…was to record how we grasped the opportunities in front of us. How we recognised them, and what we did next. I wanted to get down in writing our process and, with any luck, to paint a picture that demonstrates to everyone how much you can gain when you take advantage of what’s right there in front of you just waiting to be noticed. But perhaps as well as illustrating how we’ve identified the opportunities in order to give everyone a better idea of how it might be done, maybe another way, maybe another more poignant way, is to highlight the huge opportunities that even we have missed. The huge make-or-break, high stakes risks that I’ve only fully realised after it’s too late, when I have all the time in the world to understand the inkling I had, the suspicion, to see how the way I’d been engaged in a problem could have been crucially important, and to count the cost of what we’ve lost because I wasn’t fully alive to the massive potential gain we stood to make from a little calculated risk. I’ve just seen Wales have beaten Belgium, which has prompted the need at 1am to get up and exorcise this demon. I had a suspicion they would win. It all felt right. And as ridiculous as that seems – easy to judge in hindsight that my intuition had been right – I’d made this suspicion public. I’d recommended a Welsh friend put a bet on it. And this has happened before (although I have sometimes played it right). Back in 2010 during the World Cup I had a sharp suspicion that Spain were struggling and that Switzerland were rock solid – and that if the Swiss could score even once, that’d be enough. And I won nearly £100 on a free bet. Ha ha, good for me. Except here’s the lesson, the gaping hole in my midnight and the reason I’m writing this now. I’ve spent months keeping up to date with this damned ruddy EU referendum process. I’ve terrified myself with the prospect of Brexit (gah). I’ve thought about it night and day. I’ve studied the surveys, the polls, the traffic I’ve seen online and in my own experience. I’ve lived it. I strongly suspected that there was a much higher probability that it would happen than the polls or the betting markets were suggesting. But regardless of all that, I understood precisely what leaving the EU would mean for our dream. I knew, almost, the exact cost. And yet. It is only now, in the days after, that with the immediate fear gone and my brain ticking through the knowledge I’ve accumulated that I see with heartbreaking clarity that this moment, this vote, this watershed in British politics, was also undoubtedly the ONLY time in my entire life I would have been faced with a win-win high stakes high winz worth the risk mega bet. I KNEW that a Leave vote would cost us real money. I KNEW that a Remain vote would guarantee us more money. If I had been awake, if I hadn’t been gripped by fear and trepidation, if I had allowed my observational skills free reign and had managed to detach myself enough from worrying incessantly about the whole shitty thing and THOUGHT about what I could ACTUALLY do in order to mitigate the impact, I would have SEEN the perfect answer. Bet a few grand on a Leave vote. Lose the money now if we voted Remain but more than make it up later in the exchange rate. Or rake the winnings in immediately after a Leave vote and effectively wipe out the losses we make later when changing money over for the house purchase. Again, whatever. Easy in hindsight. But I was obsessed by this bloody thing. I was breathing it every day. I will, believably, never ever have such a chance again. An opportunity to manufacture my own significant control over an otherwise impossibly uncontrollable situation. And had I not allowed my fear to take charge, I would have seen this. I would have grasped this opportunity. I would have made it so that our dream was protected and that we were all but guaranteed the best result we could have hoped for. But I didn’t. I failed. I failed to carry out my own advice. I failed catastrophically to put in place the strategy that we are striving to illustrate so that anyone else with the wherewithal to do so could make their dreams into reality, just like us. But perhaps our example of success – because we will be successful, whatever it takes – isn’t ever going to be clear enough. Perhaps the best example, the most telling example with the most explicit message, is this one. The example where I failed to put our belief into practice and in doing so have run the risk of failing to make our dream a reality.