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  • Peter Greedy

Naughty enough to be happy

Updated: Jun 18

Today I heard Elliot Gleave (aka Example) say something that really made me think - a lot!

He was chatting to Steven Bartlett on his podcast, Diary of a CEO, and said this:


“…everyone needs some kind of vice, I guess… That’s how we’re built, we’re not meant to just live squeaky clean… life’s boring… it doesn’t have to be sex or drugs and alcohol, but you need something to obsess over… that feels a little bit naughty, a little bit edgy.”

Emotionally and mentally 2022 has been a difficult year for me so far. There’s been a number of things going on in my life that have been challenging. I’m a comfort eater and drinker. I’ve never smoked (other than the occasional puff on a cigar) and never done any drugs of any sort - the closest I got was chewing tobacco, Redman, back in 1986 when I went the US for the summer, and it made me feel really high and uncomfortable so I gave the rest of the packet away.


I am open about my drinking and eating with friends and family and when I say that I’m partaking more than normal there is definitely some guilt attached. Being open and honest helps with accountability, and thankfully for me I do not have an addictive disposition, otherwise I could be much worse. I can say no and maintain control.

Should I feel guilty? Why do I feel guilty?


What Example said really arrested my thinking. I work hard to be a “good” person. As a person and a professional coach it is very important for me to live aligned with my values. I have previously shared on social media that there are 7 core areas to my life that help me live life well. These are:

  • Nutrition: Eat and drink well

  • Exercise: Regularly

  • Sleep: Quantity and quality

  • Mindfulness: Develop a practice

  • Learning: Never stop

  • Service: Give time and resources

  • Creativity: Let the juices flow

The words “we’re not meant to just live squeaky clean” have such resonance with me at the moment. Two other things in the last week have fed in to this. One was a conversation I had with a good friend about the culture we live in and all the rules around everything we do and where those rules come from. Some of which are fine, others that are so outdated and wrong.


An example: I have been to a couple of weddings recently and I have been thinking about parts of the traditional Christian ceremony and what they represent. The very first thing that happens is the bride is escorted down the aisle by the father and the officiant asks “who gives this woman?” Then the father gives the hand of the bride to the hand of the groom - as if the bride is a possession being given from one man to another. REALLY? (Maybe a topic for another blog)

The other thing was a post on Linked In yesterday by Lea Turner about professionalism and tattoos and piercings and how the two are NOT related. The item cited a post that had gone viral about a customer that had refused to pay an invoice because the service provider had tattoos. I commented that as a 57 year old straight white man I feel edgy at work if I don’t tuck my shirt in, but would be most comfortable in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. Would how I am dressed affect the professional service I give my clients? Of course not. An area to express being more edgy? We’ll see.


These cultural norms, in my opinion, are vestiges of patriarchally controlled history of the society I live in. I have so many questions about them and am so much more open to alternative ways of thinking and living. Challenge the norms.


I don’t have a need to be more naughty or edgy, but I do need to relax about what is and is not naughty or edgy, in myself and in others. If I am not being kind to other people, that is not ok, but it’s equally not ok not to be kind to myself. So if a large gin and grapefruit (my go to tipple at home) helps me cope with a bunch of troubling thoughts, that is being kind to me and that is ok, and I should not feel guilty about it. I will have awareness about it and if it becomes an unhealthy out of control pattern then I have accountability relationships and will address it. I have people around me who will let me know, and I have a good solid conscience.


None of this is binary, right or wrong, black or white, yes or no. These are my view not yours. You may disagree, agree in part or fully agree.


Assess your values. Align your behaviours with those values. Exercise autonomy around those values, rather than give in to unhealthy people pleasing. Be authentic. Be aware. Be you. Enjoy you. Give yourself a break and maybe do something a little naughty!

(As always, your thoughts and comments are invited. I grow mostly by engaging with people who have views different to mine and so all comments are welcome.)

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