Too Narrow-visioned

Writing

For some of us, life revolves around a career, for others it’s family. But should life really have a sole focus? Is it wrong to lead an existence where we strive for one thing and neglect another? Benefit in one area of our life  to the detriment of another?

Need we only look at the rich lonely business with money to burn on himself but no partner or child to share it with. Or the family with 5 mouths to feed who are living off of rations. A dichotomous pair, with polarizing values. Are they both wrong? Should life be less about a ‘single’ goal and more about having a ‘range’of goals? Should life even be about having goals at all?

Personally, I’m annoyed at myself for having the blinkers on, and neglecting  certain areas of my life, life shouldn’t really be about one thing or the other. Truly, I believe it should be about balance.

And it has only  been through experiencing mistake after mistake via bad life decisions for me to realise this unfortunately. One example for me is infact career. I don’t know exactly where my obsession with gaining certain career goals originated, whether it was from the mouths of pale and stale teachers at school or from the rosy-pink lips of the celebs interviewed on TV. But either way, my obsessive drive to become ‘X’ as a career completely overruled any other aspect of my life as far back as my early teens.

At school I remember threats were frequent – ‘if you don’t do well at this subject then you won’t be employable. If you’re not employable then you won’t get a job, so you won’t earn money. SO you’ll die!’ This general spiel was a common go to for my college careers teacher. A spiel which struck me to my very core, instilling me with a fear and a drive to seek employment, to seek approval from others.

The beginning of a bad end was soon to commence in terms of ‘dream jobs’ for me. At this stage I think it’s best to announce my age, from the number of jobs I’ve had you’d think I was immortal but infact at 25 years old immortality is exchanged for a quarter-life crisis instead. What a trade-off!

Ofcourse I can’t just blame my teacher’s threats on being the reason I’ve experienced so many mishaps on the careers ladder, but it helps so I’ll just go with it (hehe).

Although I’m 25 years of age, I’ve had 8 jobs in 4 years (this should be a pub quiz question). No, each one didn’t last 6 months and yes, there were gaps of unemployment where I found myself crying in the corner of my room, the room I was soon to be kicked out of had I not have found a job to pay my rent. At one stage I kid you not I was down to my last £30 in my account.

But I guess the question isn’t – ‘how may jobs have I had’ but instead, ‘why have I had so many’? A question I do ponder over deeply at times. A short answer of which would be to simply say that I found each one of them boring. But the truth runs much deeper than this. Really, I think the tip of the iceberg is hinted at by a statement I mentioned earlier – ‘to seek the approval of others’. In my little brain I think at some moment in my life I had a eureka moment and I found contentment in knowing that if I obtained a ‘successful’ enough career in everybody else’s eyes then I myself would be happy. And with this mantra moulded into the neurons of my mind I set foot on getting a job in the music industry. Notorious for it’s glitz and glamour or so I thought. But shock horror hit when I actually found myself number-punching into Excel spreadsheets in an office where the perk of the day was getting a free biscuit with my luke-warm cup of tea. The moral of the story was the music industry I experienced wasn’t the music industry I had envisaged myself experiencing. And from this a trend of falling in and out of a jobs list as long as your arm commenced. At one stage I thought I’ll take any job just to pay my extortionate rent as I figure out what way I want to maneuver myself within the music industry. Which sounds good on paper but when you have a 12 hour shift as a host in a restaurant where you can’t sit down and get groped every 5 minutes by one of the bussboys then you suddenly start thinking that the luke-warm tea back at the office didn’t actually taste that bad afterall. Over the last 4 years that I’ve been in London, my job titles have changed, my salary has changed, my career goals may have even changed but one thing which has not changed is my exasperating attempts to achieve some sort of career pinnacle. Some role which will make my parents proud of me, make me enough money that I won’t have to continuously set things back at the checkout, a role which will make my friends say wow, and make me feel genuinely happy. But here comes the irony. That doesn’t exist. And why not?

Because there’s an imbalance, just as I’ve been stressing over obtaining a career everyone can give a thumbs up too, other areas of my life have been neglected. It’s all well and good landing work experience with a big-name company, but as you’re stapling their meeting packs together the thought of ‘I haven’t seen my friends in a while’ might just start to sink in. Or ‘when’s the last time I’ve been to the gym, or ate correctly, or been on a trip?’.

For me a big thing is being too hard on myself, like, I would never reward myself for any wins be them large of small. It was always on to the next goal without hesitance. Whereas if I made a mistake along the way to achieving a goal it would be in the back of my head for weeks at a time. This stick over carrot mentality coupled with my blinkered attitude towards career alone meant that my dearest relationships became frayed. On ths desperate hunt for career success I no longer saw my friends, I wasn’t interested in romantic relationships, all because I had this hardcore belief that I had no time for ‘distractions’, that I needed to focus on achieving my career ambitions. Meanwhile, had I stopped for a second and realised that the areas of life such as relationships, self-love and health hold equal importance to a career if not more. I was blind-sighted by my own obsession to seek the approval of everyone else around me all while I was slowly losing any care I had for myself.  

If you don’t take care of yourself this can manifest into snapping at those who you do care about the most – your family and close friends. For a while I felt so pressured to become something so specific, I put deadlines on every objective I had, most of the time unrealistic ones which meant I was always in a stressed-out mood. Consequently relationships with certain family members became strained. And this was the wake up call I needed to realise that I had gotten myself into a  heightened-state of disillusionment and pressure. If trying to get a high-flying career comes with the cost of losing touch with my family then I don’t want the career. Better yet, what I’ve came to realise is that having a good career in itself isn’t the key to happiness nor is it the key to sadness, the true takeaway point is having a good balance between numerous elements in life: social life, looking after your health, hobbies and job.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t aim to become ‘X’ but what I will stress is don’t become ‘X’ at the cost of everything else in your life! Trust me, balance is more important that you may think. x

Can You Be Too Ambitious?

Writing

Can you be too ambitious in life? By being so are you just setting yourself up for overwhelming levels of stress and bottomless pitfalls? Or  by setting higher goals are you growing your skillset further and achieving more than you ever could even if you shoot and miss the target?

 

I ask this question because I feel like this alot, I feel like I’m maybe trying to do too much at one time, I struggle with organisation and procrastination eventhough I have a list of ‘ambitions’ as long as my arm that I ‘want’ to ‘/start’ doing. Spending alot of time thinking and planning and little time doing is my biggest issue. It really is a game of psychology, perhaps because I’m giving myself so many goals all at once I’m subconsciously feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks at hand and so turn my head to making a stab at any one ambition in particular.

 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having multiple ambitions, and I don’t like the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ but maybe when applied to the concept of time it is infact best to master one skill/ambition and then start incorporating another rather than tackling several simultaneously.

 

Another reason why maybe some of us find it difficult to keep on track with our goals is because we lead by the stick and not the carrot, by this I’m referring to the metaphor for the use of reward and punishment to bring about a desired behaviour. It’s a depiction of a donkey either being hit with the stick or chasing a carrot dangles infront of him in order to get him to move forward. For the most part we lead by the threat of something happening e.g. if we don’t do X then something bad will happen, and as a result we put ourselves under huge amounts of stress which may lead us to quit our efforts at reaching our goals. For example – if I don’t nail this presentation my boss will demote me, I need to earn above 50k per year or my wife will leave me, as opposed to if I nail this presentation my boss could promote me, my wife loves me for me not my money, I’m going to aim to earn above 50k to treat her more not to keep her!

 

I don’t think we reward ourselves enough when we do make progress towards our goals or even when we achieve them, maybe we think reaching the goal is the reward but it seems that no sooner have we reached one goal than are we back on the journey of trying to reach another. Perhaps we should give ourselves a pat on the back more often for even the small steps in the right direction. This would definitely help keep the motivation to reach a goal.

 

Bottom line is, I think it’s great to have ambitions, and even better if we start working towards them!

 

I wish you all the best with yours!

Peanuts To A Monkey

Writing

They say religion is used to control the masses when really the truth is that it’s money.

We give value to pieces of paper and metal, to invisible numbers forever changing in our online accounts. As humans, as a society, we have given value to something which if you really think about it is valueless. You might as well pick up a leaf next and start paying your taxes with it.

Money – evolved as a means of bartering and trading now as a status of power and segregation of class by wealth. I wonder to myself, what would the world be like if we didn’t have money? Not just you or I, but all of us. With no monetary value placed on materialistic items would capitalistic attitudes and habits of consumerism simply dissipate? Would we instead put value into the relationships we form, into the experiences we have? Would we see people for who they are, not what they have? Or is this Utopian dream merely deemed a damnation, a falsehood which would never truly grow wings?

It saddens me that society decides the value of a person not by their own morals or merits, but  by the numbers in their bank account. I ask myself where did this all start, how did it all begin? And for this we must look at the psychology behind what it means to place value on something.

The psychology behind value – post up tomorrow.

The Best Way To Stick To A Resolution – Don’t Have One

Writing

The best way to stick to a resolution is to not have one, yes you read that right. Take it from me a serial procrastinator and die-hard quitter. If you wanna get something done, don’t bloody do it! Have a look at the ‘reactance theory’ – when we feel pressured to perform action A we will most likely perform the opposite of action A to assert our freedom to ourselves.

If you call it a ‘resolution’ you’ll make it seem like a ‘chore’. Then it becomes something we feel we need to do rather than want to do. We, in a way, remove the freedom of choice by simply labelling it as a ‘New Year’s Resolution. So in that case:

  1. You Don’t Need To Go To The Gym

Gyms are full of sweat stained death traps, one wrong pull on the weight machine and you’re six feet under let’s be honest. Sure, the hot guy in the tight cotton blue t-shirt will be there but so will that pesky personal trainer, what’s his name again Marv the perv? Whatever you do just don’t squat!

  1. You Don’t Need To Give Up Smoking

That one single puff of luxury you get every 25 minutes, a much needed moment of euphoria from the usual turmoil of kids kicking and screaming and cats p*ssing on carpets. Otherwise known as general family life. If God gives you lung cancer it’s a fair trade off for the sweet serene seconds you escape Tommy’s temper tantrums you tell yourself.

  1. You Don’t Need To Save Any Money

Living in squalor really isn’t as bad as it seems, or so you keep telling yourself. Sure, you could start up a bit of a piggy bank, save something for a rainy day, but then how would you be able to afford your cancer sticks?

  1. You Don’t Need To Learn A New Skill – Like How To Crochet Blindfolded

Are you 85 or just senile through choice? Leave crocheting for the deathbed and go smash that piggy bank open instead.

If you really want to stick to your resolutions this year use a bit of voodoo witchcraft, I mean reverse psychology! Happy 2019!

Helpful link; Psychology Today

Poem: A Job Is A Job

Writing

Knees buckled beneath me.

Feet gnarled, toes curled.

The whole world’s up against me.

Yet still I spin, I twirl.

 

Counting pennies until it defeats me.

I’m sedated by my lost dreams.

It seems the past always repeats me,

A path of unraveling seams.

 

Whispered regrets always greet me.

My childhood career was not what is now.

If only my parents could see me.

In dismay, they’d ask me ‘how’?

 

Does your work make you happy?

Is that the aim of your job?

If you’re not in absolute misery,

Then what’s the alarm?

How Important Is Your Health?

Writing

The answers is yes, if you don’t have a screw loose, but if this is the answer then why do so many of us struggle to keep the gym routine in check, or even have one to begin with?

How often should you really go to the gym?

It’s  a shame to say it but yes, I skip leg day! And every other day that involves strenuous exercise! Although the truth must be told, when I’m in the mood to willingly work up a sweat I do ask myself the same questions -‘ how often do I need to go’ and ‘at what time of the day is best?’

Let’s have science pull their weight on this one:

How often do I need to go?

The obvious response here would be to say ‘how fit do you want to be?’ But there’s more to it than that, studies have shown that it takes approximately 2 weeks of inactivity to start to lose your cardio fitness and 3 weeks to start losing muscle strength.

So with all this inactivity making your Summer body fade in a heartbeat, what really is the minimum amount of exercise us lazy sods can get away with to still maintain that body of a Greek God? Well, the general consensus seems to be at approx 2 – 3 days a week. With 41 per cent of Britons aged 40-60 failing to walk for even ten minutes a month according to the independent even this seems like a stretch! The report also states that training 3 times a week is a good aim to have when your goal is to stay fit and healthy, and not necessarily to become Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

What time of the day is best to workout?

There’s this idea that working out in the morning on an empty stomach will boost energy levels and promote weight loss, others believe an evening session will be more beneficial at it gives time for your body to naturally warm up throughout the day and so be ready for the routine come evening.

Once I heard about these two theories it made me even more torn on which is best to choose. This video below gives alot of great variables and actually mentions how muscle growth is slightly increased on a consistent evening workout as oppose to that during  the morning.

But I think the best answer is the following – “the best time to work out is the time you’re most likely to work out.” The words of Chris Jordan, an exercise physiologist who created the Johnson & Johnson 7 minute workout

And to add to that – doing any sort of activity being low, moderate or high is still better than doing none, if not for physical health then mental health in my opinion.

Poem – Money

Writing

Money,

It slips through my fingers,

Like slithers of bottle-green seaweed submitting to gravity.

 

I chase it every day,

But yet I still feel drowned at its mercy.

I am submerged.

Will anyone take mercy?

 

Celebrities live a life of luxury,

Yet still, some show signs of misery.

If more money is all of our end goals,

Then how can we avoid this unpleasant possibility?

 

It’s a lie to say that money isn’t necessary,

It’s a lie to say we don’t want it.

Are we all doomed to live this rat race intensively?

Or is a mouse trap the only way round it?