Planning – Is It The Right Way To Go?

September 23rd, 2010

Well the short answer to the title of this post is ‘it depends’ but what is an interesting scenario to look at more deeply is ‘what happens when everything goes according to plan?’

And I don’t mean at a task or project level but at a long-term personal goal level. Say in recent history you’ve obtained your university degree, landed a fairly decent job at a reputable company, built up a portfolio of some sort and are on your way to securing what ever awaits for you at the finish line – a new home, marriage and/or promotion. It’s a rather rosy picture and I believe it is one that many would like to or have painted. And I can only imagine the feelings at the end: relief, pride, happiness.

But I ask you to think back at some of your most memorable and cherished memories. Were they planned occurrences? Was there a sense of excitement? For a brief passage of time where the variables are just right you can experience something very special. But they don’t need to be confined to just moments. The winds of passion can set you on course to discoveries about yourself you may never have experienced if you did things ‘according to plan’.

So while ‘it depends’ on whether to plan or not, just remember about the alternative. It’s not all that scary.

Reactivate Your Curiosity

September 12th, 2010

The world is such a rich and vibrant place filled with hundreds of cultures, landmarks, foods and people yet we only get to sample the most minute fraction of it in our lives. However, while we typically sample only a droplet of what the ocean of the human race and planet offer we’re not too far from having the capacity to be curious again.

Once upon a time you viewed the world with open eyes and absorbed so many wonders, and maybe even tragedies, yet as an adult that drive is depressed. This is natural to some extent – our life expectancy has rapidly overtaken the time it takes for the brain to fully develop (approximately 21 years). So it’s no wonder that 60-odd years of life is spent where the brain is simply…on idle. Sure, we continue to learn bits and pieces that come our way but it can be all too passive. With so many marketing efforts bombarding us with ads and expectations of the 9-5 grind it’s too easy to just give up and be consumed.

So don’t forget to question. ‘Why?’ is a remarkably powerful tool. It may lead you to new passions, people and love. It can lead you to new directions, exciting adventures or even a fresh view of the past. Don’t be afraid. The rabbit hole is there to fall into.

Research Findings in Social Psychology: Normality

August 16th, 2010

Studies have shown that approximately 65% of people suffer from normality. This disturbing evidence has failed to ignite action within the population with most choosing to go about their daily mundane lives as per usual.

It is believed several mechanisms in western society are at play towards this epidemic. Examples include excessive comfort, ego-tripping, mortgage payments and materialistic pursuits.

If left unchecked it is possible that the moral, emotional and spiritual elements of human nature will stagnate, leaving human existence irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

To combat this dilemma it is suggested individuals look within and to each other and then proceed to change something.

Jessica Watson – A National Hero

May 18th, 2010

After 210 days at sail around the world Australia’s daughter of the seas has returned home and we couldn’t be more proud.

However, with the wide selection of accolades that can be given to this 16 year old girl from Queensland, none has caused more controversy than that of “hero.”

Throughout some of the responses to the media observed there seems to be a division between whether Jessica can be labelled a hero or not. The most popular argument being something along the lines of her ‘not saving any lives’ and therefore should not be considered a hero. Not even the girl of the hour agrees with the label.

But for what it’s worth I believe it pays to revisit the definition of “hero.” And in Jessica’s case, I do believe she’s a hero. After all, she did pull off 210 gruelling days at sea, silencing the critics and curbing conventional preconceptions of teenage girls. Who knows what extraordinary things could spring up from this (see: the Ripple Effect).

And for those who complain about the ‘excessive’ coverage and think “who cares?” I suppose you’d rather enjoy news that reminds of the cruelty and suffering around the world? Finally some good news comes our way amongst the mountains of crap going on – soak it up for what it’s worth while it lasts.

Generation Y’s Literary Legacy

May 6th, 2010

When reflecting on what insightful nuggets of knowledge have shaped our views of the world it is truly a wonderful faculty to be able to quote such works, whether it be a renown novel, a breakthrough journal or an insightful article. The victories of each generation are a reflection of the works that came before them.

But for us millennials and the generations following where are our works finding their home? Social media and networking is facilitating a wealth of ideas and experiences in ways never before imaginable, but with text flowing through like a rapid current where will the people of tomorrow quote our ideas and values if the words we write don’t stay still?

Perhaps it’s time for us to log off Facebook and log on paper…

Raise (the standard of) Awareness

April 19th, 2010

Ever have an opinion, where in your mind it makes such an unprecedented level of sense that anyone that disagrees with you must simply be a fool? Well, chances are you are right, lots of ideas in this world make sense and it’s no surprise you just happen to have one, or two, or more of them. Or maybe you know someone who has a great idea or two that you’d like to spread. But how to push them forward?

The trick is to start a movement. And there are 2 ways to start one: you can either spam a message to as many people as possible and pray that it sticks; or, you can communicate sincerely to people that have the capability to make a difference.

One of these methods relies on hope and luck. The other, works.

Moral Simplicity

April 13th, 2010

“Moral Complexity” is a term I recently came across on a video gaming blog post which got me thinking about our collective pursuit of sound sense of morality (well, at least I like to think we are pursuing it). We come across situations, particularly those regarding life and death, that overwhelm us with uncertainty over a choice that has or will be made.

And when we do come across such situations we label them as complex.

It is almost as if applying such a label is a get-out-of-jail-free card in that if we have made the ‘wrong’ choice (in the eyes of a higher power) then that is ‘OK’ because it was too complex for us in the first place. We stay in the grey area because it is believed to be safe. And our acceptance of our imperfections is what is keeping us there.

Whether or not this is the case I hope there is something profound in us all that is trying to achieve the opposite: a simpler view of morality; where there is no over-abundance of rules and exceptions for different situations, no fear in approaching a choice to make, and no remorse shown no matter the outcome.

It Pays The Bills and Keeps You Busy

April 5th, 2010

“As long as you’re enjoying it”

I often find myself and others say this when someone talks about their job. But when I say it, I lie.

Think of it this way – imagine if everyone in the world only did their 40 hour weeks for their own enjoyment. Where would our Mother Teresas, Nelson Mandelas, Martin Luther King Jrs and Mahatma Gandhis be? While it can’t be expected that everyone and anyone rise up and be humanitarians I don’t think it’s unreasonable for each of us to think for a moment about what we are doing to help our fellow man, woman and child. Even if it is something small.

“As long as we enjoy it”

Political Incorrectness

March 30th, 2010

After visiting a friend’s place the other night I picked up a book he received for Christmas: The Bumper Book of Rude and Politically Incorrect Jokes. Flicking through it I noticed pretty much every social, cultural, and personality class is taken a stab at so I can’t exactly say the book is biased. However the interesting thing I noted was that as I read through some of the jokes my type of laughter varied. Sometimes it was a straight out typical ‘oh that is so funny’ laugh, then there were those ‘oohhh that’s nasty funny’ laughs. Afterwards I thought about my reactions and came to the conclusion that my laughs varied depending on how offended I believed the targeted segment would be.

From a broader perspective, racism, sexism, religious attacks – they are all born out of the sensitivities of the segment at hand; the more sensitive a particular group is the more of an ‘issue’ the type of insult or stereotype is. And as a result society becomes ‘soft’ so not to upset the sensitives.

Simply put: they all need to harden up… so I can check out how much further volume 2 can push the boundaries

The Currency Of Time

February 8th, 2010

If there is ever a phrase that irks me it’s “I’m going to spend time with/doing <blah>”

‘Spend’ time? Since when has time been equivalent of a currency? Not only has consumerism have us obsessed with wanting more stuff it also has warped our concept of time – as if it were a commodity we knew we were going to run out of.

And now there seems to be some underlying necessity to cram our lives as a sequence of events, scheduled to maximise our return on investment – cashing in time in calculated increments in the hope to make us feel ‘balanced’.

My theory on being ‘balanced’ – it’s pedestrian. All you really end up doing is juggling one part of your life with another. Hardly anything extraordinary comes out of a juggling act. Unless you are juggling flaming chainsaws with puppies.

So don’t be afraid to take your work/family/friends/leisure ‘balance’ and change it up a bit – go with the flow; do what comes naturally; focus on something extraordinary or turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. And don’t worry about any downtime – daydreaming is good for you. After all there is no hurry.