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

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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    4-3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

    Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that believes the meaning of life is irrelevant…

    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) Knowledge is power but imagination is freedom.

    2) When doing something that makes you anxious it’s important to tell yourself that you can. Not because this will ease the nerves, but because when you do manage to pull off the task that you’ve been dreading, instead of feeling relief you will gain confidence. 

    3)  I’m guessing we all struggle with the notion of what life means. I think the ego is always looking for more – hoping that it can somehow live on for eternity. Meaning or belief is a way of guarding against our irrefutable mortality. However I don’t believe that’s necessarily a bad thing. The truth is we are all part of something much bigger. We are all interconnected. I like to say we are nothing if not those who came before us, and we will be for nothing if we don’t serve those who will come after. Meaning is something we must instil – it’s necessary. It’s what eases our own suffering and that of others. It’s what gives us peace. I believe we are meant to serve a greater good. God or no God. Not because it will matter in thousands of years to come but because it matters now, today. Look at what is right in front of you. That’s where the meaning you need to find lies. That’s what matters most. 

    4) You’ll never stop having problems. That’s a something people often don’t realise. They think if they can achieve this or acquire that, then they’ll be rid of their problems and finally be happy. As if happiness is some eternal thing to be realised. It doesn’t work like that. Happiness isn’t permanent. Problems are. Paradoxically expectations of an endlessly happy life will only lead to unhappiness. It’s perfectly ok to be unhappy and normal that you’ll go through low periods during your lifetime. Equally it’s perfectly ok to have problems! Not that you’ll have much of a choice about that. What you might have some choice about is what problems you wish to have. What you’ll always have a choice about is how you interpret and respond to your problems. Go about solving those problems and you might just find some happiness in the process. Keep solving problems and that happiness might actually last.


    3 x Quotes:

    “The meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that prevents you from killing yourself”

    – ALBERT CAMUS

    “Meaning is the Way, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking the Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that.”

    – JORDAN B. PETERSON (From his book: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)

    “If you change the MEANING of your life, it’s going to change the FEELINGS…Then, your life is really going to CHANGE.”

    RASHEDUR RYAN RAHMAN


    2 x Things:

    1) This article on psychology today: What is the Meaning of Life? by Neel Burton M.D. Neel argues that the meaning of life is that which we choose to give it. Moreover he argues that we should choose to give it meaning – whether or not you believe in God or an afterlife. How to choose? Drawing from the lessons of Victor Frankl he outlines 3 ways in which we meaning can be found:

    1. Experiencing reality by interacting authentically with the environment and with others.
    2. Giving something back to the world through creativity and self-expression, and,
    3. Changing our attitude when faced with a situation or circumstance that we cannot change.

    2) This New York Times article: The American Abyss by Timothy Snyder. It’s one of the best things I have read about the events of January 6th, and what it means/might mean for American democracy. Favourite quotes below.

    “Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves.”

    “We cannot be a democratic republic if we tell lies about race, big or small. Democracy is not about minimizing the vote nor ignoring it, neither a matter of gaming nor of breaking a system, but of accepting the equality of others, heeding their voices and counting their votes.”


    1 x Joke:

    Sorry folks I’m out of jokes this week so I’ll leave you with this far side comic instead. Hope you enjoy.


    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 can you do today that would give your life greater meaning tomorrow?


    PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

    Mindset Mondays – 11/01/21

    The Meaning Of Your Life

    A life is infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things. When you zoom the lens out, when you consider the enormity of existence. A life is but a speck in the vastness of time and space. A life is nothing. It matters not a jot.

    But when you zoom the lens in, past all of the galaxies and all of the solar systems, past all of the stars and the planets and the moons, and circle in on a single point in time and space. To the moment shortly after you were born, when I had you to myself. When the rest of universe melted away. When, for a moment, nothing else mattered. 

    Honestly if you could take everything else away. Every other moment in existence. Everything that has ever been. All the riches. All the mountains and all the oceans. All of nature. All of the stars and all of the planets in the unknowable universe. If you could take it all and give me just that moment, I would live in it for eternity.

