Kissed For The Very First Time

Ten years ago today, on April 8th, 2011, I met my wife for the first time at a dive bar in Hong Kong called Al’s diner. We immediately hit it off. The evening ended with us dancing to a number of 80’s classics. 

Despite several jello shots it took me a while to work up the courage to kiss her. I knew she was special and wanted to make sure I picked the right moment. The cheesy 80’s playlist, however, didn’t exactly set the mood.

At a certain point I told myself whatever song comes up it doesn’t matter, it’s now or never. And so, as one forgettable tune ended, with my heart in my throat, I met her eyes, leaned in and kissed her. 

Just as soon as we locked lips, Madonna’s, “Like A Virgin,” came blaring from the jukebox.

“Like a virgin 
Touched for the very first time
Like a virgin
When your heart beats 
Next to mine
Whoa…”

A moment of classy romance it was not! It certainly wasn’t the song I would have chosen. Still, I had to commend the Gods on their sense of humour. We both had a good laugh about it.

Ultimately, of course, the song didn’t matter. What really mattered was the ten years that followed.Those years have been extraordinary to say the least.

Together we’ve flown in hot air balloons, jumped out of aeroplanes, swam with whale sharks – to list just a few of our adventures. It was on a layover in Rome I realised I loved her as we cuddled while watching the sunset from the Spanish steps. (There are few moments I can think as perfect as that one.) It was on holiday in Myanmar that I proposed to her on the shores of Inle lake.

It was 4 years ago – exactly 6 years after we met – on April 8th, 2017, that we got married at a micro brewery here in Hong Kong. We figured, “Why bring the booze to the party when you can bring the party to the booze?”

It was epic.

The song we chose for our first dance? You guessed it. Definitely not Madonna’s, “Like A Virgin.” (We have some class guys and gals, come on.)

Actually our friends orchestrated a surprise flash mob to Justin Timberlake’s, “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” It was one of the many highlights that day. That song became our first as a married couple.

Fast forward 4 more years and here we are with two ridiculous boys to our names. The youngest having just turned 3 months. (Can you do the math?)

April 8th will always be the most important day of the year for me. Symbolically it represents everything that followed when we kissed for the very first time 10 years ago. The truly beautiful life that we have made together.

I often wonder what my life would have been like had I missed my opportunity that night. If I’d not made a move because of the song that was playing. (There’s a lesson here about waiting for the perfect moment.)

I look around and imagine my boys vanishing. The apartment I live in transforming. Perhaps I wouldn’t have stayed in my current job for as long as I have? Maybe I wouldn’t live in Hong Kong? Perhaps the picture would be markedly different? Or perhaps the picture would be similar but with different faces?

One things for damn sure, the picture couldn’t be any better.

As I come back to reality and realise that none of it was a dream. That my reality – my unbelievably beautiful radiant wife, the now extraordinary mother to our two gorgeous silly boys – is the dream. I realise I wouldn’t change it for the world. I wouldn’t even change that song.

To my dear wife, when it comes to you, I regret nothing. (Although I’m not giving you anymore children.)

Happy Anniversary Gorgeous

With All My Love

Your Very Silly Husband X

3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that tells you to chase your dreams before taking a nap…

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!


3 x Thoughts:

1)  Be careful what you say yes to in life. Often it’s the very things we acquire for security that ends up imprisoning us.

2) One thing that’s worse than not feeling listened to is feeling misunderstood. If you disagree with someone you should seek to understand them. Speak up and say what you believe is right – of course. But listen to what they have to say as well. Be curious. Seriously consider their point of view however outlandish it may seem. They might just help to break down your own limited beliefs. Which we all have! Even if that’s not true you might, with tact, be able to help them with their own demons.

3) Chasing your dreams isn’t about achieving your dreams. Chasing your dreams is about enjoying the journey. It’s about cultivating greater gratitude and joy for the here and now. It’s about loving what you do. That’s why you should chase you dreams. It’s in the chasing that you’ll discover what you were after. If you make everything about the end result – the title or the big house – you’ll miss the journey. Worse, you’ll end up resenting it. Society’s idea of success has little to do with ones actual dreams. When you see that you’ll realise why failure shouldn’t concern you. And you will fail. You will meet obstacles. You will have set backs. No matter what it is you chase after. At least by doing what you love the successes along the way are more rewarding and the failures more bearable.


2 x Quotes:

“If you see through yourself you will see through everyone. Then you will love them.”  

– Anthony De Mello

“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.”

