Can people be more positive?


On social media and in other forums, I meet a lot of people, especially disabled people, who are quite negative about their situation and I must wonder to myself, can people be possible? I strongly believe that attitude is everything and for example it is not often the amount of money that causes poverty but rather our attitude towards money. While I know things can just not feel difficult but actually be difficult, it will often be sheer determination that will make the different between succeeding and failing.


While people can receive support to be possible, they also have a responsibility to grit their teeth and be as positive as they can. It can be hard but determine has its bigger rewards as opposed to playing the victim.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  


The difference between care and support

Within social care many people including those in government talk about care and support like they are the same thing when I feel they are slightly different and relate well to my understanding of wellbeing and inclusion.

In the context, I see care as maintaining wellbeing and ensuring people do not go backwards in terms of personal care so the basic care we need to survive. It is I feel a unconditional right although it is only half the story and alone it risks people simply warehoused.

I see support as the additional assistance people needs to meet their outcomes in terms of being included as a contributing member of society. I feel it is right for support to be conditional on a willingness to make a meaningful contribution in whatever possible as a new contract between the state and the individual.

I believe while people may always keep their care in these difficulties, it is going to be a failure to understand support, seeing it as a luxury, which is going to see people, including myself, facing cuts that could make life harder.

If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

The refusal to take responsibility

I believe it is so important to understand that rights are meaningless without responsibilities and what gives us our true freedom is to take responsibilities for our own actions as individuals.

It could be argued that collectives are a mechanism for some to demand rights without a willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions as individuals hide themselves in the bigger picture. But I have learnt, probably the hard way, that the only person really looking after me is me and therefore if I want something I must get it myself.

Some chronically sick people talk about illness like it is a state of being when they no longer have to take responsibility because they are too ill but for so many people, they have to continue their carer and other responsibilities whether they are ill or not. As someone who employs personal assistants, I need to continue to manage them and worry about them even if I am ill or in hospital, such as ensuring they are paid.

I have little time for those who claim to be ill but have time to claim they can not take responsibility yet complain all day how bad life is for them. If people took more responsibility for their actions, we would all be better off.

If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

What could meaningful contribution look like?

I talk all the time about meaningful contribution to society but what do I mean and what could it look like? It is very clear I do not just mean employment but a much wider concept where it is about the effort someone puts in rather than the attainment.

So it could also include education, employment, training, raising a family and just writing a blog or making some else smile. It is about understanding a person’s own situation and ensure they have a willingness to contribute to the best of their ability as opposed to the negative attitude of “can’t” we see with many sick and disabled people as well as a whole range of other people.

I believe making a meaningful contribution can instil pride and good mental wellbeing giving benefit to everyone. I would therefore challenge anyone to tell me I am wrong to believe anyone can make a meaningful contribution.

If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

Thank you for all the fish?

When I think about how anyone should be supported, I think of the old Oxfam advent which explained people did not want fish to be fed but fishing rods so they can catch their own fish to feed themselves. There is what I call enablement. People also need to be taught how to use the fishing rods and that is what  I call empowerment, where people are provided with control and responsibility for their destinies.

While this is so simple, this is not how either the welfare state nor the charity industry is designed. Rather than working with people, running along side them as they continue to develop themselves, the state and charities keep those who need support dependent on them to live life easier rather than richer. There has been little imagination nor any progress in the lives of many disabled people because it has not been in the interest who profit from simply providing a never ending supply of fish.

The way people are support can change as well as how organisations who provide support are developed, it simply takes a high degree of honestly and some creativity!

Second Class Assumptions

If you carefully examine much of the campaigning done in the name of disabled people you will find that much of it assumes disabled people are second class citizens and reinforces this. By this, I mean it is often generally portrayed that people with impairments are poor, unemployed and have low expectations.

While in specific definitions of disability, like working aged adults claiming benefits, this could be seen as the case, it is not reflective of the total population. For the most part, impairment happens regardless of class or how much you for worth. The cost of managing impairments can also vary enormously and so having a Blue Badge can not be seen as a  symbol of poverty.

However, the systems that manage disabled people, which include user led charity, seem to work on an assumption of poverty and unemployment. This can been seen by the fact most consultation exercises relating to disabled people are in day time office hours on an assumption we have nothing else to do.

We are not in a chicken and egg situation where we must wonder whether those who campaign/moan about disabled people being treated as second class citizens are helping things or simply re-enforcing dependency? Until we all demand disabled people take responsibility and raise the expectations placed upon them, I fear things are never going to change under charities let go and empower disabled people to be first class citizens.

Making ‘poor me’ no more

I would like to see a society where nobody, especially disabled people, no longer feel sorry for themselves. I am not saying this is going to be easy but can’t see why having a positive attitude can not be the norm.

Being positive is not about smiling all the time or being passive but it is about having an constructive attitude to solving problems and making a contribution to society. It is moving from what can the country do for me to what can I do for the country. 

And for disabled people, it means recognising the limitations from impairment and working with this information to be creative in achieving whatever you want. Being a victim is a choice too many people easier make.

I feel the issues faced by many disabled people can only be overcome by a positive attitude and society must assist disabled people to achieve this.

Silent Knights

A silent knight is someone who contributes good into the world in a way no one recognises or will ever realise. These are not so much unsung heros as unsung heros are public in their contributions and the value they provide is measured in a very middle class simplistic manner of how others perceive good deeds.  

A silent knight will do what they feel is right regardless of how others perceive them and will have little interest in being credited for their actions. There may publicly demonstrate one way of living while having other ways of living which provide a greater good in a way they see as natural.

You will unlikely to know anyone as a silent knight because they are silent by nature and perhaps the backbone of human development in a way history is unable to record. It is worth appreciating those person who have improved our quality of lifes in a way we will never know.

Born leaders

I believe there is without doubt a difference between being a manager and a leader. Managing people is a skill which can be taught and can be carried out with or without passion. Leadership is the ability to inspire others and to take others on a journey with you as their guide.

I do believe there are born leaders and I can not but only look at the evidence when I say that I am a born leader myself. It is easy to try the difference between those to try to lead and those who can naturally lead others. So we much with little effort but maybe with little thought on how to lead. 

We can see the difference between born leaders and managers by comparing Margaret Thacter with John Major and Tony Blair with Gordon Brown. A born leader will have the ability to instil trust and faith into people when the evidence to follow is not there.

I believe I have lead others informally by example and at times my ‘leadership’ has been questioned and challenged as it should be. Not all born leaders have to lead from the front and maybe leaders shine in other ways like Stephen Hawkings. Leadership can often be about having the courage to take a small idea and develop it to its conclusion.

Like in the Life of Brian, born leaders can not often escape from who they are and need to embrace the gift given to them.

M is for … More

M is for More and I always wanted more from life. For as long as I can remember I had high expectations and saw myself equal to my non-disabled peers. Going to university and getting involved with the opportunities offered to me was always natural to me. 

I was always aiming high and wanting to change the world and make a big difference. And so because I was determined to put more in, I can honestly say I have got more out, and that the way it should be. I however realise and understand 2 things.

Firstly, I do have a level of determination and commitment, along with intelligence, which is not entirely unique but certainly expectational. While I am clear a role model and an inspiration for others, disabled or not, as a by product of who I am, I can not expect others to be as ‘active’ as myself. However, after 20 years of being told I am ahead of my time, I believe I should be seeing more active disabled people with significant impairments. Maybe there is but I don’t see it.

I have secondly realise, we still live in a world where many disabled people are not provided the opportunity to shine to their full potential and we need to raise expectations in the services that support disabled people. This will still take a long time especially as disabled people themselves need to take responsibility and let go of the idea they must settle for less and not more!