How an old billboard inspired a busy and stressed Londoner

I was travelling on a very delayed train full of frustrated commuters this morning trying to get in to Charring Cross on a pretty grey and miserable Thursday morning in London.

Whilst we were stuck outside London Bridge, I looked up over the heads and shoulders crowding the train and was pretty startled and inspired by what I saw – so much so I had to take a picture. As you can imagine (and as any regular London commuter will testify) me squeezing round to take a picture was not the most well received action on a late train, nevertheless it caught my eye so much I felt obliged to make a record of the moment – see the results below, do you think it was worth it?

When I saw this billboard I was reminded of a wonderful time when commuters talked to each other and it did not matter if you were delayed because you were in a city which was vibrant and buzzing with excitement. Although it is slightly poignant that this time has passed and this image reminding us of this is clearly in need or repair, that it even happened at all really helped to perk me up.

It also acted as a reminder of the value of taking time out to evaluate and reflect upon what we do, why we do it and what we achieve. Despite how downbeat and frustrated we might feel in a single moment, whether personally or from a professional viewpoint, we should always make time to do this.

By chance spotting this image and having these thoughts have come at a particularly tricky part of my work week, which has left me feeling frustrated to the point of tears at times (just to be clear, not stupid crying, but proper good crying – like this). At the same time on that train this morning many people probably were feeling annoyed and frustrated at what they felt were the everyday failures and problems of living and travelling in central London. All aboard the misery carriage, next stop: Gloomville!

Yet this image was a gentle and timely reminder that, not so long ago, the city was able to achieve some pretty phenomenal things – although it might be having an ‘off’ morning so to speak, there is a lot of potential underneath the surface. Likewise, I might feel as though I am being ping-ponged around by my work issues but, at the end of the day, it is not life and death – without these days I would not learn anything new or move forward.

Which is what my train eventually did. Even though it got in half an hour late, that image meant that I was inspired to do my work ‘Faster, Harder, Stronger’ to more than make up for it.

Well, that’s what I told my boss anyway!

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