– Thomas Paine

1 x Thing:

This fascinating BBC article on The surprising downsides of empathy. The main argument is that empathy distorts our decision making ability – preventing us from making rational decisions. It concludes by arguing for compassion but against empathy. Well worth the quick read!

“Researchers have found that misplaced empathy can be bad for you and others, leading to exhaustion and apathy, and preventing you from helping the very people you need to. Worse, people’s empathetic tendencies can even be harnessed to manipulate them into aggression and cruelty.”


1 x Joke:

I was tickling my infant son the other day while saying, “Goochie goochie goo.”

My wife commented, “It’s pronounced Coochie, not Goochie!”

I replied, “Not for our baby it’s not!”

“Why’s that?” she asked.

“Because he’s clearly a designer baby!”

“Get it? Goochie…”

My wife wasn’t impressed.

Still, at least my son seemed to enjoy it.


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

One bonus question to finish: What does your dream look like? What does it mean to you?


PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

Mindset Mondays – 22/03/21

The Only Thing The World Needs From You

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman (Source: The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman: A Visionary for Our Time)

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, ‘what do you mean the ONLY THING the world needs from me?! The world demands EVERYTHING from me!!!’

‘It expects me to be a teetotaling, super-ripped, enlightened, buddhist monk who lives in a mansion with 5 cars yet gives everything to the poor, can speak 6 languages, hold 3 full-time jobs with an additional 8 hobbies on the side while also caring for the elderly with the abundance of spare time one must have available.’

Breathe…

‘On top of which I must also find a cure for cancer, prevent global warming, travel the entire world, read 8 books a day, find the time to study for a 4th profession, have the perfect life partner, raise straight A children who never fart in public, cook the recommended 12 meals a day, eat only the finest imported wagyu beef, be a vegan, own the latest model of smartphone while also find a suitable replacement for plastics.’

‘Should I go on?!!!’

You could but I think we get the point.

Yes, unfortunately, this is but a modicum of what our fucked up society expects. That said, this is exactly why we need to be very clear.

What the world needs from you and what society expects are two very different things.

One you need to trust in. The other you need tell fuck off!

Society’s ridiculous expectations have flooded our brains with too much information. We’re constantly being pulled in a million different directions that’s left us paralysed in one. We can’t see through the sea of bullshit to understand what we’re supposed to do. We’re lost wondering which way we should paddle with no land in sight.

The problem isn’t what society thinks, of course. The major problem we have is making society’s expectations our own. In doing so we play a game we can’t possibly win. As a result of not being able to meet these impossible expectations – because none of us can – many of us simply give up.

What we need to do is set ourselves free. We need to cut through the noise and focus on our major purpose in life. We need to follow our calling. Then say ‘fuck it’ to the rest. I truly believe this will benefit the world far more than trying to meet society’s expectations. That’s provided you can shift through all the bullshit and follow what your calling in life actually is. As in, not society’s. Not your parent’s. Not Barrack Obama’s. Certainly not Donald Trump’s. Yours! Your own unique calling.

This is the only thing the world needs from you.

I think that you know this of course, the question is how?! And also what the fuck?

I’m not going to pretend I have all the answers but I’ll give you a few more thoughts you should probably ignore.

Fuck what society has to say about who it thinks you should be.

You and only you get to decide what success looks like. Don’t let society do that for you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your life has to look good on paper, so some top level exec can commend you on your perfect CV to only then give the job to the slightly less qualified white man because you’re black, or a woman, or a black woman…

Ahhh shiiiiiiit!

To be clear I’m not saying give up. To not be a better person. To not go after what you want despite any disadvantages you may or may not have. 

No! 

What I’m saying is to be clear about what success actually means to you, to be clear about what you actually want. Don’t go chasing someone else’s goals. If you want to wander the seven seas as a pirate – if that’s what makes you feel alive – then who the fuck am I, or anyone else for that matter, to judge you? At least if you fail as a pirate (highly probable) you’ll have loved life.

Seriously!

We spend far too much time thinking about how our life choices will be viewed by others. We need to wake up and follow what we know in our hearts will make us happy.

A stressful life chasing other people’s version of success is what has turned us all into robots. We’re simply going through the motions so we can reach our end goal. We say to ourselves, it’ll all be worth it after I have secured financial independence for the last 10 good years of my life. After I have broken my body, sold my soul and lost all sense of aliveness in the mean time.

Is your retirement really worth that much? To slave away so that one day you might get to live in the knowledge that money is no longer a problem for you, for the last 10 years of your life?

Let me tell you something that society doesn’t want you to work out. Money is but one problem.

When Jay-Z rapped about 99 problems I suspect they were all related to having money. Bitches weren’t one of them admittedly, because of the money, but even so. The point is be careful what you chase after in life. 

The world really doesn’t need you to be rich and famous. It doesn’t need you to solve all its problems. Society has made this an obsession of yours but it’s bullshit.

The only thing the world needs from you is to come alive. That comes from chasing the dreams that you alone have defined. It comes from following your heart.

I’ve got a new rap song. It goes, I’ve got 99 problems but the dream ain’t one. (How white am I?) If you can sing that you’re winning my friend because you’ll always have 99 problems. Don’t make not following your dreams one of them.


Thanks for reading everyone! I’m acutely aware that talking about chasing your dreams can come across as somewhat rich (pun intended) as a privileged middle class white man, especially when survival is the only thing that millions can ever consider, but I also wonder if, for the same reason, I don’t have a responsibility to chase my dreams? After all, my worst case scenario is far better than most. What do you think? Is the idea of following your dreams overrated? Is it not better to follow our heart if we have the choice? Thoughts and comments very welcome below.

***

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

Thursday’s Top Tip

“Sleep is the best meditation.”

– Dalai Lama

Treat the time you wakeup as the central-axis point of your being.  

The point that keeps everything in balance.

The point that sets everything you want to happen in motion.

The point from which all order springs.

Don’t lie in. Don’t hit snooze. Don’t think about it. 

Just. Get. Up.

No matter how bad your nights sleep, make sure you wake up at the same time.

Every. Single. Day.

This will be hard at first (if you’re not doing this already), but the longer term benefits are massive – especially for those who have trouble sleeping. 

Why?

Because our bodies are biological clocks that love routine. When we wake up at the same time we reinforce our circadian rhythm.

Not only does this prompt us to go to bed at the same time, it allows our bodily functions and cycles to operate at optimum efficiency – keeping us as strong as a mother fucking Ox y’all!

(Add to this regularly scheduled meal times and you’ll really start to notice shit changing for you. In fact, you’ll notice your shit happening at the exact same time every single day, like clockwork.)

Seriously!

Waking up on the dot affects everything. Energy, metabolism, mood… 

Conversely, when our lifestyle has been out of sync with our circadian rhythm for a long time, we start to put ourselves at greater risk to all sorts of diseases and mental health issues. (Check out this article for more info.)

And you can take all of this from a pilot who has been disrupting his circadian rhythm for ten years now with one exception: this past year.

Because of COVID I’ve seen a lot less flying through the night and a lot more regular sleep.

How do you feel, you ask?

Strong as a mother fucking Ox y’all! (And also scared for my job, but let’s blow past that…)

Now allow me to let you in on a couple of tips within this tip!

It takes 40 days or so to form a new habit. So stick with it. It will pay off. 

Do I have to get up at 5am, you ask? 

No, not at all

The other important thing to understand is that you have a unique chronotype. (Have a look at this article for more info or take this quiz to help you find out which.)

I happen to be a wolf (side note: awesome).

I hate early mornings. I like to take things slow when I do get up – which is later than most I’ll admit.

I meditate, do a little journalling and reading with a leisurely coffee, and then I do some exercise and/or stretching before I crack on with the day.

I’m at my most alert in the evenings. So when everyone else sits down to binge watch Netflix, that’s when I get to work. 

Unfortunately for us wolves, society is biased towards bears and lions (early birds). I used to believe I was lazy for the longest time.

It wasn’t until I understood my chronotpye that I really started listening to my body instead of forcing it. This in turn allowed me to formulate a routine that has me firing on all four cylinders.

It’s important to stress that while the early bird may catch the worm, the night owl gets to hunt mice mother fuckers!

So don’t feel bad about setting your schedule to match your chronotype.

We’re all different!

Whether that means you get up at 4am or 11am, the most important thing is that you wake up at the same time.

Every. Single. Day. 

You’ll thank me for it eventually.

I promise. 

Previous Top Tip

3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that believes you should become a minimalist by giving it all your stuff…

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!


3 x Thoughts:

1) It’s funny how giving away everything for nothing in return gives you everything you want.

2) Mental and physical health are intrinsically linked. Looking after both for the sake of each other should be your first priority every day. (Try meditation, exercise, journalling…)

3) The more shit you have, the more shit you have to worry about. Don’t aim to have lots in life. Aim to have the few things you desire the most. Then learn to get as much joy and love out of those things as you possibly can. Cut out the rest. Less really is more.


2 x Quotes:

“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust. Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living.”

