Poem: Present/Future

Writing

 

We only have the present.

Regardless of what we want in our futures,

It is the ‘now’ which takes all of the credit.

 

Living in the moment,

An experience unknown to many.

We disown it in exchange for a chance to oneday own a moment, 

Which is nothing more than merely a ‘maybe’.

 

Hope is one thing.

Oblivion another.

Do you look in the mirror and see yourself for who you are?

Or always strive to be somebody better?

 

Are We Truly Selfish Or Kind?

Writing

Altruism – “Having or showing an unselfish concern for the welfare of others.”

Do you think you’re a nice person? And by this, self-validation in the form of saying “thank you” to the cashier and “hello” to your neighbor I’m afraid doesn’t quite cut it.

This question springs to my mind in light of a recent conversation I had with a work colleague, as a previous psychology student he divulged in a mixture of both his past successful and failing science experiments within the field.

One which stood out had to be the case where he intended to a stage a robbery, not by using actors or people who were atleast aware of actions to be taken upon them. Oh no, he was aiming to use the element of surprise and stage robberies on innocent ill-prepared passer-bys. The psychology experiment wasn’t to analyse jumpscare reactions, it was in his words to put to test the behaviors of the witnessing bystanders. In other words, would someone come to the rescue of the person who has just been robbed? Thereby testing to what extent people exhibit altruism. Do you think you would go to their rescue in the example above?

Whether you would or not, or whether anyone would  for that matter, the experiment never came to fruition, no surprises as to why. One sniff downwind that one of the school’s students aimed to scare the sh*t out of members of the public and the study was shutdown. Who wants a pass in psychology when it comes at the cost of being passed a 10 year jail sentence for manslaughter because the test subject suffered a heart attack?

As I digested the story of his scientific setback, it got me thinking – are we really as kind as we like to think?

Moving away from human beings for just a moment, I recently came across this video of altruism being exhibited in the bird species – the African grey parrot.

Here you can see that although bird one does not receive a treat for indirectly facilitating in the passing of a token to the human hand by passing it to the bird that does, it still chooses to continue the action despite no reward. A selfless act if you ask me! And likewise, when the birds switched places, the same was shown, they continued to help get the token to the human hand even when they themselves were not rewarded with food and the other bird was:

Courtesy of The Scientist

So where am I going with this? Well, if birds have the capacity for selflessness, then so should humans, right? Afterall, we live in a society, there is a need to be social, to create bonds and work co-cooperatively, so surely it’s in our best interests to look out for eachother, no?

So why might we want to help eachother?

Neuroscience? –  The reward centers in the brain are activated when we carry out an altruistic act [source: Hinterthuer].

But isn’t this in itself a selfish thing? I help you because it makes me feel better?

Survival technique – Cooperative Breeding? – offspring receive care not only from their parents, but also from additional group members, often called helpers. As Burkart suggests in Psypost: “When our hominin ancestors began to raise their offspring cooperatively, they laid the foundation for both our altruism and our exceptional cognition.”

So perhaps deep down helping others really means helping ourselves.

 

Poetry: Change

Writing

A leopard can change its spots.

But cheetahs never do.

Changing your mind is one thing.

But changing your heart, is about as easy as making a mountain move.

 

2020

A new year, a new you.

This year will be different.

A false promise? Or does here lie the truth?

 

Do you need to change your perspective?

Moreso than actually changing you?

Do you need to take more time reflecting?

Than taking time, faking, being too big for your boots?

 

Poem: Stress

Writing

Stress.
The subtle strangler.
It manifests itself in many ways.
A fabrication of the mind.
Sending cortisol coursing through our veins.

Life – so full of precious pressures.
So petty, so small, minute.
‘A busy life is a happy one.’
A lie disguised as truth.

Rejection – Don’t Fear It (Too Much)

Writing

“Rejection” 

 

A word soaked in stigma, in negative connotations, but do we have to be so damning to a term which in some respects, paradoxically takes ownership for so many of our successes?

