3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that doesn’t completely hate itself…

Following a 3-2-1 approach, it contains 3 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 2 quotes from others (that you should read), and 1 thing I’ve been reading, watching or listening to this week that has helped me grow.

As a bonus I’ve finished with 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good.

Let’s begin!

(As a way to give credit and to say thank you, I’ve linked back to any posts that have inspired my thoughts. I’ve linked back to any quotes I’ve found as well.)


3 x Thoughts:

1) One needs to accept life as it stands today. Radically. In all of its fucked-up glory. And then act in whatever capacity one can to better his or her circumstances. But even that shouldn’t come at the expense of appreciating what one currently has. As a rule for life, I suggest you practice gratitude long before you start hoping in the morning.

2) Maybe we should imagine losing our loved ones in a car accident tomorrow? Maybe we should take the time to imagine losing everything we hold dear? Maybe imagining the worst is exactly what brings what’s right in front of us, sharply into focus? Maybe meditating on our mortality, our own inevitable demise is exactly what gives us freedom in the present? Maybe it’s doing this which reminds us how good we actually have it right now? Maybe we will find more joy in everyday life by embracing these difficult emotions rather than chasing after a bigger pay check or slimmer waistline? What do you think?

3) The next time you get angry at your racist grandfather – or any elderly person who appears to be stuck in his or her ways – consider the possibility that their contempt has less to do with what they believe than it does their inability to come to terms with their own mortality. This knowledge might just give you the strength to return love for hate.


2 x Quotes:

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

Mark Twain

Even if you’re going to live three thousand more years, or ten times that, remember: you cannot lose another life than the one you’re living now, or live another one than the one you’re losing. The longest amounts to the same as the shortest. The present is the same for everyone; its loss is the same for everyone; and it should be clear that a brief instant is all that is lost. For you can’t lose either the past or the future; how could you lose what you don’t have?”

— Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)

1 x Thing:

1) This Psychology Today article: Why We Fear Death and How to Overcome It. As the title suggest this article explores some surprising reasons behind why it is some of us fear death (and why others don’t). It also outlines 4 ways (listed below) to overcome your own fear of mortality.

  1. Help to nurture and raise younger generations: “The term “generativity” refers to a concern for younger people and a desire to nurture and guide them. When older people have a greater sense of generativity, they tend to also look back on their life without regret or anguish. This, understandably, leads to having less fear of death.”
  2. Talk about it: It turns out that avoidance (surprise surprise) causes it to loom larger in our minds. Like all fears its best to bring them into the light. Don’t avoid the topic – talk about. Imagine it. Prepare for its inevitably.
  3. Have a (simulated) out of body or near death experience: Perhaps seeking out a near death experience isn’t the greatest advice but trying to have an out of body experience (via deep meditation for example) can yield similar results. The idea is that it gives us the sense that we live on even when separated from out bodies.
  4. Cultivate greater meaning in your life: Studies show that those who feel they are living a meaningful life are less afraid of death. I suggest you start by defining your values and then looking to see how you can better build your life around them.

1 x Joke:

Struggling for a good joke this week so thought I’d leave you with another far side comic. Hope you enjoy!


Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please let us know below.

One bonus question to ponder:

Is it death that you fear, or not having lived in the first place?


PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

Mindset Mondays – 15/02/21

3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with his wife…

Following a 3-2-1 approach, it contains 3 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 2 quotes from others (that you should read), and 1 thing I’ve been reading, watching or listening to this week that has helped me grow.

As a bonus I’ve finished with 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good.

Let’s begin!

(As a way to give credit and to say thank you, I’ve linked back to any posts that have inspired my thoughts. I’ve linked back to any quotes I’ve found as well.)


3 x Thoughts:

1) You know “the one” that everybody keeps searching for? I’m sorry to break it to you, doesn’t exist. Disney fucked us with their love stories that end “happily ever after.” While we’re at it, you don’t simply fall in love and then life is complete. This is a fantasy of the highest order. Relationships require a huge amount of sacrifice. They require constant nurturing. They require honest and open communication. It’s a process that never ends. One that requires so much more than love alone. If your expectation going into a new relationship is that the other person will “complete you,” you are setting yourself up for bitter disappointment. Your expectations are out of whack. I would add that if you feel you need someone else, that you spend your time learning to love yourself before you start searching for your knight in shining armour. That way you won’t need them to be your knight in shining armour. That way you’ll have realistic expectations going into your next relationship and the strength to deal with it should it fall apart.

2) Is it better to have loved and lost or never loved at all? I think better than both of those is to have loved and lost and then found love again. That way you’ve grown – you’ve learnt what heartbreak is and that you can withstand it. Furthermore you’ve learnt what your new love requires – constant nurturing. If pushed to choose however, I would take loved and lost. Ignorance might be bliss but to have loved and lost and survived is what makes you stronger. That’s more important. If you’re suffering from heartbreak keep that in mind. The other side of your suffering is a stronger person. 