  • Samuel Ullman, a Jewish poet
  • “…having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential – as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

  • Bill Watterson, the cartoonist and creator of Calvin and Hobbes

  • 1 x Thing:

    This brilliant art of manliness article: Via Negativa: Adding to Your Life By Subtracting. The article argues that the path to becoming a better person is often found by subtracting the negative from our lives. Well worth the quick read. A couple of quotes listed below:

    “Don’t ask yourself “What am I going to do to be a better man?” or “What kind of man do I want to be?” Invert those questions and ask “What am I NOT going to do to be a better man?” and “What kind of man do I NOT want to be?”

    Eliminating obvious downsides like bad habits and debt will provide a good life; eliminating good things so you can focus on the very best will lead to a truly flourishing life.


    1 x Joke:

    Have another far side comic for this week folks. 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 in the comments section below.

    One bonus question to finish: What can you subtract from your life to make it better?


    PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

    Mindset Mondays – 15/03/21

    Why Everything Scares You To Death

    The other night, while I was trying to sleep, I started thinking about the post I wrote last week where I stated that hatred is driven – at its core – by a fear of death. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something fundamental. Naturally this started to make me feel a little anxious. Which then got me thinking, ‘why I am feeling so anxious? I’m just thinking.’ 

    Anyway, I placed my mind on that fear and I asked, ‘what do you want me to figure out?’ Then something clicked. The penny dropped and I thought, ‘holy shit, all fear is a fear of death. That’s what you’re feeling. That’s why it’s so intense. It’s simply a trick. An illusion played by the mind to keep you, and those you love, alive.’ 

    Immediately I started thinking about the implications this simplicity of thought might have. How we could use it to see through and conquer our fears. But also help those consumed by theirs. So I got up and started hashing out my argument. (No, I didn’t sleep well that night!) And well, this post was the result.

    Anyway, buckle up boys and girls, because I’m about to take your mind down a rabbit hole that will blow it wide open. But first let me explain my thinking with a quick biology lesson. (I’ll try to make it fun.)

    The Biology Of Fear

    From a biological perspective the purpose of life is life itself. That all our emotions – the full kaleidoscope of experience – can be explained, broadly speaking, by two things. The first is survival (protecting our life and those we love.) Enter fear. The second is procreation and the raising/nurturing of offspring. Enter love. 

    These two broad encompassing emotional forces drive everything. They represent the light and dark side of the force. Yin and Yang, Male and Female, Ross and Rachel, Bert and Ernie… you get the point. It’s a delicate tussle counter balancing one against the other. However we need both of them.

    Now, to forget love for a second (Say what?), let’s talk amount the most important of these two emotional forces – fear (Oh no you didn’t!). 

    Inside your brain are two little nuggets called your amygdalas. These naughty little nuggets are, biologically speaking, responsible for all of your emotional suffering. This is because they activate something called your fight, flight or freeze response system. And this has everything to do with your survival. (They love you really.)

    Now, what happens when those naughty nuggets detect what they believe is a serious threat to your life, is they shut off access to the rational part of your brain (your frontal lobes). When this happens the only thing your brain becomes interested in is your survival. And it uses the fear of death to drive your actions. Telling you to either run for the hills (fear under flight), tread carefully (anxiety under freeze), or fight for your life (anger or hate under fight). That is what fear is, in essence. Fear is a fear of death. I say that because these responses are based on keeping you alive. 

    This is why I believe fear, anxiety, anger and hate are such intense emotions. Why we have a million and one different addictions and mental illnesses in our attempts to deal with them. We are dealing with a fear of death under different guises. And that is no small thing. (Have I blown your mind yet?)

    The Link To Death

    One of the problems I believe we have is we don’t link our fear to death. We lack the awareness. This is partly because many of us live in denial and partly because our rational minds and ancient emotional response system aren’t of the same era (your naughty nuggets are part of the limbic system which comprises the oldest part of your brain); but mainly because the ego doesn’t want us to figure this out. It’s a deliberate illusion. After all it’s not terribly useful to psychoanalyse your fear when face to face with a sabre-toothed tiger!

    But you’re not actually sacred of the tiger. No, you’re afraid of one thing and one thing alone: death. What your brain has done is attach the fear of death to that animal, thing or situation. That’s why everything scares us to death. Because we are. That’s what drives us at our core.

    This is also why, in the pecking order of love and fear, fear comes first (why we have something called a negativity bias). Of course this sucks the big one, however the logic makes good sense. You must first survive before you can thrive. Before you can use your big one!