    Of course I will never be able to adequately convey what that moment felt like, as hard as your father might try. All I can say is that those few minutes when I first held you were among the most precious of my small and insignificant existence. What you managed to do was fill them with more love, more meaning, and more joy than I could ever reasonably express with words. It moved me immeasurably – permanently towards something more. Something greater. For that, to you, I will be eternally grateful.

    You will, I hope, experience many such moments during your lifetime. Moments that move you beyond words. Beyond rhyme or reason. I pray your life will be filled with them. I believe it’s these moments that bring you alive in a way few others can. It’s these moments that remind you why, despite all the suffering life entails, it’s still worth it. 

    A problem that many of us experience is we forget. We forget, not the moments themselves, but the feeling. We forget what that true sense of aliveness really feels like. I believe this is partly because such moments are painfully rare during a life that’s painfully short. But mainly I believe it’s because people stop looking for them. They stop believing that there is any point to life. They start believing that their suffering is in vain. So they choose to live their lives in pursuit of immediate gratification. Nihilism consumes and they choose pleasure over purpose.

    Here’s something I desperately want you to understand as you grow up. Something that took your old man a while to figure out.

    Life is meaningless because meaning implies understanding. Whatever life means. Whatever the why may or may not be. What it is… is beyond our comprehension and always will be. It is therefore beyond meaning. Ergo, it is meaningless. 

    However.

    It’s preciously because life is meaningless that we must give it meaning. That’s how you guard against nihilism. That’s how you stop from falling down the rabbit hole. Life is chaotic which is why we must strive to give it order, no matter how trying the circumstances. To live is to suffer, it’s an unavoidable aspect of Being. Which is why we must suffer with purpose. It’s why we must seek to alleviate the suffering in others, however small, it whatever way we can. That’s how we find balance.

    The truth is our lives hold as much meaning as we give them. Which is why you must give yours as much meaning as you possibly can. In your relationships. Your work. Your family. You must fill every corner of your precious existence with it.

    If you do, you won’t be concerned with what the meaning of life is. You will understand that the question doesn’t matter. You will understand that your life does and that this is enough. 

    If you ask me the question of what it all means misses the point. The point is life itself. Why look beyond it? When you consider the extraordinary odds against which you found yourself here. It’s the equivalent of winning the lottery many billions of times over. A life, your life is invaluable son. You cannot put a price it.

    Life may ultimately be meaningless but that doesn’t mean your life has to be. It doesn’t mean your life doesn’t matter. Because right now, today – so long as you’re alive – it matters immensely. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise. Don’t let them tell you that this life isn’t enough. That it’s not worth getting up for. Fighting for. Striving for. It’s your one and only life. It is nothing but everything to you. Everything.

    I realise that your life, it’s everything to me too.

    Happy Birthday Son  

    With love, for ever and always, from your Dad.

    (Written on your actual birthday – January 6th 2021)


    (Thanks for reading everyone. I started writing this in a highly emotional state after I left the hospital on the day that my son was born. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the meaning of life? Is it a futile existence? What’s the point? Do you agree that it’s us who give it meaning? As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions. I sincerely hope the rest of you have felt as much love as I have in the past few weeks or so. Wishing you well, AP2 🙏)

    ***

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

    Tuesday’s Top Tip

    There are many people who believe that life is meaningless and argue, for that reason, what’s the point? Why bother?

    I have two responses.

    The first is why not?

    If life is meaningless then you have no reason not to put yourself out there. No excuse not to be courageous. If it doesn’t matter then why wouldn’t you take risks? Why wouldn’t you want to see if you can achieve your dreams?

    To simply say there is no point so why bother is a cop out. It’s a poor excuse and you know it.

    Here’s the second more important thing I would say.

    Life is meaningless because meaning implies understanding. Whatever life means. Whatever the why may or may not be. What it is… is beyond our comprehension. It is therefore beyond meaning. Ergo, it is meaningless.

    However!

    It’s preciously because life is meaningless that we must give it meaning. That’s how you guard against nihilism. That’s how you stop from falling down the rabbit hole.

    Life is chaotic which is why we must strive to give it order, no matter how trying the circumstances.

    To live is to suffer, it’s an unavoidable aspect of Being. Which is why we must suffer with purpose. It’s why we must seek to alleviate the suffering in others, however small, it whatever way we can.

