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?

Values – Integrity & Trust

Values – Integrity & Trust

Values

 

Today we talk about values. And the two I am going to discuss are Trust and Integrity.

Wikipedia: Integrity

Integrity is 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.

The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs, and principles they claim to hold.

Dictionary: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

Wikipedia: Trust

In a social context, a situation characterized by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future.

In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other's actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.

Trust is believing that the person who is trusted will do what is expected. It starts at the family and grows to others.

Dictionary: The firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.

Trust and Integrity Linked

While these two values may appear to be quite separate, I believe them to be inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other.

I can rely (trust) on you if you are honest (integrity), can’t I?

Family

Note: this trust thing is something that starts at the FAMILY according to the definition above.

I am reminded of a story told to me recently of a young woman (possibly about 12 yrs old at the time ) who, finding that she needed some extra money, borrowed it from a very generous older woman – a ‘friend’ of the family.

The young woman began to pay back the loan as soon as she could, but was stopped by her parents. A learning opportunity squandered. But, more importantly, a lesson that honesty, trust, and integrity were values not to be considered important.

Imagine being taught that, at such a young and vulnerable age? As far as I know, this young woman (now 18 at time of writing) has shaken off the shackles of this upbringing to become an admirable member of society. (That’s me being judgmental, isn’t it?)

Integrity

Integrity is and has been one of the cornerstones of my life. I believe that there is no higher aim than, to be honest in everything, (of course, I am human and make mistakes as often as most – I am not perfect, but I am as authentic as possible) and to strive for the wholeness alluded to in the above Wikipedia definition.

Trust

I think more needs to be said about TRUST, but that is for another time.

Let me know what you think.

Values – Be A Better Person

Cruise Ship Liability

Cruise Ship Liability

Cruise Ship Liability. The recent disaster in New Zealand is close to my heart being that N.Z is my place of birth.

Now, at the outset, I must say I have not researched what I am about to say in any great depth, but have just skimmed a few Google news alerts and a few FB posts.

So this article is probably more in the realm of uninformed comment. But you are going to get it anyway.

The latest comment I noted was that Jacinda Ardern (N.Z, PM) said that the tour ships are liable.

I am not a lawyer and I have no idea of the laws of liability in this area in NZ, but my application of the common sense principle suggests that as a cruise line is, at the very best, a third party in these transactions, it should not have a direct line of attribution to any event on that island which contained the volcano.

Here’s wOvation Of The Seashat I understand.

A cruise line,

in an effort to differentiate itself from other lines offering similar pieces of excitement for its patrons, contracts with another party to provide some excursions off the ship. Something that is a unique selling proposition. (USP)

Live and Active Volcano

Now, this party (the Island Tour Company) then contracts with a passenger to provide a trip to a LIVE and ACTIVE volcano. This is a huge risk as there has been no warning in the past when and if there would be any events occurring with this volcano. But that is what makes it even more exciting and what means the Island Touring Company can charge fees up to $500 NZ for the excursion. And makes it an amount participants are willing to part with for the experience.

Social Media Proof

Of course, they expect to live and be able to share the photographs of them in this unpredictable and dangerous place. Shows what kind of people they are. Danger is what they were willing to pay a premium for. Of course, they didn’t believe it would ever be that dangerous. They probably signed a waiver (which they didn’t believe – their issue), which amongst other things promises that IF anything happens they won’t sue the Island Touring company.

Let’s Look At This.

The touring company told them it COULD be dangerous, deadly kind of dangerous, they signed something, they paid their money. “Yeah. Yeah. What could go wrong?” And they went on the guided tour.

The island blew up

The island blew up. Many of the 40 or so people on the tour at the time were immediately vapourised or massively injured. Several are still missing.

The tour company has, hopefully, Public LiabilityContinue reading

Agentic – Leadership Style

Agentic – Leadership Style

Agenetic. I learned a new word today. Quite a simple word, but seems to have two almost opposite meanings.

Let’s investigate.

Wikipedia: Agentic leadership derives from the term agency. This leadership style is generally found in the business field by a person who is respected by subordinates. This person demonstrates assertiveness, competitiveness, independence, courageousness, and is masterful in achieving their task at hand.

Then there is Milgram’s theory: which is the psychological state the obedient subject is in when he or she is obeying authority.

Milgram

Milgram (1963) was interested in researching how far people would go in obeying an instruction if it involved harming another person. for example, Germans in WWII.

Not the same I would have thought.

As the word was applied to me- I would like to think Wikipedia was more likely to be true.

Etymology

Although if we follow etymology agency, (and that would surely be where the word came from), seems to mean 'acting on behalf of', as in an actor’s, or an author’s agent. This would be an obeying authority kind of thing, wouldn’t it?

Hmmmmm.

Where to from here?

Another extension of one of the definitions suggests: Adjective. Social cognition theory perspective in which people are producers as well as products of social systems.

This a combination of both perhaps? I like this one.

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!

Religion is The Opiate of the Masses

Religion is the Opiate of the Masses

Karl Marx

“Religion is the opium of the people”, wrote Karl Marx in 1843, often paraphrased as the ‘opiate of the masses’ as above.

I was reminded of this today while discussing life and other things with a friend whom I was visiting in the hospital.

Catholic

Not sure how the topic came up, but he was waxing lyrical about how religion was simply a means of controlling a population. This from a 78-year-old Irish Catholic.

I said that as far as I knew all religions had been created by humans and NOT a God of any variant.

A Drug of Addiction

Don’t we have here a drug, as can be construed by Mr. Marx’s comments, that we, as the people or the masses, are being hooked on by the pushers of this religious nonsense? I think so.

Suffering Does Not Last

We went on to discuss how in his early years in Ireland he was constantly disappointed, (NO read disgusted) by The Church’s exhortation that suffering was only temporary (an earthly thing since time in Heaven didn’t exist), and poor people, in particular, should remember that they will be rewarded in the afterlife. This, of course, kept them from trying to better themselves, because, why would they? This was temporary, the afterlife was forever – unending.

As the aforementioned poorer class of people was probably not very well educated, this belief was perpetuated; and the weekly gatherings that were forced upon the members of these groups by threats of missing out on the afterlife as well, if they didn’t attend, continued the travesty.

This was far from the beginning, though. These unsavoury tactics had been going on for millennia.

Religious Leaders

From the earliest of times, humans have created groups of men who have been designated as having greater significance in the scheme of things (the so-called religious leaders). Let’s look at this.

Religion - Defined

Religion is often defined as “, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs”. Man-made. Yes?

Wikipedia says:

Historical Perspective

“There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion”.

Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic Abrahamic faiths, the other two being Christianity and Islam. But the oldest form of religion would probably be Zoroastrian, sometimes called the official religion of ancient Persia.

Zoroastrian

Is one of the world's oldest surviving religions, with teachings older than Buddhism, or Judaism, and far older than Christianity or even Islam. Zoroastrianism is thought to have arisen “in the late second millennium B.C.E amidst semi-nomadic pastoralists in the Central Asian Steppelands,” according to Dr. Jenny Rose, a scholar of the religion. Its name comes from Zarathushtra, to whom the earliest texts of the religion (the Gathas, or “songs” of praise to Ahura Mazda) are ascribed. He was known to the Greeks as Zoroaster, hence the name we know today.

Do As We Say

Now have a read of this, “In Zoroastrian thought, good and evil are strictly divided. The deity Ahura Mazda (the “wise lord”) establishes everything good, whereas Angra Mainyu (the “destructive spirit”) is the source of everything evil, bringing chaos to the orderly world. The chaos and confusion of evil are spoken of as “the lie,” in contrast to the order, right, and truth of Ahura Mazda.

I mean isn’t this – the oldest known religion, just a system of man-made control? Do as I (we) say and all will be well. Or else chaos.

Comments, Please

Hmmmmm, So this bollocks is not new. Not at all.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Writing Everyday

Writing Everyday

WritingWriting, journaling or scribing as Hal Elrod calls it in The Miracle Morning, is the final task in the SAVERS morning routine.

Daily Thoughts

The idea is to put down on paper with an actual pen or pencil some thoughts, on a daily basis. Hal Elrod gives you a number of options in an attachment to his ebook, but the problem seems to be that many of his (shall I Call them disciples?) don’t seem to be able to figure it out. What to write, I mean. How to write for the 10 minutes the ritual calls for.

Not your Guru

I don’t profess to be any kind of guru, but I do not seem to have a problem with this task.

Now I reckon this might be because of a number of things that I have read and done, not because I am all that clever.

Write a Book

Firstly, a few years ago I started down a path to write a book. I had no idea what to write about; fiction or not, and not a single notion how to start.

Somewhere I read about a website where you write, electronically, 500 words of anything – often utter drivel - and publish it either in a folder on your computer, or if you were feeling brave on the website or Facebook group. I can’t remember now. I did a bit of both. But the idea was not to write anything of value, just to churn out 500 words (more or less) and leave it at that. Even the stuff published on the web was not to be read, just to prove that you had written it.

The Artist’s Way

Then, not that long ago, I found another really exciting book called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. In this book, Julia extolled the virtue of what she called ‘Morning Pages’. The idea behind this again was to write in longhand ANYTHING. Yeah, there were some clues given, but the most exciting and most useful to me as a writer was the need to completely remove yourself as a person writing the material, from the actual result. It wasn’t easy. Took a lot of time to get it to happen consistently. Many mornings writing for a defined number of minutes. Many mornings missing out. But the whole process was just that. A process.

Writing as a Process

In earlier times when I was working, I was a process manager. What happened in any manufacturing process, was that if you put the correct bits and pieces in, carried out the same routines, each and every time, then a result would occur, that was very consistent. Nothing else to it. No emotion. No connection. Just input, action and output.

What am I saying here? Simple. Begin by sitting somewhere quiet and without any distractions, put pen to paper and write words. Don’t lift the pen or even think too much. It’s like meditation. You need to empty your mind of all thoughts and emotions and just let the moving finger write. You will end up with a result.

Raw

Don’t read it back. Don’t edit. Just put words down on paper and off you go. Next task for the day. Job’s done. This is the most important part.

Stuck

It has even been said that if you get stuck just write, “I am stuck. Do not know what to write.” and keep up that until something shakes out. As you are not reading it and there is no point to the writing, other than the actual act of writing, there is no loss, no foul.

No point to the Writing

You did it. Good on you. After some days, weeks, months of this, you might find you can give it some structure and actually write something like I am doing here. But it just flows. This is NEVER the point so don’t stress. Is there a time when structure should take over? NO. If it does. Cool. If not cool too. The whole point is to just write. Period.

Imaginative Story Writing

I did a bit of imaginative writing today – no gratitude, no journal, no diary – a story of sorts. I started with a sentence about dreams. My intent was to follow-up on a discussion I had been involved in the day before with a lady, from the paranormal arena. It didn’t down go down that path at all. It was a story about coffee and a new detective, and a new relationship and an exploding front door. Dunno why. But the same PROCESS was involved. Just the writing, nothing but the writing.