    In the case of a sabre-toothed tiger the link is obvious, much like a fear of heights. However others things are much harder to link, like onomatophobia – a fear of names. (Yeah, for real Bob.). Most often they’re rooted in our unique childhood traumas as part of our attempt to win the love of our parents who weren’t forthcoming with it (which we needed for survival). Other things are less obvious on the surface but make good sense when you consider our ancestry basically roamed around as tribes for millions of years. 

    For example, we understand that standing up on stage and making a public speech won’t kill us, (rationally we understand it won’t matter one iota), yet many of us are still scared to death at the thought. Why? Your surface level rationale is probably saying something along the line of, “if I mess this presentation up I’ll make a fool of myself and my coworkers will no longer respect me.” But so what? That rationale doesn’t justify the level of emotion it evokes.

    Well, consider this.

    Imagine you’re living as part of a tight-knit tribal community. A small group of hunter gathers where your survival depends on you getting along with everyone else. Suddenly social anxiety – fear of sticking your neck out – starts to make more sense. If you stand up and talk to the tribe and the tribe rejects you, it’s possible they’ll make you an outcast and now you really are fucked. So tread carefully (anxiety). You do not want to piss off the alpha! In today’s world, rationally, we understand the stakes aren’t so high, however your ancient emotional response system doesn’t.

    This is also why we care so much what other people think. This is why we get so worked up over nothing. This is why we hold our beliefs as absolute and why we cannot stand to be challenged. (Please don’t disagree with me on this.) 

    This is worth stressing.

    When it comes to our emotions we are working with a Palaeolithic operating system. It’s millions of years in the making based on what the world was like for us for the vast majority of that time. It’s not well adapted to modern life. 

    How To Conquer Your Fear

    So now you’re thinking, “Ok Sherlock, now that you’ve made me aware that my crippling anxiety is actually a fear of death underneath, how is this suppose to help me?”

    Because now you can ask yourself a couple of important questions. The first is obvious. Is your life really at risk? To use my previous example, is getting up on stage really going to end your life? No, of course not. Then are your feelings rational or irrational? We know the answer to this of course. But now we have awareness on our side. Suddenly it’s clear as day. Now you can look through it because you understand why the feeling is so intense. 

    That is a good reason to show those feelings love and compassion. That is a good reason to tell yourself it’s ok. And now you can remind yourself what your higher purpose is. What your loving motives are for standing up on that stage. And suddenly that fear starts to loosen its grip. 

    This allows your naughty little nuggets to calm the fuck down, which allows your frontal lobes to come back online. What you’re doing is placing your emotions back in the passenger seat of your car as opposed to the drivers seat. Which is exactly where you want them to be (except when your life really is threatened.) And so you go ahead and make most passionate speech of your life (maybe).

    What you’ve done is used love for the purpose it was intended, to overcome your own fear of death. Not only that, you’ve just told yourself you conquered a fear of death, not simply a fear of public speaking, which is massive.

    Now, here’s where I address the rather large Woolly Mammoth in the cave. If fear – a fear of dying – comes first in the order of our emotional makeup, then perhaps all of our emotions are related to a fear of death, including love? And if you think that’s a rather dark hypothesis to end, I would counter by saying how beautifully poetic I believe that is. 

    Love was nature’s antidote to prevent our own fears from destroying ourselves. It was designed to give us the courage to overcome our fear of death to protect our offspring. To protect our tribe. To protect our larger self. In an increasingly interconnected world I believe we must use that love to cultivate and serve a higher purpose that includes all life on this planet. We must use that to overcome – quite literally- our own fear of death in order to do so. I fear if we don’t, that fear, will consume us all.


    Thanks for reading everyone. So what do you think? Are our fears simply a fear of death underneath? And is love the antidote to those fears by design? Thoughts and opinions keenly anticipated. Warm regards, AP2 🙏

    ***

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

    3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

    Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post to plan its own funeral…

    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!


    3 x Thoughts:

    1) The two most important things are your family and today. Connect the dots.

    2) What if we all had the same colour skin? What if we all ate the same food? What if we all had the same job? What if we believed in the same God? What if we were all exactly the same? People often talk about the need to focus on our similarities instead of fixating on our differences. If you ask me, I reckon we should celebrate our diversity. We should each be proud of our unique qualities. That’s exactly what makes this fucked up world such an interesting place. In essence we are all the same (which is important to stress), but thank God none of us actually are.

