Dont focus on the numpties …

Written by Nick Ebdon

March 19, 2024

Sitting in the car this morning on the homeward journey of the ever lengthening school run, and I could feel a sense of irritation welling up inside. Not only was the traffic particular bad today and the drivers particular mindless and frustrating, but on the radio, some dickhead was expressing their ‘outrage’ that our future queen had committed the mortal sin of touching up some of her photos. The whiny cretin seemed perplexed when the host questioned whether it was as big deal and whether maybe the public had other, more serious things to worry about (it isn’t and we do) and I was getting wound up listening to this irrelevant nob and the air time he was being given.

With the traffic reduced to a crawl, I began to imagine what this guy’s back story was. I wondered whether he had a partner, whether his partner wished he didn’t have a partner, whether he had kids and if he did, whether there was a thing such as a whiny-twat gene that he may have passed onto them. I hoped not. I then pondered whether he was the sort of bloke who gets triggered by everything, or whether only certain things pressed his buttons. Was it because it was Princess Kate that he was getting so riled up and if so why?

As I wondered if my mood could get any shittier, an impatient woman, too lazy or preoccupied to walk twenty yards up the road to a safer place for her and her young family to cross, stepped out in front of the car in front of me, two young kids in tow and into the oncoming traffic. The unsighted driver coming towards her swerved, as she gripped her kids arms and pulled them back, and I had found a new target for my bubbling irritation.

As I began to delve into my new target’s imaginary back story and whether her kids had been gifted with her very own ‘head up the arse’ gene to endanger their own children in the future, my focus was switched to a lady jogging on the other side of the road. What caught my eye wasn’t the fact that a woman was running in my direction, this happens so much and so often that it is no longer even attention worthy, but that she paused and running on the spot, gave space to a couple of kids coming her way and taking up most of the pavement. As they approached her, she gave them a friendly smile and once passed, continued on her way. As she got closer I realised I knew her, beeped, smiled and gave a thumbs-up and she responded with the same smile she had given the kids moments before.

In that moment, my mood quickly lurched from irritated to contemplative and I begun to meditate on the benefits of starting the day with exercise and what authentic and genuine smiling does for one’s demeanour. Thinking of this made me think of Mrs E setting off this morning on her 3.5km walk to work (for those exact benefits) and the big smiles we gave each other as I waved her off from the bedroom window and my smile grew bigger.

In an instant I was no longer bothered by stuff.

Moments later and with me now smiling to myself and in a good mood, I noticed another friend walking towards me, so once again I sounded my horn and waved. This time however, with the traffic now flowing more freely, my friend was unable to make out who had honked at them (or indeed if anyone had honked specifically at them at all). Undeterred by the who’s or the if’s, she waved back in such a way that, even if she didn’t know who had actually beeped, from the dozen or so cars passing her at that particular moment, no one was getting left out.

In an instant I was no longer just smiling, but chuckling to myself and replaying the image of my friend doing her best impression of Stevie Wonder swatting wasps.

Kindness, warmth and humour are amazing at distracting us from the things that get our goats and instantly freeing us from the foul moods we all find ourselves in. What we give our attention to and the meaning we give those things can harm us, or it can help us. Most of the time, we have it in our power to decide where that focus is placed. This morning, in being distracted with things that in reality have no relevance to me and do not and should not require my attention, I temporarily got absorbed in a negative frame of mind.

Luckily, a friendly smile and gesture, a warm memory of the missus and a cheery and carefree outlook reminded me just how easy it is to pop straight back into a happy state and be snapped out of a shitty one. The fact is, we always have the choice to think one thought over another and the ability to direct our focus and attention to the things that serve us better.

I am going to spend the rest of the day (and the next school run) looking out for the things that inspire me and make me smile and ignoring or turning off the things all of those things that do not serve me.

I am also going to try and be less critical of others as I don’t know the real stories behind the choices they make. On another day, I almost certainly would have been less irritated with the woman choosing to cross the road in the dangerous way that she did (and hopefully been more concerned) because I do not know enough to pass judgement on her.

But when I saw her I was already in a state of irritation as a result of not changing radio station when one of life’s true numpties started making mountains out of molehills.

So, I guess that’s the final moral of this message – If you want to have a good day, turn off the dickheads you don’t need in your head.

*if you are a whiny cretin, who feels genuinely aggrieved at a set of touched up photos, you probably need therapy and I am probably not the one to give it to you.



Unfortunately, the hypnotherapy profession has more than it’s fair share of unethical and predatory practitioners, and dishonest and unprofessional trainers casting a shadow over the many decent people working in the industry.

I am collecting data and evidence to challenge much of the problematic behaviour that is holding all that is positive about the field back.

Please let me know – with full confidentiality, where you have witnessed individuals and organisations behaving unprofessionally (providing evidence) and I will look into it, as I have done on previous occasions.
We all have a collective responsibility to raise standards.


You become what you give your attention to.


– Epictetus


The influence Epictetus’s teachings have endured throughout the ages and his philosophy adopted by coaches and therapists. This morning, for a few moments I became what I gave my attention to; angry, unreasonable and unecessarily irritated by things I could choose to ignore.
Be mindful of what you are giving your attention to.

Is there something hypnotherapy can help you with?

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