Reptile Brain

There is a direct link between the thinking conscious brain and the hand or keyboard. You need to break that and take the brain out of the equation. Write from the reptile part of your brain if you like. Straight from your hand to the page.

No connection to any actual thinking. After a while it is easy. Must be done every day, though, so as to keep up the momentum. Only 10 minutes. How hard is that really? Well, it is hard. But keep at it.

Writing today

I started writing this the same way. It is not literature but is over 800 words and most of it makes some kind of sense.

Writing Every Day – Journaling

The Teacher will Appear

The Miracle Morning

The Teacher will Appear

The Teacher Will Appear

When the Student is Ready the Teacher Will Appear – Tao Ti Ching.

Early Writing

For approx 50 years, maybe more, I have wanted to be a writer. When I was at teachers’ college in Dunedin N.Z. and we went on a family holiday to the resort town of Queenstown, for a lot of the time I stayed indoors much to the chagrin of my parents who had saved mightily for this holiday.

It was beautiful outside with the lake sliding off to the right below our holiday home and the magnificent range of mountains across the water, ‘The Remarkables’ changing colour and texture as the sun moved around.

But I was writing. A bit of a children’s story for a college assignment. Can’t remember what it was about, but I knew I was hooked on this writing thing.

Still Thinking

Many times since then I have thought about writing. Have a few chapters of a mystery novel set in Melbourne somewhere. I have the beginnings of a short story featuring a Sherlock Holmes of the like you have never heard. And, a few years ago, I had an article actually published as a chapter in a book edited by Kizzi Nkwocha. All through this time I have written stuff that has been published on websites I have owned, never to be seen again.

The Universe

As in everything, there is a plan to The Universe and a ‘way’ that cannot be subverted.

And our friend Tao Ti Ching above has it in one. My route started with a book called “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. I read this wonderful book and joined his Facebook group.

Making Sense

Suddenly things that had started in High School, Teachers’ College, and then University made sense.

Suddenly all, the self-help gurus I had seen, like Tony Robbins for example, and all the teachers I had met online or through their fantastic books, like Julia Cameron with her ‘The Artists Way’; all their teachings began to fall into place.

Daily Writing

I began to write daily 500 words or more each time and this became consistent. I sometimes even read back the result.

Many Teachings

I had been following many different teachers writing about how to write books, I have about 10 ebooks and at least 4 real books telling me how to do this, but not until I had my eyes opened up by Hal, did things begin to gel. I then read a book by Gundi Gabrielle and found a Facebook group lead by Emee Vida Estacio and that’s when the magic happened.

Follow The Plan

I began. I followed the plan, the process, and I now have a book. I am working on the final edits and I have a cover designed. In a week I will be ready to finalise formatting and organise a launch team – the book tells you how to do all of this and the support from the FB group is outstanding.

Before long I will be ready to press the go button and upload the whole shebang onto the Kindle Publishing site, set the promos running and Bob’s your Uncle.

I am so excited.

Book Sales, not the Reason

And you know the whole point of this was to become the kind of person who could write and publish a book. The actual result of this (the book) is not really important. If it sells, great. If it tanks, great. I will have achieved my goal whatever that particular result is.

Grateful

I am very grateful that the teacher appeared when I was ready to get the message. Took 50 years, but it was still worth it. Trust The Universe. Trust the process.

It can work for you too.

Success Unlimited – Mithra Publishing

Your Success book for Mithra Publishing

Kindle Best Seller Publishing

Loneliness

Loneliness in a small town

Loneliness in A Small Town

Loneliness defined: sadness because one has no friends or company.

Synonyms: isolation, friendlessness, lack of friends/companions, forsakenness, abandonment, rejection.

The other day I read an interview with a woman who was explaining how hard it had been for her to assimilate into life here in regional Victoria, Australia in our town of Mansfield.

Some quotes

“She started a little way out of town and didn’t drive. That was a problem right there. Her husband was in town most days and she was alone for eight hours a day with limited TV and internet, zero garden to speak of, and she read a lot of books and hung out with the poor old cat.”

After moving to town, and unpacking she says, “The stress of the previous months, saying goodbye to our treasured 20-year-old cat who had kept me company, and facing a close-knit, small-town completely overwhelmed me. I felt lonely. Isolated.

Meanwhile, My husband had become involved with the golf club, was heavily involved with the SES and had made about a quizzillion new friends”.

Contribution

She went on to say, “Over the next two years, everything deteriorated. I was lonely, but I didn’t want to join a group or association for the wrong reasons. I only wanted to get involved if I could actually contribute, and wasn’t feeling there was much I could contribute. I was invited to events with my husband’s friends, but didn’t want to go – getting made-up to go out and being sociable seemed too big of a climb. Instead, I’d stay home with a bottle of wine. I had no problem cracking open the wine at 11:00 am. I’d always been a bit of a party girl and remained so long after the days of long work lunches and a couple of nights a week at the pub.”

“Deep down I knew I wasn’t right. I’ve never been a patient person, but I became extremely intolerant. If something frustrated me, I’d pick up whatever was handy and hurl it across the room, right down to a nine-kilo bag of kitty litter once or twice! My poor long-suffering husband”

Professional Help

To cut a long story short she sought professional help and began the long climb out of the alcoholic tunnel and into a new life.

She learned the following: “Things that are my fault, I can change. Things that are not my fault or impossible to change, there’s absolutely no point dwelling on and I have to put them aside. Then I get to work on fixing the things I can.

I tackle my loneliness. Instead of saying no to events with her husband or a night at the pub, I go along. I still don’t have any close friends here, but I’m getting better at meeting people”.