    3) Love was nature’s antidote to prevent our own fears from destroying ourselves. It was designed to give us the courage to overcome our own fear of death so we can protect what it is we love – our offspring. Or – historically – our tribe, or our country, or our religion (whatever represents our larger self.) But here we have to be careful. Because what you are willing to die for, you are willing to kill for. That is a brutal reality check. (Come between a mother bear and its cubs and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.) Too much fear and it consumes us – yes. But too much love can blind us. There is a balance. We need to be careful about what our love for country, or religion, or partner is telling us. Sometimes your fears are right and your love is wrong. In a society that makes a hero of one and a villain of the other I believe this has messed up our thinking somewhat. It’s not that one is good and the other is bad, but that both have their place. Often neither of them do. Trusting rational thought over emotion is a good rule of thumb in the modern age.


    2 x Quotes:

    “Sometimes as an antidote
    To fear of death,
    I eat the stars.”
    – Rebecca Elson

    “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: ‘Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.’”

    — Maya Angelou

    1 x Thing:

    1) This moving video by Jim Carrey about who you really are. His point about taking a chance on who you are versus killing your true self certainly struck a chord. Hope you enjoy!


    1 x Joke:

    My old man cooked us fish and chips for dinner the other night. While he was halfway through cooking I asked, “What happened here? Did you get in a fight?”

    My dad replied, “What do you mean?”

    I said seriously, “This fish has clearly been battered dad.”

    My mum who over heard the conversation shook her head while saying, “Oh cod.”

    It’s fair to say we all had a whale of a time.


    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 finish:

    What’s something unique about yourself that you’re proud of?


    PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

    Mindset Mondays – 08/03/21

    3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

    Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that forces you to consider the purpose of hate…

    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) If you only ever live in the moment, why would you rush it?

    2) There is a direct relationship between responsibility and freedom. The more responsibility you take for your life the more freedoms are afforded to you – both internally and externally. Of course that means coming to terms with past traumas – that means facing some very difficult inner demons. However, everything we want (which is ultimately inner peace) is the other side of taking responsibility for the hand we’ve been dealt. At its core, I believe this is everyone’s Everest in life.

    3) You cannot fight hate with hate because hate begets hate. It’s the same as fighting fire with fire. As war has proven throughout history. Unless hate succeeds in eliminating its perceived threat, then that hatred is only going to build. What’s worse is that hate won’t be resolved by eliminating that threat if it does (which is impossible when considering an entire race of people). And then what happens? Hate looks for a new target. And if it can’t find one, it turns on itself. (Insert caracatiure of Hitler shooting himself here.) This is why hate always loses. Not because love always wins, but because hate ends up destroying itself. Love has to be returned in its place, otherwise we all lose.


    2 x Quotes:

    “There is a wonderful, almost mystical, law of nature that says three of the things we want most—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained when we give them to others. Give it away to get it back.”

    – John Wooden

    ‘The life you want starts with being grateful for the life you have.’” 

    — Rob Bell 

    1 x Thing:

    1) This Mark Manson article: Fuck Your Feelings. Gotta love Mark for telling it as it is. In this article Mark explains why doing things because it feels good is rarely good for you. Far better to align your actions around what you believe is actually good/right and, well, fuck your feelings. Well worth the 10 minute read. (I particularly liked his meta-feelings chart which I’ve added below.)

    Meet Your Meta-Feelings:

    Feeling Bad About Feeling Bad (Self-Loathing)– Excessive self-criticism
    – Anxious/Neurotic behavior
    – Suppression of emotions
    – Engage in a lot of fake niceness/politeness
    – Feeling as though something is wrong with you.
    Feeling Bad About Feeling Good (Guilt)– Chronic guilt and feeling as though you don’t deserve happiness.
    – Constant comparison of yourself to others
    – Feeling as though something should be wrong, even if everything is great.
    – Unnecessary criticism and negativity.
    Feeling Good About Feeling Bad (Self-Righteousness)– Moral indignation
    – Condescension towards others
    – Feeling as though you deserve something others don’t.
    – Seeking out a constant sense of powerlessness and victimization.
    Feeling Good About Feeling Good (Ego/Narcissism)– Self-congratulatory
    – Chronically overestimate yourself; a delusionally-positive self-perception
    – Unable to handle failure or rejection
    – Avoids confrontation or discomfort
    – Constant state of self-absorption

    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 finish:

    What do you need to take responsibility for today that isn’t your fault? What’s the best way to do that?


    PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

    Mindset Mondays – 22/02/21

    How To Make Love To Hate

    “We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.”

    – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

    I’ve been thinking about hate recently. Not only because we’ve see so much of it this past year, but because I’ve felt some as well. Truthfully it got to a point preceding the US election where it broke me a little. 

    I thought I was clear about where those feelings came from. What beliefs were driving my anger. But now that the waters have calmed, I can’t seem to shake this feeling that something else has been going on. Some deep-seated fear beneath the surface. 

    So I thought I’d give the topic of hate a more thorough examination. In an attempt to understand its purpose. And from that understanding hopefully find in my heart to show it some compassion. So we can all learn how to make love to our hate.

    First let me get you in the mood with some foreplay in the form of gentle stroking questions!

    Foreplay

    One thing that’s touted around the blogosphere as the panacea to all of our problems is universal compassion. It got me thinking (and laughing) that maybe I should write a post entitled, Why Universal Compassion Must Include Donald Trump. 

    If I can get through that without reneging on the premise well, ladies and gentlemen, that would be something. Because honestly I can’t wrap my head around the idea. 

    Are somethings not meant to be hated? The emotion exists for a reason right? The rational part of my brain figures it must have evolved to serve some kind of necessary function. At least, in very rare circumstances.

    Let’s, for example, circle back several hundred years and place ourselves in a small rural English village with a plague-ridden wife and four malnourished children.

    Now imagine a hoard of angry, horny, Vikings start pillaging the village by chopping your neighbour’s head off (you hated him anyway). 

    Do you, a) abandon your family by running away, b) resign yourself to death and hold your family one last time, c) try to negotiate a civilised peace treaty (by agreeing to share your neighbour’s stuff) or, d) pick up your sword and fight?

    Now let’s pretend your name is Uhtred, son of Uhtred, and that you pick up your sword. (I must watch less television.) What emotion do think would serve you best in a battle to the death?

    Maybe I’ve inadvertently hit the G spot here?

    When it comes to protecting yourself against someone (or something) who is attacking you, or those you love, perhaps hatred is meant to act as a last line of defence? Perhaps what drives our hate – at its deepest level – is a fear of death?

    At this point my wife would tell me to slow down as she’s not quite there yet.

    Anyway let’s get stuck into the main body (of this post) with some stuff I found on the internet.

    Intercourse

    After doing a bit of research into the relationship between hatred and death, I stumbled upon something that got me very excited (that wasn’t porn) called Terror Management Theory (or TMT).

    TMT posits, “The inevitably of one’s death creates existential terror and anxiety that is always residing below the surface. In order to manage this terror, humans adopt cultural world-views — like religions, political ideologies, and national identities — that act as a buffer by instilling life with meaning and value. TMT predicts that when people are reminded of their own mortality, which happens with fear mongering, they will more strongly defend those who share their world-views and national or ethnic identity, and act out more aggressively towards those who do not. Hundreds of studies have confirmed this hypothesis, and some have specifically shown that triggering thoughts of death tends to shift people towards the right.”

    I feel like I might have the G spot again!

    If our cultural world-views are meant to act as a buffer against our own mortality, it stands to reason that a fear of death would cause us to hold onto them more tightly does it not?

    What happens then, when those beliefs are challenged? Perhaps some of us might feel like our lives have been threatened? And what if people’s actual lives are threatened by something like a pandemic? Perhaps they’ll do everything they can to ensure that their beliefs survive in case they don’t? 

    (If you want to learn about how TMT can be used to explain people’s different reactions to the pandemic I highly recommend giving this study a read.)

    Now imagine, if you will, a facist nation invades your country forcing you to take up arms to defend it. How do you think that might affect your feelings toward your country? I’m guessing you’d concentrate on what it is you love. What it is you’re willing to defend and die for. 

    Oh hello Nationalism!

    Now consider how a rise in Islamophobia often follows terrorist attacks. Or how a rise in hate crimes against the Asian community follows when the former fear monger in chief dubs COVID the “Kung Flu.” Or how you binge watch all 5 seasons of The Wire and decide you can’t trust black people.

    Oh hello Racism!

    Of course this is a big problem. And it’s important to stress that while hate may serve to unite a country, or tribe, against a “common enemy”, hate always loses. Because hate begets hate. As war has proven throughout history. Unless you succeed in eliminating your perceived threat, then that hatred is only going to build. What’s worse is that hate won’t be resolved by eliminating that threat if you do (which is impossible when considering an entire race of people). And then what happens? Hate looks for a new target. And if it can’t find one, it turns on itself. (Insert caracatiure of Hitler shooting himself here.) 

    This is why hate always loses. Not because love always wins, but because hate ends up destroying itself. That’s something I believe Trump never understood. He cultivated just as much hatred on the other side of the fence and it came back to haunt him. That’s exactly why the answer cannot be hate in return. (And suddenly the idea of universal compassion is starting to make more sense.)

    At this point my wife would tell me to get to the point. And I would tell her that the secret to great love making is patience. And then she would tell me that girth is more important the length. And then I would cry myself to sleep… 

    Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, let me wrap things up. I’m nearly there!

    Climax

    TMT also got me thinking about another stereotype. The idea that people become increasingly “set in their ways” the older they get. It occurs to me that this might have less to do with what people believe, then an inability to come to terms with their own mortality.

    Not all people face death in the same manner of course. Many are happy in death. Even when suffering many remain at peace. They’re not bitter or resentful. They’re not consumed by hate. They don’t want to hurt others. 

    This all begs the following question: If all our beliefs are designed to help us cope with the elephant in the room – our own mortality – and if a fear of death causes us to cling to those beliefs more tightly, then maybe that’s exactly where we need to start in order live in peace?

    Now here’s my radical theory.

    If hate is driven – at its deepest darkest core – by a fear of death, I believe that coming to terms with one’s mortality might be one way to resolve those feelings.

    But how do you do that?

    Here are a few ideas. Meditate on your own demise. Face the idea of your death head on. Talk about it. Plan your own funeral. Treat today like it’s your last because it may well be. 

    The Stoics used to employ a technique called Negative Visualisation where you imagine losing what you value the most in life in order to help eradicate that fear. The idea is that it serves to lessen the emotional impact when difficult losses actually take place. The other hidden benefit is that it helps to cultivate a greater amount of gratitude for those things or people in our lives today.

    Here’s one more idea: Cultivate as much meaning in your life as you possible can. Studies show that those who feel they are living a meaningful life are, paradoxically, less afraid of death. Other studies show that those who have lower self esteem (who believe their life isn’t meaningful) are more likely to harbour feelings of resentment. That means coming to terms with past traumas as well (something I mean to explore in my next post.)

    So if you want to overcome your fear of death and let go of hate, volunteer to do some charity work. (Go figure!)

    Anyway, ladies and gentleman, that’s it. My answer for how to make love to hate, is to fall in love with death. Maybe if we do, we’ll realise that life is too short to live for anything but love.


    Further Reading/Sources: 

    ***

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

    Thursday’s Top Tip

    “How much more harmful are the consequences of anger and grief then the circumstances that aroused them in us!”

    — MARCUS AURELIUS (MEDITATIONS)

    The simplest, most common sense piece of wisdom that the vast majority of people fuck up on a daily basis is this: Don’t make shit worse than it already is.

    For example, imagine that a global pandemic ravages the world turning life as we know it on its head (oh wait). Now imagine how much harder it would be if you spent your entire time wishing it hadn’t happened (ah shit). Wishing for a different reality (yep, fucked that one up). 

    Or imagine that you’ve lost your job. Now imagine how much harder it would be if you spent your time blaming your employer for what happened. Pissing all your savings down the drain in anger. Instead of knuckling under and coming up with a plan. Instead of first accepting the hand you’ve been dealt and then putting in the hard yards so you come out the other side stronger.

    It sounds simple, not making shit worse than it already is. However not making shit worse is about having the discipline to face your current reality as it stands. Having the discipline to first accept it.

    This is why so many people fuck up this simple common sense piece of wisdom. They don’t practise acceptance (which is hard). They don’t first come to terms with what’s happened. Instead of pausing to have a think – instead of then making a measured response – they react rashly, caving in to impulsivity instead.

    In aviation we have a saying: ‘When shit hits the fan, first sit on your hands.’ That’s not to say you should do nothing, but that you should do nothing initially. First sit on your hands and have a think so you don’t do anything stupid (like shutting down the wrong engine when you have an engine failure). To make sure you’re clear about what is happening and what your options are (Like Sully who realised they wouldn’t be able to make the runway if he turned back to LaGuardia or headed toward Teterboro).

    There’s something else we use in aviation to help us think clearly when faced with any non normal scenario. I believe it works just as well in everyday life. It’s called the CLEAR model. (If you’re interested I wrote all about it here.) It stands for the following:

    C – Clarify what the problem is. (Global pandemic has left me unemployed.)
    L – Look for information and ideas. (Search for a new job or do an online course to gain new skills.)
    E – Evaluate your options. (Apply for jobs or learn a new skill or binge watch NETFLIX.)
    A – Act on your decision. (Binge watch NETFLIX.)
    R – Review how it is working. (Enjoying NETFLIX. Will continue to watch NETFLIX until I hate myself then reluctantly look for a new job.)

    I believe this is a useful model that helps you first sit on your hands and then gain some much needed clarity before making a decision. Because that’s what you need to do. First accept what has happened and then become clear about your options.

    Hopefully this model can help you do that today.

    Previous Top Tip

    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