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  • Writer's pictureMollie Maxwell

Progress not perfection

None of us are perfect and in fact it would be a very strange life if we were and it is not something to aspire to. However, most of us would agree that there are things that we would like to change and ways we would like to improve ourselves. This is definitely something to aspire to and change is the one constant in our lives that occurs whether we like it or not . When we are looking to improve our lives in whatever way we chose, we look for progress not perfection.


Having just been listening to Jessie Mulligan interview Sir John Kirwan on Radio NZ this week, I felt inspired to re-read his book " All Blacks dont cry - a story of hope" in which the rugby legend , Blues coach and mental health advocate talks about the re-release of his book with updated content. Sir John, or JK as he is fondly known, is a great kiwi hero for many reasons and especially for showing vulnerability in the face of depression and anxiety. He suffered at the height of his career and struggled with depression for many years before opening up about it and becoming the popular face of mental health as a subject to be talked about. His honesty about still suffering from occasional bouts of depresssion and not hiding the reality of this as a debilitating problem for so many people is inspiring.


In his book, JK talks about creating mental health moments during the day, to switch off and just be quiet, take a walk or whatever, as being a proirity in his day and he factors this in to the beginning of every day because it is important for him to put his mental wellbeing at the top of his "to do" list.

He also has a "to done" list where he can tick off his achievements during the day as a way of giving himself a positive message. It doesn't have to be a big acheivement, it could just be " I went to work today" or " I did well today." This strategy allows credit to be given for even the smallest of achievements which bolsters self image and fosters progress towards change for the better. Even one of the most celebrated All Blacks would admit that the pressure to be at the top of his game and reach perfection can be mentally draining and that to be well, to enjoy life and to look for progress not perfection is a happier reality.


In the book, JK recomend the use of the Five B's :

Use breathing techniques

Set Boundaries and learn when to say "No"

Take Breaks often to reset

Body care benefits the mind

Be kind.


JK has helped so many people better understand mental illness and the devastating effect it can have on families and by raising awareness he has offered hope to those who suffer with depression and anxiety. This book is a great read .


If you are interested in listening to the short interview with Sir John Kirwan here is the link.


Rugby legend and mental health advocate Sir Joh Kirwan talks about the re- release of his book "All Blacks dont cry - a story of hope"



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