It was 1976 and I was in this bar in New York…

image of concorde g-boacI was out with the boys today: my primary school-aged children Rob and Fin with whom I am having a second childhood. But I’m making the decisions…

When we go out together we “car-spot”. In our brains, we log cars that we like. My eldest son Robert loves cars. He drives this “car-spotting” activity.

It is not any old cars that we log. No, it is top stuff. My own lovely big BMW would not get a second glance from Rob. But he deigns to travel in it.  

No, no, no. At Rob’s instigation we only log what matters…Porsche, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Masarati and of course the supercars…Ferrari, Maclaren and Lamborghini…

And what we see is amazing…

…and today was very typical.

We drove to the centre of Hale, less than one mile away. We elbowed past the battalions of schoolgirls permanently camped outside Yogberries and we had a well marketed but disappointingly fat-free yogurt snack-thing.  

We walked a bit, sat in Costa’s by the plate glass window and watched the cars go by (and in my case not just the cars. Yeah.)

We then drove home via a garage for a bit of finest diesel.

Round trip – 3 miles max. Time – 60 minutes all in, what with the schoolgirl apocalypse.  

During the trip we saw a Lamborghini…

…part of its number plate was “P61” – I noticed this because I had clocked this before: about three weeks ago when this car had got a bit too close to me when I was out cycling. I tried to catch it to make my displeasure known. Didn’t manage it somehow.

All-in-all and to cut a long story short, we saw three Masaratis, the Lambo, a Roller, two Aston Martin’s (actually really just one in the wild – the second one we know where it lives and we cruised by its house to log it), five Porsche 911s and one Panamera, two Bentleys and a single Ferrari that almost escaped us as it was black and not being shouty.  

On the last turn before home we saw the Lamborghini again. Parallel parking outside the baker shop on Hale Road. As we glided by I glanced at the number plate…

It wasn’t “P61”!!

Two Lambos in one day…goodness me.

Rob was delighted. (So was I). Fin – a bit more insouciant. He was getting Minecraft-withdrawal.   

Now this hit rate is routine for me and the boys. Car spotting has become such a habit that even when I am alone in my car and something noteworthy growls by – I utter the car’s name out loud, as if the boys are there with me.



“Cute little Fiat thing with double racing stripe up the middle” – sorry, that’s a little secret I keep from the boys.

I tell some people what we see…

…on our short trips out and they do not believe me. Frankly, if I hadn’t started to count the stupid lumps of metal I wouldn’t have believed it myself. There was a two hour trip we did last summer where we saw 16 Porsche 911s.

There’s a recession on FFS!  

But it’s all true – these cars exist and WE ARE LOOKING FOR THEM.

On a similar plane, the Concorde parked at Manchester Airport has its registration number G-BOAC painted on the side. Now BOAC stands for British Overseas Aircraft Corporation, a predecessor of BA. That’s history that is. This aeroplane was the flagship of British Airways.

Similarly, N747PA was the registration number painted on the side of the Boeing 747 flagship of the now defunct PanAm airline. It was also known as Clipper America, which is cute.  

I know this stuff because I was a plane geek…

… when I was a boy. I knew of these aeroplanes but had never seen them. But I was watching. Always. And then I saw both of them within minutes of each other taxiing by the window of a sweltering, heavy red curtained and red flock wallpapered bar in Kennedy Airport in New York.

It was 1976 and I was 12 years old.

I saw these planes because they were there and I was looking.

And today…

…it’s the same with all these cars.

Today, they were there and I and the boys were looking.

It’s difficult to find what you want if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

This applies to everything…

  • Customers
  • Jobs
  • Friends
  • Partners
  • Opportunities

People sometimes don’t define what they want because they want to keep their options open. To have every customer; every partner; every opportunity.

Like the lion that switches its focus from one gazelle to another at the critical moment:

“I must have it all.”

“I cannot let an opporchancity go by.”


This is zero-sum thinking: “if I miss an opportunity all is lost.”

No – you MUST miss opportunities. Because there’s so damn many of them you have to – you cannot deal with them all.

It’s not about what you might have had and missed. One gazelle a week is fine. Trying to bring down every gazelle and ending up with nothing..?

You’re dead in three weeks.

Do this –

  • Ask yourself – What are you looking for today?
  • Then – define it. As closely as you can.

Most people leave most of what life has to offer on the table because they won’t commit to and define what it is that they want.

But if you do define what you desire, then when it skips in front of you, you might just see it…and get what you need, and what you want.

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