    That’s how we find balance. That’s how we stop from falling into the abyss.

    The truth is your life holds as much meaning as you give it. The answer to this dilemma – whether it’s true or not – is to give your life as much meaning as you possible can. To fill every corner of your precious existence with it.

    If you do, you will no longer be concerned with what the meaning of life is. You will understand that the question doesn’t matter. You will understand that your life does and that this is enough.

    Previous Top Tip

    4-3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

    Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that prefers totalitarianism to freedom…

    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) Moving an inch forward will prevent you from falling a mile backward.

    2) If you miss the opportunity to appreciate the moment don’t stress. The next moment comes free of charge. All you have to do is notice.

    3)  Slow down and take lots of mini breaks throughout your day. I mean lots. Every time you feel stressed or scattered.  Look up from your screens and take a break. Start with several slow deep breathes and then go chat with a co-worker or grab a cuppa. If you’re really struggling, move away from your office and go for a walk outside or hit the gym. Not only will this bring you a greater sense of well being, it will give you much greater mental clarity. This in turn will actually make you more productive, not less. It will also mean you actually enjoy being productive. If it helps, don’t think of rest as a reward to be had at the end of a busy day. Think of it as a tool you can use throughout the day to keep you focused, motivated and ready to rock the fucking world. 

    4) People won’t accept rocks that are hurled at them – they’ll either duck and hide, or throw them back. If handed to gently, however, there is much a greater chance of being heard. There is a much greater chance you’ll hear what you need to as well.


    3 x Quotes:

    “All I know is my life is better when I assume everyone is doing their best. It frees me from judgement and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.”

    – BRENE BROWN

    “Through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home, and in doing so we both amplify our joys and find consolation for our sorrows.”

    – ROGER SCRUTON

    “All I know is my life is better when I assume everyone is doing their best. It frees me from judgement and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.”

    – BRENE BROWN

    2 x Things:

    1) This Intelligence square podcast: The Art Of Rest with Claudia Hammond and Helen Czerski. – “In this podcast Claudia Hammond explains that rest is not just a matter of doing nothing – it is a vital part of self-care. Her book, The Art of Rest, draws on ground-breaking research she uncovered through ‘The Rest Test’, the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken, which was completed by 18,000 people across 135 different countries. Much has been written on the value of sleep in recent years, but rest is different; it is how we unwind, calm our minds and recharge our bodies. And, as the survey revealed, how much rest you get is directly linked to your sense of well-being.”

    2) This BBC article: The four keys that could unlock procrastination by David Robson. This article explores the reasons behind why we procrastinate using something called Temporal Motivation Theory. It goes onto outline four simple “reflection points” that we can use. To quote, “Ask yourself these questions on a regular basis, and you’ll find it far easier to resist tempting distractions, allowing you to focus on the things that really matter in your life.” For anyone who struggles with procrastination this article is worth your time. I’ve noted the four questions below:

    • How would someone successful complete the goal?
    • How would you feel if you don’t do the required task?
    • What is the next immediate step you need to do?
    • If you could do one thing to achieve the goal on time, what would it be?


    1 x Joke:

    So I officially became a father of two this week! (Thank you all very much.)

    The question our family asked repeatedly was whether or not we were planning to have a third?

    “A turd?” I replied.

    “But we’ve already done a number 2!”

    (I’m sorry)


    Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week! I sincerely hope all of you have felt as much love this week as I have! As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please let us know below.

    One bonus question to finish:

    What activities make you feel recharged?


    PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

    Mindset Mondays – 04/01/21

    Tuesday’s Top Tip

    Don’t try to get as much out of life as you possibly can.

    This kind of thinking fucks you up. 

    Like trying to be the best person you possibly can.

    Don’t do that either.

    Why?

    Because both are impossible goals that you’ll never achieve. 

    Also think about this.

    When you get up and attack the day with as much gusto as you possible can. When you run around at a million miles an hour trying to do do do. 

    Ask yourself, “How much of the day am I actually enjoying?”

    I’m guessing not as much as the days in which you deliberately slow down and observe. The ones in which you look and appreciate – in which you laugh, play and let go a little (or a lot).

    Here’s something else you haven’t thought of. 

