Simon Ekin

How to make a correct a decision

(Many thanks to Mike Ellis-Smith for this article.)

The summer weather in southern England and in the English Channel was wet and stormy. Rain streamed down over the vast encampments in Sussex and Hampshire where more than a quarter of a million young men waited for the signal to embark on the greatest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare. It was Monday 5th June 1944. The wall clock of Southwick Manor House, five miles north of Portsmouth, showed the time: 14h00. Built in 1800, the three-story Georgian house was the ideal meeting place for the matter under discussion.

The seven men at the table faced a decision – Go or Postpone again? In ports along the coast of Dorset and Hampshire, seven thousand vessels waited to head southwards across the English Channel to five beaches in Normandy; code named: Utah, Omaha, Sword, Gold, and Juno. On airfields across the southeast counties of England, more than 800 bomber aircraft each carrying paratroopers and towing a glider, carrying twelve men, waited for the signal to “Go!”

The invasion, code named Operation Overlord, had already been delayed. Bad weather in the Channel spelled danger for the thousands of the low freeboard landing craft that could easily be swamped by stormy seas. Tomorrow morning at 06h30 the tide at the beaches would be at its lowest, exposing the iron girders, spikes, mines, and obstacles placed by the Germans to prevent allied landings. The next occasion the tide would drop this low would be in a month’s time, which would allow German Field Marshal Rommel, to further strengthen the defences of the shoreline against possible invasion.  Do we go or do we delay? The men round the table, were undecided.

At 14h15 the Met Officer entered the room with the latest weather report. A weak high-pressure zone would be passing over the Channel in the early hours before dawn the next day; this would lessen the severity of the storm. But its effects would be weak and short-lived.  The clock showed the time to be 14h20. Opinions and experience swayed back and forth. Go or stay? Decision time was nearing and the voting around the table was still inconclusive. Yet everyone round the table knew that only one man could give the final word, to go or stay. He was the Supreme Allied Commander, a West Point graduate, and a four-star general. His name: Dwight D Eisenhower. The decision had to be reached by 14h30. It was going to be a long, stormy crossing to Normandy. Finally, at 14h28 Eisenhower, a chain-smoker, stubbed out his cigarette and looked down the table at the senior men. He had made his decision. “Ike” as he was known, cleared his throat. “Gentlemen; we go.”

In front of each of the men was a field telephone that would connect them to harbours and airfields across southern England. The men dialled through to the command posts, who in turn passed on the order further down the line. The greatest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare had begun. After months and months of training, planning, preparation, and phony messages to confuse the enemy, the army, navy, and air force were on the move at last. Over the next two days, hundreds of thousands of men would step ashore onto the mainland of Nazi occupied Europe. Many would die while attempting to do so. Bitter fighting across France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany would follow.

The rest is well-recorded history. The war in Europe ended on May 8th, 1945 and has become known as VE Day. The war in the Far East continued until August 1945 with the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In January 1953 Eisenhower, in a landslide victory, became the 34th President of the United States. He served two terms in office until January 1961, to be succeeded by John F Kennedy.   After Eisenhower’s retirement from the White House, his biographer asked him: “What was the biggest decision you ever had to take in your lifetime, either as a soldier or as a politician?”  Ike was silent for a moment.

“The biggest decision ever: to Go – to begin the D-Day landing, despite the weather, the rough sea and the terrible loss of life that would be bound to follow once the troops reached the landing beaches.” His biographer made some notes, then looked up with his final question.

“Sir, how did you know it was the right decision?”

Eisenhower smiled thinly; shook his head and replied: “In my life I have learned one truth; it is this: make a decision. Don’t ask, is the decision right or wrong? Because it doesn’t really matter. See, perhaps there is no such thing as the right decision; what’s more important is that once you’ve made it, you make the decision right.”

Author’s Note: This story naturally raises the question – Is there such a thing as the “right decision?” and does it matter? Some decisions are so obviously wrong, that even without the benefit of hindsight, one can tell that they were badly made. However, I have always felt that Eisenhower’s philosophy of not second-guessing one’s own logic is the courageous one and is frequently the best. Make the decision, and after that, it doesn’t really matter. Hang in there, you’ve done your best. And now make the decision right.

Mojestically yours!


P.S. Find out your Mojo score by completing the anonymous 2-minute Mojo-Meter here:

Black and white image photoshopped by @MarinaAmaral

Using M.O.J.O to get your Mojo Back

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” – Democritus

I am often asked, “How do I get my Mojo back?” Try this 4-Step Process, it works for me!

Here’s the 4-Step M.O.J.O process I use. Give it a try and see how you go? Would love to hear from you!

·  Magic: What do you really want? You know it, in your soul, your heart, your gut. Don’t deny it to yourself. What would feel amazing? Visualise it.

·  Obstacles: It’s hard, isn’t it? Sure, but so is dying knowing you didn’t follow the magic. What’s stopping you has been stopping you for a very long time. Don’t have it stop you again.

·  Jump! Open your mouth. Take a step. Take a risk. Do something. Do nothing. But do something different to what you always do.

·  Observe: Well done! How are you feeling? What happened? Did it surprise you? Was it easier? Did other things happen?

Go on, give it a go! I’d love to know how you get on!

Mojestically yours,


P.S. Find out your Mojo score by completing the anonymous 2-minute Mojo-Meter here:

The Magic of Talking to Strangers and Taking a Risk

Go on. Take a risk!

It’s 10:30 on a weekday night as I step into a little bar called Roxy’s, in Cape Town with two other men I have just met whilst attending a men’s circle.

