Multi-Tasking

Multi-Tasking?

Multi-Tasking And Humans?

I reckon the short answer is we humans cannot do this. Let’s have a look at it.

Firstly I’d like to compare our human brain with the computer Central Processing Unit or CPU.

Computers

The CPU executes a piece of code written in a particular language style which can be converted into machine code that the computer can understand, and perform the required actions.

Now think about this language. You can only write ONE instruction per line and the machine can read this one line, take the action and THEN move on to the next instruction. It is a linear process.

So no multi-tasking here. One line of code at a time. Per CPU. More about that later.

Lightning Speed

But wait, there's more. Computers do this at lightning speed. The speed of electricity running through wires and bits of esoteric electronica which is 176,000 mph. Or 283,244.544kmh. Fast? Yeah.

Time Slices

Computer engineers decided to use this speed and divide the capability of the CPU into time slices. Thereby allowing multiple users or multiple tasks to run at the same time (seemingly). These slices were fixed and the CPU automatically swapped to another queued task or a waiting user, when the allowed time had elapsed.

This was way cool,

Time Sharing

But some processes took less time than the slice allowed and some more. Some users similarly were not so regimented. Some users with urgent tasks didn’t like the delays this caused.

Enter the time sharing system. Here the program code included flags to note that a particular part of the program being executed could be interpreted to allow the system to share itself with another user or another series of instructions.

Of course, this is not entirely true and not as simple as I have outlined, but for our purposes, it is good enough.

Parallelism / Context Switching

Because of the speed of execution, this computer appeared to be doing more than one thing at a time. Ie multi-tasking. Or parallelism. But there is a downside to this. We call it ‘context switching’. The act of reassigning a CPU from one task to another one is called a “context switch”; the illusion of parallelism is achieved when context switches occur frequently or fast enough.

As power consumption (and consequently heat generation) by computers has become a concern in recent years, parallel computing has become the dominant paradigm in computer architecture, mainly in the form of multi-core processors. Obviously, if you have more than one CPU, each can handle one part of a task (the code can be split into 4 or more series of instructions which are then joined at the end to come up with the desired result (an over simplification – but you get the idea.)

Enough of computers.

Multi-Tasking

How does this relate to our human brains?

For a start we have two hemispheres in our brain. Left and right.

brainmadesimple.com tells us: The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body. It also performs tasks that have to do with logic, such as in science and mathematics. On the other hand, the right hemisphere coordinates the left side of the body, and performs tasks that have do with creativity and the arts.

These tasks are essentially opposite, or at least completely separate from each-other, therefore it is a stretch to imagine that they happen in parallel or simultaneously. Isn’t it?

No multi-tasking then?

Parallelism / Context Switching

What this means for us humans is our brains indulge in the same behaviour as computers. “Context switching”. Creative v’s logical. Back and forward as the mood takes us.

Dean Yeong

Dean tells us:

Human multi-tasking is an apparent human ability to perform more than one task, or activity, at the same time. An example of multi-tasking is taking a phone call while driving a car. Multi-tasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.

The short answer to whether people can really multi-task is NO. Multitasking is a myth. The human brain cannot perform two tasks that require high-level brain function at once. Low-level functions like breathing and pumping blood aren't considered as multitasking.

When the brain tries to do two things at once, new research shows it divides and conquers, dedicating one-half of our gray matter (we have 2 frontal lobes) to each task. But forget about adding another mentally taxing task: The work also reveals that the brain can't effectively handle more than two complex, related activities at once.

While most people think multi-tasking means getting more done in a shorter period of time, the truth is exactly the opposite. As mentioned above, multi-tasking simply means switching back and forth between two or more tasks on hand (in our head); it’s not a parallel process and execution.

In my quick down and dirty research for these notes I found one chap who postulates that our brains have up to 50 core processors, so theoretically, just as in computers, we SHOULD be able to competently multi-task.

However, I didn’t find any data that gave any credence to this idea. Maybe true. I just didn’t see it.

Two Tasks

Let’s have a look at a tale of two tasks

  • Cooking a family meal in a slow cooker, and
  • deciding whether or not to go on a first date with an acquaintance from the gym.

The Meal

Cooking a meal. You don’t really need the recipe, you can access memories from past instances via the left side of the brain. But this time you decide to change the spice mix a little and swap in some veggies the kids like and swap out some they don’t. Right brain.

And you need to remember that the squash and other soft things need to be added later, while those like potatoes and broccoli go in first. This part also requiring input from the creative right hand side of the brain. So you are already adding complexity to your situation. Context switching between the two hemispheres.

The Date

Now the other week you exchanged phone numbers with another gym rat, and this person has rung and requested that you go with them to dinner and a movie sometime this week. You said you’d get back to them.

The thought processes here revolved around: did you want to go out with THIS person, did you want to go out with anyone? What did this outing entail? Baby sitting for one. Quite a bit of thinking here involving memories again and some creative work.

Two tasks

So here we have 2 tasks each with two types of thinking required.

Moving forward to the end of the week. The food, while being nice and all seemed to be missing something. A tad of salt in the bowl sorted it. How did you forget the salt?

The date was a train wreck. It fell apart when the other person said reasonably early on, “Well enough about me – What do you think of me?” Narcissism gone wild. You asked yourself, “How did I miss these signs when we were setting this up. This is not my first rodeo. Should have seen it coming.”

Context Switching

The real reason is that in making an effort to think of more than one thing at a time you managed to miss a few vital bits of information during the context switching phases.

Perhaps this is multi-tasking on one level, but information slippage on the other.

Can we really call this multi-tasking? Yes or no?

What do you think?

Power Authority

Power & Authority

Power and Authority

I first heard about these concepts during some training I did way back in the good old days.

Power Authority

I was studying to move from a classroom teacher to become a headmaster. (I didn't finish – I stayed in the classroom.)

For those of who who haven’t heard of this before, it means that the one person who controls an outcome in almost all cases in almost any situation, will be the one with the most power or most perceived power, even if they do not have the authority to make any real decisions.

“How does this happen?” I hear you ask.

It is actually very simple, and when you know, you’ll think, “How did I not understand this?”

An example from my own life.

Power V’s Authority In Sales

As a salesperson I often made ‘cold’ calls to companies to sell them advertising. Sometimes I knew the name of the decision maker. Sometimes not. More often not, I’m afraid. But that’s another story. For another time.

I asked for the the media buyer, or whomsoever had the AUTHORITY to make a decision to buy my bill of goods.

All good. Just a breath away from an appt. Then my superior skills as a salesman would kick in and I’d get me a sale. Fantastic.

Not so quick. I was asking to speak to the decision maker – the one having the authority, but I wasn’t there yet. The Receptionist or Personal Assistant or Secretary was sitting there in front of me with an inscrutable smile on his or her face.

It dawned on me. This person will DECIDE if I see the authority figure. Or not.

Yes or No

If I received a yes then Thunderbirds are go. Appt made.

If I received a no, an excuse, a brush-off, an “I think he’s busy that time/day,” kind of thing – I was left hanging. Who was this person in front of me? No matter what I said, how I pleaded, cajoled, explained that the authority would make the decision, I was very often stymied right there. At the reception desk.

The seat of power.

You see if I couldn’t get an appointment to see the authority figure because the one person with the power to make that happen was a massive roadblock, I was stuck right there.

OK. No authority to make decisions EXCEPT the only one I needed at that point – an audience with the boss or whoever. It didn’t matter. If I was stuck at the front desk it was ‘game-over.’

The one with the power is always going to be the barrier to any further interaction. No matter what.

May Not Be Who You Expect

And this is often one of the least likely people. Someone quite low on the company pecking order. Someone who was making these judgement calls based on incorrect or incomplete knowledge of the company, the processes, or the person involved. Or even personal or other emotional – non business reasons. (For example there may be a belief that I was untrustworthy, or had been inappropriate in some way, or ‘the Boss’ needed protection from my type -ie salesmen). He/she may just not like me. Anything really. Makes no difference if the decision to grant an appointment was based on anything real; it was still the decision that counted.

All the power. No authority, but I couldn't move forward past this obstacle.

Current World

I think we need to know this in our current world more than ever. Are we interacting with the right person? Social media gives us an opportunity to lambaste anyone. Free speech at its finest. But first we need to establish whether we we aiming our comments at the right person or organisation. We may be a victim of a power game.

Chicken Soup

Where is the power in any situation in which you find yourself? There is a really interesting story in “Jack Cranfield’s - Chicken Soup For The Soul” that illustrates this very point.

Think About This

Make it a factor in your thoughts and actions from now on.

Who has the power in this situation?

Have you had any experiences in this kind of thing you can share with us?

Off you go. Over to you.

Socrates Paradox

Know What I Know

Know what I know.

The other day I was talking to my optometrist – a young woman by my standards, I’ll not attempt to guess her age to avoid embarrassment. But it was less than half mine.

I have thought about this issue before, possibly even written about it, but here it is popping up again.

New Glasses

I was ordering my NEW glasses. I seem to remember early on in our discussion (some weeks ago) that the time frame for the generation of these new lenses and placing them in my frames would be about a month and I would have to wear on older pair until then.

While that was not the end of the world it was a long time to contemplate using an even more outdated prescription. My eyes were already sore, puffy, leaky, bloodshot and having a higher pressure (glaucoma) than was optimal.

How Long?

However this time when the order was placed, I noticed that I did not ask about the time frame. This is not to point out how clever I am, but just to note how priorities and expectations have changed as I have reached these higher strata in the age department.

I didn’t ask ‘cause it didn’t matter anymore. I had made a decision to get new spectacles. It will take as long as it takes. I can’t do anything about it, so why worry? Using an older pair was part of that decision. I am unable to fix this. It is what it is and I might have made a different decision if urgency was an issue.

Many younger people cannot come to terms with the prayer we all attribute to alcoholics anonymous. It was written much earlier than that organisation’s use of it – but that is not important right now. You understand this as you get older. Know what I know.

The serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

There is so much stuff we know as older people that is so frustrating to us, when we see younger people make the same mistakes we made 30-40 years ago.

Now I understand the learning process (I was a teacher for many years) and we learn and remember more by doing than any other way, and if we are to make mistakes the learning is often that much sharper. This adds to my frustration. I need to be able to accept that mistakes MUST happen and if I were able to stop them all – this might well be counter-productive.

Peer Pressure

But I wish I could, at least, make these youngsters aware that there might be another way

My daughter often uses peer information to make decisions that her mother and I know were not what we believed. And our daughter is a pretty fine woman, so we must have done something right. Peer pressure wins. Again.

Know What I Know

Sometimes it’s not time or money or anything physical. Sometimes it’s guilt and more often regret.

I KNow

“I wish I’d done that differently.” is a common response to a ‘not completely satisfactory end game.’ “I tried to tell you.” is our older person’s refrain. That doesn’t help. Only makes the situation worse.

I don’t think schools help. How to multiply 2*2 might not matter in the time of the calculator, but that, and say, “What’s the Capital of France?” might be nice to knows, and might suggest a higher intelligence – doubtful but impressions count, and MIGHT save time if a question is asked. (ie you don’t have to look it up- it is available from the RAM (Random Access Memory) in your head. But as well as all that factual stuff schools, in my opinion, should teach self-help, personal development, and all that supposedly esoteric stuff. Along with standards like balancing a budget. Cooking. Basic life skills.

(Cliche alert) The ability to think outside the box does not appear to be prioritised; yet we all know - NOTHING in life is ever able to be categorised completely. There is always something different.

And we are not often taught to think at all. And just rote learning is not enough. Important in many cases, but not enough.

That is why our (older) knowledge is really cool. It is based on life skills. Living. It doesn’t rely on a TEACHER as such.

Teacher Appears

Although, there is a saying, alternately attributed to Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni and the Theosophists, that goes: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

This applies more than ever nowadays, I reckon.

Know what I know.

HaHaHa.

Reminds me of a couple of songs I know.

In the middle of a ‘Hey Gringo’ song the and lyrics replying to an audience heckle, “Play something we know.” – the band leader replies, “Know something we play.”

And Rick Nelson, in a song called, ‘Garden Party.’ says, “… if memories were all I played, I’d rather drive a truck.”

Learning, (moving forward with new knowledge) is the key to a better way of life.

Isn’t it?

On-Line Living

Loneliness On-line Living

Loneliness and On-line Living

Imagine yourself in 1918/19/20 anywhere in the world.

This time was the era of the infamous Spanish Flu.

Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a quarter of the world's population at the time. The death toll was estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million. The flu was considered to be one of the deadliest pandemics in history.

A large factor in the worldwide spread of this flu was increased travel. Modern transportation systems made it easier for soldiers, sailors, and civilian travellers to spread the disease.

Another was lies and denial by governments, leaving the population ill-prepared to handle the outbreaks.

Hmmmm. Let’s just think about that for a moment.

Rationing

Food, clothing, petrol, leather and other items were rationed. Perishable items such as fruit were not rationed. Access to luxuries was severely restricted. People in the countryside were less affected by rationing as they had greater access to locally sourced unrationed products than people in cities, and were more able to grow their own.

America

In America, states and cities across the country told people to do what we now know as social distancing. Schools, restaurants, and businesses were closed. Public gatherings were banned. People were told to isolate and quarantine. In some place

s, this lasted for months.

As the disease progressed, so did the government-imposed measures. By Oct. 10, 1918, the state took the unprecedented step of ordering all public institutions closed. Schools, theatres, saloons were ordered closed, football games cancelled. Libraries closed. Eventually, sanctions were issued against public coughing and spitting. Funeral homes stopped having open-casket visitations.

Cities and entire states imposed emergency measures similar to those in place today, aiming to flatten the flu’s curve by keeping people apart from each other. Places of business, education, and worship were temporarily closed, and masks were required in some areas.

Communication

This was the era that predated the Internet, predated TV, predated even commercial radio stations, so a true shelter-in-place order back then would have been a much bigger hardship than it would be for most people today.

Back in 1919, Americans drove their Model T's to see silent movies (before the restrictions, of course) and dealt with new-fangled inventions like toasters and zippers.

Austra

lia

Responses within Australia varied from state to state but the crisis often led to the closure of schools, churches, theatres, pubs, race meetings and agricultural shows, plus the delay of victory celebrations. (After the end of the first world war.)

The result was not only economic hardship, but significant interruptions in education, entertainment, travel, shopping and worship. The funeral business boomed, however, as the nation’s annual death rate went up by approximately 25%.

Phones

It looked 

like the telephone might help people carry on their lives with minimal disruption.

1918 - It was estimated that approximately ten million Bell system telephones were in service throughout the U.S. There was that then.

The phone also emerged as a means of news dissemination in an era when even radio was not yet a mass medium. (The first news broadcast didn’t take place until 1920.) At the time, the most expedient way to share breaking news was something newspapers called stereopticon bulletins.

Both publishing medium and brand-building exercise, they involved projecting news alerts, photos, film clips, and cartoons on giant screens at a paper’s headquarters or other location. Think of them as analog predecessors of the electronic news tickers that survive—just barely—in hubs of activity such as Times Square.

No TV

The world's first television stations first started appearing in America in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The first mechanical TV station was called W3XK and was created by Charles Francis Jenkins (one of the inventors of the mechanical television). That TV station aired its first broadcast on July 2, 1928.

Electronic television was first successfully demonstrated in San Francisco on Sept. 7, 1927.

So no TV to use to divert us from the situation in which we find ourselves. Pity.

Not Much Radio

The radio broadcasting of music and talk intended to reach a dispersed audience started experimentally around 1905–1906, and commercially around 1920 to 1923.

From as early as 1890 there was already a system whereby news, music, live theatre, music hall, fiction readings, religious broadcasts, etc., were available in private homes [and other places] via the conventional telephone line, with subscribers being supplied with a number of special, personalised headsets.

The first commercially sponsored radio stations in Canada appeared in 1922. The first British station offered two daily half-hour programs of talk and music from Chelmsford (near London) in 1919–20.

The first voice and music signals heard over radio waves were transmitted in December 1906 from Brant Rock, Massachusetts (just south of Boston), when Canadian experimenter Reginald Fessenden produced about an hour of talk and music for technical observers and any radio amateurs who might be listening. Earphones only. No loudspeakers.

One of the world’s first scheduled radio broadcast services (known as PCGG) began in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on November 6, 1919.

And no ra

dio to listen to.

Gramophones were available

From the mid-1890s until World War I, both phonograph cylinder and disc recordings and machines to play them on were widely mass-marketed and sold.

But these were quite expensive, as were the discs and cylinders, so were not as readily available to the masses as might be expected.

Radi

o in Australia

The first radio "broadcast" in Australia was organised by Ernest Thomas Fisk of AWA on 19 August 1919. He arranged for the National Anthem to be broadcast from one building to another at the end of a lecture he'd given on the new medium to the Royal Society of New South Wales.

What Does All This Mean For Us?

On-Line Living

It seems that, in the historical perspective at least, we are so much better off then our compatriots 100 yrs ago that it hardly bears thinking about.

Entertainment

On an entertainment basis alone we have it better now. For example telephones with unheard of features, radio, TV and music players right here in our own homes. No need to go out for this kind of amusement.

Electronica

Let’s now look at the electronic side of things.

There are smart phones, hand held computers (tablets and laptops), The Internet, and the most wonderful of all (at least in the area of connection and keeping in contact), social media. Again, all this right in our own homes.

Be kind. Refrain from judgement. I don’t mean that social media in its entirety is necessarily all that wonderful, although we must remember that it is only a medium for our society to provide the content. If we do not like this content it is not inherently the fault of the platform, but of our compatriots – the content providers.

But my point is, as a communication and connection system, it is very hard to beat if used in a manner that conforms to the acronym TLC. Is it true, logical and constructive? (Emee Vida Estacio).

It opens up a whole new world.

Grateful

We have so much to be grateful for.

Without leaving the comfort of our homes we can talk to, virtually visit, and actually even see (live) other people with whom we can communicate. It is almost like being there without the hugging.

Yes, I realise the endorphin rush one gets from hugging and other physical contact – even the shaking of hands – is absent, but that is really a learned behaviour and we can LEARN to overlook that in the short term.

New Ideas

The number of ways the community in which I live at least, has stepped up and found new ways to amuse those within it, and others near and far as a community goes, is nothing short of miraculous.

Name any endeavour, pretty much, and you will find that being practised here.

Music, cooking, art including photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and many other handcrafts are being lifted out of the attic of our minds and given 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th chances.

What Am I talking About?

Imagination has no bounds. Many people who have been doing stuff face to face up until now, and for whom social or physical distancing is not an issue, have begun to operate “on-line”. Business as usual.

Music

We have musicians performing alone in their lounge-rooms or studios. (even a bedroom in one case). They are doing this because it is part their daily practise anyway, and since they can't perform at a venue, they reckon their music should still be available for those who want to hear it. So it is. Fun and entertainment for all.

Learning

Then there's teaching. Classes can be held using interactive video apps (zoom for example) on phones tablets and computers where teachers do pretty much the same as they did before. This has covered, music, dance, fitness – all varieties, yoga, karate and other activities including group coaching sessions.

Payment

For online classes, groups have been set-up so those joining, the yoga class for example, can only do so once they have paid - online – the usual class fee. They can then be admitted to see and participate in the activities.

Musicians and visual artists as well, have been supplying PayPal (or other platform) payment addresses on the bottom of their screens so those who wish can pay for the entertainment or artwork as they would if they had gone out to a venue shop or gallery. If you can put a price ticket on something, there is a way to receive money for your efforts. You can even just receive donations of any amount the payee wishes to make.

Then when it’s all over you pop into the next room to eat your dinner. And have a fully deserved glass of wine if that is your thing.

Obviously the same or similar payment activities apply to take-away food purchases and most other retail set-ups where online ordering is taking place via hastily set-up call centres. Again delivery is made by the vendor or the purchaser picks up their order from a designated place obviating the need for any risk of breaching of physical distancing rules.

Writing

Many people have turned to writing as a form of amusement for themselves, and the future entertainment of others. In our town this involves writing plays to be presented on our radio station. This activity also revolves around bush poetry and other kinds of writing, such as short stories and novels. The field is huge.

Gardening and other hobbies.

By the time we have included designing, creating, weeding planting, watering if required and caring for the gardens around our homes, there is not much time left for anything more, except maybe jigsaws? We even have clubs for that. Swapping jigsaws. Keeping track with photos of our progress on the various Internet platforms.

I mean the ways we can divert our minds AND keep in contact with other people (those we know and even strangers) is virtually endless - Pun intended.

Cooking

We have a Facebook group where people cook stuff for themselves, for the local shops and for those unable to make the same effort due to age or disability. These dishes are shown in their finished brilliance, and some of the cooks/bakers actually video the whole process as a teaching exercise as well. In these cases our presenters have often had to learn new skills totally unrelated to the cooking process to be able to make this whole thing available to others. How do I make a video for example?

New Skills

This is something they have had to find on The Internet (not available 100 years ago, remember) and using the YouTube platform as an example, have been able to master some techniques they had not even thought about before. These new skills will stay with them now and forever. How cool is that?

Volunteers

Quite a number of citizens have begun doing stuff for businesses, schools, councils, and other facilities (wherever this can be done while still abiding by the now normal distancing rules), in a way that safety and keeping the spread of this disastrous disease at it’s lowest lever possible is maintained.

Chopping up fallen trees into bite size bits and distributing these to older members of our society free of charge and neatly stacked by the back door of their home, is a self-set task of at least one of the chaps in our community. Keeps him busy, happy, exercised and knowing he is helping people who are in need of this kind of service. And he ends up with his farm free of broken trees. Cost to our benefactor – a bit of petrol for the chain saw and the ute and a LOT of physical exercise. Again you might say a win-win. All can be done without worrying about any one being near enough to anyone else to spread the virus. Fantastic.

What Else?

Even without high end technology, we can all find things to do to amuse ourselves during this time of enforced stay at home thingy.

What about dressing up to take out the bins (by yourself) – taking a selfie and presenting it on all your social media platforms as something else to do. We are all so inventive if we let ourselves be. Oh well a bit of technology. But you can get help with that if required.

Add in the whole online experience and we have e-commerce (selling your stuff on line no shop rent, fit-out, or any ongoing costs), photos and words and a bit of extra service where it is useful, such as contact free deliveries and you are set. Payment all made online without touching anyone. Works for almost everything except for services requiring actual physical contact like hairdressers and other therapeutic services.

I guess one of the things we need to think about when life returns to normal, is what kind of normal do we want going forward. What is the NEW NORMAL?

Non-Technical People

There is the issue of, usually older, people who do not have any electronic means of payment (credit or debit cards) and who distrust them anyway so would never use them, or believe they are too old to change and learn the new way of doing things , online computer or smart-phone, (not actually true and a self-defeating belief) but these people may insist on doing everything the old way and paying with cash which is probably the easiest way to pass on the disease, and is likely to be refused by vendors as too much of a risk.

Handling actual money is a sure fire way to catch the virus no matter how careful one might be. A very high risk activity.

For these people there is here a great need for gentle education, coaching, lifting of self-confidence, and enhancing belief in themselves and their inherent abilities. And trust issue need to be addressed. Dealing with closed minds is part of this process. It can all be done while still adhering to social distancing rules. Just takes patience, empathy and understanding.

We can all adapt if there is no other way. That has been proven by history for many decades.

The imaginative mind can always find a way round an obstacle if that is the only way in the end. No one needs to lose their dignity. More about this in a moment.

Loneliness & On-Line Living

How does this all relate to loneliness - the reason for writing this in the first place?

Well, without being judgemental or making false assumptions, I am not sure, in the face of all this above, how anyone can be lonely. At least here in my home town.

But - remember you have to DO something. The world does not owe you anything. If you sit around waiting for the sky to light up and to hear a big deep loving voice crying out to you, telling you exactly what to do for the next 6 months. Specific steps, and giving you all the process information needed to make it all work – then you are a tad deluded I'm afraid. That will not happen. Not like that anyway.

Those who talk about manifesting and The Universe (people who have read The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes for example) KNOW that you must DO something. They also know that as you move through whatever it is you have DECIDED TO DO, certain clues make themselves apparent to you. Suggestions about your chosen path. You need to be attuned to these hints and your life will take on a whole different meaning.

Note: much of you original planning might become redundant during this activity, but follow your heart (The Universe) and you will be surprised where it takes you. Or maybe not. I dunno.

Helping Hands

However, with so many people going out of their way to create support systems for others, and making new ideas available, during this crisis, there is really no excuse for sitting out this dance.

I know it’s hard. Was for me. I became an organiser of dance parties and a manager of night clubs in the mid 60’s (when I was a teenager) as it seemed the only way I could even get girls to talk to me. I did have very bad acne.

I just could not put myself out there and make it happen. So I understand if there is a certain amount of reticence. But you have to get out there. Try something very easy.

In our case, my town, look at FB, find a jigsaw puzzle picture posted by someone in one of the support groups here, buy it next time you are at the shops, or look for it on-line (eBay or something else) and do it. You can connect very gently with some of the others in the group and ask about a difficult bit, or boast about finishing it. Not lonely.

That is the beginning of a connection. Keep yourself open and you may make a new friend. Wouldn’t that be loverley? Of course his might be done internationally as well. Remember the Internet is world wide. Having someone you can ‘talk’ to even if it is just typing a message and they are 12K km away is a connection. They are a ‘friend’.

Computer literate and on-line.

This is or can be a major hurdle. Again I understand. I used to be so scared to touch a keyboard because I figured I was so dumb and stupid, I’d do the wrong thing and delete everything on the screen.

I decided to overcome this affliction and eventually became a help-desk manager for 4-5 years at various places of business in my country. You can do it. You just have to make up your mind and follow your heart.

I know I've said this heart stuff before, but it is important because we humans all tend to OVERTHINK pretty much everything and it is that which often ends up with us curled into a ball, fetus-like, trying to hide from the world that hates us and trying to avoid the very thing we want; companionship and perhaps even love.

Overthinking

Computer literacy is just like that. We overthink it. It is not really hard. Commonsense most of the time, but while there is a learning curve, there are very many people in your real world that you can talk to live and touch (after the virus business anyway) and they will be overjoyed to help you master a few basics. Most often for no money, as these people can be a tad evangelistic and just want you to know what they know.

To type a few letters or articles or whatever, send & receive emails, and ”surf the net” as they say, are really all you need in the beginning. You’ll find, I bet, that you want to learn more after you master these steps.

But, guess what? These computer nerds / teachers don’t know you and they don’t know that you’re are waiting to learn stuff unless you get out and ask. They are not – most of them anyway – clairvoyant.

Lying in bed saying, “I am lonely, poor me,” and just waiting for it all to happen is not going to cut it, I’m afraid.

Lamp-posts

The simplest act might be just putting a hand written notice with your name and phone number on a lamp-post or two or a veranda support or a shop window in town, asking for basic computer help. That’s a really great start. You might get a phone call. You’ve answered the phone before so it’s not that scary. Not like approaching someone, a stranger in the street. Keep yourself open and you never know you might suddenly find yourself beginning to like the new you.

No Computer

If you don’t have a computer, these nerds may be able to help you at their place or help you purchase a computer and all the bits and pieces you need to get started. How cool is that?

The whole process is a bit like a pool that you are frightened to jump into because it might be cold, but you’ll find once you get in (even just slowly one inch at a time) it is is actually quite OK. And you only need to stay for a little while. Perhaps the second time a bit longer? And so on.

Each of these are steps away from the over-arching blackness of loneliness.

Perhaps this enforced isolation during the COVID-19 virus pandemic will be the push you need. Make a move.

DO SOMETHING.

Too Old

You are NEVER too old to learn knew skills. It just might take a lot longer if your faculties are becoming a little mixed up. But you have time if you are older and retired, don’t you? It might be all your really have.

Summary

At the end of this virus generated need for physical isolation, and life changing experiences, we will come out the other side a very different and much more resilient society than that which reluctantly entered this state of being in Jan-Feb 2020.

We will have learned, again a lot of the things our ancestors from 100 years ago learned. We will have, hopefully, become more attuned to our families and be more aware of our responsibilities, in a social sense, to our neighbours, to those who work with us, for us, or provide us with service of the very many different types.

We will have found new and different ways to amuse ourselves. We will all have learned new things, unless we did the ostrich head in the sand thing.

We will have changed the way we do entertainment, service to others, and business in general in many if not all our current enterprises.

Some of us will have been forced to downsize their activities - perhaps to nothing, through no fault of their own and may find that they are completely at a dead end and need to start all over again. From scratch. That is sad. They will do that. Or change the way they are doing life.

We have survived many of these pandemics as a human race. this one will not beat us either.

Loneliness In Australia

Isolation – Lock-down & Sanity

Isolation – Lock-down And Our Sanity

Recently we have been seeing a plethora of FB posts lamenting the isolation that we are all (many of us anyway) feeling due to the lock-down provisions of our local Governments in an attempt to slow the growth in the number of infected persons, and deaths due to the Corona Virus. COVID-19.

Physical Separation

I wrote a while ago about how we should call the situation physical rather than social distancing so as to avoid these mental gymnastics. (By the way some week or so after I wrote that article – the mainstream press started calling for this change in nomenclature as well. I was ahead of this particular curve).

The issue with passing on the illness is physical proximity. The virus passes through the air or via surfaces. Social distancing is not required and is, in fact, very damaging. We, as humans NEED to interact with others. It is very important.

I wonder if the use of this terminology is the basis of the almost desperate clamouring about going ‘batshit’ crazy that we are now hearing all over the world.

Social Isolation leads to Loneliness

isolationLet me say it again. We should NOT be isolating ourselves socially. In any way, shape or form. It is dangerous. It is not good for our physical or mental health.

We are extremely lucky in this day to have electronic means of communication available to us. During the wars (I and II) when isolation was practised in a different manner and for somewhat different reasons – there was nothing. We had ration books for food and other necessary shopping items partly because of panic buying, but more because manufacture was restricted to stuff for the war effort.

But if we stayed at home, we had only our immediate family to comfort us. Unless we were herded off to bomb shelters, and this had its own set of issues.

Today we have mobile phones with cameras, text, movie, photograph and internet connections. We have social media applications on our phones and on our computers. (Oh yes – no computers back in the war years). We have TV and radio to keep us entertained. We have real books and electronic books.

Repair The Gate

The other day I read a little story about how the gentlemen amongst us have been saying for years to our significant other, that we will repair the gate, mow the lawn, build the pergola etc when they have time. Well now my friends since you are unable to go to work or the pub, you have NOTHING but time. SO off you go.

What I am saying here is there is no need for crazy behaviours. We have many tasks to do which we have been stacking up. These can now be tackled.

We have a huge number of social activities available to us that do not require physical proximity.

Gig Guide

Just one to mention. I have been compiling a gig guide for my local community for some year or so now. This has been a listing all of the musical events that have been happening around the town. It had daily updates and covered the current week and several months into the future.

This has all stopped. We can’t go out.

BUT. There are a lot of musical people here that can’t be held back. They are either getting together as family groups (allowable if they all live under the same roof) or meeting via ZOOM, SKYPE or other electronic meeting applications and playing music for those of us to partake of as audiences.

There is one chap here in my home town, who gives a live (Facebook) guitar concert (gig) each night at 9.30pm Melbourne Australia time for anyone who wants to listen. dave stevens

His house-mate bangs on a box drum to add to the ambience. They are awesome. Thanks guys.

Virtual Parties

So you see, we are still able to get together to perform and to listen to music, and using PayPal or other money transfer applications either on the phone or the computer, these people are able to ask for and receive $$$’s for their efforts.

In fact music lessons (in a virtual classroom) are happening as well. And these are generating income for the teachers – in some cases more than they earned pre COVID-19. Off the top of my head I can think of two instances of this teaching thing right here in my small hometown, And there are plenty of gigs or concerts as well. Virtually that is. How cool is that?

There are SOOOO many ways we can do stuff in these drastic times if we only use our imaginations and to use a cliché – think outside the box.

Chopping Wood

One older chap in my town is chopping trees that have blown over on his farm into bite sized chunks of firewood and delivering them FREE to older citizens (making sure to adhere to the physical proximity limitations), stacking them and coming away knowing he has helped others enormously, knowing he has made a valuable use of his time, and knowing that his physical and mental health has been improved immeasurably. A win-win-win really.

Does he feel crazy? I reckon not.

In fact, I think if you really came down to it you might need a day or two just to make a list of the things you can do to alleviate the boredom you seem to be suffering. I mean this is just the list. Before you start to do anything.

Old Acquaintances

The other night I spent 1 hour 23 minutes chatting to an old girlfriend. I think she was my first. Girlfriend that is. I hadn’t seen or heard from her for more than 50 years, but my musical connections and my radio show got me to thinking about her. I spent some time (on social media - nice little task all by itself) researching her and low and behold she finally sent me a FB message and we exchanged phone numbers. After that we chewed the fat. On the phone. She in one city and I in another some 700km apart. Plenty of physical distancing there. But ZERO in the social distance sphere. Old times were rehashed. Lots of stuff I remembered. Much I didn’t. It was lovely. And this can continue into the future. Thank you COVID-19.

Action

If we sit around expecting the world to provide us with everything we need – that is not going to happen. We need to take action. We need to avoid victim thinking.

While we are on the subject of taking action, something else has rocked me. Over the last few weeks many people have complained on social media on TV and the radio and in newspapers about the apparent lack of direction from the Government re schools and businesses being open in spite of general lock-down procedures.

Leadership

Many have lamented the lack of leadership, in our country. Their failure is to realise that not frequenting businesses outside the home, not sending kids to schools and many of the other things being complained about, were ALL under their own control. Surely I don’t need, as a parent, to wait for a directive to keep my kids from school if I genuinely believe they will be at risk if they attend? I mean, come on. How ridiculous is that? I made decisions about my children myself. Their safety was my only concern. Of course that sometimes meant compliance but not waiting for someone else to take action. That was down to me.

What Can We Do?

Finally let’s have a very quick look at some things we might do or think about doing in these strange times to make use of these few hours every day that we have available.

Apart from chores as mentioned earlier, which we may not like, but which are required anyway, here are some (and only a very few) ideas. You’ll notice, I haven’t included things like organising your CD or book collections as these can possibly be considered chores if you had thought of them before. Anyway the ideas.

Sleep, rest, relax, read, write, think, watch TV, listen to the radio, research (ancestry.com for example), watch webinars or podcasts, teach classes, learn, read/write blogs, help others (volunteer), minimise, garden, plan your NEW bucket list for when restrictions lift (travel for example), plan for new things to do, talk, socialise, shop online, paint, draw, take photographs, many different arty and craft things, visit virtual art galleries, listen to virtual concerts worldwide via your phone or computer, invent stuff, join and participate in online groups where you have an interest or even a passion for the topics being discussed.

Loneliness In Australia

I mean, it goes on and on.

Perhaps you can add to this for us?

Challenge

There’s your challenge. Takes imagination, but you can do it. Add to the list of things to do, that will mitigate loneliness and add value to your locked-down life.

Resilience – Loneliness

Resilience and Loneliness

One of the issues surrounding resilience is that young people have it. In spades. And that is an interesting situation.

ResilResilienceience - Definition

You see resilience means, according to the Oxford dictionary: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Or in the case of objects - The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

Bounce Back

Imagine a difficult – toxic if you will – relationship.

Young people can recover from this, bounce back on almost every occasion and become what they were before. In other words, the relationship has little or no lasting effects after it is over.

Focus

However, over time, the old adage that you get what you focus on becomes part of our lives and we as humans find that although the resilience factor in our brains remains the same as it used to when we were younger, (the focus component), and we still believe we are as were were back then, the ability of our older selves to cope with this, emotionally, and oft-times physically, reduces. We become less able to bounce back. More likely to over-react. Unable to manage the difficulties. We are not as tough as we used to be.

We are more affected by things as we get older

What I am saying here, is that things that affected us only slightly, if at all when we were young, can become major issues when we are older.

But because we are predisposed to believe in our perceived resilience, it takes a long time for us to realise that things need to change. We need to move on from certain relationships. We need to give up on situations that no longer serve us and become more aware of our current situation.

3 Ages of Man

It seems to me that there are three ages of man in this argument.

1. Youth. Where nothing seems to matter. All is well and we just mosey on through life with very little baggage.

2. Middle Age. This is where we waste a lot of time struggling with people and issues that drag us down, but we seem oblivious, and do nothing to mitigate the state and live in a bad place for many years.

3. Finally we have the mature (read older) age group where we become aware of the fact that we can change our lives, make different choices and live much happier lives as a result. And we generally do. Most of us anyway.

Older

Having reached this older category myself, I sit back and wonder why it took me so long to slough off the toxic people and to stop enduring the situations that were not to my advantage. I don’t really know, unless the discussion above lends some clarity to the issue.

Perhaps it does. Who knows?

I wish that we were better

But I do wish that the larger, middle portion of our lives was easier. No. As Jim Rohn said in many of his seminars and books, I wish that we were better at making those life altering decisions which we seemed to have been so bad at.

I wish that we had set ourselves up at a much earlier age to be perhaps less resilient and more cognisant of those people and things around us that were making us unhappy.

I would like to think that loneliness, for example, might have been addressed at each of these three levels of life in a much more effective way than it obviously has.

What do you think?

Loneliness Is … Concerned

We Need To Talk About Loneliness

Stoicism – Loneliness

Stoicism and Loneliness

Patrik Edlad Mental Trainer & Author “The Self-Discipline Blueprint: A Simple Guide to Beat Procrastination, Achieve Your Goals, and Get the Life You Want” in an email to me wrote the following, and I quote.

Some 2300 years ago, a merchant by the name Zeno found himself shipwrecked and stranded in Athens.

With not much else to do, he walked into a book store and picked up a book that happened to be about Socrates.

Fascinated by what he was reading, Zeno set out to find and learn from the finest philosophers the city had to offer.

Over the next couple of years, he studied under a wide array of philosophy teachers before eventually founding his own school.

Just enjoy. I’ll get to the point in a moment or two.

The Birth of Stoicism

Zeno started teaching by standing on a porch in the central market in Athens and talking to anyone who happened to pass by. Soon, he had a following of men hanging around and discussing philosophy with him.

StoicThe Greek word for porch is stoa, and the men who met there to talk philosophy became known as Stoics; the men of the porch.

Over time, the ideas they were discussing became increasingly popular and over a thousand books came to be written about stoicism.

We’ve lost almost all of those books to antiquity, but we still have the works from three fascinating Stoics who are widely influential to this day: Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

The Main Characters

  • Seneca lived right around the year 0 CE, and he was a successful and wealthy statesman and playwright. He is known for the personal letters he wrote in his lifetime, such as Letters from a Stoic1 and On the Shortness of Life2.
  • Epictetus was born a couple of decades after Seneca, and he was a crippled slave who eventually became a free man and one of the leading philosophers in Rome. None of his texts remain but one of his students wrote down his ideas in two books called The Discourses3 and The Enchiridion4.
  • Marcus Aurelius lived shortly after Epictetus, and he studied, applied, and developed stoic ideas in his role as emperor of the Roman Empire. We know his wisdom primarily through his Meditations5; a private journal that was never intended for publication.

What is Stoicism?

These days, people use the word “stoic” to describe someone who doesn’t feel any emotion at all. But even though the word originates from Stoicism, that was not at all what the Stoic philosophers were trying to accomplish.

What they wanted to do was minimise negative feelings to make as much room as possible for positive ones. They wanted to replace frustration, discontent, and anger with calm, fulfilment, and happiness.

To do that, the Stoics developed a variety of mental techniques to deal with the challenges of life. And many of these techniques have inspired modern therapies like, for instance, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

So even though the philosophy itself is very old, modern research shows that the ideas are highly relevant to this day. Stoicism can help you feel better, perform better, and live a better life.

And it all begins with cultivating a peaceful mind so you can keep your calm no matter what life throws at you.

Loneliness

No matter what life throws at you? Right? What about loneliness? How does that work? Is this, as we have suggested in some of our posts so far, something that is internal to our minds? Something that we perceive? Not necessarily real?

How to Have a Peaceful Mind

If you’re like most people, you like to think of your mind as objective and rational. But as the ancient Stoics argued, and as modern psychology has confirmed, that’s not the case.

We’re all vulnerable to cognitive biases and logical fallacies; thinking errors in the way we perceive and reason about information from the world around us.

All of us filter each experience through our subjective lens that is tainted by our unique disposition, background, and emotions.

The Stoics taught that we can improve our perception of life — to polish our lens, so to speak.

By doing that, we can reduce irrational thinking, cut off negative emotions, and approach our lives with equanimity.

We can cease being lonely even when we are alone. We can have a peaceful mind and be happy within ourselves.

Sounds pretty good, don’t you think? Let’s have a look at the Stoic’s best techniques for creating a peaceful mind.

1. Focus on What Is in Your Control

We should always be asking ourselves: ‘Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?'”
— Epictetus

This is the most important practice in all of stoicism. If you take away only one thing from this article, let it be this:

Always identify, and care exclusively about, what is inside your control.

What you’ll find when you start doing this is that very few things are within your control. In fact, the Stoics would argue, the only things in your control are your own thoughts and actions.

Everything else — the past, most of the natural world, the thoughts and actions of other people, and even most things about ourselves — are ultimately outside your control.

This insight is crucial because, according to Epictetus, “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

So, get into the habit of separating what is within and without of your control, and then act accordingly:

  • If it’s inside your control — take action! Spend the time, energy, and focus necessary to create the change you want.
  • If it’s outside control — let it go. Repeat the mantra “I don’t care” to yourself until you’ve developed a healthy indifference to the situation.

At all times, strive to focus only on what is in your power. That will make you calmer, happier, and more effective.

2. Choose Empowering Thoughts

If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgement about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgement now.”
— Marcus Aurelius

Imagine that you’re about to give a presentation to a big group of people. As you fiddle with your notes, you can feel your heart pound, your hands getting sweaty, and your mouth drying up.

In this situation, most people will try to calm down. But that’s actually not very helpful. A much better approach is to perceive the stress symptoms as excitement.

If you tell yourself to calm down, you’re nervous. But if you tell yourself you’re excited, you’re ready for action. It’s a small mental shift but it can make a huge difference.

Research shows that people who tell themselves “I am excited!” before giving a speech way outperform people who try to calm themselves down6.

What we can learn from that is something the Stoics figured out thousands of years ago: Your emotions aren’t determined by your situation, but by how you choose to perceive your situation.

And that’s a very powerful insight because it puts you in control of your state of mind. At any moment, you have the option to dispute and replace unhelpful thoughts with more empowering ones.

So, whenever you find a negative feeling stirring in your mind, find a positive way to re-frame the situation, and your emotional response will follow suit.

3. Welcome Everything That Happens

Let us meet with bravery whatever may befall us. Let us never feel a shudder at the thought of being wounded or of being made a prisoner, or of poverty or persecution.”
— Seneca

The Stoics taught that we shouldn’t wish for things to happen the way we want. Instead, we should wish for things to happen exactly the way they happen. This attitude is called “amor fati”, which means “love of fate”7.

To love fate is to make the best out of everything that happens no matter how difficult it is. It’s about courageously meeting life’s challenges head-on and continually getting stronger.

Marcus Aurelius wrote that: “a blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything that is thrown into it”. In the same fashion, we should use obstacles, setbacks, and hardships as fuel to realise our full potential.

Life will inevitably throw you into difficult situations. That’s outside of your control. But, as we’ve covered, you can always control your reaction to these situations. And poorly chosen reactions will make life very difficult.

As Seneca puts it: “Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.” So, when life presents you with a challenge, don’t avoid it or complain about it. Instead, embrace it wholeheartedly, and use it as an opportunity to practice stoicism.

That will make you much stronger and life much smoother.

4. Put Your Life in Perspective

Remember: Matter. How tiny your share of it. Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it. Fate. How small a role you play in it.”
— Marcus Aurelius

In my work as a writer, I often find that my day-to-day problems get blown way out of proportion. As I sit down at my computer, isolated from the rest of the world, even the tiniest difficulty can appear overwhelming.

A slight drop in book sales, a broken Internet connection or a negative comment from a reader all seem like a big deal. But, of course, they’re not. In the grand scheme of things, these issues are tiny.

Luckily, there’s a quick cure for this irrational inflating of problems, and it’s as simple as quickly contemplating the scale of your life:

Reflect on where you are, then slowly move outward, visualising the street outside, and the city. Keep expanding further and further to your country, then the world, and finally the entire cosmos.

Carl Sagan’s famous talk about The Pale Blue Dot8 can serve as a great aid in this exercise.

Then, return to the difficulties in your life. From this new vantage point, you’ll most likely find that what was weighing you down wasn’t as heavy after all.

Zoom out to a cosmic perspective, and you’ll find peace and humility.

Loneliness Is … In The Beginning

How to Have a Peaceful Mind, In Summary

  1. Focus on what is in your control. If it’s inside your control, take action! If it’s outside control, let it go.
  2. Choose empowering responses. Find a positive way to re-frame the situation, and your emotional response will follow suit.
  3. Welcome everything that happens. Cultivate a “love of fate” by wishing for things to happen exactly the way they happen.
  4. Put your life in perspective. When your day-to-day problems appear overwhelming, zoom out and look at them from a cosmic perspective.

References

  1. Letters From a Stoic by Seneca
  2. On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
  3. The Discourses by Epictetus
  4. The Enchiridion by Epictetus
  5. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  6. Get Excited: Reappraising Pre-Performance Anxiety as Excitement
  7. Amor Fati
  8. Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot

Loneliness Is … Blame

 

Loneliness Is … Blame

It is sad that blame seems to be arising again. I am very sad that many humans seem to be unable to take responsibility for their own actions.

Two occurrences I came across recently have me feeling the need to call out this behaviour.

But firstly, let me say that is is my belief that feelings of loneliness fall into this category. If we blame someone else for our FEELINGS, they will NEVER be sorted.

Blame

Okay. Here we go.

#1. Daniel Radcliffe.

He posted in FB that he blamed the Harry Potter series of movies that made him rich and made him famous as the reason why he became, a few years ago, addicted to booze. Made him a drunkard, he said.

Well, I wasn’t with him those days, but I very much doubt anything other than his own arm and hand held the glass that he so ingenuously poured down his own throat.

No movie did that. No mate did that. No fan did that. (They just gave him the mney to do it to himself.)

How can this be true?

He reckoned it took him a few years to break this habit (yes it was a habit), and in the end, he said that it was a decision he made himself, with a little help from his friends. to drag himself back from the brink.

Finally, he admitted that HE and HE alone was responsible for this drinking problem. Now he also said he had help. Nothing in what I am saying necessarily says you can do this – break the habit - on your own. Help is almost always necessary, but solving any problem cannot be done without complete acceptance that you are in charge of your own destiny. Help is cool. But you are in control. Good on you Daniel. Nailed it.

#2. Road Accident.

I also read about a road accident near where I live. A FB poster suggested that the accident was caused by poor road conditions.

Now this is a bit more interesting. Yes, of course, if road and weather conditions are ideal then these kinds of accidents are less likely to occur.

But as the world is so very far from being ideal we cannot rely on this situation to avoid accidents.

And during my life as a driver I have more times than I wish to be reminded, been told, “You must drive according to the conditions.” Meaning the responsibility is on you – not the road, not the weather, not animals or people in the way nor ANYTHING EXTERNAL. It is up to You.

Judgement

So, in this case was the road poorly maintained – a judgement call for sure, but maybe? Not that it’s relevant. If you can’t see, stop. I can guarantee if you are stopped and in as safe a position as you can be, it is less likely that you will have an accident. Not impossible, but less likely.

Of course someone else relying on other people to be in charge of their destiny might run into you, (after all visibility and road conditions are what they are) and even if you have made the best possible choices to avoid an accident – this might not always be enough, you may still find yourself embroiled in a bad situation. Nothing can avoid shit all the time. The universe may have had it in for you this day. How you deal with this is a topic for another time.

Take responsibility. Be in-charge of you.

Loneliness

How do I link these stories with Loneliness?

Well it is quite simple. If we accept, as most authorities do, that loneliness is an emotion, a feeling, and not something that is solid nor an actual object, but a mental thing, then perhaps if we blame other people and other external things for our condition, then this is a case of NOT accepting that we are in control of us.

This being so, then loneliness might be mitigated if we take responsibility. Be in-charge of you.

Think about it.

Quick to Blame

We Need To Talk About Loneliness

Need  To Talk About Loneliness.

Loneliness is …

A book I read a few years ago started with the words, “We need to talk about Kevin.”

Loneliness Collage

Well, we need to talk about loneliness.

  • What is it?
  • How does it affect us as human beings?
  • Can you be lonely in a room full of people?
  • Can you fix/mitigate it?
  • Loneliness and social media
  • Loneliness and the smart phone
  • Loneliness is better than bad company

The list can go on and on. We will be extending it as we move forward with our discussion of this topic over the next few weeks and months.

There is a lot to be said.

A Listing Of 10 books (Self-help) on Loneliness:

These books were chosen as the top ten based on sales, bestseller rankings, and positive reader reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

https://www.onlinepsychologydegree.info/top-10-self-help-books-about-loneliness/

Join our group.

Loneliness Is … https://www.facebook.com/groups/loneliness.is/

Loneliness Australia

Loneliness In Australia

Loneliness In Australia

Numbers - Stats:

Let’s start with a few numbers and some bits and pieces culled from around the web shall we? This part is not my own work (I will tell you where it comes from if I know) but it is germaine to the whole topic.

We need to know the facts, as far as we are able to ascertain them, before we can do much that is intelligent, don’t we?

There is one school of thought that says there is very little difference between genders in this state of affairs and since that makes things a whole lot easier. we’ll go with that. OK?

There is a difference in age groups though. See below info from VicHealth below, the State Health Authority from Victoria, Australia. I am going with our older group here, the over 75’s. Some of the stats tell us that over 65’s until this 75 age group have less problem with loneliness than all other groups, but that might be for another time.

I am not going to pull out the stats but refer you to the attached document which does a pretty good job of telling you the facts and all the facts. Too many for me to discuss in detail.

Australian Psychological Society (APS) Swinburne University of Technology.

This covers in great detail everything you needed to know but were afraid to ask.

Except, perhaps, something that surprised me. Those amongst us of high IQ (more than 150-160 say, not me, I’m afraid) are more prone to being lonely than those with lower numbers, because they find it difficult to communicate with those of lesser intellect than themselves. They become kind of social outcasts. Interesting?

Neil Howe of Forbes Magazine has this to say:

The scourge of loneliness is an issue that we’re going to hear ever-more about in the years to come.

The Economist/KFF findings add to a wave of recent research showing high levels of loneliness. A recent Cigna survey revealed that nearly half of Americans always or sometimes feel alone (46%) or left out (47%). Fully 54% said they always or sometimes feel that no one knows them well. Loneliness isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon. In a nationwide survey released in October from the BBC, a third of Britons said that they often or very often feel lonely. Nearly half of Britons over 65 consider the television or a pet their main source of company. In Japan, there are more than half a million people under 40 who haven’t left their house or interacted with anyone for at least six months. In Canada, the share of solo households is now 28%. Across at the European Union, it’s 34%.

Have a look at the attached doc and then at these excerpts from VicHealth.

Vichealth.Vic.Gov.Au Loneliness:

A New Public Health Challenge Emerges – Some Excerpts for Your Perusal:

Loneliness can affect people at any point, but is more common among two key groups: older individuals aged 75 and above and, perhaps surprisingly, young people aged 15–25.

Figures released in April 2018 by the UK’s Office for National Statistics showed individuals aged 16–24 reported feeling lonely more often than people in older age groups. The statistics also identified a particular risk of loneliness among young people who were renting and who did not feel a sense of belonging to the local area.

Although research in Australia is currently limited, a 2015 survey funded by VicHealth found one in eight young people aged 16–25 reported a very high intensity of loneliness.

Why Do They Say They Are Lonely

Social loneliness refers to the absence of a social network made up of a wide group of friends, neighbours and colleagues.

The quality of those social connections is also important. Relationships need to be reciprocal, with those involved both sharing a sense of happiness, satisfaction and self-worth. (In 2012, a team at the University of California published the results of a study that found significant numbers of older people who identified as lonely were either married or lived with others.)

What Does Loneliness Mean?

Loneliness is commonly understood as an emotional response to the perceived mismatch between the amount of personal contact a person wants and the amount they have.

Men’s Sheds

A well-known community initiative that tackles social isolation is the Australian Men’s Shed Association. Its CEO David Helmers says, with a little humour, ‘There are currently 130-odd more Men’s Sheds [987 Sheds] in Australia than there are McDonald’s restaurants. Not that it’s a race.’

The Sheds target men who are no longer in paid employment, through retirement, redundancy or other reasons. Men can come to the Shed to build and repair items for the community, but that’s not the place’s main purpose.

The most important thing is the men getting together, building those relationships, that brotherhood that exists in the Sheds. They’re finding new friendships but, most importantly, finding meaningful purpose,’ says Helmers.

Most Effective Way To Reduce Loneliness:

The most effective way to reduce loneliness is to make people feel connected to their community,’. ‘Those communities may not be geographic – for example, they may be online for LGBTI youth or rural young people – but what’s important is they share common interests and develop meaningful connections.’

Holt-Lunstad suggests interventions ranging from a bigger focus on social skills training in schools, to making social connectedness checks part of standard medical screenings. Human Resources departments could prepare workers for retirement socially as well as financially, she says.

Planning out suburbs so they are walk-able and include social spaces where people can meet up, such as gardens or recreation centres, is also crucial. Media campaigns could raise awareness about loneliness while also removing some of the label’s stigma.

Public Health England, in its 2015 Reducing social isolation across the lifecourse report, highlighted that ‘access to transport is also vitally important for building and maintaining social connections’.

Affects of loneliness

There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,’ Holt-Lunstad told the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in August 2017, adding, ‘Many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic’. The challenge we face is what can be done about it.’

Holt-Lunstad drew on data from two meta-analyses for her presentation. The first found greater social connection conferred a 50 per cent reduced risk of early death. The second examined 70 studies and concluded that social isolation, loneliness or living alone posed risks for premature death that were as big as or bigger than obesity, smoking (less than 15 cigarettes a day) and air pollution.

We know that the impacts of feeling lonely and isolated impede your health, whether that’s your mental health or physical health,’ says Irene Verins, Manager, Mental Well-being at VicHealth. ‘We need to identify the factors that influence loneliness – at the level of the individual, the local community and wider society – to get some idea, or a clue, as to where to look for solutions.

The Health Consequences of Loneliness -Causes and Health Consequences of Feeling Lonely By Kendra Cherry

Loneliness has a wide range of negative effects on both physical and mental health, including:

Depression and suicide

Cardiovascular disease and stroke

Increased stress levels

Decreased memory and learning

Antisocial behaviour

Poor decision-making

Alcoholism and drug abuse

The progression of Alzheimer's disease

Altered brain function

Loneliness can be overcome. It does require a conscious effort on your part to make a change. Making a change, in the long run, can make you happier, healthier, and enable you to impact others around you in a positive way.

Here are some ways Kendra Cherry suggests we can prevent loneliness:

  • Recognise that loneliness is a sign that something needs to change.
  • Understand the effects that loneliness has on your life, both physically and mentally.
  • Consider doing community service or another activity that you enjoy. These situations present great opportunities to meet people and cultivate new friendships and social interactions.
  • Focus on developing quality relationships with people who share similar attitudes, interests, and values with you.
  • Expect the best. Lonely people often expect rejection, so instead focus on positive thoughts and attitudes in your social relationships

Loneliness and social isolation are important health risks in the elderly Uni Crest

Living alone, health problems and disability, sensory impairment such as hearing loss, and major life events such as loss of a spouse have all been identified as risk factors for social isolation and loneliness.

Some Suggestions for Solutions

If you're not sure how to help someone who is lonely, here are some tips on how to support someone who is experiencing feelings of loneliness. (From British Telecom – Press Association)

  1. Show them you’re available

Keep in touch by phone, email or in person so they know someone is there for them when they need support. Don’t give up on them if they don’t call or visit you in return, but if they need time alone, try to respect that.

  1. Offer to take them out

If it’s difficult for them to get out and about, you could volunteer to take them out, for example to a café or to visit a friend. There might even be a local charity who could help if you don’t have much spare time. Just don’t push them into anything, as it might seem daunting to them at first.

  1. Ask how they’re feeling

By talking to them about how they’re feeling, without leading them into any particular issue, you might find out that something else is troubling them. Try not to make assumptions about why they are lonely – there are many reasons why someone might be feeling loneliness.

  1. Enlist expert help

Some people might feel more comfortable talking about their feelings to a stranger or professional. If it seems appropriate, you could suggest they speak to their GP or call a charity helpline.

  1. Be dependable

Missing a visit or phone call may not seem important to you, but could be very disappointing for someone who doesn’t have much contact with others, so try to be reliable.

  1. Help them discover new ways to stay in touch

There are a huge range of different ways to stay in touch these days, from social media to email and text messaging. If they don’t feel comfortable using computers, you could encourage them to join a course to learn how to use computers and the internet, which are run by most local councils.

  1. Help them to try something new

If they have a particular interest, joining a group, such as a rambling club, reading group or dance class, could help them connect with like-minded people. If they show an interest in an activity, you could offer to go with them to the first session if they’re nervous about going alone.

  1. Talk about practical barriers

Barriers such as not having a car, not having enough money or being a full-time carer could be preventing them from connecting with people or getting out and about. Talk to them about what these barriers may be and encourage them to speak to someone.

  1. Ask other people for help

If you’re very busy or live far away, you don’t need to feel like you have to do everything yourself. See if anyone else, such as a friend, neighbour, relative or charity volunteer, can regularly call or visit the person who is lonely.

  1. Host a Sunday lunch

Summary

Let’s leave it at that for this time shall we? We’ve had a bit of a look at the stats, and what loneliness means. Added to that we have had a very quick look at the mental and physical health effects of loneliness, and some ways to mitigate this whole loneliness thing. And finally some solutions.

We’ll pick up on each of these as we move forward. There is so much to say.

One of the thoughts that comes up in my mind is ‘what do lonely people do all day?’

We should have a look at that in a little while.

If any-one has any input, comment let’s hear it. Are you lonely as distinct from being alone?

How much of you day/week/month would you say you are lonely, and what do YOU do when you are in these lonely patches? Talk soon.

Colin Learns to Play

Colin RochfordColin Learns to Play

Now that we’ve finished with the boring and the worrying stuff – the stats and all that, it’s time to have a look at some stories. Let’s see what I can dredge up for you.

Not Lonely

In the beginning of these blogs, I kinda hinted that while I am often alone, I am rarely, if ever, lonely.

That is now. Wasn’t always this way. There were times, but we are not going to go down that rabbit burrow today. Not that we won’t – just not now.

Growing Older

I was chatting to a friend recently – you’ll hear from him later in this series of blogs – and we discussed that as we have grown older, we have found that it is actually easier to fill the emptiness that seems to be the precursor of this lonely feeling this emotion. It is also easier to remove ourselves from the toxic people and situations that tend to lead to negative thoughts and even depression. Something that we could not do at an earlier age.

Cliche alert! We lamented that if only we knew what we know now (at 70 and 80); when we were teenagers and shortly beyond, how different our lives would have been.

Mentors

We talked about mentors, (having one or more) and young people who have very little understanding of the real world and, sadly in very many cases, no genuine reason to follow-up on that kind of thinking. We talked about how in school, numbers and stuff like that were given more focus than self development. Self confidence, beliefs, values and ways to understand and control our reactions to events around us especially those NOT under our control, were given no time at all. Our teachers were not measured by this sort of philosophy and so it never happened, (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy - REBT - for example.) What’s that? Another day.

Loss

We’ll dip into the lives of chaps (suitably disguised of course to protect the innocent and those no longer with us) and look at how they have coped with the loss of their wives. We’ll figure out why they are not accumulations of psychotic, continually depressed human beings.

Mindset

Perhaps you can take some of these thoughts and help yourselves to a realisation that “If it is to be – then it’s up to me”. (A quote from William H Johnsen – Also the title of a book by Robert H. Schuller, author, motivator and host of the popular television show Hour of Power. I’m not sure which came first – but if doesn’t really matter. The quote is valid anyway.)

Life Coach

I am a trained life coach, so if there is anything I can do to help you personally, contact me here loneliness@colinlearnstoplay.com and we’ll figure out a way to think it through.

Loneliness Is … Concerned

Loneliness Is …

I have become increasingly concerned about the number of people professing loneliness in our society. Particularly amongst those over the age of 55.

I have rarely felt lonely (as I would define it – see below) in my life, so this is a difficult concept for me to come to terms with, but it is obviously ‘a thing’. What does it mean? What can we do about it? Is it an issue we need to deal with?

This blog is an attempt to address these issues.

Loneliness Is … Alone & Lonely – What is the difference?

Some info from The Webster Dictionary:

Lonely

Lonely V's Alone

1a: being without company: LONE

1b: cut off from others: SOLITARY

2: not frequented by human beings: DESOLATE

3: sad from being alone: LONESOME

4: producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation

Alone

1: separated from others: ISOLATED

2: exclusive of anyone or anything else: ONLY

3a: considered without reference to any other

3b: INCOMPARABLE, UNIQUE

What does this mean?

To me it seems that some of these words are related to feelings and some are related to facts.

So, our next questions then must be: what is a feeling and what is a fact?

Let’s start with a fact.

Fact

  • Webster says that a fact is something that truly exists or happens: something that has actual existence,

  • a true piece of information

So I guess that means if I am standing by myself, in isolation from other human beings, then I am alone.

That is a fact. It is verifiable. There is no one else in the area.

Emotion - Feeling

A feeling, on the other hand, is not a fact by this definition above. It is

  • an emotional state or reaction

  • often unreasoned opinion or belief

  • sympathetic aesthetic response

Fact V’s Emotion

Loneliness is therefore a belief, something created by the mind? Is that what we are saying here? I am feeling sad. Why? Because I am alone. A feeling, a reaction or response to a fact.

How does this work? What does this mean in real life?

Emotions - Feelings

Thus, loneliness is an emotional state of being whereby we find ourselves unhappy and feeling sad because of the LACK of human interaction.

Being ALONE is the same thing, really, without the emotional business. Does that make sense?

Can we change one into the other? Would we want to?

Facebook Group

In order to answer some of these questions and more, I have set-up a FB group called Loneliness is….

There will be a couple of confidential questions before anyone can join this group, and then it would probably be useful if those questions were asked and answered again on the open/public forum after a person has been approved to join the group.

This is totally optional, of course. You can join and just observe the conversations.

Let’s deal with this together. Let’s sort out what the issues are and work towards mitigating this question in our society.

I am talking about my hometown - where we can do stuff or talk about stuff face to face; the greater Melbourne Australia area where both face to face and electronic connections can be arranged; and then Australia and the world where we can use social media and other electronic means to meet and communicate. There is not even a need for any excuse that we don’t live in the same time-zone for example. I promise to make myself available as the need arises. This is such an important subject. I’ll be there for you if necessary.

The questions? OK. Here they are.

  1. What does loneliness mean to you? Definition, I guess. 1 sentence only please.
  2. How does loneliness affect you in your normal everyday life? 1 sentence only please.

Head on over to Face Book and join the group. Answer the qualifying questions and then, when approved, repeat your answers (if you feel you want to) so we have a basis to start a dialogue with you.

Loneliness Is … In The Beginning

Loneliness Is … In The Beginning

Colin Learns To Play

loneliness Is ...Colin Rochford loves jumping in at the deep end. (metaphorically speaking – since he’s afraid to have his head underwater). He lives by the mantra, “It’s better to say you’re sorry than ask for permission”.

How’s that worked for him, you ask? OK. Most of the time.

When Colin moved from the big smoke to a small regional town in country Victoria, Australia he joined every group/activity he could. Went to the opening of the proverbial envelope.

He then decided the muse needed to make herself known.

Having already written a chapter in the book Nkwocha, Kizzi. (2015), Success Unlimited. Sussex, UK: Mithra Publishing; called “Beliefs, Rules, Values & Language – Their Role In Your Success”, he thought to himself, “Why not write a whole book all by myself?”

The result is “Braving Change”.

Colin lives in a small one-bedroom unit in Mansfield – no dogs, no cats; dreaming of travelling all over the world on a yacht.

Colin Rochford is a life coach, author, trainer, self-help speaker, world traveller, and entrepreneur.

His blog can be read at . He can be followed at Twitter.com/ColinTRochford.

Now retired, he believes that nothing changes if nothing changes, and success requires positive thinking combined with massive action.

Neither Borrower Nor Lender Be

Neither A Borrower Nor A Lender Be

Neither A Borrower Nor A Lender Be. What does this actually mean? Where is it from and how does it relate to our lives at the moment?

Shakespeare

It is a Shakespearean quote:

Polonius in Act-I, Scene-III of the play, Hamlet, counsels his son Laertes before he embarks on his visit to Paris. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend.”

It means do not lend or borrow money from a friend, because if you do so, you will lose both your friend and your money. If you lend, he will avoid paying back, and if you borrow you will fall out of your savings, as you turn into a spendthrift, and face humiliation.

Integrity

It mentions friend, but I reckon it is more universal than that.

I believe it touches on honesty and trust by which I mean integrity; elements of our lives of which we need to be more aware.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and figure that the definitions of these terms might have slipped from our conscious minds.

Let’s reacquaint our selves with them, shall we?

Definitions

Honesty: (Wikipedia) Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.

Trust: (Wikipedia) Confidence in or dependence on a person or quality. The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

Integrity: (Wikipedia) The practice of being honest and showing consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions.

All of these include the word TRUTH. Or TRUTHFULNESS. Co-incidence? I think not.

Top Value

My top value in life is Integrity.

And it would seem to include the other sentiments of Trust and Honesty as its mainstays.

Let’s have a think about Integrity.

Integrity again

It says, “having strong moral and ethical principles”. Well even that’s difficult, isn’t it? Both can be very subjective. What’s moral to one is completely against the odds for others. For example ‘Jihads’ and ‘An eye for an eye’.

Ethics is much more strongly defined and thus a better gauge, but ‘honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions’. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Means you do as you say. Can’t be clearer than that.

So I guess a Jihadist who truly believes that what he says he is going to do in the name of his religion, or his God, and follows through; is acting with integrity. Interesting point?

Listen

Comes down to the fact we all must listen and think before we react. Not everyone is like us. I mean each human on this planet is UNIQUE and stands for something. We are all important. We all have our own values – sometimes our issue might be we actually don’t know what these values are, and this makes life a little fraught, but that is for another time. Perhaps we can discuss values again soon if you like.

Think Before We React

Be aware. Be grateful, be less judgemental, and remember that while we cannot control circumstances external to us (and that means other people too, who have different, even extreme views - and are entitled to them), we can control how we react to them. Those who react completely from emotion with no checks (ie is your reaction Logical, True, and Constructive – all 3 MUST be present), are really no better than those they criticise.

Just sayin’. What do you think?

Left Wing – Right Wing

Left-Wing – Right-Wing

Generally, the left-wing is characterized by an emphasis on "ideas such as liberty, equality, fraternity, rights, progress, reform, and internationalism", while the right-wing is characterized by an emphasis on "notions such as authority, hierarchy, order, duty, tradition, reaction and nationalism". Wikipedia

Opposites

What If I Told You

Now it might surprise you but these can be seen as opposite sides of the same coin.

One can assume that there are as many of our world’s people on the left or the right. That would make sense. It is also sensible to assume, I reckon, that the edges of both of these move way out into radical airspace.

Outrage and Offence

That being the case there is the likelihood that outrage and offense can be, and will be taken when these outer reaches are breached in either direction.

Perhaps the left might be a softer option (a judgment call,) and the right more hard-edged (another judgment call) and perhaps the idea of hatred is more likely to arrive out of the right-wing camp? Do you think?

Seems likely to me.

Moderates

If we as (shall we call ourselves ‘moderates’ - those closer to the middle line between these two extremes), are going to avoid confrontation from either side, we would need to draw in the edges, somewhat, to remove the ‘radicalised’ tips of this continuum.

While I am no fan of anything that is too much left or too much right, nor am I an apologist for companies like Facebook, I am mindful that in our world where free speech is revered we must be aware that if we are to leave these edges as wide as possible maintaining a situation where most people are allowed freedom of expression – some WILL and MUST be offended. Goes without saying.

On both sides of the coin.

Skew

It can’t happen otherwise. If we skew our cutoffs because we say, “Oh the left is softer and doesn’t hurt people so much”, then we are making a mockery of free speech. This is free speech adjusted for the left. I don’t believe this is the way we need to go. Of course, the exact opposite is also true. If we restrict the right, the far-left community will be outraged, Albeit more quietly as is their want.

Therefore we have to assume while we live in this partisan, dichotomous, politicised society there will be issues. Some of them may have calamitous effects. We have to understand this and expect it.

FaceBook and Twitter

Social Organisations like Twitter and Facebook, for example, need to maintain the widest possible limits for their customers/members who provide ALL of the content for the platform, to fully cater for free speech, while cutting off at the edges, the most extreme violations of the human condition.

As it is, many more of the notions at the far boundaries of the right side may tend to spill over into offensive territory, than the ideas of the left.

My prejudices

Of course, that may just be my own prejudices showing. I guess I am way more left than right in my tendencies. No apologies for that. I have always been more open and ideas orientated than absolutes and authority driven.

Doing Its Best

I am sure FB is doing its best. As a money-making concern, it does not want to alienate ANY of its patrons in spite of thoughts and comments to the contrary. But it also has to take into account what is considered by law in all countries where it exists, as ‘common decency’ and adjust its policies to suit. However skewed that might seem to those affected.

What do you think?

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness is a term I have recently become aware of thanks to a FB conversation with a somewhat right-winged Texan.

Judgment

Now judgment is something I work hard to avoid as I believe that unless you have lived another person’s life, walked in their shoes if you will, then you don’t really know them and had you experienced their life you may talk and act exactly as they do.

BUT. We are NOT our past and if we find that it (our past, our upbringing  - when we are finally grown adults) no longer serves us, then we, I believe, ought to look for ways to change things.

Be Prepared

Makes me wonder, though, what kind of upbringing leads a person to think that they need to be prepared for whatever, so that they think that a 7-year-old child needs to be brought up understanding guns, and how to shoot them.

A child. Almost still a baby. I am reminded the, my grandson is 6 and that means that in a tad less than a year if this is the norm, he should be taught the ways of killing things. Oh dear. Not on my watch.

Killing

However you cut it, guns are designed to kill another living creature, make no mistake with this. Animal or human. There is NO OTHER REASON FOR THEIR EXISTENCE. Now I know the argument that guns don't kill, people do, but I have never seen or heard of a person without a gun shooting/killing someone. Have you? So possession of a gun is the key. No gun - no shooting. Simple.

Situational Awareness

But back to our subject. Situational Awareness. What is it? What does it mean for me another like me? What does it mean for my conversation partner in Texas?

I looked at his profile, and apart from the fact that almost all of the videos he submitted to FB were deleted, his beliefs were way too far right-winged for me.

Polarisation

I wonder, again, why it seems that Americans – and it’s often Americans - are so often polarised politically. It seems to me that to blindly believe and follow a political pathway is not really the way to go. Surely some of the policies or ways of thinking/acting are against a person’s values. Or are these values decided by the political landscape without any input from the brain of the devotee? I don’t know. But it doesn’t make sense to me.

Situational Awareness 2

Situational Awareness – yes I said I’d get back to this.

Wikipedia tells me: "It is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status”.

That is way too much for me. Let’s try a different approach.

Situational awareness can be defined simply as “knowing what is going on around us”.

That makes more sense.

Feeling Safe

My FB conversationalist tells me I don’t have this because I don’t believe in guns per se, and certainly not in the hands of children.

Let’s look at this. I am 70 years old and I live quietly in a country town in Australia where I interact with the community a lot in, I believe, a meaningful way.

I travel to the nearest big city to be with my family periodically, and I feel safe. All the time.

I don’t go or do anything where I believe my safety would be compromised. Why would I?

I have no fear of my Government killing me, or being attacked by a religious Zealot or any other terrorist. It may happen, but I do not fear it. I take all precautions to not be a victim wherever I can. I do not fear gun-crazed, mentally unhinged individuals shooting me in my home, a local shopping mall, or anywhere for that matter.

Or any other fear-based on my environment.

Phenomena Beyond My Control

I am aware that there are many natural (or even man-made) phenomena that may or may not impinge on me, but I also realise the I have no control over these events, so they don’t need to concern me very much. I take note of bush fire warnings (I volunteer at the local emergency broadcaster so I am intimately aware of the possibilities here) but I don’t worry. Why would I, I ask again?

I am not living, as my FB acquaintance says, with my head in the sand because I don’t fear the same things he does. I don’t even know what ‘head in the sand’ really means in terms of a normal life.

Paranoia

How sad to live in a state of constant paranoia. A state so strong that a person feels the need to be protected by a kid with a gun. A state where the ONLY defence to a gun is another gun. Is there no other way? Surely intervention at the other end of the cycle might be a better option?

Fear Mongering

Judging, Judgment of Others

What’s it all about? We are in Control of our lives!

How to Stop Overthinking Charles P Carlton

How to Stop Overthinking - 8 Proven, Practical Techniques to End Anxiety, Stop Negative Thinking, Overcome Worrying and Live a Healthier, Happier Life – Charles P Carlton

Powerful CoverStop Overthinking

Wow. This book started with an extremely POWERFUL cover design. Loved it.

Much of what was covered, I thought I knew, but as I continued I realised that’s my problem. If you think you know stuff you never learn anything. When you talk you say things you know, but when you listen, that’s when the magic happens.

Magic

Thanks, Charles. You magician you.

I began to read this book with my ears wide open and the gems just kept on coming.

Mindfulness

The chapter on mindfulness made it worth the purchase of the whole book. It was masterful. The style of writing was informative firstly, but more importantly, it was contemplative, calming, meditative and relaxing. I loved the info but also the very feel of it. It was well done.

Powerful cover, great message, inspired writing style? I’d say it had it all.

Depression, Anxiety & Compassion

How To Overcome The Fear Of Change

Eat That Frog Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy

A short book in the procrastination genre. Not to be missed.

One thing I notice as I read the many self-help books available out there is the fact that they are all as special as the people reading them.

Resonate

Some resonate immediately and qualify for the “Changed My Life” comment. Some you need to read again and again.

And some hit a note that you are absolutely sure you have heard/read before, but never seemed to quite hook onto.

Hook

This book was the hook for me. So simple, straightforward and beautifully crafted. Hardly a wasted word. He does repeat “Eat That Frog” a few times, but that was necessary. Well, it was for me.

You just need to keep right on reading each new book until one smacks you in the forehead as this one did for me.

OMG. Yeah. Now I get it. Why did I put it off for so long?

CANI

Then keep right on reading – because why would you want to stop learning? Continuous and Never-ending Improvement.

Thanks, Eat That FrogBrian. I get it now.

 

 

 

 

You are the Writer

You are the Writer

Something happened to me today that I have to tell you about.

Writer

WriterAfter my yoga class, a woman came up to me and said these words, “You are the writer? I’ve heard about you from a mutual acquaintance.”

I gulped and after a tiny but probably noticeably awkward pause, I said, “Yep. That’s right. I am.”

Pause

Why the pause? Why the awkwardness? I mean yes I have a chapter published for all to see in a book edited by a chap in England. (You can buy it at all good bookstores everywhere, and online – Amazon). In 3 days from this conversation, I will have published a book, ‘Braving Change’, written all by myself. At the time of writing, I am juggling a few final late edits (it just never stops – the ‘how long is a piece of string?’ syndrome). As you read this I believe that this book will be available for all to purchase.

But enough sales talk. The point of this is - we all (and I reckon ALL is not too strong a word), seem to put ourselves down in this way at least once or twice in our lives. Probably MUCH more often. Why?

Put Down

OK. It is not a positive ‘put-down’ like “I suck,” for example, but denying something or being awkward about admitting it is just as bad? Isn’t it?

Go back over the last 24 hours or 3 days or a couple of weeks and see if you can find a time when you did this. It could be to your children, your significant other, your boss, your mates, anyone. Think about it. Think hard.

Deny

We deny ourselves. All the time. If we fail to accept a compliment or fail to acknowledge something like being a writer for example, or a guitarist, an artist, sculptor, writer or many many other appellations others might give us, or we make an awkward pause before we accept, then we are DENYING ourselves.

Who taught us this was a good idea? Is this rather silly denying action serving us now? In our busy and confusing lives to be something or to be good at something to the point where another notices it and points it out to you is FANTASTIC.

Love Yourself

Don’t go ape over it, but don’t disavow it either. Be cool. Let it happen. Let it flow over you. Bask in its significance. Love it. Love yourself.

I teach positive thinking, change, life coaching stuff and I could not believe that I did this today. To myself. Why? This is such a crock.

Talents

All of us have talents, all of us can do things, the labels that society gives us for the good things we do or what we are, must be accepted, not diminished or worse still pushed away. And an awkward pause IS a pushing away.

Be proud. Stand tall. Admit that yes we are a writer. We are a great mother/father. We can play guitar well even though we are not yet in a band.

Accept

It’s not self-aggrandisement. It is not arrogance, (unless you crow like a rooster). It is humble acceptance of your own very special attributes.

Love Yourself

Love your self, and others will too.

Published Author

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones. Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results. A revolutionary system to get 1 per cent better every day

Atomic HabitsPeople think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But world-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered another way. He knows that real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call.

He calls them atomic habits.

In this ground-breaking book, Clear reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule, or the trick to entering the Goldilocks Zone), and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter.

These small changes will have a revolutionary effect on your career, your relationships, and your life

My 5 take-aways

  1. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the process that leads to those results. As a side note: There are no good habits or bad habits: only effective habits. Ask the question, "Does this behaviour help me become the type of person I wish to be?”
    1. If you want better results, then forget about setting goals, focus on your systems instead
      1. So James Clear says “Fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves”.
      2. Create a system of ATOMIC HABITS. An atomic habit is a little habit that is part of a larger system.
    2. Outcomes are about what you get. Processes are about what you do. Identity is about what you believe.

I am focusing on creating a habit of writing. Focussing on who I wish to become. A writer. What about you?

  1. Every belief, including those about yourself, is learned and conditioned through experience
    1. What do you want to stand for? What are your principles and values? Who do you wish to become?

We need to take a deep dive into our psyche (might need a life coach?) to understand what this means for us. What/who do we believe we are? Start by completing the values questionnaire that you will find on this page. It is a great start to finding out what you believe about yourself. Some core values from Mr James Clear.

  1. The 4 laws of behaviour change are as follows:
    1. Cue (Make it obvious), Craving (Make it attractive), Response (Make it easy) Reward (Make it satisfying).

I won’t go into these in much detail. You’ll need to read the book, but suffice to say, you can use these 4 laws to guide you through the minefield of issues standing in the way of your success. Any success. Business, personal, emotional, financial – whatever.

Note that the inversion of each of these rules can be used to break ineffective habits.

  • Take the cue from something you WANT, really want, and make it, in your mind, really obvious that this is the way you need to go. Lose weight for example.
  • Then convert this into a craving. Make the whole deal attractive, ie kinda like WHY you want it. To be the best looking guy/girl on the beach. See it. Feel it. Smell it. Hear what people say. You know what I mean.
  • Respond to these feelings by taking action. For this to happen – it must be easy. No one will do anything for long if it is tedious. This is where small comes in. Start with having only half a glass of wine with dinner or half a serving of dessert. (If weight loss is your goal).
  • Finally, you need a reward. (Not another chocolate biscuit) Think of something you really like, say an extra hour in bed with a good book? Something that will make you feel good. Do it. Don't miss it. This is very important. That’s it.
  1. Use triggers to help you. If that happens- do this. Do things at a specific time each day. (I write 700 words each morning before breakfast. Doesn’t matter what I write it is the process that counts.) Then try stacking one habit upon another. After I do that – do this. Make the environment work for you. Put pill bottles next to your bed, for example, so you’ll get into the habit of taking your pills before you go to sleep.

Remember the 2-minute rule. When you start a new habit, it should take less than 2 minutes to do.

  1. Finally, Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself. Have an accountability partner or mentor. This is a fundamental law of personal development.

There is much, much more. The book is full of lists, exercises, references and stories to which we can all relate. Look for the paper clip strategy for example, and see how it can work in your life. A strategy about habit tracking.

Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can't manage what you can't measure.” Drucker means that you can't know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined and tracked.

Check out the Goldilocks rule. What the? Yep, it's a real thing. Look for it in ch.19.

Summary

Make one small change and repeat it over time. A new habit will be formed, almost un-consciously. This is awesome stuff.
Read ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olsen and David Mann.

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