    In your pursuit to be endlessly productive – to make up for your feelings of being unworthy, you haven’t allowed yourself any time to rest

    And no I’m talking about sleep (at least not exclusively). What I’m really talking about has to do with activities that make you feel recharged.

    This can be many things – exercise or having a long bath. Meditating or going for a mindful walk in nature. Reading a book or having for a w***. It’s different for everyone! Even staring out the window for 5 minutes can do wonders. 

    So what’s today’s top tip you ask?

    Simple.

    Slow down and take lots of mini breaks throughout your day. I mean lots. Every time you feel stressed or scattered.  Look up from your screens and take a break. Start with several slow deep breathes. Then go chat with a co-worker or grab a cuppa. And if you’re really struggling, move away from your office and go for a walk outside or hit the gym.

    Really.

    Not only will this bring you a greater sense of well being, it will give you much greater mental clarity. This in turn will actually make you more productive, not less. It will also mean you actually enjoy being productive. 

    If it helps, don’t think of rest as a reward to be had at the end of a busy day. Think of it as a tool you can use throughout the day to keep you focused, motivated and ready to rock the fucking world. 

    Previous Top Tip

    4-3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

    Hello lovely readers and welcome back to my Mindset Mondays Post! The only weekly newsletter that delivers your vaccine just in time for Christmas…

    Following a 4-3-2-1 approach, it contains 4 thoughts from me (that you should probably ignore), 3 quotes from others (that you should definitely 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 terrible joke that’s so bad, you won’t be able to help but laugh…

    Let’s begin!


    4 x Thoughts From Me:

    If you want to go up, you have to overcome gravity. 

    Life is just like a box of chocolates. Except that some of those chocolates are actually pieces of poo. The problem is, because you don’t know which is which, if you want to enjoy the chocolates you’ve got to eat some poo as well. So yes, in that sense, life is just like a box of chocolates… and poo. 

    Original thought is often going ‘what if…’ and then thinking the exact opposite of what everybody else is. 

    The art of conversation is not about trying to convince the other person you’re right, it’s about trying to make the other person feel heard. When someone feels heard they soften their stance. This is how you begin to change minds and strengthen hearts. This is how you bring people closer together. To do that we need to forget about being right and instead, listen deeply. There is always something else going on beyond the words that are spoken. 


    3 x Quotes From Others:

    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen R. Covey

    “The largest part of what we call ‘personality’ is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness.” — Alain de Botton

    “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ― Albert Einstein (Source: https://myrandomspecificthoughts.wordpress.com/2020/11/22/critical-thinking/)


    2 x Things That Helped Me Grow

    1 – This engaging Tim Ferris podcast episode with Dan Harris on Becoming 10% Happier, Hugging Inner Dragons, Self-Help for Skeptics, Training the Mind, and Much More. For those who don’t know the name, Dan Harris is the author of 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works. The book that chronicles his journey as “a lifelong nonbeliever who always assumed meditation was either impossible or useless” into a lifetime practitioner. Notes form the pod below:

    “Seeing clearly the cacophony of your own inner landscape is how you are no longer owned by it.”

    — Dan Harris
    • ON MOTTOS OR MANTRAS: It’s easy to read a great book or inspiring podcast and feel envigorated – like you’re experiencing or waking up to a profound truth but the old habits of the mind are very quick to reassert themselves. We need to find ways to continuously wake up. And remember our aspirations. 
    • A little bit of worrying is good. A lot is bad. After you’ve run through the worst case scenario for the 17th time ask yourself one simple question – Is this useful?
    • MEDITATION ADVICE: 1 minute counts (Habit formation matters most). Daily ish (so you don’t completely fall off the wagon when you inevitably miss a day – be kind to yourself). 
    • Type A people. We go into something expecting to win or achieve. The problem is expectations are the most noxious thing you can bring to meditation. The goal is not to expect feeling a certain way. The goal should simply be to feel whatever comes up to the fullest extent possible. Visibility- the close to is what you want.
    • Analogies: The difference between being in the storm versus watching through the window from inside your home. In the movie versus watching it on screen. 
    • The goal is not to clear your mind but to focus it. Getting distracted does not mean you’re a failed meditator. In fact when you notice you’ve been distracted – even for a nanosecond that is meditation. Awareness of thought. 
    • Once you see the chaos of your mind that’s the first step not to be owned by it. 
    • Hug your dragons don’t slay them. The negative storylines served you once upon a time. Maybe in a very crucial way as defence against trauma. Instead of trying to slay them – which only makes them stronger – you should love them instead. Embrace your demons. This will allow them to clam down in your mind and give you the space to make smarter decision and allow for other more mature storylines that’s serve you better to start to flourish. 
    • Having good relationships is so important- making sure that we do. We need the tribe. It’s part of our evolution. Be deliberate about keeping your relationships up.

    2 – This Ted Talk with Leon Berg: The Power of Listening – An Ancient Practice for Our Future. In this inspiring talk Leon Berg discusses the power listening and council to help develop heart thinking and deepen relationships.

    “There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a natural function. Listening requires attention and focus.

    “Council is the practise of listening and speaking from the heart – derived from the ancient tradition of storytelling. Research shows our brains are biochemically wired for stories. Storytelling is something we should practise. It helps us move from head thinking to heart thinking.

    “Listening has survival value. Devote listening is what helps develop empathy.”

    Leon Berg

    1 x Silly Thing To Make You Smile:

    So my wife is now 36 weeks pregnant! I believe this comic goes some way of explaining just how prepared I feel…


    Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week! Till next time… Have a Happy Monday Everybody!

    P.S. Don’t forget to exercise your silly muscle this week!

    One bonus question for you all:

    How can you become a better listener?

    (Thank you all so much for reading. If you have any suggestions, thoughts or ideas about today’s weekly post I’d love to hear from you in the comments at the bottom.)


    PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

    Mindset Mondays – 30/11/20

    The Secret Ingredient Missing From Every Conversation

    That’s the most liberating, wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you’re an ass. It’s wonderful. When people tell me, “You’re wrong.” I say, “What can you expect of an ass?”

    S.J. Anthony de mello – SOURCE: AWARENESS

    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

    Stephen R. Covey – SOURCE: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    The vast majority of conversations consist of two people trying to have their egos validated by proving that one is right and the other is wrong. Often both will agree but even then, in most cases, what they agree is that others are wrong and they are right.

    This is a special, saucy kind of conversation where two individuals stroke each others egos instead of their own. “Oh stop it.” “No you stop it.” “Reowww!”

    It’s all based on the egos insatiable appetite to be right. To try to make sense of a world it can’t possibly make sense of. To place everything into neat little boxes. So we can get a tick with an A+ next to it.

    Well done Timmy you passed the test! You’re 100 percent right! Any other option would have been wrong but you got it right! This is exactly how the world works!

    The problem is so many of us have been raised to look at the world through this black and white lens where we’re taught that right equals good. Right equals success. Right equals smart and capable. Whereas wrong equals failure. Wrong equals incapable. Wrong equals dumb.

    It’s this kind of thinking that has made being wrong so difficult for so many of us.

    It either threatens our identity as being smart and capable or confirms it as being dumb and incapable. In both cases we find being wrong so incredibly painful we avoid putting ourselves out there at all costs.

    The question is how do we protect ourselves against this form of thinking? How do we protect against having a fixed mindset?

    Well one way is to consider that every single thought you’ve ever had, every thought that anyone has ever had, is in some way, shape or form, wrong. To consider that there is no black or white, only grey.

    If you look deeply enough you’ll see this is true. That we are always wrong in someway, shape or form. This argument itself can be picked apart on so many levels.

    The reason is there is no possible way you, or anyone else, can know everything there is to know about anything. The world is simply too complex.

    The sooner we can see how deeply flawed the ways in which we think are, the sooner we can let go of our limiting beliefs and more forward to slightly less limiting beliefs.

    Equally the sooner we can get to grips with the idea we know next to nothing – the more comfortable we can become in not knowing. This actually, paradoxically, promotes curiosity and learning. 

    It does this by helping us to understand that there is always something to learn. Always some area in which we can grow and get better. Equally it keeps our egos from feeling threatened by the idea that it’s wrong. As a result we become less afraid to learn and ask questions. We become less afraid to put our hands up and ask stupid questions.

    This way of thinking promotes a growth mindset.

    So next time you have a conversation with someone I suggest dropping all notions of, or attempts at, being right. Instead I invite you consider simply trying to be a little less wrong than you already are. Not only will this put you in a willing mindset to learn, it will allow you take whatever someone else has to say with a huge pinch of salt.

    Thanks again for reading everyone. I’m curious what tactics you might have for cultivating a growth mindset? How do you keep an open mind? As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions. I will always take it with a pinch of salt.

    ***

    You can see more of AP2’s writing here at: https://pointlessoverthinking.com

    4-3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

    Hello lovely readers and welcome back to my Mindset Mondays Post! The only weekly newsletter that expresses gratitude after forcing you to concede…

    Following a 4-3-2-1 approach, it contains 4 thoughts from me (that you should probably ignore), 3 quotes from others (that you should definitely 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 terrible joke that’s so bad, you won’t be able to help but laugh…

    Let’s begin!


    4 x Thoughts From Me:

    There is always a silver lining. You just have to look for it.

    Expressing gratitude might just be one of the single best ways to interpret reality – for the fact that we are alive is an extraordinary miracle. That this is lost on us for the majority of our lives shows a sad and astonishing disconnect from the reality of what it means to be alive. Practising gratitude shouldn’t just be something you practise everyday but something you strive to practise every waking moment of your existence.

    Isn’t it amazing that you can fail an unlimited number of times in life but still succeed? I find that reassuring. Sadly many of us allow repeated failure to grind us down. To tell us we are failures. It’s simply not true. The most successful people in life are the ones who have failed the most. It’s actually a measure of effort. It’s actually a measure of courage. 

    If there’s one thing I could get you to learn – I’d want you to see that you don’t need to achieve anything anymore. You don’t need to keep pushing for some goal to complete. You have everything you need. You’ve achieved it already. Slow down and look. Observe. See and experience what you have. Enjoy it. That’s the part of what it means to be truly successful that most of us fail at. Many people believe they’re successful yet can’t understand why they’re unhappy. People will never realise what true success is until they learn how to enjoy what they’ve already achieved. 


    3 x Quotes From Others:

    “As we express our gratitude we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”John F. Kennedy

    “Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude.”Anne Frank (Source: https://myexpressionofthoughtsblog.wordpress.com/)

    It is only from such a place of gratefulness that we can perform beautiful acts — from a place of absolute, ravishing appreciation for the sheer wonder of being alive at all, each of us an improbable and temporary triumph over the staggering odds of nonbeing and nothingness inking the ledger of spacetime. But because we are human, because we are batted about by the violent immediacies of everyday life, such gratitude eludes us as a continuous state of being. We access it only at moments, only when the trance of busyness lifts and the blackout curtain of daily demands parts to let the radiance in, those delicious moments when we find ourselves awash in nonspecific gladness, grateful not to this person, grateful not for this turn of events, but grateful at life — a diffuse gratitude that irradiates every aspect and atom of the world, however small, however unremarkable, however coated with the dull patina of habit. In those moments, everything sings, everything shimmers. In those moments, we are most alive.” — Maria Popova (Source: https://www.brainpickings.org/)


    2 x Things That Helped Me Grow

    1 – This Mark Manson article – Shut Up and Be Grateful. In it Manson explains the why gratitude is linked to happiness and why all of us should be practising it. Well worth the quick read!

    “For decades, research has tied gratefulness and appreciation to happiness. People who are happier tend to be more grateful and appreciative for what they have. But what they’ve also found is that it also works the other way around: consciously practicing gratitude makes one happier. It makes one appreciate what one has and helps one to remain in the present moment. Practicing gratitude increases accountability which directly leads to higher self-esteem and happiness.” 

    – Mark Manson

    2 – Since we’re on the subject, this TED Talk video with monk and interfaith scholar (and Jedi master) David Steindl-RastWant to be happy? Be grateful. Well worth watching – just in case I haven’t labelled the point enough…

    It’s not happiness that makes you grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes you happy

    Become aware that every moment is a gift. You haven’t done anything to earn it… it was given to you.

    Opportunity is the gift within every gift. If you miss the opportunity of this moment another one is given to you. If we avail ourselves to this opportunity it is the key to happiness.” 

    – David Steindl-Rast

    1 x Silly Thing To Make You Smile:

    We decided to start potty training this week.

    Progress has been non existent.

    So you can imagine my surprise when I heard my boy cry out from across room, “Daddy! Look at the shit!”

    At first I didn’t know whether to tell him off for swearing or express how proud I was for doing a poo all on his own.

    And then I thought, ‘there’s no way he’s managed to do it on his own so soon… is there?’

    But sure enough, when I walked over to have look, there it was – my son stood proudly, pointing at a picture of a ship in one of this books.

    Then I thought, Thank God I misheard him.


    Thanks ladies and gentleman. I’m here all week!

    I want to finish this weeks post by taking a moment to express my gratitude to all of you – for everything. For all your support. For helping to keep my head above water this year. For giving my life greater purpose and meaning. For making me a better person. Connecting with each and everyone of you is what has made blogging so incredibly meaningful. You are why I will continue to do so for a long time to come.  

    Till next time… Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

    P.S. Don’t forget to exercise your silly muscle this week!

    A couple of bonus questions for you all:

    What are you grateful for this year? What has this year given you that others haven’t?

    (Thank you all so much for reading. If you have any suggestions, thoughts or ideas about today’s weekly post I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.)


    PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

    Mindset Mondays – 23/11/20

    The Things That I Will Miss

    “The great gift of such periods is that they invite us to question our certitudes, our givens, these seemingly sure foundations that have lulled us into complacency — for it is only by being jolted out of our complacencies, cultural or personal, that we ever reach beyond the horizon, toward new territories of truth, beauty, and flourishing.”

    Maria Popova 

    So much of what I’ve heard this year from family and friends has centred around what they miss. The things they took for granted before the pandemic. Wishing and hoping for some return to normality. 

    While it’s nice to daydream I believe such thoughts take you away from the present moment. Where you live. Where it’s most important you find things you’re grateful for. 

    For that reason I thought I’d turn the topic on it’s head and ask you all what you will miss from this time in your life right now, when this whole pandemic blows over and normality resumes (whatever and whenever that is)?

    Allow me to start. 

    I will miss the abundance of time I‘ve had with my family this year. I will miss seeing my precious boy grow during such a budding tender age. I will miss the times I’ve spent laughing, playing and being silly. I will miss being able to read him bedtime stories every night. 

    I will miss the time spent with my wife. Time that has brought us closer together. I will miss the heartfelt chats every evening before bed. Singing and chatting to her belly, feeling as my second child would wriggle and kick with excitement. A precious gift to bring in the new year. 

    I will miss connecting from isolation – long chats with family members and friends from all over the world. I miss the occasional virtual pub quiz.

    I will miss the time available to pursue other ventures and pastimes. To read and write copious amounts. Time that has allowed my to both write and publish my first children’s book. Time that has allowed my to start and grow a blog – that has allowed me to connect with so many wonderful likeminded people from all around the world. People who have helped inspire me. Who have challenged me. Who have made me a better person. 

    I will miss regular sleep – which for a pilot, I can tell you, is something I never take for granted! I will miss having a stable routine. For having the luxury to take my time and do everything I wish during my days off. 

    I will miss the time to myself, the solitude. The time available to meditate at length and be still. To listen deeply. I will miss the way this has helped me gain insights I might never have made otherwise. 

    I will miss creating art, playing video games, binge watching NETFLIX and otherwise being a complete slob.

    Let me finish by saying how incredibly grateful I am for a year that has challenged me considerably. For a year that has made me wiser and stronger. For a year that has made more integral. For a year that has brought me closer to the values I hold dear.

    For a year that has given me something few others have. A much deeper perspective. A much greater resilience. A much deeper love and compassion for both myself and the wider world. 

    For a year that has put me in a better position to weather the storm ahead and come out on top. For a year that will make the rest of them that much brighter.


    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone! I was preoccupied the other day but wanted to take the time to practise some gratitude with you. Out of interest what are some of the things you will miss from this time in your life? If you want to humour me you can tell me some of things you won’t miss as well. Wishing you all the very best. With love, AP2 x