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Positive Charge

Comedian Danny Wallace wrote a book called Yes Man in which he charted his adventures over a year period during which he was only allowed to say ‘yes’ to every dilemma in which he found himself.

It’s an entertaining read, but what if he’d spent longer saying ‘yes’? Well, perhaps he might have ended up being a successful children’s entertainer, because saying yes and jumping in with both feet to every challenge has been a road to success for Sharky and George. I found meeting this pair of thirty-year-olds to be an inspiring experience. They seem to have followed gut feeling most of the time, regardless of risk: taking on parties for 600 children when they’d previously only had experience of entertained 50 kids and then trusting to their own ingenuity, charm and enthusiasm to pull it off. It’s a style of business that’s not (yet) failed them, and, at a time when much of the advice to small businesses is to be structured and cautious, it’s good to be reminded of examples where following instinct, and not a business plan, can also reap rewards.

At one point in our interview Sharky and George quote a stat they recently read about the high number of parents who say they don’t feel comfortable playing with their children. Many parents it seems feel self-consciously silly playing children’s games. I’ve since read another stat about the number of hours children spend on computer games. And today yet another number crunch emerged about children not playing outdoors at all.

We’re all bombarded by an endless barrage of statistics and some of it could be useful, but if we get too much of it then we simply turn off advice altogether - as was shown by a recent BBC Online article which asked mothers what parental advice they would give to the Duchess of Cambridge. Top of the list was: Don’t listen to advice. You’ll get tired, you’ll make mistakes, but in the end, you’re still the parent and you know best.

‘Yes!’ as Danny Wallace would say.

Jon Watt is editor of the Clapham & Battersea and Fulham editions of Time & Leisure Magazine.