3) Comparing ourselves with others is the first step to giving up. There will always be someone more talented, more accomplished, more proficient… It’s good to look at how you can improve and of course it’s helpful to look at how the most successful are doing things. But we should be careful not to compare. Why? Because when you compare yourself to others you reject who you are. I suggest you think in terms of drawing inspiration instead. And then simply concentrate on becoming a little better than the person you were yesterday. In fact, only compare yourself with the person you were yesterday. That’s enough. (Inspired by: https://mentalhealthathome.org/2021/01/10/impressed-other-bloggers/)


2 x Quotes:

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

― Martin Luther King Jr

If we can forgive what’s been done to us… If we can forgive what we’ve done to others… If we can leave our stories behind. Our being victims and villains. Only then can we maybe rescue the world.”

— Chuck Palahniuk

1 x Thing:

1) This Mark Manson article: Love Is Not Enough. This article challenges the belief that “love is all you need.” To quote, “When we believe that “love is not enough,” then we understand that healthy relationships require more than pure emotion or lofty passions. We understand that there are things more important in our lives and our relationships than simply being in love. And the success of our relationships hinges on these deeper and more important values.” Well worth the 10 minute read! A few of my favourite quotes below.

The only way you can fully enjoy the love in your life is to choose to make something else more important in your life than love.

Love is a wonderful experience. It’s one of the greatest experiences life has to offer. And it is something everyone should aspire to feel and enjoy. But like any other experience, it can be healthy or unhealthy. Like any other experience, it cannot be allowed to define us, our identities or our life purpose. We cannot let it consume us. We cannot sacrifice our identities and self-worth to it. Because the moment we do that, we lose love and we lose ourselves.


1 x Joke:

Struggling for a good joke this week so thought I’d leave you with another far side comic. Hope you enjoy!


Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week! I sincerely hope you all had a romantic weekend with your loved ones. As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please let us know below.

One bonus question to finish:

What would you say to your partner if it was your last day on earth? (Now go ahead and say it.)


PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

Mindset Mondays – 08/02/21

The Top 5 Greatest Blogging Tips Of All Time Ever (+ 500 Followers)

Well, ladies and gentleman, here we are! Another massive milestone conquered. Another prestigious accolade to place in the blogging trophy cabinet. (As if it can fit any more, am I right?)

That’s 500 whole individual follower people! Or 499 strangers plus my mum! Hi mum! (She’s so proud of me.)

What can I say? 

Humbled as I am that so many of you have shown such an interest in my extremely insightful world views and brilliant self help advice, the truth is I’m not in the slightest bit surprised. 

Is there a better blog in the entire blogosphere? I don’t think so. To quote my mum, “This is perhaps the greatest blog there has ever been. It’s the envy of the blogging world.” She should know, of course, she’s only read mine. I mean, why would she need to read anyone else’s?

Anyway the last thing I want to do is make you dear readers feel inadequate. As understandable as that is. It’s important to remember that my greatness serves to lift all others up in its wake. We’re all better because of me. (Except for the radical left, of course – they’ve been lost to Satan.)

So, as part of my campaign to “Make Blogging Great Again” – and to say thank you for helping me reach such unimaginable heights in the blogosphere – I thought I’d relay you with my top 5 greatest lessons that I’ve learnt over the past year or so since I began this journey. 5 Lessons that have lifted me to blogging greatness. To help you do the same.

You’re welcome.

#1 Act Like The Numbers Don’t Matter

Everyone will tell you that the numbers don’t matter. That if your words reach just one person, if they touch just one heart, if they move but one soul, then it’s worth it. 

Touching as this message is let me assure you, dear readers, nobody actually believes that. Everyone is obsessively checking their WordPress analytics just like you. In fact, as soon as somebody has posted such a message, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Waiting for their dopamine hit as soon as that little red dot appears in the top right hand corner of their WordPress toolbar. 

“Yay somebody likes me.”

They want the numbers, just like they want the cash. Just like you and I want the cash. More is most definitely better. That’s just a fact of life. 

Now let me ask you something. Who are writing for anyway? Most people say it’s because they want to help other people. But that’s not true. People write for themselves. Just like you. For the ego boost. So you can feel good for 5 seconds before crippling self doubt takes over again. That’s why numbers are important. They’re a direct refelction of your self worth. And if you think I only have 500 followers, that’s a lie. The fake media are telling you that. They are telling me that. The truth is I have 500 million followers. 