Responsibility / Mindset

It’s all about taking responsibility and changing your mindset.

I noticed her comment early on that she didn’t want to join groups for the wrong reasons. Really? What could be the wrong reason? Oh. OK. She went on and said she didn’t think she had anything to contribute. Mindset again.

We all have something to contribute. New ideas and help are always in demand in community groups.

Couldn't be Bothered

And couldn’t be bothered going out? I’m sorry – but I can’t accept a person saying they are lonely and yet giving up chances to be part of a social occasion. Especially when they are to be accompanied by another trusted person. It is virtually risk-free.

When asked about what she missed in the city she had left behind she cited a bagel shop, and a fish and chip shop. We do have those here but apparently not up to her standard. Again mindset.

I bet she had to VISIT a number of places to find the ones she liked in the city, but expected, it seems, new wondrous delights to just jump out and bite her on the bum.

Big City Illusion

Because of the large number of people, events, shops, bars etc in a big city everything seems so much easier. It is an illusion. YOU must still go out and partake of these things. With an open mind. If not, you will be lonely there too. In fact, research often shows that loneliness is a greater problem in cities – perhaps due to overwhelm.

Be A Joiner

To make your life come alive in a small town, you need to be a joiner. Get out and about. Join any group that will have you. Volunteer to help wherever possible. Councils have whole volunteer departments – meals on wheels and many other opportunities.

Go to pubs and coffee shops, listen to music. Be seen. Soon people will speak to you because you are there. Loneliness is sadness because you have no friends or company. So says the definition with which we started this article. You can’t find friends or company sitting at home behind closed doors.

Learning to drive is a necessity in a country town and a whole lot less stressful and much safer than in a big city. Bite the bullet. Don’t sit on your hands and do nothing and expect anything to change.

Go Out with a book

I began here in town, alone, sitting in a beer garden nursing a single glass of wine, reading a book and soon I found people to talk to.

I started doing things I liked and making them available to people in town. I did things outside my comfort zone. And I have many friends now. Have been invited to birthday parties and other social occasions. I can’t go into the supermarket without being recognised and often stopped to be engaged in a short conversation. It is very nice.

Is this because I’m special? Of course not. It is because I have been SEEN and I have been going stuff in town.

Warm Body

My advice and the point of this article is ‘Get out and about’. Join. Don’t worry about the reason. Mix it up with the other human beings. Perhaps some of them are EXACTLY like you and just need another warm body to talk to.

Nothing Changes By Sitting On Your Hands

 

How To Overcome The Fear Of Change

How to Overcome Fear Of Change

FOC not FOMO, but Fear Of Change. It is a thing, and it even has its own word. Metathesiophobia.

Fear Of Change

Breakfast

We all like routine. Hell, I have the same 3 pieces of grain bread toast every morning. Lashings of ‘unhealthy’ butter, 2 slices with honey and one with vegemite. (Yeah, well I live in Australia – so sue me.)

The need to feel in control – and this is very often what routine is all about - is built into our physical and mental predispositions.

When you are finished changing, you are finished”

Benjamin Franklin.

And it is true. We need to accept that change is a necessary part of life. To not do so can lead to panic or anxiety attacks; it can become a full-blown phobia when it is irrational, persistent and intense.

FEAR

Someone once said to me that FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. You have probably all heard it – it is almost a cliché now, but let’s look at it in a bit more depth.

False Evidence

This usually comes from stories we tell ourselves based on the flimsiest of grounds and in many cases not true, not logical and not even slightly constructive. We fabricate stuff and believe our own stories even when they are obviously not real.

Phones And The Younger Generation

Here’s an example. Those who are afraid that our children will fail to learn socialising skills because they are always on their phones and not talking to each-other. Yeah? You’ve heard that one? What do you think they are doing on their phones? Most of them are not playing games. They are messaging friends, often several at once, occasionally from many different towns, cities or even countries. Isn’t this communicating?

Different

Is it different from the way we used to do it? Yes, of course, but it is a good change? I think so. Wider communication networks, and an instant (not having to wait for weeks to send and receive actual mail) connection. They can even take pictures and share them with friends all over at the tap of a finger on a screen.

Social Media

Yes and what about social media? Is it good or bad? Guess it depends on what you mean by good and bad. We used to SHARE our opinions using letters to the editor columns in magazines and newspapers. Sometimes on talk-back radio. (that in itself was a change from earlier communications not available to us until radio was invented and came into general use). But we don’t talk about that now do we? We just say kids are doing it wrong.

NO. They are not. They are just using NEW technology to do things differently.

Like we did. All those years ago.

Appearing Real

Change is inevitable. Listen to the stories you tell yourself that Appear Real to you because you repeat them so often.

Sisyphus

It is a fact that the brain has great difficulty in differentiating what is real from what is imagined. Seems to be same. And if you tell yourself these false stories often enough you will believe them and then you will resist change, and you become like Sisyphus trying to push the rock up the hill. You will fail and be crushed in the process.

Book

I have a new eBook coming out at the end of September addressing this situation. It will be published on Amazon.

It is called: “How To Overcome The Fear Of Change”. And it will give you some in-depth reasons why we might be suffering from this affliction, and some practical ways to avoid this crippling state of affairs. It even includes a ‘Call To Action’ that everyone can use.

Fear of Change eBook

CHANGE – Cannot be Avoided

Goal Setting And How To Do It

Goal Setting And How To Do ItSetting Goals

I have reached a goal. I have finished the first draft of my book. Apart from telling everyone I can think of about the book, in order to cement the ‘doing’ of it into my psyche, I am working on it as often as I can.

The chapter bit was OK, once I figured out what to write, but right now I am doing my usual trick of finding other things to do (anything at all) to avoid beginning the next stage which is re-reading what I have written and getting it ready for my beta readers to get stuck into.

Perfect

It comes down, as I’ve said before, to knowing what to do next and forgetting the ‘it has to be perfect’ mantra. It’s like coming up to a brick wall of thoughts. You can’t get through and you just bounce around like in a kids jumping castle.

Why am I telling you this? And what does it have to do with the goals thing I started talking about? A lot really.

‘Cause, you see, the book is NOT the goal. It is only a bi-product of achieving the real goal.

Get It Done

It doesn’t matter what happens with the book as long as it is finally published. If one follows the process and the steps on a roadmap or checklist (and there are many of these that Dr Google can serve up to you), the end result of a published book is a foregone conclusion. It is not rocket science. It’s not even hard. What is hard is following all the steps. A bit like the 12 step program for those of us unfortunate to have an alcohol problem. All the steps need to be covered. Not always in any prescribed order, and some we can revisit at any time to enhance the end result.

Why This Particular Goal

The idea in goal setting is to take an overview of why you might want to say, write a book, learn a new skill or language, change a habit, get a new job – anything really.

Then devise, or have someone else devise, a specialised 12 step program just for you, just for this particular task or goal. Promise your self and the world at large, if this is appropriate, that you WILL follow this plan, and you will achieve this goal. This result. This outcome.

The Goal Is Not The Goal

Then realize that the goal is NOT the goal. The real goal is to change yourself. To become a different person, someone who deserves this new ‘thing’ that is what you think of as the goal. To become the kind of person who can achieve this consequence from the 12 action steps, for example.

In my case, I need to be the kind of person who CAN write and publish a book. Even if the book is rubbish. Doesn’t matter as it was only a vehicle. It was not the end game and never was.

Many Fall By The Wayside

To digress for a moment – this is where many of us fall by the wayside because we don’t believe we DESERVE the end result for which we are aiming and therefore we do not make it.

But if you follow the steps you will write that book. And at the end of this process, you will have become someone who does deserve it (whatever it might be for you).

Remove Yourself From The Outcome

Now you also have to remove your self from the result. Separate your mind and body from the OUTCOME. Then and only then will you be able to accept that the book or your grasp of Arabic or Chinese does not have to be perfect. It just has to be DONE.

Only then will you be able to move beyond the person you were when you started down this path, and allow yourself to meet the person who you have become. Gidday!

Become The Kind Of Person Who Can

What I mean here is your goal will be to become the kind of person who can follow 12 steps and get to the end. To a book; or a new whatever as we said above. Your goal is personal development, the outcome is a serendipitous result of following the prescribed steps in the program. And getting to the end of it.

You see if you become that person, a second book, skill, language etc becomes easy. You can do it almost on auto-pilot.

Goal: Millionaire

If someone had a goal to become a millionaire and suddenly won the money in a lottery, you know from the newspapers, that few of them keep this money in the long-run. They are NOT millionaires, so that, while the having of that amount of money was a goal for them it was, we now understand, an outcome, a result without the personal development behind it. So they lost it. I know people that this has happened to. Sad but a fact of life.

The Goal Is Not The Goal

Let’s say it again. The goal is NOT the goal. The real goal is to change yourself.

Goals, Change and Process Improvement

Rollercoaster

Rollercoaster

I dunno about you, but my life goes through a lot of ups and downs.

Ups & Downs

RollerCoaster

You know what I mean? You are moving through life in a somewhat leisurely and orderly fashion, and as you come to a pivotal moment - it all slows down, just like a rollercoaster car at the top of a rise before it tetters and then roars off into - possible oblivion. Well, that’s what it seems like at the top. Speed increases, you can’t see the bottom. You don’t know what’s going to happen and your breathing catches, your heart races and – it all just seems so out of control. As you bottom out you think of the quote often attributed variously to Mark Twain and/or and Winston Churchill: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

You reach the bottom and off you go again. No worse for wear, oh well except for one YouTube video I saw of a young lady whose top came off in the wind generated by some extended free falling. And underwear – also missing in action. Oh dear.

But, and here is where I find myself (no! Not with clothes blowing off) in a situation.

Procrastination

Many plans I have in my head, those of several steps anyway, begin after a reasonable amount of procrastination so I don’t seem too eager and a large amount of research so I can honestly say, “I’m not ready.” and then as they reach toward the end of the first step I slow down, perhaps not wanting to actually reach the top because I am not sure how to do the next step. This means that the plunge will really be out of control. So I resist. And I slow down. A kind of procrastination.

Just Before The Top

And I often stop just at, or sometimes just before, the top. Hopefully at the point where the roller coaster car is released from the lifting thingamy and is about to be launched under its own steam down the other side. Hopefully just after that release.

It’s like when you take a big long breath, you pause for a tiny second, usually, before releasing the breath and exhaling. Yeah, you just did it didn’t you? Feel the second or two pause at the top?

My life is like that. I rise up - pause and hopefully go down the other side in a controlled manner.

Step One

How it works is, I know what I am doing, after a fashion, as I embark on step one. But as I approach step 2, I slow down. Don’t wanna get to the top, ‘cause I am not really sure I know what needs to be done in the next step. The going down the other side under control bit.

I am frightened. I am uncertain, feeling vulnerable and I just DON’T want to get to the top. Not yet.

Fear Of The Unknown

That means I have to KNOW what the next step is going to entail. Not knowing is the big thing. Fear of the unknown. I am sure we all suffer from this.

Am I fully aware of what I need to do next? What if it’s not perfect? What if … ? What if ….. ?

The pity of it is, it’s not always that important. If you started with a small amount of forward planning, you must have some idea of where you

are headed and what each step entails, and SOME research must have been done. So it’s not quite like going over the top of a rollercoaster holding on to your top and hoping it doesn’t blow off. Not at all.

Won’t Be Perfect

It, in my case at least, is that ever-present concern that it won’t be perfect.

I know it never will be. And that being authentic is all I could wish for, but I still worry as I come to the end of each step in a process, that I do not know enough to make it happen. To make it perfect. So I slow down.

And yes quite a few times I have come crashing back down, backwards, totally out of control and losing everything I had worked so hard for.

Bugger.

Break The Rollercoaster Cycle

Anyone else do the same? Come with me and together we may be able to get off this rollercoaster and make things happen.

 

 

Quick to Blame

Quick to Blame

Recently I have noticed, particularly in electronic conversations, (email and text) the tendency to correct others and lay blame.

Blame

I have had this criticism levelled at me a couple of times during the last year or so, “You always make out that you are right and others are wrong. You correct people all the time when you talk to them. This is extremely annoying.” for example.

Focus

I have become very aware, following these comments, of how I react in conversations and have been attempting to catch myself, preferably before making the comment, in the hope that this will make my speech less confrontational.

That being the case, and following on from the rule of ‘focus’ in life, (think of a red car – immediately begin to see hundreds of red cars) I have become hyper-aware of this tendency, in emails particularly.

Recently

A recent example. A request for volunteers for an event. One response said yep I’ll be there but this decision is made without any idea of when and what days I will be required.

Now all that required info was in the email, albeit a bit of a way down as this response was the end of a few answers. But the info WAS there. IN THE ACTUAL EMAIL THAT WAS BEING ANSWERED.

The responder had not read the whole communication, yet took it upon themselves to criticise the originator of the request and blame them for leaving out vital information.

Why?

Why do we do this? And I obviously include myself in this question, as evidenced by the above, I am as guilty as anyone.

But are there two possible ways of looking at this?

I was a teacher for some years in the earlier part of my working life and correcting kids when I thought I was right, has always been a part of my life. Do I now see everyone as kids that need my teaching to make them see the error of their ways?

Accuracy

I am a bit of a stickler for getting things right. Of course, ‘right’ is extremely subjective and I may often not be correct. My corrections can be, in fact, not corrections at all, but an extension of the original error.

I don’t feel I am doing this with an air of superiority, just a feeling that accuracy is important. Again, I say ‘accuracy’ according to me.

Superior

Secondly, it may very well be a feeling that if I can put you down, and tell you that you are wrong, this will elevate me to a higher status and prove to me, you, and anyone else listening, that I am, in fact, superior.

A need for ego-stroking or a need for correctness. Or are they both the same in a subtle kind of way?

Judgment

Or is there another element here? One of judgment? Hard to tell.

Call to Action

But my call out to all of you reading this, and to me of course, – before you criticise somebody, and blame them for something, make sure you have all the information, and make sure that your criticism is fair. How do you know if it is fair?

TLC

Easy. Follow the PAME code (Emee Vida Estacio) and use a little bit of TLC. Is your criticism TRUE? Is it LOGICAL? Finally, is it CONSTRUCTIVE? If your comment fails any one of these criteria, then suck it back in and say nothing at all. Better for everyone.

And remember when you point one finger at someone else, there are three pointing back to you.

Change Your Life for Good PAME Code

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.

5 Key Take-Aways 7 Favourite Self-Help / Personal-Development Books

Fiverr

Fiverr

Fiverr

G'day.

Interesting. I just said the word Fiverr when I started this article which I read into Evernote; and Evernote knew to put the extra ‘r’. More about that in a moment.

Affiliate

Today I joined Fiverr as an affiliate. Now I don't know if this affiliate business is a new thing or not. Fiverr has been around since 2010, it provides an eBay like platform for entrepreneurs and/or freelancers to offer their services to customers worldwide.

Gig

You think you can do something? Provide a service? Then create a profile and upload a ‘gig’. (that's what they are called), onto the platform and someone may buy what you are offering. All gigs must charge $5 US or more. Hence the name Fiverr. The extra ‘r’, I'm told, is because, as you might expect, when they tried to use the name Fiver it was already taken. Much hipperr and coolerr anyway.

You can offer a service, or buy a service just like eBay. Of course Fiverr takes a small-ish commission (currently 20%) from every sale. Many people love it. “Hey, I got this cute tune I play on my guitar, can anyone think of some lyrics that might go with it?” Fantastic.
Or the reverse.
“I have this song, these lyrics, can someone write me a melody?” Or someone might be good at generating graphics or short (even long) writing pieces for advertising copy or blog posts. Stick em up on Fiverr and away we go.

Platform

It seems with the huge number of services listed (more than 5 million) it would be hard to make a quid - too much competition, but there are many people earning a full-time living using Fiverr and nothing else. Of course there are many complain that it doesn't work. Actually it doesn't. You have to work. Fiverr is just a platform.

I read about a guy who claimed he couldn't steal enough time from as full-time job to service his fibre clients properly. So he gave it up. (Fiverr that is not his job) and he complained that he couldn't make enough money from Fiverr. Fiverr’s fault of course.

On-Line Service

It's another one of these online services which have mushroomed over the last 10 or so years Uber Airbnb etc.

