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‘The concept of ….ish’

10th November 2020


The concept of ….ish’

I have never scored 100% in any exam that I’ve sat, nor gained a faultless assessment for any essay or dissertation submitted on any course that I have ever studied. Never! Never, ever full marks. Additionally, although mightily close on a couple of occasions I have never scored zero in any exam hall or essay submitted. Never, never, ever ZERO. But have been overjoyed, pleased, disappointed and devastated.

I did however clean up in the ‘music’ round in a Zoom quiz that I attended recently, answering all ten artists and all ten songs gaining a full 10 out of 10. Sadly the same evening I blew up badly in the following ‘name the year’ round scoring a humbling 3 out of 10 and an equal bottom round score.

Overall that night, in what resulted in a rollercoaster ride of general knowledge I finished the evening in third place out of six, answering more questions right than wrong. Warmed by the positive affirmation of a tick, disgruntled by the knowledge that lacked to get a cross. Annoyed by the questions that I knew but got wrong, joyed by the occasional guess that came good!

But the truth of the matter was neither did I achieve 100% nor did I score 0% but gained a pleasing third place in good company.

(for those who also attend Zoom quizzes, Coventry City won the FA Cup in 1986/87 beating Tottenham Hotspurs 3-2, have that one on me)

The purpose of my regular ZOOM quiz is to assemble a few ‘old boys’ together to meet up, share a laugh whilst testing our knowledge in a non-serious arena where Stewy or Terry normally win and anybody finishing below Keith would pick up the wooden spoon. Then there are the rest of us, battling it out for mid-table mediocrity. The NOT TOP or NOT BOTTOM alternatives to WINNER or LOSER.

Never has there been a time more than the time we are living in now where we have seen a more divisive existence. A stream of continual polar opposite view points with requests to make continual polar opposite decisions. Often with very close margins of outcome.

In so many ways people have been asked to take a corner to form an opinion, vote upon, discuss and choose between.

Politically - Red OR blue, remain OR leave, Donald OR Joe.

Nationally – Lockdown OR live on, eat out OR stay in, health OR wealth, work OR isolate.





I liken my regular finishing position in my quiz to what has been missing from our daily existences certainly in the now, but for some people’s point of view always. An acceptable, more accurate, less reactive space in between the extremes.

My introductory ‘quiz’ anecdote attempts to contextualise this blog by giving a playful reference point for me to base the foundation and meaning of this blog and with it my attempt to share my concept of ‘ish’.

I bet you have even used the term ‘ish’ on countless occasions yourself.

Take the question “Dad! What time will the roast be ready?”

Taking the notion objectively, an answer of “4:00pm” would make 3: 59pm early or 4:01pm late if there was a zero degree of tolerance given.

I suggest the answer of 4’ish’ or one used in our house “after the rugby!” would be a more agreeable response all round, taking pressure off of the cook and an increased tolerance of food arrival for the hungry.

Or the friend you arrange to meet at 6:00pm that easily turns into a non-reactive, no questions asked….. 6’ish’.

If we explored the continuum between the words ALL and NOTHING, immediately there is a judgement call between two polar concepts. Two sides; equal but opposite.

It is possible when given time and a considered perspective to insert additional view-points enabling us to make this polar opposite decision a less divisive choice.

For example,


Could become:


Almost a scoring system for us to determine how ALL or how NOTHING we actually are, without demanding the need for us have to ultimately decide one way or another.

The same can be said for how we score our emotions. It is not always possible for us to describe ourselves accurately by pin pointing a pure, 100%, ALL or NOTHING emotion to our chest when asked for one or more accurately when trying to describe one.

“I am stressed”
How stressed? ALL stressed or NOTHING stressed?
If you were a saucepan of water on a gas hob, how would you describe the action of the lid? Is it a simmer? Is it a bubble? Is it about to overflow?

“I am angry
How angry? ALL angry or NOTHING angry?
If you were an amplifier at a concert, what volume are you playing the music at?

“I am stuck and don’t know what to do?”
How stuck? Totally stuck?
Is it a defibrillator that you need for that reset shock or a blanket and a warm cup of hot chocolate to relax and untangle the knots inside?
I encourage the concept of ‘ish’ when I talk with my clients. Ever aware of the intense ends of the spectrum that people may be facing, but often contextualising where they appear on their own scales with degrees of volume, temperature, league table position.

When presented with the concept of ‘ish’, many of us will be able to talk ourselves up from NOTHING and down from ALL when a safe space is created and the options to do so is presented.

For you.

I looked at the concept of ‘stuff’ in blog 2.

  • What would you use on your scale use to score your ‘stuff’?
  • How many points do you have on your scale?
  • How would you score your ‘stuff’ right now?

Take care,


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