It’s cold outside but the warmth of an open fire and a wooden-topped bar, with a choice of beers on tap, feels just the ticket. We continue a deep and meaningful conversation about relationships.

My attention is drawn to a man who comes into the pub and sits at a table across from us and directly in my line of sight. He’s in his early 60s and has a ‘mane’ of glossy, silvery hair that for some reason, above normal curiosity, grabs my attention.

I do what I try and do as much as I can: challenge my own assumptions and limitations, so pull back the chair and walk up to him. “Hello,” I say, “may I touch your amazing silvery hair?” He admits he’s never been asked that by a man before but accommodates my request. After the stroking, I return to my seat.

As I look at him a flicker of recognition fires in my brain. I look at him, look at him again, and then ask, still not sure, “is your name Mike?” He looks at me, and says, “is your name Si?”

It’s Mike F! Mike is the man I met in the late 90’s in London and who first made me aware of the organisation and the very circle that I have been attending – The Mankind Project. I knew he was in Cape Town, and we had had a couple of failed attempts to meet up and now, as if by magic, here we are. He pulls up a chair and joins us for one of those beautiful, flowing, interesting, exciting conversations. I am in the zone, in my Mojo, as happy as a pig in sh*t.

What are the chances of these strange and wonderful series of ‘coincidences?’

I marvel at the majesty, the magic of how the universe delivers every time bang on time, good or bad, right, or wrong.

Allow me to join the dots for you in the form of reflection on this meeting:

  1. Reach out. Connect with someone, you never know what will happen as a result.
  2. Listen to your heart, your desire, your ideas, your quirks, guiding you. I really wanted to go out for a beer with these men I had met and yet my rational mind was telling me that I needed to get back home and get a decent night’s sleep.
  3. Fully engage. In the men’s circle I fully engaged in everything I did that night and took a couple of risks. Because of those risks I judged that I made a deeper, better connection with the other men and so they were willing to come and have a beer with me, perhaps more, than if I had stood back and not thrown myself in.

My invitation of a ‘call to arms’:

Reach out to a stranger and take a risk. Not sure where to start? Start with what is right here, right now. In my case, it was Mike’s grey hair. Be curious. Take a risk.

Mojestically yours,


P.S. Find out your Mojo score by completing the anonymous 2-minute Mojo-Meter here:

How striking up a conversation with a stranger landed me a coffee

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  Mary Oliver

Please, will you consider what an extraordinary life you have, and how the simple act of storytelling could have a big impact on it?

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t taught to tell stories in everyday life. Some are, it seems, natural storytellers, but I believe we can learn how to do this. When we tell our stories, no matter how seemingly insignificant they are, they give the listener something very valuable, something unique, something unexpected. 

I judge that in many cultures, particularly Western culture, we’re not taught the process of telling stories. Yes, we know about fables and myths and so on, maybe from school. But what about our daily lives? What about those little moments that seem to be so insignificant? What if we were to be able to craft them in a way that a simple trip to get a cup of coffee becomes something valuable to someone else, and to ourselves, in turn? Send me a message and I will show you the 5-step process of telling a story that transforms. 

Here’s an example: It’s 8:00 o’clock on Monday morning and I head out for a cup of coffee and some groceries. I walk across the busy road, towards a coffee spot; it’s a little hatch nearby where people place their orders, and I notice an elegant-looking woman walking towards the ramp that leads to the coffee counter. I particularly notice her shoes. They’re high-heeled, beige in colour and I can’t help wondering – not for the first time – what it must be like walking in high heels, particularly on uneven surfaces! 

They look great, and she looks great in them, and I think to myself, “I should compliment her on them.” And then, the voice in my head starts up: “It’s probably not appropriate…what will she think? Will she think I’m trying to pick her up? Will it get awkward all?”  

I walk up the ramp, on which she is now waiting in the queue, and I say to her, “I love your shoes, they are so elegant!” She smiles and says thank you as I head into the shop. As I head out to the queue, I start to feel a little self-conscious, projecting that she will think it was the start of a chatting-up process, and now what? The voice is doing its thing again! 

I walk out and join the queue behind her, telling myself to just relax, have a conversation, and see what happens. I ask her what her day is looking like. She says she is running late, and asks if I have a headache, given that it’s Monday, which is clearly a thing for her! She seems very open and willing to converse. She introduces herself with a firm, outstretched hand. Her name is Mila and she works for a financial services institution. We compare notes, asking each what the day has in store for us. I tell her I am pondering an idea for a blog later today that I will be writing later. I suggest she considers doing one too, which she quickly dismisses. 

She offers me a coffee, which I willingly accept. “I have got all these free coffee vouchers,” she says, “and I rarely end up using them.” I ask if she would like to chat further over our coffee, but she tells me her boss is already asking where she is. I hand her my card that says, helping men get their Mojo back, she says, “Oh, I should tell my boyfriend about you!” I laugh that the chances are not high he will connect with me, but who knows? 

And with that, she leaves.  

I reflected on the conversation; this is what I got: 

  1. I think if you’re sincere and honest, things – different things – can happen that can be small or lead to something big, who knows? But I do know that it is quite rare.  
  2. I think having the courage – my favourite of all! – to just speak whatever is there in a way that is not trying to get something but just saying it like it is, is one of the most important actions a human being can take. 
  3. Trust the process – if you open your mouth, you’re far more likely to have a new and different experience, rather than the ‘same old, same old.” In my case, I had a delightful conversation with a stranger that ended in a gift of a cup of coffee! 

Why not strike up a conversation with a stranger and see what happens? 

I’d love to hear. Drop me a line!

Mojestically yours!


P.S. Find out your Mojo score by completing the anonymous 2-minute Mojo-Meter here: