S.U.M.O (Shut Up, Move On)

General Business

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Paul McGee

S.U.M.O (Shut Up, Move On): How to create and enjoy a brilliant life

The Imagination Gallery, London

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“Can you cope with laughter and learning?” was Paul McGee’s first question for the London Business Forum. With his unique brand of Mancunian motivation – “Tell it as it is, no bull, be really practical” – McGee mixes inspiration, psychology and punch lines to explain his approach to overcoming life’s challenges: SUMO.

SUMO stands for “Shut up and move on.” Whilst it may sound aggressive at first, it’s really about facing those inner demons that obstruct the path to success. McGee believes that the SUMO principles offer a helpful guide to putting things in perspective, encouraging us to reflect on our reactions to things in order to let go of baggage and make the most of opportunities.

McGee speaks from experience. He faced his own life changing moment when he developed ME in his early 20s and lost his job through ill health. At first, he admitted, it felt as if his world had fallen apart. Living on invalidity benefit and forced to use a walking stick for a time it would have been easy to give in but after some serious self-reflection, McGee made a brave decision: “Nobody would actually hire me because I couldn’t pass a medical, so I hired myself.”

“Besides God, if you believe in God,” McGee asked the LBF, “who is the most important person you’re going to talk to?” The answer, he asserted, is “yourself.” We talk to ourselves all the time but we seldom “think about thinking” McGee continued.

Yet the way we think can greatly impact the results we experience in our lives, argued McGee. Addressing your own mind set and how it could be holding you back is one of the first steps of SUMO. Thinking differently can change the way we feel and act so questioning the way we think allows us to take control of our lives.

McGee urged the LBF to “develop fruity thinking” and banish “faulty thinking.” So what is “faulty thinking”?

1. Inner Critic – the voice inside your head that highlights weaknesses

2. Broken Record – repeating the same negative message to yourself without acting to resolve the problem

3. Martyr Syndrome – blaming everyone but yourself for the bad things that happen to you

It is important to recognise that we are all leaders, argued McGee. We don’t just lead others but we also lead ourselves. Whilst external factors may influence our lives, we do have the ability to control what happens to us but this takes self-awareness. By taking a moment to pause, take stock, or “shut up” we can better understand ourselves, ask the right questions and “move on”, leaving “faulty thinking” behind.