 

It’s a stinging word, bringing with it an overcast of self-doubt and worthlessness. As Steve Harvey said  – “success is about being comfortable with being uncomfortable”, it’s undeniable how discomforting and belittling rejection can be to us. But is it true, can we really have success without first facing rejection? Can we really appreciate the sweetness that is success if we haven’t yet experienced the sourest of rejections?

Overall, is being turned down in the moment really as bad as we think, or is it the kickstarter to our successes to come? 

First, let’s take a look at some of history’s most memorable dismissals:

  • Walt Disney was fired from the newspaper ‘Kansas City Star’ for lacking ‘imagination’.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired as an evening news reporter in her early days, for being unable to resist forming an emotional attachment to her stories she reported on.
  • Megastar singer Lady Gaga, once she was finally signed onto a major record label, was dropped only three months after being signed. 
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Not that I’m going to be the next Michael Jordan anytime soon, but I myself have been all too familiar with that stomach dropping feeling of rejection .Particularly when it comes to jobhunting. If  I started counting up the number of job applications I’ve received an automated ‘no’ email from to this date, they’d have to create a concept greater than infinity for me, I can’t lie to you. 

From work to love and everything inbetween, it seems rejection is friendly company to this thing we call ‘life’.

So if it can greet us in varying forms can it also show itself as a range of intensities?

Does a decline sting us more when linked to something we are heavily invested in? If your crush at school declines your advances, is this a tougher pill to swallow than if the village idiot did so?

If you’ve studied and worked your ass off for 3 years to get a promotion on route to your dream role, will a redlight on the careerpath derail you moreso than a rejection email for a role you’ve never even heard of?

Ofcourse it would, I think the bottomline is that none of us can hand on heart say that rejection has a nice ring to it, infact we at times go as far to say that we go out of our ways to avoid it as much as possible. But perhaps that is the real downfall of it all. By trying to reject rejection are we really infact doing ourselves more harm than good?

To try and understand this, let’s take a look at the reasons why us humans dislike rejection:

  • Physical and emotional pathways of the brain – studies have shown that the same areas of the brain are activated when we experience physical pain as when we feel rejection. So heartbreak really is a thing!
  • Blame the ancestors – as social creatures you can imagine that from a survival perspective, being ostracised from a clan has a high chance of meaning a struggle to survive and potentially even death.  Evolutionary psychologists have theorised that the human brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk of being outcasted. Perhaps this explains why I always bribe people with chocolate or smother them with chloroform if given any sudden inclination of their attempt to exile me.
  • Rejection swells aggression and anger – a report stated that  rejection was a greater risk for adolescent violence than drugs, poverty, or gang membership. Exclusion is a major factor being considered for rising knife crime in London at the moment. If people don’t feel accepted then they rebel. 

But with these negative impacts in mind, can there really be any supporting evidence for saying that rejection isn’t solely a bad thing?

  • Rejection could lead to greater levels of creativity – a Johns Hopkins university study alluded to the idea that although as humans we yearn for a sense of togetherness, a sense of belonging, it appears that some of us yearn for this less than others, and some more than others. Hence those who take a more independent path may actually find rejection from a certain social group a source of validation that they are not like others, this unconventional personality type could lead to greater creativity. Now, I’m not saying that we should all become loners and be ok with it, and in the process of doing so  we’ll become the next Picasso, all I’m saying is…..read the study!
  • Rejection gives you a chance to reset, refocus and have less regrets – The American Psychological Association shares that individuals who hold onto unresolved regrets exhibit more depressive symptoms than those who let it go. In my own experience the feeling of rejection is honestly easier to take than ‘if only I had done this…..’. 

Personally, I see rejection as a temporary sting that’s accompanied by alot of learning if you are open to the lesson in each experience.

If you can take rejection then it means you can take risks, if you can take risks then it means you will  increase your chances of being rejected more times. But guess what, it also means you will increase your chances of learning something from that ‘no’ and so increase your chances of getting that ‘yes’. The more chances you take the more likely you are to hit the jackpot. Think of the lottery! 

I feel like we hold more power to the act of rejection than we should. Life doesn’t fall apart on the bad luck of a lottery ticket, we don’t decide to declothe in the moment, crawl into a little ball and rock ourselves back and forth in our living rooms (that kind of activity is saved exclusively for Saturday nights), importantly we may even try and win the lottery a fortnight after again. And in this process of being rejected you have learnt an important quality of your character – your perseverance.

We ‘assume’ that the world around us will come crashing down if and when we are rejected. And for this reason a lot of us aren’t functioning at our highest potential. We aren’t taking the risks we have the opportunity to take and so we aren’t living to our full potential. As important as our primitive brains have been in our struggle for survival, in this day and age, the mind can sometimes be the matter. Don’t let rejection stop you from reaching your full potential. 

 

So to you I say – when are you going to be rejected next?

Question Time

Writing

Although some may argue that my elevator doesn’t quite reach the top floor, I do have my sporadic occasional moments of wishful thinking I’ll have you know.

And in those moments of synaptic wildfire, curiosities and peculiarities roam the plains of my mind like migrating wildlife of the African Savannah. Just some of the questions plucked from the deluge of my mind dumping are listed below. Based off of ofcourse  my very long listed Google history vs. my very small amount of ‘sent’ work emails:

 

  • What’s a gizzard?

Off of the back of my sister’s erratic commentary yesterday claiming that she would ‘bite your gizzard off’ if you dared try to snatch her chinese takeaway from her iron grip last night during her dazed state of pure starvation after a long day of doing absolutely nothing.

 

  • Why are male suicide rates higher than female?

           It’s inclusion week at work, which means various talks are being held around the building, one talk in particular that I wanted to attend was one inwhich the speaker shared his personal story on masculinity, suicide and bi-sexuality. 

 

  • What does it mean to be masculine?

This question was emphasised again in the talk above, a question which interests me in general.

 

  • What does the cerebral cortex do?

I listened to a podcast recently on the Ted App and found it really insightful, the cerebral cortex is pretty much the reason we can conduct ‘higher order’ tasks which are primate cousins cannot. And why is this so – because of fire. That’s all I’ll say, if you can’t figure out the answer then either you’re an ape or you just need to listen to this podcast. 

 

The Unknown Brain

https://www.ted.com/read/ted-podcasts/ted-radio-hour 

 

  • Does being a good dancer show that you aren’t neurologically dysfunctional, and vice versa?

Watching Strictly Come Dancing/ Dancing With The Stars really gets me in the mood to take up a few ballroom dance lessons. After watching  mere minutes of the jive or salsa I’m flabbergasted at how they can remember so many steps and keep it in rhythm (most of the time), is this trained, do some people have natural ability when it comes to dancing? And if so, why is this so?

 

  • Why are cats afraid of cucumbers?

Cruel but undeniably funny how cat owners across the globe tease their furry pussies with a big ole’ cucumber. Someone needs to call animal welfare. 

 

  • How to get a job.

It is what it says on the tin, finding a job is fast becoming one!

 

  • ‘Miscellaneous’

I find this difficult to spell if I don’t write it quick enough, like ‘embarrassing’ and ‘daffodil’. Does this happen to you with certain words, if you pause to think of how to spell it you actually find yourself grappling for the correct spelling of the word?!

 

Have you ever had a look back through your google history for the day and thought – wtf am I doing with my life? Today was my day, maybe it was yours too?

Poetry: Success

Writing

The sweet scent of success,

If only it lingered just that little bit longer.

If only it tasted just that little bit stronger.

 

Is success a waiting game,

Or a game of chase?

Should I give it my all,

Or should I accept my fate?

 

Success.

The word on the tips of all of our tongues.

Yet what it actually means,

Is anyone’s guess,

So has yours ended or begun?

Mood Swings

Writing

I now totally get where the saying ‘you’ve got up on the wrong side of bed this morning’ comes from, by doing just that this morning. Waking up today made me feel like climbing up Mt Everest would’ve been easier. No sooner had I stood up that I had realised both of my hamstrings were pulled. Did I do some heavy lifting the day before? Some midnight yoga I can’t remember? No, no I realised what it was. It was cleaning.

 

This is why cleaning and I don’t go well together. Brushing the wooden floors of my flat (as I seldom do) left me a pulled hamstring in each leg, how sad is that? From which concludes two things, 1) I don’t use my hamstrings enough – I’m unfit 2) I don’t tidy enough.

 

Anyhow dragging my hamstring-pulled body to work, I thought the worst of today’s troubles are surely behind me. Yet, as hindsight would tell me, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

 

Sitting at my desk in the office, I could just about open my eyes, which weren’t too dissimilar to that of a weeping pregnant turtle giving birth on a golden coastline. So jarring was the sight of the computer screen, that I immediately adjusted the brightness to basically pitch black on my monitor. In my logic I’d much rather squint to see the words than have my retinas bleached to high heavens.

 

Finally,  I wake up, and just in time for the world’s most annoying typist to start hammering the keyboard like she’s playing a game of ‘whack-a-mole’, the worst thing is that she’s not even typing emails or any general document to do with work. She’s whatsapping her boyfriend of 5 years! The shame! Loud typers are definitely one of my pet peeves, after of course that annoying little noise some people make after yawning, and open mouth chewing!

 

Fearing I was about to have an assault case on my hands, I scarpered off to the bathroom to try and compose myself, visually playing through different scenarios in my head until I reached the one which was least likely to convey my psychopathic tendencies. So screaming in her face and throwing her keyboard out of the window had to be subdued for the time being, much to my dismay, I can assure you. 

 

I return to my desk with a new plan devised, in the hope it would pacify me as she continued with her goal of turning her fingers to stubs from typing so f*cking frantically. Maybe a bit of Reggaeton music, asmr and the odd Ted Talk will drown her out I mull over in my mind. 

 

10 minutes in to ‘why sleep is your superpower’  and I hear this hacking noise, moments later whooping then gulping. Is someone strangling the keyboard thumper? No, (unfortunately) not, it’s just the guy sitting directly behind me deciding to imitate the neighbours cat churning up hairballs like there’s no tomorrow. I think it’s a nervous thing with this guy, yeah, I can tell you he definitely gets on my nerves at this stage. If you need to clear your throat do it in one almighty lung clear, don’t dabble with the idea and draw the cough out over several mini mucusy soundbites. If you do choose the latter option then please hacking don’t make a habit of it. I swear this guy coughs more than he breathes. Perhaps that’s why he’s coughing so bloody much!

 

I realise I’m going on a mini rant, it’s just been one of those days. Everyone’s really nice at work, honest. It’s just me who has the problem really. If the above doesn’t make that obvious already. 

 

Anyway I turned the volume up to deafening levels on my headphones and it did the trick, temporary deafness and tinnitus are the prices I’m willing to pay to make Miss tantrum typist  and Mr cough up a lung mute for a mere moment.

 

Lunchtime arrives and I decide to remove my headphones, the sounds of the office are replaced by the all too near whiffs of sardines and soup. I leave the office, ready to have a mental breakdown, heading to the shop I spend 10 minutes sniffing all of the hand creams hoping to eradicate the stench of fish from my memory. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the right to eat whatever they want for lunch, fish is good for you anyway. But with my blood pressure already sky-rocketing you can see that today wasn’t my day to sail the seven seas if you get my drift? 

 

I buy a noodle salad thing and wolf it down in a heartbeat, wanting to stretch out my pulled hamstrings I take a walk along the river, sitting momentarily to winch at the pain and wallow in self pity, I’m approached by your local nutjob who starts rambling in my ear about how this place is his favourite place in the whole wide world. It’s not like I’m afraid of people, but I know my stranger danger and this guy looked dodgy. Trying to keep my poker face, and nodding along to his ramblings I decided to make a break for it and started limping back to the office after cutting him off abruptly. I continued to turn my head around as I hobbled away just in case he took offense to me departing from him rather swiftly. 

I wasn’t feeling up for a punch in the left kidney from a stranger today so I made haste getaway back to my desk. 

 

The rest of the day was spent reading emails, pretending to know what I’m doing and watching videos of puppies training to be guide dogs. Well, at least I ended the working day on a high!

 

Can’t wait for the sweet sweet sounds of sweaty digits on computer keyboards tomorrow!

We All Do This…

Writing

Creatures of habit, copycats, primitive minds, call us what you will. The bottom line is that there are just some things we all can’t deny we’ve done atleast once in our lives, wouldn’t you agree with the below:

 

  • We’ve looked away so abruptly that we’ve almost given ourselves whiplash, so to make it obvious that we aren’t watching the person ahead of us at the checkout entering their pin number into the card machine.

 

  • We’ve let one go out in public and purposely played it off by giving our neighbour daggers so nobody thinks it was us. 

 

  • We’ve scurried around the supermarket aisles like some badass ninja playing peek-a-boo, all to avoid that formidable awkward encounter with the person from work/school who we don’t really like.

 

  • We’ve agreed in our own minds to completely avoid a person for eternity all because we didn’t have the balls to ask them to repeat their name for the 3rd time, so we’ve concluded that ever having to say bye to ‘mr. anonymous’  would just be too awkward.

 

  • We’ve all had to reread what we’d just read because we weren’t paying attention to what we were reading.

 

  • We’ve all been freaked out at night when home alone, don’t deny that you haven’t checked the doors are locked and looked under your bed for the serial killer. 

 

  • We’ve all used our fingers to do simple arithmetic.

 

  • We’ve all followed google maps on our phone, only to quickly realise it’s bringing us the wrong way. Haven’t you tried to play it cool by pretending to look in a shop window before abruptly making a u turn? Or are you one of those people who just attack the right-turn with conviction while muttering how sh*t google maps is under your breath?

 

It’s safe to say you’ve done at least half of the above, if not you’ve lived a very sheltered life and I feel sorry for you. 

 

Why Are We So Ungrateful?

Writing

If you can read this right now then you have the ability to see. Sight is one of the most valuable senses us humans can posses yet paradoxically it is one we take most for granted. Too busy complaining about our bosses thinking they’re better than us or stressing that we aren’t earning as much as our partners, we lose focus. Instead of moaning about somebody else to make yourself feel better can you not spend a second seeing the good you already possess? For your ability to speak, for your ability to cook, the list goes on. I write this post to share my thoughts on this point, this focus on ungratefulness has crept up on me several times. One example of which was just several days ago when I was walking to work in the morning, on route I passed a beautifully dressed young lady, she was wearing a maroon headband made of silk, a ruffled lemon blouse and bottle green cigarette trousers and she was using a white cane because she was blind.

 

As I passed her my negative thoughts of how bored I am living in the same flat to how annoying a colleague is at work suddenly meant nothing Instead I was stunned with the realisation that I had no reason to complain, because what I was complaining about was so petty. I had more important things to be thankful for thank things I had to complain about. I was going to work to use my skills, I had the ability to walk where other people may not be able to do this , I had the ability to see where others may not have the ability to do this. I must stress that this post is not me trying to compare myself to someone else and state that because they don’t have something and I do that I should feel good about that or better about myself. But instead I aim to highlight that we all have qualities in our lives which we overlook all too frequently, for example while we’re too busy chasing the next pay cheque we forget that we’re fortunate enough to have our health. Or whilst we complain that strangers are rude to us on our commutes we forget that we have a loving family at home. While we judge something critically in the shop window we forget that we have the ability to see the expressions of joy on others around us. To stop for a moment and be thankful of the most underrated elements of your life will surely enrich it?

 

I truly believe that the real answer to being happy is being grateful. To further support this opinion of mine, I need to look just at last week. As much as I enjoyed the Isle of Wight Festival , I must say camping was tough. Let’s be honest lying in a damp cloth cocoon in a bumpy field is a fast track way to insomnia I’ve no doubt about it.  But in some ways, anytime I go camping I’m thankful afterwards. And this time was no different, for on my return to London I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face as I jumped into my bed after a shower with actual hot water! A week prior to the festival and I treated a warm bed and a hot shower as expected, fast forward a week and I saw it as a luxury. My point being to feel good about things and about yourself perhaps it takes a moment to realise. Perhaps it takes a week camping for you to appreciate home comforts, atleast it did for me.

 

A tip I do sometimes actually, especially if I’ve had a bad day is list 5 things I’m grateful for that night before going to bed. It may not solve all of your problems but it certainly helps remove the storm cloud from above your head so you can sleep And who knows, maybe if you do it frequently enough you may be a happier person in the long run. I think so.

Poem: Rejection

Writing

Rejection

Rejection is like an unwelcome face.

All too familiar, you close the door on it.

Should rejection be ignored or embraced?

It depends on what way you look at it.

 

Rejection from a lover

The heat of their body touching yours is fading.

Now all but a distant memory.

The taste of their mouth on yours – erasing.

You yearn for the return of this reality.

.

Failure

Will it make you stronger or weaker?

Do you see it as a knock on the esteem?

Is it a chance to become better?

Or do you say farewell to your dreams?

 

Rejecting yourself

Just as you can have too much of a good thing.

You can have too much of a bad.

If rejection comes round to often?

Understandably – where do you stand?

 

Poem: Time

Writing

We think about the future,

So that we can enjoy its ‘present’.

But like a dollar bill drifting in the wind.

We never do quite catch it.

 

We worry that it’s not on our side.

Like it’s going by too quickly.

Asking ‘where does it fly’?

 

Time – isn’t it a peculiar concept?

Does it exist or does it not?

As humans have we just ‘created’ it?

Or is it time that created us?

 

We can’t rewind the clocks,

And we certainly can’t speed them up.

Why don’t we just get lost in the moment?

And not worry about the time that we’ve lost?

 

My Face

Writing

I feel like today is one of those days were my face refuses to show any sort of expression, similar to what I can only assume the lovechild of an over-botoxed barbie and a saddened clown would sport had they just been given the news that their goldfish bubbles just died.

 

Yes, my face is frozen and I just can’t seem to thaw it out today. Do you ever have those sudden waves of melancholy, moments of introspection, of silence? It’s as if they’re somewhat uncontrollable, like, I don’t willingly choose to suddenly wake up and find it difficult to get out of bed somedays or struggle to strike up a conversation with people. For some reason, it just…..happens. Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to?

 

Is it stemming from a subconscious place of unrest? Is there something in our lives we haven’t addressed which as a result manifests itself in our mood swings we exhibit on friends, in our  periods of worry and stress we bring out on ourselves?

 

As humans we are such complex creatures, why couldn’t life be more simple, I ask? Or is the truth of the matter actually that life is infact quite simple – and it is us humans who overcomplicate it?

 

In my opinion, probably the latter of the two, for you don’t see pandas suddenly having  mental breakdowns at the thought of wearing ‘those shoes with that shirt’, or any other animals for that fact! It’s just us humans who worry about the petty things and perhaps that’s why I’m sitting here with a face that makes a plank of wood look overenthusiastic.

 

Don’t be like me, please.

Ghost Stories – Continued

Writing

So I’ve made it, with a sustained pulse so fast it almost flatlined and enough buckets of sweat to fill the oceans twiceover, it’s safe to say ‘Ghost Stories’ did it’s job of being terrifically terrifying last night at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London.

 

Not to give the plot away too much, but it basically follows the narrator on a journey through 3 individual ghost encounters, executing a jumpscare once every couple of minutes it felt like. It got me thinking, what causes us to ‘jump’ when we’re scared, surely the little skip in your seat wouldn’t serve you much of a purpose, or would it?

 

What Is A ‘Jumpscare’

 

A  technique bringing about an abrupt change in audio or image in order to frighten the audience.

 

What Happens When We Are Scared By A Jumpscare:

 

The sudden change of stimulus causes a series of chemical reactions in the brain to facilitate the ‘fight or flight’ mode. Specifically a part of the brain called the ‘hypothalamus’ activates two systems in the body which prep you for that survival instinct on whether to run for the hills or fight it out. These are the 1)sympathetic nervous system and 2) the adrenal cortical system.These systems work to transfer stress hormones throughout the body to cause the symptoms we know of including an increased heart rate, tense muscles and dilated pupils. Increased heart rate = more blood can flow to the muscles energising them to run or fight and to the brain for quickfire decision making in the face of danger. Muscles tense energized by glucose and adrenaline. Dilated pupils allow as much light in as possible so the perceived threat can be seen clearly.

 

So now that you know a little about what happens inside of you when you’re scared, will any of the below trigger the physiological effects above in you?

 

 

Courtesy of Bros Top 11 (not my material)

 

Did it work on you? If not, would you pay money with the intention of getting scared out of your mind like I did?

 

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!

Does Equality Really Exist?

Writing

I ask myself this question as I’m swiftly ushered out of my own workplace by rather hench looking security guards an hour earlier than I should be, because an A-list celeb is coming in shortly to do a quick Q+A session on the release of their new album and no stragglers must be lurking round corners trying to get a quick pic with the megastar.

 

Not that I’m complaining about leaving work early, as if! But instead, I’m questioning the value placed on me – the staff member as oppose to the visitor – a temporary guest. Am I not worthy of seeing them in the flesh? Am I not worthy of breathing the same air as them? I know we’d like to believe that it’s actually because we they don’t want some psycho stalker maniac fan getting too close so they filter the Q+A audience to avoid this, but a part of me struggles to believe the reason is solely this. Am I simply not valued as highly as the celebrity? How can you say we’re equal if they’ve flown in on private jet, have been chauffeured around all day and now have most of the workplace exiting for the evening?

 

I have no issue with the celeb by the way, they’re just doing their thing, but moreso with society on how we value one person more than another. This sadly is truth. We live in a world where we want to believe that everyone has an equal shot at success, were everyone has manners and respect, treating everyone equally and fairly. Not to be a Debbie downer but I don’t think this is 100% the case, infact I would go as far to say that it’s not even 50%.

 

I think the ugly truth of the matter is that it comes down to what qualities do we truly value in people? Intelligence, good looks, athleticism, wealth…..? Atleast this seems to be the case in the society I live in. But what about morals and altruism? Are they characteristics of the weak, the overly sensitive? Why are they overlooked?

 

From rags to riches, to cultural classes, throughout our lives we are categorised in terms of our quality/value. As we are individuals, can it therefore be said that each of us have different qualities or even further, different levels of quality? Is a murderer, in your eyes, equal to a doctor, the Queen equal to the commoner, woman equal to man? Civil partnership equal to marriage?

 

If we are so similar in our qualities are we so similar in our flaws? Is killing one person not as bad as killing several? Is killing an animal lesser than that of a human? Are animals equal to humans? 

 

There are so many questions surrounding this idea of ‘equality’, afterall it is just an idea. Because if we were all treated as equal, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post an hour early.

 

Am I just feeling sorry for myself? Do you think equality exists?

What Does ‘Value’ Mean If You’re In Poverty?

Writing

With over 500 million people currently in poverty across the globe, materialism is but an abstract concept. Unimaginable to the people, who, through no choice of their own have found themselves struggling to survive.

 

When put into context it is  somewhat fortunate yet ignorant of us who complain about shops not stocking the right wines to go with our Sunday roasts, or leather shoes to fit on our feet. When you have almost 2,000 children dying every day from  diseases linked to unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation. We may complain how supermarkets never put our favourite soap on discount, when I think the bigger point should be, atleast we have money and a shop to complain about in the first place.

 

Value to someone with money is money, value to someone in  poverty is not solely money. Yet instead, basic necessities of life such as food , water, shelter, healthcare and education. In 2019, how can these figures exist? How can 3 billion people live on $2.50 or less each day?

 

Changing our perspective on what truly is ‘valuable’ in life may hold the secret to real life fulfillment. Instead of this adopted attitude of ‘I’ll be happy when…..I have the newest car, the job promotion, the mortgage paid off on the house.

 

Maybe if we stopped chasing happiness and just humbled ourselves every once and a while we’d be more grateful about life. If we leant out a hand to help one another more often, we may gain a greater sense of self than merely buying a new TV. I touch on this point in my poem ‘a closed fist’ – how we walk passed those in need today, yet you never know how you may need them in the future. Gone are the days were favours can be repaid by favours, money seems to be the main way of bending someone to your will be it by bribery or blackmail.

 

Before I go off on a tangent about this maybe I’ll finish on the following:

 

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde

 

The Psychology of Value – Culture

Writing

Carrying on from yesterday’s post, I noted how this concept of value stems from our childhoods. How we internally form an attachment to particular items we deem as ‘ours’  from a young age.

Yet when comparing this globally, there are certain cultures where regardless of age, this trend does not appear. For example in a study conducted by scientists at Yale University , researchers ran a study on the Hadza people of Northern Tanzania to determine whether the Endowment effect took place within the community or not. When conducted it was found that of the Hadza people who lived closer to the towns or villages which exhibited markets and were therefore exposed to a society where money was exchanged for goods, 25% of them were willing to trade their original gifted item for a new one i.e. trade the lighter they were given for a biscuit or vice versa.

Comparing this to the Hadza people that lived further away from the villages and towns, in a more isolated community, a greater proportion – 53% in the group were more willing to trade. So why is this so? The people in the more ‘isolated’ environment, the hunter-gatherer population, they lived in an egalitarian society and so the movement of goods is much more open and shared more evenly between group members.

Looking at this one example, it can be said that emphasis on the society we grow up in, the environment we grow up in are key factors to how we value the things in our lives.

In relation to this, if we return to the initial point of ‘monetary’ value, socio-economic factors can be linked to certain types of culture, for example gang culture. With this I ask the question:
What does the word ‘value’ mean in an impoverished community?

The Psychology of Value

Writing

What do you think is more valuable, the price of these rings in the picture, or, the relationship symbolised by them?

No rush to answer! How about the question below instead, as a continuation from yesterday’s post:

 

If I gifted you a Swiss chocolate bar to begin with then a few moments later asked if you’d like to swap that chocolate bar for a new white coffee mug, would you do it?

I didn’t think so either, so why is this? Maybe you like chocolate more than mugs (same here)? But the psychology behind ownership  isn’t that straightforward. In a study by Kahneman, Knetsch and Thaler, when the experiment was conducted in the both the way outlined  above and also the opposite i.e. when students given mugs first were then asked if they wanted to swap it for some of Switzerland’s finest cocoa products, the majority refused to swap the item they were initially given for the item up for grabs in return. So why is this?

Scientists believe it may be  because of the psychological phenomenon known as the ‘Endowment Effect’. Which put simply is the idea that people place more value on something they ‘own’ than the very same object which they have not inherited. For example, say we had two identical water bottles. If I were to give you one and ask you a few moments later if you’d like to swap. Chances are you wouldn’t, even when knowing the two items are basically equal in value in terms of money and use.

But that’s just it. The intrinsic value that your water bottle has to you is more than that of my water bottle.  In those precious few minutes you held your gifted bottle you developed an ‘attachment’ to it. This attachment idea stems from childhood: It is theorized that throughout our childhood, we grew accustomed to placing value to particular objects, be it a certain blanket or a toy,  as if believing that they have a ‘unique’ essence.

Not limited to the imaginations of our juvenile selves, this trait follows us into adulthood and if anything becomes more elaborate.From celebrity memorabilia to refusing to detach ourselves from the possessions of passed loved ones, it’s as if we feel better connected to these individuals through their materialistic items.

 

When it comes to ownership, culture also plays a part.

 

Explained in tomorrow’s post!

 

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.