of getting things done, to how to handle your feelings and find peace in a hectic world.

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74. On Modesty and Being British

Isn't it so typically British that while everybody knows who founded Microsoft and Facebook, few have heard of the quiet Englishman who invented the World Wide Web? But modesty, a national value, underwent a severe challenge on the opening night of the Olympics. A good time to take a closer look? We British like to be modest. Immodesty, or even worse, boastfulness, is a crime punishable by social ostracism. Any primary school child will tell you that. We like to be modest about money. If someone says, what a great jacket you're wearing, we like to say 'Oh thanks! I got it half price in the sale at M&S.' Or, 'Do you like it? Only �5 from Oxfam!' It's much less likely that we will say, 'T

73. How Autonomous Are You?

Autonomy is highly valued in modern society. When I ask a client what they want in a job, autonomy is nearly always up there with good colleagues and making a difference. But even when we think we are autonomous, how autonomous are we really? This week's tip explores. We know a couple who have been stalwarts of the Labour Party for many years. He was an MP once, she has run the local ward meetings for as long as anyone can remember. They campaign during elections, they cater for party events, they leaflet-drop, they fund-raise, they counsel the councillors, they advise the MP. They are committed socialists. A few months ago I met their son. He's a hedge fund manager. 'Wow,' I said,