But here’s the trick because the numbers do lie, because they’re telling you you’re worth less than you actually are – that you’re not as good as you truly are – it’s best to tell yourself that they don’t matter (even though they do). To write what you believe in. To not give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks. The fake media are going to tell you that your shit stinks anyway (when of course it smells like nothing but roses.)

You write for you. You write the things you believe in to the best of your ability. You write with a passion and a purpose – from the fire that exists in your belly. Speak your truth. Don’t let the fake media win. And if after 5 years you only have 5 followers, then I suggest you quit your day job and try harder. Never give up. (I think that was almost good advice!)

Anyway dear readers I guess what you really want to know is how you to get more readers (seen as the numbers matter)?

#2 Make Meaningful Connections

Unfortunately you have to talk to other people. Annoying I know. The whole reason I hide behind a keyboard is so that I don’t have to do that. Still, if you want people to love you and know how extraordinarily great you truly are (and you do), that means connecting with fellow bloggers who tend to think they are far better than they really are (which of course isn’t true for me).

Let me tell you about the first time I posted on this blog. The amount of effort I put into that post. The amount of editing that went into it. The thought and preparation. I think I spent nearly 10 minutes on it! Anyway, as soon as I hit publish I waited with bated breathe for the world to acknowledge my greatness. To tell me how extraordinary I truly am. 

Of course no-one read it. No-one liked it. No-one even knew it existed. It was instantly swallowed up. Forever lost in the darkest deepest depths of the blogging ocean. Let me be the first to say it. 

What. A. Fucking. Dope.

Of course you have to engage with other people! Not only on your own blog, but theirs too. Engaging with like minded people on social media isn’t a bad idea either. This is how others know you exist.

The good news is it turns out most people are actually quite nice (except for those who voted for Biden). Even if they don’t like your blog, if you’ve shown an interest in theirs they will usually reciprocate with a comment. They might even be surprised. They might even concede that your blog is the best blog since sliced bread. Or at least they might quite like it. I’ve actually found a few that I don’t mind myself! Not as good as mine but of course we all know that’s an unfair comparison.

Anyway engage with fellow bloggers (especially me).

#3 Take What Everyone Has To Say With A Pinch Of Salt (Including Yourself)

This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I will give you today. Take what everyone else has to say with a huge pinch of salt. Better yet, don’t trust what anyone else has to say about anything. The chances are they are all part of a radical left wing conspiracy. 

The absolute truth is there is only one person’s opinion that you can trust. That’s mine. Even when you write, don’t trust what you have to say. Instead come to my blog and believe what I have to say first.

If it helps you can consider this blog your place of worship. Think of me as your blogging God. I guarantee you there isn’t another blog out there that’s worth their salt anyway (like what I did there). Of course that last sentence requires no added salt (except for the word salt).

Salt.

One more thing. Add salt to your own writing as well. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Be willing to laugh at yourself and your mistakes (you will make them). Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Speak your mind. Speak your truth. Be courageous. Write dangerously. Don’t worry what other people might think. Enjoy yourself. Love the process. (Have I said this already? Whatever.)

I promise if you do, it will set you free.

#4 Learn About SEO (It’s Not What You Think)

Sex Engine Optimisation! That’s right ladies and gentleman. It’s an optimised search engine that helps you find your favourite kind of pornography. Oh no wait! That’s what I thought it meant I when I first heard of it. Then I found out it actually means Search Engine Optimisation. Of course this bored me so much I decided to look for porn on google instead. (Your true SEO)

Still if you want those all important numbers, SEO is quite a useful thing to know about. At least that’s what I’m told – every post I’ve read on the subject has made me so bored I decided to look for porn on google instead. Oh wait, I just said that joke.

Anyway let me tell you what the two easiest ways to increase your blogging viewership are. The first is to run a porn blog. (In which case you don’t need to worry about SEO, you’ll get millions of views anyway.)

The second is to run a blog about blogging. Seriously bloggers love reading about how to be better bloggers. It’s astonishing really. The stats you get for the kinds of blog posts that tell you everything you already know. Like clear-air-turbulence.com is the greatest blog known to mankind. As if my 500 million viewers didn’t know that already right?

Of course if you don’t happen to run either of those kinds of blogs then SEO really is your friend (I think). Anyway look it up because I’ve never been bothered to write about it myself. SEO that is, not porn. Unless you get bored, then feel free to look up that as well.

Moving on.

#5 Remember Your Blog Is Nothing Without Mine (And Vice Versa)

Ladies and gentleman I’m going to circle back to the first point I made. The numbers matter. And to be serious for a second. The numbers matter, not because you have 5 followers or 500 million, but because behind each number is a person. Crazy I know. A living being. You. Me.

The truth is my blog is nothing without all of yours. Without this community. All of whom are working hard to lift each other up. It really is an amazing thing to be a part of. And I am extremely grateful to each and every one of you. You’ve made the past year immeasurably brighter for me than it otherwise would have been. 

Now hear me out while I give you some genuine advice. 

One thing thats worth keeping in mind is that your blog isn’t just one blog. It’s part of hundreds of millions of interconnected blogs. Just like you’re one of several billion other people. The truth is you’re a tiny leave on an almighty fucking tree. And you always will be. As will I.

So stay humble. Listen to what other people have to say. Take the time to read other people’s words. It means so much to them. Of course it does. They’ve poured their hearts and souls into their blogs. They’ve made that time for you. To try and help you. To help all of us. That is something to be truly thankful for.

I promise if you do just that, you will gain so much from blogging. The truth is everyone is your teacher. Everyone knows something you don’t. So pay attention. Not only will this make you a better writer and a better blogger, it will make you a better person. And that is infinitely more important then how successful your blog may or may not become.


Thanks for reading everyone. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much I did writing. As always, ALL comments and opinions are most welcome. With love, AP2 X

Tuesday’s Top Tip

You know how we’re always doing one thing but thinking about something else?

Like ALWAYS.

You know how this is an example of mindlessness not mindfulness?

Well I have a little hack for you today.

And it’s going to sound silly but I swear it works. 

Here it is:

When you’re doing something articulate it.

You don’t have to say it out loud of course (unless you want other people to think you’re lunatic) – in your head is fine – but be clear about what it is you’re doing in any giving moment.

For example, I am sitting down to read. I am walking to the shop. I am drinking water. I am eating lunch. I am sitting on the toilet. I am writing. I am exercising. I am brushing my teeth. I am scrolling on Facebook. 

You get the point.

The beauty is, not only will this make you more mindful, it makes you more aware.

I am having another beer. I am having another chocolate. I am throwing away another piece of plastic.

The idea is not to stop you from indulging in negative habits but to simply make you more aware of them. This, in turn, makes you aware of what you should be doing. That’s often enough to steer you in a slightly better direction.

So that’s it.

Todays top tip is to simply say what you’re doing as you’re doing it.

It’s an awesome mindfulness hack.

You’re welcome.

Previous Top Tip

3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that minces its words while eating…

Following a 3-2-1 approach (this week), it contains 3 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 2 quotes from others (that you should read), and 1 things I’ve been reading, watching or listening to this week that has helped me grow.

As a bonus I’ve finished with 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good.

Let’s begin!

(As a way to give credit and to say thank you, I’ve linked back to any posts that have inspired my thoughts. I’ve linked back to any quotes I’ve found as well.)


3 x Thoughts:

1) When you compare yourself to others you reject who you are.

2) Kindness is not avoiding conflict at all costs. Kindness is not telling white lies so you that never have to hurt someone else’s feeling. That’s not kindness, that’s cowardice

3) When you hold the door open for someone you shouldn’t do it expecting a thank you in return. Holding the door for someone so that you receive thanks is not a selfless act. It’s selfish. You’ve just made it about validation. So you can feel like a good person. That’s the wrong reason to the hold the door open for someone. You should hold the door for someone because you believe in kindness. Because you believe in upholding those standards for no other reason than you believe it’s right thing to do. When you expect thanks in return – when you place expectations on other people (strangers in particular) – you set yourself up to feel resentful if they don’t. Worse, you end up believing you’re better than they are. This is dangerous. True acts of kindness don’t come with expectations for something in return.


2 x Quotes:

“You must find the courage to leave the table if respect is no longer being served.”

– TENE EDWARDS

“The three most difficult things for a human being are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are, first, returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; third, admitting that you are wrong.” But these are the easiest things in the world if you haven’t identified with the “me.” 

– SJ ANTHONY DE MELLO


1 x Thing:

1) This Freakonomics Radio podcast episode: The Downside of Disgust with Stephen Dubner. “It’s a powerful biological response that has preserved our species for millennia. But now it may be keeping us from pursuing strategies that would improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex?  You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down on some delicious insects.” Personal notes below.

  • The core of disgust evolved from a system to avoid pathogens. Something in our brains already knows not to eat poop or vomit (not the case for dogs). 
  • The word yuck is derived from the sound of vomiting. Like a pre vomit sound (retching)
  • Moral and social disgust has evolved from food disgust. 
  • Should we dial down or up our disgust (since it’s part of an ancient response system)?
  • One of the most effective hand washing campaigns ever used to teach people in Ghana – shows a women coming out of the toilet not washing her hands and then preparing and feeding her children food she had contaminated with her own faeces. It’s believed that eliciting disgust from viewers is a much more effective way to teach people about hand hygiene as opposed to simply relaying the science as to why it’s important. 
  • Example of where it would be useful to dial down our disgust response for various environmental/economics political reasons? Getting people to eat more insects. There are millions who could benefit from the protein that insects provide but are nonetheless disgusted by them. This would be useful because meat is much more resource intensive. 
  • You don’t eat insects? There are an average of eight insect fragments in a chocolate bar (this is acceptable as is a small amount) salads, tin tomatoes, peanut butter, beer, wine – yes all contain their fair share of insect fragments 
  • Of course not many people knowingly eat insects or are willing to eat them in toto 
  • How to get people to do so? With incentives to begin with? Then using Mirror exposure effect: the more exposure you have to something the more you like it (acquired taste). It’s proven to work.
  • The problem is getting over the “disgust hump” People don’t realise they will cease to be disgusted once they get used to something. It’s worth remembering that Sushi was once held with a similar position in Western society a few short decades ago. Now it’s loved by the western masses. Insects could end doing the same. 
  • We have made big changes in what we find disgusting regarding our beliefs – eg. slavery. Could it really be so hard to make insects appealing?


1 x Joke:

So my son was running around without a nappy on the other day when he came charging toward me.

He shouted, “Daddy! Daddy! Look at my balls!”

Sure enough, when I looked down, there they were.

Hanging out for all the world to see.

Them, along with a pair of massage balls he was holding in his hands…

(You really can’t make this stuff up).


Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week! I sincerely hope you all have a great week ahead. As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please let us know below.

One bonus question to finish:

What boundaries can you set with your Smartphone in order to live more mindfully?


PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

Mindset Mondays – 01/02/21

Table(t) Manners

Growing up my dad always made a point about having good table manners. He made sure we never chewed food with our mouths open. That we always sat up straight. That we we set the table properly and cleared away and washed the dishes afterwards. 

One of the rules was if you didn’t cook, you clean! 

Now that I have kids of my own, I really see the value in what he strived to teach us. Good table manners says something important about who you are. More to the point, you are saying something important by having them. 

It shows respect to those around you. It expresses gratitude for both the food you are consuming and the people you are sharing it with. It demonstrates mindfulness, discipline, love, care… 

The list goes on. 

It’s not uncommon for us to sit down and eat a meal made with ingredients from all four corners of the globe. First grown and tendered to by farmers in remote regions. Then picked, processed and eventually shipped, or flown, thousands of miles to your local super market. 

Have ever stopped to think about the multitude of people involved in creating your dinner? 

When you look deeply there is a great deal to be grateful for. I’m not religious but I love the tradition of expressing gratitude before a meal for that reason. It’s a tradition I mean to instil in my own children. 

Anyway I bring this up because, when I look around at the table manners of today, there’s something that breaks my heart. And I’m guessing that you can all guess what I’m about to talk about. If you can’t, then maybe you should get off your phone (hint hint) and have a good look around. 

What do you see? Are we paying attention? Are we mindful of our surroundings? Are we expressing gratitude? And I mean really expressing it and really meaning it?

Let me get to the point. 

What do you think it says when you take out your phone to check something at the dinner table? How do you feel when someone else does it? Do you feel anything? Are you even bothered? Or is it just me?

Because to me it feels like this modern exception to the centuries old tradition of having good table etiquette. It feels like everyone has quietly decided that having phones at the table is an acceptable social norm in modern society. 

“I won’t say anything if you don’t.” [wink wink]

I wonder if this is because we’ve only been living with smartphones for the last 15 years? Because the parents of today weren’t raised in a world with smartphones? 

Or because parents don’t want to acknowledge they might have an addiction themselves? Because they haven’t worked out how to have a healthy relationship with them? 

I wonder how many parents are even aware of the damage they’re doing by letting their children look at screens every time they sit down for a meal? 

I see it with some of my friends and I find it alarming. And let me tell you, it’s very awkward when I have to explain to my two year old son, while eating over at our friend’s house, why he can’t look at a screen while sitting at the table but their kids can (true story).

I genuinely fear the screens we are bringing to the table are doing untold harm to our relationships. 

There are many times I’ve sat at dinner while having a great conversation when someone has decided to “check something” on their phone. Sometimes that something is related to the conversation but even so. Rarely have I found that person checks just one thing. No they get sucked in. The temptation to check several other social media and/or news apps is simply too great. 

And so they click click click, getting one dopamine hit after the next, until they finally “return” to the table where, not only has the conversation stalled, their head is scattered across the stratosphere. Completely frazzled from all the dopamine and cortisol surging around their system while ruminating about events over which they have no control. Or emails they checked but can’t reply to. (You know, because that really would be rude.)

Let’s be honest here. We have an addiction problem. I would be very surprised if it isn’t all of us who have, at some point, found ourselves unconsciously scrolling on our mobile phones. Perhaps it’s not outlandish to claim that maybe we pick up phones, more often than not, for no other reason than we simply want that hit? Because we crave it so much?

You might think these small moments here and there aren’t a big deal but I believe they add up. All the interactions we miss as a result – when we fail to look up and see the people at our table or elsewhere. These conversations that get interrupted all the time…

The mobile phone has become something to hide behind. A shield from having to face one’s actual reality. I believe this is, in no small part, why we have seen such a rise in rates of depression and anxiety among our adolescents.

As I draw this post to a close it occurs to me that I’m not really upset about the fact that our collective addictions are ruining our interactions at the dinner table (although I am), but that they are ruining our interactions everywhere. Our interactions even, simply, with the present moment.

It’s for this reason I feel the dining table should be the place where we all lay down a marker. Where we make it our last bastion in the household free from smartphones. A place where we make a stand for our children’s sake, so their lives aren’t completely ruled by the devices in their pockets. The place from which we make a fight back against the infringement of technology in everyday life. Where we stake a claim to be seen – at the very least – by our loved ones during this very precious period of the day.

Ladies and gentleman I believe it’s high time we brought our manners back to the table. That must mean leaving our phones off them.

Is that really asking for too much? 


Thanks for reading everyone. I’m aware that technology has been a blessing over the last year or so. Allowing us to connect with our loved ones from isolation. However that doesn’t detract from my feeling that our face to face interactions have been significantly harmed over the past decade by the smartphones we carry around. As a parent it’s our children I worry about the most. I am, of course, keen to get your thoughts and opinions on the matter. Let us know below. Warm regards, AP2 🙏

***

You can see find more of AP2’s nonsensical world views and poor self-help advice here at: https://pointlessoverthinking.com

12 Personal Commandments For A Happier Life

A long time ago (5 years?) I put together this list – 12 personal commandments for living a happier, healthier and more purposeful life. I found it in one of my old note books and thought I’d share with you all.

It was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project. As she said in her book, “these aren’t meant to be specific resolutions but overarching principles by which to live.”

Anyway, I recall it being a fun and creative way to help outline any core values you may have.

I should say the quotes aren’t mine, but ones that stuck in my mind from various readings over the years. Anyway, without further ado, here they are:

  1. “Live in day-tight compartments” – Live in the moment. There’s no point in living with regret about yesterday or worry for tomorrow. 
  1. “Don’t cry over spilt milk”You can’t change what’s happened. Only pick up the pieces and move forward. Forgive and forget. 
  1. “Pay Rapt Attention” – Meditate daily and show a keen interest in your daily activities and conversations. Stay in the moment and participate fully. 
  1. “Act and think the way you wish to feel – be fearless” – Smile and be happy. Stand up tall and be confident. We live in the mind whether we know it or not. The wisest among us use our actions to influence our emotions and not the other way around. 
  1. “Count your blessings – Not your troubles” – First – aim to get what you want and then Second – Enjoy it! Be grateful everyday. You’re exceptionally lucky. 
  1. “Be Yourself” – Imitation is suicide. Be your best self and embrace your uniqueness. 
  1. “Have malice toward none and charity for all” – Don’t waste a second thinking about those that have wronged you. It serves no purpose. We must harbour no bitterness. Instead find time to give and serve those in greater need. 
  1. “Order is Heaven’s First Law” – Clearing clutter will help create peace of mind. Set specific measurable goals, visualise them complete, then act on them. 
  1. “Lose yourself in action – Just do it” – Secret to being miserable is to have the time to wonder whether you are happy or not. Keep yourself busy. Work daily, Exercise daily and Play daily. The time is now so go!
  1. “Do what’s right, not what’s easy” – The easiest is rarely the best option. Strive toward a higher purpose and think before every word and action. 
  1. “Remember life comes from you not at you” – Give up blaming and complaining. Only YOU are responsible for YOU. Be honest with yourself and understand that belief is a choice so choose to believe!
  1. “Look to the stars” – Have faith you can turn around any situation. To profit from your losses is far more important than capitalising on your gains. Take the time to reflect everyday. 

Thanks for taking the time to read everyone. Looking back I feel it could definitely use an update! With that in mind, what commandments do you live by (if any)? What would you add (or take away) from the list? Let us know in the comments below. I’d be grateful for the inspiration.

Wishing you all well, AP2 – X

Tuesday’s Top Tip

The most successful people in this world understand the importance of cultivating a growth mindset.

They understand failure does not mean they are one, only that they have something to learn. 

They understand that success is not found in achievement, but from falling in love with the process of self-improvement. 

They understand that intelligence and capability are not fixed qualities but things which – with practice, training, and above all, method – can always be improved upon.

I think we all understand this on some level yet many of us can’t help but think we are less than. That we simply aren’t as intelligent, or as capable, or as courageous as other people.

The question is how can we do guard against having this kind of fixed mindset? How can we cultivate a growth mindset instead?

Of course we need a point of comparison. We need standards to measure ourselves against otherwise there would nothing to point toward and nowhere to go.

But why make other people that point of comparison?

It’s important to remember we are all individuals with a very unique set of life circumstances. The conditions of our lives are rarely comparable to others of a different age, race, gender, background…

They are rarely comparable, even, in our moment to moment difficulties. When dealing with the very specific traumas of our past.

Simply getting out of bed for some of us is an act of immense courage given the circumstances. Perhaps demonstrating far greater strength than someone who appears to have his or her life together. 

So what to do? Who should you compare yourself to then? What should be your point of comparison in a world that only broadcasts the best of the best (or the worst of the worst)? 

Simple. 

Yourself.

As a rule for life I’d say, “Compare yourself only with the person you were yesterday.” 

Here’s the trick.

At the end of each day take the time to reflect. Think deeply about the ways in which you have failed to live up to your values and how you can do better. Then find a small way to better yourself and go do it (the following day). Finally when you reflect on that day, reward yourself for having done (or at least attempted) what you set out to do.

That’s enough.

That’s worthy of a pat on the back and an ice cold beer!

But don’t you dare forget to reward yourself either! Rewarding yourself for the things you did well at the end of the day is equally important.

Do this everyday, and then watch as compound interest takes care of the rest.

I promise if you do, it will.

Previous Top Tip

4-3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post to prepare for the best and hope for the worst…

Following a 4-3-2-1 approach, it contains 4 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 3 quotes from others (that you should read), and 2 things I’ve been reading, watching or listening to this week that have helped me grow.

As always I’ve finished with 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good.

Let’s begin!

(As a way to give credit and to say thank you, I’ve linked back to any posts that have inspired my thoughts. I’ve linked back to any quotes I’ve found as well.)


4 x Thoughts:

1) Contacting a friend a day keeps the demons at bay.

2) I have two cycles for you. The first I like to call the Positive Cycle Of Hope. It looks like this: Hope inspires action that creates positive results that generates more hope (repeat). The second I like to call the Negative Cycle Of Hopelessness. It looks like this: Hope coupled with an inability (or unwillingness) to take action creates (99% of the time) negative results that generates feelings of despair and hopelessness (circle back to point 2 and repeat). The point I want to make? Hope must be tied to action otherwise it’s dangerous.

3) Hope is a double edged sword that cuts just as deeply the other way. Although it rewards you when expectations are met it punishes you when they’re not. Of course it’s that suffering that drives you to take action and put things right. However this is a terrible situation to be in if you can’t. (That’s worth repeating). The point I want to make? Be very careful what you hope for in life.

4) What hand the universe deals you – whether or not you have an easy life – is not something you can control. However building the strength to deal with adversity when it happens is something you can. For that reason it’s important to prepare for the worst in life. It’s equally important to believe in your capacity to deal with the worst when it happens. However I disagree with idea that one should “hope for the best.” If you hope for the best it’ll crush you when that doesn’t happen (or worse, when it gets taken away). Prepare for the worst – yes. But don’t “live in hope.” If you don’t have to hope for anything better, I suggest you live in acceptance for what is. Practise gratitude for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. It’s worth reiterating that hope, although it may save you, will never be what gives you peace.


3 x Quotes:

“Do not pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

– Bruce Lee

“Limiting one’s desires actually helps to cure one of fear. ‘Cease to hope … and you will cease to fear.’ … Widely different [as fear and hope] are, the two of them march in unison like a prisoner and the escort he is handcuffed to. Fear keeps pace with hope … both belong to a mind in suspense, to a mind in a state of anxiety through looking into the future. Both are mainly due to projecting our thoughts far ahead of us instead of adapting ourselves to the present.”

― Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Source: Letters from a Stoic)

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

― Maya Angelou (Source: https://drericperry.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/choose-your-attitude-dont-let-it-choose-you/)

2 x Things:

1) This happiness lad podcast: Dump Your Inner Drill Sergeant with Dr Laurie Santos. In this episode, ‘Dr Laurie Santos examines why being a nasty drill sergeant to ourselves is less effective than being a kind coach; and hears from researcher and author Kristin Neff about why developing self-compassion is vital to helping us achieve our new year goals.’ Notes below:

  • Criticising bad behaviour in the past isn’t bad. It fact it’s healthy. But telling yourself you’re a bad person for making a mistake – this is where problems start. You activate the flight fight or freeze response. Except you see yourself as the threat. This serves to protect you by shutting you down. This inhibits your ability to make productive change. 
  • We need to critique ourselves but forgive ourselves. We need to look at what went wrong logically. Think about when a child makes a mistake. How you treat them and try to help and get them to learn. We need to do that for ourselves.
  • Self compassion is linked to higher grit, better relationships, more exercise, better sex… It’s so much better than beating yourself up. It’s not the weak thing to do. It’s the strong thing to do. 
  • There are good ways and bad ways to build self esteem. Telling kids to compare themselves to others. To think they are above average. – This will cause them to always compare themselves. Self esteem then becomes contingent on success. If they fail it deserts them. 
  • Self compassion isn’t dependant on success or failure. We need it when we fail. It’s not denying mistakes but accepting them. Acknowledging that you’re human.
  • Self compassion is about accepting ourselves. Paradoxically we are then more able to make positive change as a result. 
  • Mindfulness is the foundation of self compassion. You allow yourself to feel what you are without judgement. 
  • The more you can give yourself love and compassion the more you can give others the same. Being Self compassionate is not selfish! The more compassion that flows inward the more it flows outward.
  • 3 components of self compassion. 1. Mindfulness. Becoming aware. Validating our pain. 2. Remembering we aren’t alone. Everyone makes mistake. 3. Actively give yourself kindness. 

2) This BBC article: Why You’re More Creative In Coffee Shops. I’ve always felt like I do my best work when I take the time to leave the house and go to a cafe. This research shows why.

“It’s analogous to going to the gym for a workout,” says Sunkee Lee, assistant professor of organisational theory and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business in Pennsylvania. “One of the biggest things about coffee shops is the social-facilitation effect: you go there, you see other people working and it puts you in a mood where you just naturally start working as well. Just observing them can motivate you to work harder.”


1 x Joke:

My son has started making a den behind the curtains in his room at night time.

The other night he asked me to join him inside.

While looking up at the stars he asked, “Daddy, where is the moon?”

I replied, “I think it’s hiding behind the clouds sweetheart. But I’m sure if we listen very carefully we can hear it.”

(Silence)

“Do you hear it?” I said. “Listen, Listen, shhhhhhhh…”

(Silence)

At this point I blew a huge raspberry.

My son laughed hysterically, “haha the moon fart fart!”

I smiled while replying, “Yes it did. The question is, which moon?”

And with that we quickly exited the den…


Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week! I sincerely hope you all have a great week ahead. As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please let us know below.

One bonus question to finish:

What is worrying you most today? What can you do about it? What can’t you do about it?


PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

Mindset Mondays – 18/01/21

Tuesday’s Top Tip

For thousands of years we’ve been told we are fallen creatures – outcasts from the garden of Eden. That we are selfish, weak, deeply flawed individuals unworthy of our creator. Taught that our wants and desires are the root cause of all evil. That these are our greatest downfall against which we must make it life’s mission to fight.

What we’ve been taught is to hate ourselves. 

Now I know many people will argue with me about this. And I certainly don’t mean to lay all the blame at religion’s door. I agree that would be far too simplistic an argument.

But the overriding point I want to make is that it terms of being unkind to ourselves, in terms of seeing ourselves as bad for having certain wants and desires – wherever that comes from – it runs deep in our collective psyches. 

And that’s a big fucking problem. 

For starters hating on our own wants and desires is exactly what gives them strength. Did no one ever teach you that you must embrace your demons?

Yeah me neither.

But a bigger problem is that in hating ourselves, despite being (largely) decent people, we fail to stand up to tyranny and oppression when it’s required. Our self loathing shrinks us as individuals. I would argue that it is this, more than anything else, that allows evil to thrive. (It goes hand in hand with people’s inability to say no when they should.)

So what to do about it?

For starters I suggest you stand up tall with your head held high. That you talk to yourself every morning. You give yourself an almighty pep talk. You become clear about who you are and what it is you stand for. Then I suggest you treat yourself with the same level of care and attention you would your own children. I suggest you make the same level of sacrifice for yourself.

Why?

Because you are far more capable than you know. Because you are far stronger than you give yourself credit. Because you are worth it.

But also because you are inextricably connected to everyone else on this planet and treating yourself badly hurts the very people you love. Because hatred thrives if you don’t.

You’ve all heard of the golden rule right? To treat others as you would like to be treated. While I agree it’s particularly pertinent for those who think they are superior to others, for those of you who suffer from crippling self doubt – who think the opposite – I suggest you flip it on it’s head and consider this second golden rule instead.

That is to treat yourself as you would someone you love. To look after yourself like you would your best friend or your spouse or your mother or your child. To value your life just as highly as those around you. To understand that your life is just as important.

Because it is.

Previous Top Tip