Clever idea. I seem to think I was a member a while back. Didn't know that you could join as an affiliate. What that means is that you (meaning me for the purposes of this article), promote the Fiverr platform on a webpage (this blog post), social media and anywhere else we can think of.

Awareness

This means making people aware of the platform - it's not a secret but, as with many things like this, it has a specialised audience.

These people may sign up as a buyer, or seller and perhaps even, if you are lucky, they buy a service you get a kick-back for this. Cool baby!

Fear of Change eBook

Time, I Don’t Have Enough

Time, I Don’t Have Enough.

Every time this excuse is given when a person is asked to do something – EVERY time, it is an excuse. It is worse – it is a lie.

I Don't Have TimeWe all have all the time in the world, as the saying goes, as many hours in any day as the richest busiest politician, or multibillionaire business person.

Recently I was told this lie by a person I know to be busy – on call 24 hours per day, a person I respect greatly. But not enough time? I was asking a favour that would have taken a total of 12 – 15 hours total, spread over a period of 2 weeks, and about almost 21/2 months in the future.

This was obviously something this person did not want to do. Either the task itself or for me? It is really irrelevant. Why did they just say, “Nope. Sorry. No can do.”

It would have been true and a straightforward answer.

We tell what my mum would have called ‘white lies’ these untruths, many times each day of our lives. Most of us, anyway.

It made me think.

Why do we put ourselves through these guilt trips? Are we of the opinion that it makes the let down easier, “Oh yeah, I know. They are very busy. It was a shot in the dark anyway.”

Hardly. Most, if not all the time the listener knows it not to be true. Sometimes, as in my case, the time commitment is very small and not actually limited to specific days. Well, most of it anyway. So ‘too busy’ doesn’t make sense. ‘I don’t really want to do it.’ does though.

In the end, the asker still has to find another volunteer. Nothing changes. So letting a person down easy as an excuse is not valid. A let down is let down. The asker can rant about it, moan and groan, react angrily and all of that, but at the end of all that negative reaction, the asker still has to find a new person to ask. So it hasn’t helped.

A thought, perhaps, if there was a reason why this person did not WANT to do the task, then a kind word explaining why the required task could not be done might be very useful. I can’t do it because what you are asking conflicts with my values, or I do not have the required skills to climb that particular mountain. (If that were, in fact, true) Or, perhaps, “I’m afraid, I don’t really want to work with you on this or any task for [insert a VALID reason here.]”

This way the asker can request said assistance from another with a greater chance of success, knowing a couple of reasons why one person said no.

We prioritise our time, for sure, but we can ALWAYS find time to chat on the phone, have a beer/smoke, or update social media, or be involved in work or other meetings. But we can MAKE time for something we want to do.

Think about your life over the last few days – week or so. I bet there have been a number of ‘white lies’ of this nature in your recent past.

Perhaps you have not really figured out WHY you do not want to do something, but there will be a really good and valid reason which relates to anything other than TIME.

Time is the age-old EXCUSE. You do have time, you just do not wish to do what you have been asked to do.

Think about it and be honest. Say, “Nope. Not this time, mate.”

And don’t offer the, “Perhaps another time.” comment. It will never happen. It is not, almost always, a matter of time anyway.

That is to say, as long as you are physically available/able to do the task and not for example away on an unalterable trip. Even then if the task is compelling enough, you will make time.

Be straight up-front and tell it like it is.

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

Fear Mongering

Fear Mongering

Fear mongering in particular on social media with a side serving of the news.Fear Mongering

Agenda

I think the main problem is figuring out what the agenda is for those were stirring up the fear. For politicians, it’s easy to understand. Fear will help them get elected and then they will have power and money. Powerful incentives to generate fear amongst the voters. “I will help you and ALL the others will make your life a misery.” Well, we don’t want misery, so we vote out of fear.

Not Politicians

But what about others? In an example I saw just the other day - What did the authors get out of writing about how we are being lied to, their words, by those in charge of our food production? And how these five (read any number here) foods are bad for us? What is in it for them I wonder? I am addicted to NOT being in fear, so I didn’t read any further. But later I wished I had because I wondered if there was a reason I wasn’t been aware of, from the heading, for this kind of story. What was their expected result? Was there any expectation or was this just fear-mongering for its own sake?

I guess a cynic would not believe what is being written without some kind of background info check but the ‘great-unwashed’ (you and me generally) well, we often just believe what is being spouted and fear raises its ugly head.

Fear is Fear inducing

It's fear of fear as Timothy Ferriss implies in his book “The 4 Hour Work Week”.

Ferriss, Timothy. (2011). The 4 Hour Work Week. London: Ebury Digital

We become afraid of fear itself even if we have no particular argument with the topic. Of course, you would have had to read the whole article, but I for one have better things to do with the 20 mins it takes to read. I mean if I don't eat the foods they are bashing why am I frightened? Not sure. But I am.

Doubt

Fear of fear again, I guess. The result is that we begin to doubt stuff in our lives, all kind of stuff. A bit like spooks around every corner and the Reds under the bed scare of the Cold War era and beyond.

Once we succumb to this fear of fear itself, positivity and our gratefulness for our lives are eroded and we are left in a sea of doubt, uncertainty, vulnerability and fear. No proof is needed. We are afraid.

That is really quite sad. Particularly if there is nothing to back up the stories.

Selling

Is the author selling us something? Other than his own insecurities? And his own unfounded fear? If you don’t question the likely truth, the background to the opinion, the credentials of the author, then you are letting yourself be sucked into the morass of fear.

I challenge each and every one of you. Next time you read an extremely negative story on Social Media or the TV or in a newspaper (online or onpaper) ask yourself the following questions:

TLC *

True – Is what you are reading true? I mean is there some proof? What are the FACTS behind the opinion piece? What are the credentials of the person making the claims? How can we verify the so-called facts? Are they really only trying to sell you something and not letting the truth stand in the way of a good story?

Once we have answered these questions we will quite possibly have to discount the article right there, If it's not true or can’t be verified. Then forget it.

LogicalDoes the whole thing make sense? Is it logical or perhaps just some sales pitch or wishful thinking. Do the arguments follow on from each other? Or is it only a disjointed series of pseudo-facts dressed up to look and sound good?

If our answers to these questions throw the logic of the comments into question, even if the ideas seem to be true as discussed above, then the article might not be worthy of any more of your valuable time.

Constructivefinally. Is the information constructive? By that I mean is it looking for the positives or focussing on mainly negatives? Nothing is wholly wrong. Right and wrong are two sides of the same coin. There are usually as many positive aspects of any situation than there are negative. If any article is not offering a way forward but is only tearing down an institution or person, or situation, idea or belief – even though it might be true (verified) and makes sense – it is again not worth time invested in it.

Think

Most information we consume does not follow the TLC regime. If something we are reading or being told fails ANY ONE of these tests, it is more than likely fear-mongering.

We really ought to keep these questions/answers in mind when we share, like or repeat the stuff we read, watch, or are told. We might be perpetuating fear instead of imparting useful information.

*The TLC acronym comes from a book I read and loved a short while ago.

Estacio, Emee Vida. (2018). Imposter Syndrome Remedy: How to improve your self-worth, feel confident about yourself, and stop feeling like a fraud! (Psychology in your life Book 2). California, USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

The Imposter Syndrome Remedy

Fear of Change eBook

Writing Every Day – Journaling

Writing Every Day – Journaling

JournallingI find I don't think about my daily writing task all that much. I just start writing and it kinda flows. I don't have an agenda, although I sometimes, like today, reflect on a conversation I had a few days ago and wonder what I did/said that was capable of improvement. What that improvement might look like, and what I am going to do going forward to address the situation.

Sometimes I just talk to myself - often a bit like a teenage girl’s angst-ridden diary sorta thing (pretty cool from a 70-year-old gent). Often I do grateful stuff. Things I am grateful about today. You know, simple things like the sun is out. Often a bit deeper, like I am glad I am alive and can actually see that the sun is out.

Structure

There isn’t much structure about what I write. Sometimes it is rambling, sometimes an article I have been wanting to write, often a reflection on my day or days and occasionally even a kind of a loose planning session in my head for the days or weeks to come.

Every now and then I decide to write something directly from my imagination – a piece of pure fiction if you will. In this case, I make up, remember or am reminded of during my morning meditation, a word or phrase, and this becomes the beginning of the opening sequence of a story in the making.

An example might be, “I wonder what it would be like if the sky really did fall on chicken-licken?” Then off you go. Stream of consciousness.

The Artist's Way

“The Artist's Way” method I have read and often spoken about works. This is from the book by Julia Cameron and is a masterclass in discovering how to unlock your latent creativity in many areas not only writing, and how to make your dreams a reality.

Julia Cameron leads you through a program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity. It links creativity with spirituality.

Practice

It was quite some time ago that I figured if I was going to be a writer then I needed to practise the craft.

You see, you need to exercise this writing muscle of yours and it needs to be a daily occurrence. I work on doing it at approximately the same time each day, but as long as it has become a habit you will feel really bad unless you do it. And habits don’t really take that long to develop.

I always do it in longhand in a foolscap book, and once the pen hits the page it doesn’t leave until the time is finished. Oh, didn’t I say? I allocate 10 mins every day to this task.

No Overthinking

I never overthink this writing task. Nor do I read what I have written back. When that happens it shits itself and I can't continue. When the 10 mins I allocate to this each day is up. I stop. Just like that.

Published Author

What Did You Learn Today?

Downsizing Minimalist Approach

Downsizing – The Minimalist Approach

Recently, I have stopped (or am in the process of stopping) a lot of the things I have been doing around town. Not because I don’t enjoy them, but because with so much happening I was beginning to let people down. And this was a huge let-down for me.

DownsizingYou see, I LOVE to do stuff for people, but if I forget or run out of time or change my priorities, then things drop through the cracks.

It is VERY important to me to keep to my word. If I say I am going to do something then I WANT to do it, and I want to do it sooner rather than later, to over-deliver if you will.

Too Much

When I arrived here in paradise I took on anything and everything I could to get me out in the community and mixing with people. I loved it. Still do. But there comes a time in everyone’s life, I expect, when you have to take a hard look at things and decide what activities and which people are giving you the most enjoyment and excitement even. Then you focus on this part of life.

Stop Doing So Much

Keeping Promises

Sometimes this means taking a minimalist approach and downsizing.

I am better able to keep my promises (and we all I am sure promise much more than we can ever do in several lifetimes) if there are fewer of them stacked up.

My list of things to do is often overwhelming and never reduces to any manageable number. So it becomes necessary to chop. And chopping I have been.

New Challenges

It is sad to see some things go, but change is inevitable and we all have new challenges we want/need to follow. If we add them onto our already full schedules, something has to give. And the result of this is failing to meet the expectations you have put upon yourself and the rise in guilt and self-recrimination when deadlines and appointments are missed and people are let down.

Look After Yourself First

It is NOT selfish to sort out your life and your activities. Remember the airline: put your mask on first. If you are not in control of your own life you cannot offer any part of yourself to others, and this is certainly my aim in life. What’s yours?

Finding Yourself