Hi, I’m Michael. I live in London, UK.
I believe that we humans have qualities that make us intrinsically worthwhile: curiosity, contemplation, the drive to explore our internal and external worlds, the capacity to experience awe.
I’m fascinated by how we can move towards the best versions of ourselves — individually and collectively — and live our lives as fully as possible.
My website is how I let the others find me.
In February 2021 I said goodbye to a ten year corporate and consulting career in low carbon energy innovation to pursue my dream of living a self-directed life as a free agent.
This year I'll be focusing my attention on these areas:
- Exploring what it means to be creative on the Internet. I write a weekly newsletter called Thinking Out Loud, I write essays on this website and I have a YouTube channel, where I try to publish at least one new video each week. I try to publish something daily to my Notebook. (As of 19 Feb this is aspirational, but not that aspirational)
- Building my Alexander Technique online course. I am a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, an awareness based educational process that helps people live with greater ease and freedom. Alexander Technique is conventionally taught in person and through touch, and I think this course is the first and only of its kind ever to exist. For now, the best place to hear about this is by checking out my dedicated website for Alexander Technique and adjacent topics, Expanding Awareness.
- Helping to grow the Carbon Removal Centre. I am a co-founder and Non-Executive Director of the Carbon Removal Centre, a non-profit organisation with a mission to advance the sustainable removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to restore the Earth's climate system.
- Developing my coaching practice. I am a trained Co-Active Coach, to which I also bring lots of Alexander Technique style 'non-doing'.I work mainly with people who are already very good at 'hustling', have usually achieved a lot, but who have a sense that more is available by trying less hard (they're right).
Work stuff (until recently)
My career has focussed on how energy innovation can tackle one of the biggest existential threats we face: climate change.
But I'm not interested in doom and gloom. I want to understand how we can use climate change as a catalyst for positive growth, which led me to doing these kinds of things for work:
- helping the UK government as well as electricity and water network operators navigate the energy system transformation, as part of the Power & Utilities team in the Infrastructure Advisory Group at KPMG, and
- leading the design of innovation projects for National Grid Electricity System Operator, the entity that balances the electricity transmission system in Great Britain.
Working in the shadow of climate change has focussed my attention not just on how we might solve it, but on what lies beyond it. As Nietzsche said, “he who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” What futures do we want to create that will make solving climate change and other global challenges worth it?
I want to help foster a world where we have the freedom to move towards the best versions of ourselves as individuals and as a civilisation. I love working on this process in myself and helping others on their own paths.
Around the web
- Joe Wells' podcast # 32 // Michael Ashcroft: How to Say "No" to Your Boss // In this episode, Joe and I discuss why I left my corporate career to be an online teacher and some of the problems with corporate culture. I explain what the Alexander Technique is, who benefits most from it, and how to practice it. We also talked about building an email list, David Perell's course "Write of Passage", and how to find your niche as a creator. // 14 June 2021
- the good timeline #55 by Ryan Ferris // We discuss Alexander Technique, expansion of awareness and ways of being, human advancement and pluralistic utopianism (thanks Tyler Alterman), aesthetics, carbon removal, art incubators and “how to find the others”. // 07 May 2021
- Colossal Turbo Love #3 with Orpheas // A 9 minute podcast on my day-to-day after quitting my corporate role, my work with the Carbon Removal Centre, and my longer-term plans // 03 May 2021
- find your childlike ability and catlike agility with Alexander Technique // A 9 minute podcast with Reddy on Alexander Technique, playfulness, and being like cats // 03 May 2021
- Reimagine Work with Paul Millerd — "What happens six months (and three months) before you quit?" // Paul and I had two conversations - one six months before I left work (before I had quit) and another one three months before I left work (immediately after I quit). We talk about what it's like to leave a ten year corporate career. // 13 April 2021
- episode 09: eigenrobot vs michael ashcroft // We talked about awareness, drug zeitgeists, game theory, using psychic powers for evil, and Superman // 11 February 2021
- A Becoming Creature #8 // Nick and I chatted about keto, herbal remedies and pine needle tea, David Perell and Tiago Forte’s courses — Write of Passage and Building a Second Brain, finding your niche, long-term perspectives, energy innovation, the Alexander Technique (is it magic?), Gendlin Focusing, coercion and my BALs // 2 January 2021
- Strangely Earnest Podcast // James Stuber and I talked about how I developed my Alexander Technique online course by playing around on Twitter // 5 November 2020
- The Stoa // The Alexander Technique - 30 minute guided intro and 30 minutes of Q&A from the fantastic Stoa crowd // 27 September 2020
- Roam FM #4 // Norman Chella and I talk about: how I stumbled into Roam Research from Building A Second Brain; my workflow when building my second brain, the Alexander Technique, and using Roam to expand my understanding of it, and applying it to coaching. how I use Roam as a self-coaching tool, #roamcult as a culture, not a cult and a filter for meeting interesting people // 16 July 2020
- Do Explain #14 // Christofer Lövgren and I talk about the theory and purpose of Alexander Technique, similarities and differences from other meditative frameworks, non-doing, bodymind, posture, mindfulness, contracted vs. expanded awareness, flow, and other related topics. // 25 June 2020