Skip to content

The “Crews Missile” letter was meant to have a positive message!

November 21, 2012

Emily Crews MontèsDear all

The article in The Daily Mail was meant to lead to a positive message about how to improve one’s life against all odds, but I never got to say it.

Even now, people in the media are offering me the chance to speak and to turn that message around, to turn gratuitous and negative rumination on one family in particular into a powerful message of career survival in our uncertain times.  Unfortunately, I’m not able to deliver that message, due to pressure from certain quarters to simply say nothing.

For me, this means that the intended result, the action, the actual doing, that my father’s letter was meant to encourage can not happen.  The seeds sown can not bear fruit.

Did I emphasize that enough?  DOING, ACTION, RESULTS – these are the things that make us feel better.  Think about times in your life when you’ve felt terrible, really, really low.  Were you doing something, striving for something, or were you missing somebody, feeling hurt about something someone said, or feeling your efforts in life were coming to nothing, or that you were getting nowhere, or even that you were a failure?  Perhaps someone even sent you a letter telling you that you’re a failure!!!

On the other hand, think about the times in your life when you felt the best.  Were you sitting at home, thinking about things?  Pondering the meaning of life?  Weighing up whether people have been treating you well lately, or whether fate had dealt you a fair or a lousy hand?  Or were you getting stuck into DOING something, making a difference?  I bet it was the latter!

So please, if any good can come of any of this, please, everyone, let’s get DOING.  Now’s a time for ACTION.  Don’t know what to do?  Do whatever needs doing the most.  Start by putting away the pair of shoes you kicked off before flopping down into your armchair to ponder the meaning of life.  Put away the children’s toys – or better still, get them to do it.  Weed the garden.  ANYTHING.  Don’t stop to think about whether the task is worth your time, or whether someone else really should be doing it (unless it’s the children, of course ;)).

You will feel better, I promise.  And then you’ll be in a better frame of mind to decide what to do next.  (That’s DO, not think about, remember….).  In no time you’ll be maximising your achievements, making better use of your time, and feeling even better.

Next time someone upsets you or gets in their way, try asking yourself, honestly, whether they were really just trying to get something done.  If they were just being a jerk, talk to them about it, don’t hide away at home.  If you don’t know what to say, don’t sit at home going over it all over again in your head.  Just find something that needs doing and DO IT, you’ll feel better, I promise…

  1. November 22, 2012 8:22 am

    The thing is, its possible to say all the above – which is 100% spot on by the way – without having to publish the letter! Not having a go here Emily, just saying again it was sad to see a family communication breakdown in the media like that (sad as in “heartbreaking” not “you sad man”, if you know what i mean)

  2. November 22, 2012 10:57 am

    Of course you’re having a go, MC, as is your right. My point is that this “family breakdown” (which it isn’t really, that would be a gross exaggeration) has a message, or rather would have had one, had I got the opportunity to say it, which I’m doing here until such time as I get the chance to say it in a wider forum. The message is that no-one needs to tolerate under-achievement, each one of us can do something about our own lives. Of course, there’s a whole debate going on out there about to what extent we have the right to judge others on their lives!

  3. November 24, 2012 8:00 pm

    Yes, doing can take you out of yourself and westerners love doing especially those with a Protestant heritage. You could sum it up as “one makes onsrlf through action, through struggle, through hardship. Salvation through relentless action”.

    The issue is that many people get to the very top of the ladder and end up getting that they have for to the top of the wrong ladder! They were so busy climbing that they never got present to which ladder climbing would show up as a life lived well. Instead they climbed the easiest ladder or the hardest ladder. Perhaps the ladder parents wanted climbed. Or anything but that ladder. Or the ladder the media/society pushed as being the right one.

    Plenty if people have it all – at least to those who see only the trappings. And inside they are empty, sad, bored, torn apart, desperate asking themselves “is this all there is?” Or wondering what is wrong with them: “I should be happy, i got everything I set out to get, that people told me would make me happy, so what is wrong with me?”

    I say it pays to connect with a possibility, a future, that moves-touches-inspires you to get off your but and into action. A future where the road travelled, the experiences, the people encountered, the obstacles all show up as meaningful, as worthy of you, as right for you.

    Yes, go and club that ladder. Just make sure that it is a right one. There is nothing sadder than to encounter a 50 year old who gets that he has spent 30 years getting to the top and now finds the view does not speak to him, does not call forth joy!

    At your service and with my love

    • November 26, 2012 12:45 pm


      Thanks for your kind and wise comments.

      It’s certainly a shame for those who climb the “wrong” or non-optimal ladder for them, and regret it later. But going back to that protestant work ethic, I guess the silver lining is that in climbing they’ve brought others up with them: their employees, their colleagues, their customers, or their clients.

      However, to get the most out of life, it’s worth heading in the right direction!


      • November 26, 2012 3:21 pm


        I forgot to say it and it has been in my heart all along. I wish you the very best. I wish your brothers and sisters the very best. I wish your parents the very best. And I wish you and your family the very best.

        Where we create the space for genuine genuine conversation – dialogue of the heart with the heart – then I find that understanding, appreciation, and forgiveness tend to show up. And that is pretty much all that is necessary to rebuild intimate relationships.

        At your service and with my love

  4. November 25, 2012 10:11 pm

    I stumbled across “the letter” after a blog I read linked to the Telegraph article. Wow! I really appreciated the chance to read your take on it. I firmly believe you are right about “doing” and it amuses me that commenters who are smugly ruminating about your family’s dynamics are unwittingly trapped in precisely the opposite. Of course, I don’t have enough information to even begin to speculate about your siblings but I certainly wish all of your family well.

    For reasons different from your own, my own world and career were also knocked over sideways. Naively, I believed that I could return to my own country and immediately get back on my successful feet. I also am horrified to find that it’s incredibly difficult to get even ordinary things right after the upheaval.

    I’m frustrated by an overabundance of advice to slow down and ponder and consider what is best. It feels bleh. Somewhere, I’ve read an argument that spending too much time to find the “right ladder” leaves one unhappier because it keeps one focused on all the “lost possible selves.” I’ve not yet seen 50 but it’ll be here within the decade. I’d rather be on any ladder than still at the bottom trying to choose one. The latter is a decidedly much sadder fate than the former.

    I’m very much looking forward to finding your translation of Allemann when it becomes available. All my best to you!

    • November 26, 2012 12:51 pm


      That’s an astute observation, about the readers being drawn into the opposite of action! That’s the “chattering classes” genre of “news” paper for you!

      Due to my terrible choice of newspaper in which to print my father’s letter, I didn’t get to make the “action” point in public, yet, nor talk about Mr Allemann’s excellent book. Although I didn’t really choose the DM, I just happened to know someone who could get things published there, rather than in any other paper.

      I hear you about the too much “navel-gazing” advice!!! Bleh, indeed! Ruminating about 20 or so “possible selves” we could have been means 20 times the regrets, space that should be given to 20 ideas to improve our future – and with each idea an action to do NOW (or as soon as possible)!

      All the best to you too, and to turning around your upheaval. Mmm, going home doesn’t guarantee a restoration of previous stability…. I’ll remember that!


  5. November 28, 2012 1:04 am

    Hi Emily! I’m trying to reach you for an interview on national television here in the US. Would love if you could send me an email at You can also reach me by phone at 646.479.1086. Thanks so much.

    Katy Conrad
    CBS National News

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: