Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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A simple message

MotivationThese are the only five words you need to really know when it comes to doing things. I am a true believer that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it and work hard. Sure, some things may not work out but that isn’t due to it not being possible; usually it’s a balance between bad timing and a series of small but unfortunate events.

I’m a fan of words and I love quotes and things that stir something inside you. This one may not do that at first. Sometimes simple things are lost on human beings that thrive, yet apparently do not like, complexity.

As much as you may be able to decorate your sentences with lovely words, this is what it all comes down to – fundamentally. If you want to do something enough, you do it. If you don’t want to do something, excuses tend to be made how it would be hard to do. The truth is it all comes down to this. You can do it, you choose not to.

Sometimes people truly believe they cannot do something, that it is simply not possible, they are not ready. This lack of belief is the only thing stopping you from doing whatever it is that you want to do. This lack of belief stems from a fear of failure but (do you see a theme?) you can do it. What’s the worse that can happen?

You fall, you get back on and you learn. Embrace that childlike nature of having no fear, of believing anything is possible and that you can do it.

*I realise I sound a little like a politician but the simple messages are usually taken by politicians as they are the easiest to make an audience of millions understand. It’s the simple messages that can truly inspire – if they are read or heard in the way they should be.

 


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Just breathe. Don’t panic.

Okay, so I graduated last week (YAY!) It was an awesome day and a brilliant night. My family, closest friends and of course, the boy were all there looking very dapper. It was fun, I was happier than I thought I would be and I couldn’t have asked for a better 24 hours. Note to anyone that is going to graduate in the near future: those robes are deceptively hot. I was sweating like a madman and my hat was so tight that I had a headache. Luckily the buzz of the day meant these were mere annoyances. I put that gown on a naive person; I took that gown off, sweaty and graduated but with a need to tell the world about these deceptively hot garments.

Anyway this post isn’t to talk about graduation or a chance for me to rant a little about how expensive those gowns and hats are that you are forced to wear. I’m sitting here in my garden having just finished my CV and feeling a little sense of accomplishment and having completely transformed it from overbearingly full to cool and concise. (If I do say so myself, let’s face it no one else will even have noticed). Then I got this very familiar feeling of complete and utter panic.

I’ll explain.

Firstly I should mention that this isn’t a panic attack. Obviously those are very serious. What I’m talking about I have dubbed (in my own head): ‘The Dreamers’ Panic.’ This is a very real thing. It’s when your stomach feels like you’ve been on a four night drinking marathon, then decided to eat the greasiest food imaginable almost while riding the biggest roller coaster ever imaginable; and I’m playing it down a bit.

‘The Dreamers’ Panic’ begins a little like a montage or a hallucination of all the fabulous things you want to do in your life. It makes you smile, it makes you motivated and you realise you have a lot of dreams. ‘The Dreamers’ Panic’ then allows evil logic (not the good kind) to seep into your brain. This causes a nausea, some sweating and a lot of heavy breathing as you mutter to yourself what ifs over and over again.

What if I can’t do it all?

What if I’m not successful?

What if I get it wrong?

What if I’m wasting time?

You get the idea of what I’m talking about. These terrible rhetorical questions can make the best of people resort to the foetal position, as they convince themselves that it’s hopeless and we may all give up now to save ourselves the trouble.

This is ‘The Dreamers’ Panic.’ It’s terrifying because us humans tend to be excited, exhilarated and utterly terrified of the unknown; both simultaneously and dependent on what the particular new thing entails. When it comes to the future, even the bravest can admit: it’s a little scary.

The future is the one thing that we’re consistently working towards. It’s the horizon, the unattainable goal (for the future is never in reach), it is what we dream of. We’re always looking ahead, we always tell ourselves to focus on the future, it’s our fairytale once upon a time only in reverse. It’s exciting because it could all change, it’s hopeful because we know that change could always come to make things better. The future tends to be thought of with only positivity. ‘The Dreamers’ Panic’ kind of shits on this a little (pardon the language) by doubting that positivity. That’s a scary thought. That the one thing that we have been forced to look forward to our whole lives may not be as good as we’ve imagined or as we’ve had imagined for us.

But I’m slowly beating ‘The Dreamers’ Panic.’ Living for now with one eye on the future is a good way to be. Enjoying the present while being excited for the future and hoping for the best is the only way to beat ‘The Dreamers’ Panic.’ Believe in yourself, breathe slow, work hard, play hard and enjoy as much of the present as is possible. Milk it for all it’s worth, the future will be all the better for it.


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What’s a human to do?

I’m out of ideas guys. My brain has been consumed with pointless essays that I am essentially paying people to give me by choosing a university degree. If it isn’t ridiculously lengthy essay questions then it’s mountains of revision or having my money taken from me because I work too many hours for a student. It’s getting an essay back and told that my ideas are so good that I don’t need to use fancy language. What if I like fancy language? What if I want to work all those long hours? What if I have an amazing answer to a far simpler, but just as meaningful, essay question that doesn’t exisit?

What’s a human to do?

I have two more essays before my final deadlines and then a few more exams before the end of term and graduation. Before then I will continue to work my butt off for a piece of paper and some recognition that yes, I can survive university. Not necessarily that I can survive in the real world, but university? Yep got that covered.

I have reached a point where I cannot help but question what I am to do when people tell me to do one thing then tell me I’m wrong for listening to their advice. What confuses me most about this conundrum is that I am taking advice and feedback from people that are wiser, smarter and have been playing the university game for longer than anyone would wish to be a part of it. The government encourages people to work, they want unemployment to decrease, they want students to study and yet if you try to do both things: work and study, then you can’t without having something taken away. If you work too many hours, there’s a tax for that. If you study at a certain place or want certain books, then there’s a price for that. Yes, we pay because it benefits the country: free healthcare (or cheaper), transport, blah, blah, blah. But at the same time, I’m just a student. I barely count as a human at all, apart from as someone to milk money from. My rent is huge, my books make me research how much I can sell a liver for on the black market and the cost of my education alone means that I will be forever in debt and if I’m lucky, at age 95 will see the debt cleared.

My brain has had enough. It doesn’t want me to do anymore work. But it’s the final frontier, I’m so close to the finish line I can smell it. Or taste it. Or see it. However the saying goes. Motivation is scarce right now but what’s pushing me through is that come September I’ll be doing a 6 month course (not out of academia yet! I’m crazy I know) that will set me on my chosen career path. I will continue to work hard so that one day, I am creating the game, not playing it. That’s what keeps me going. So in answer to my title question (which no-one actually asked me) just keep going. It’s worth it because when you relax you can feel satisfied of your productivity. It means in the long run you’ll have that freedom that is promised but not quite true just yet. So if you’re also suffering through countless deadlines and exam period: just breathe and focus. It’ll be worth it.

The simple things right now are keeping me going and will continue to help me through the battlefield of exam period: cheesecakes, the boy, the Stereophonics and pretty pictures online. Soon this will be done and I’ll be a free, very poor graduate! Hooray!

Okay, pep talk to myself is over. Wish me luck. Over and out.


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No, you’re not born that way

There is no such thing as an evil baby. Yes, scientific experiments have proved, to an extent, that most babies typically favour a ‘good’ activity over a ‘bad’ one; however, there are a smaller percentage of babies which favour ‘bad’ activities in favour of ‘good’ ones. This obviously doesn’t mean the child is set to become a murderer. Even if a newborn is more prone to a ‘bad’ activity, it doesn’t mean they’re evil. They may test boundaries when they’re teenagers but what teenager doesn’t?

The thing is, I truly believe no one is born evil. No one is born wanting to kill or to steal or to cause pain and suffering. Even people that have grown up to be the most evil men and women in history were not born that way. Something made them choose to be cruel and evil. In much the same way I don’t believe people are born to be inherently good. I’ve been thinking about this whole born this way excuse that people use. It’s irritating.

People are people. Humans are complex creatures; our personalities are only so much genetics, the rest is environment. In the Medieval Times people believed that as soon as you were born, your death was predetermined as was the path, and the type of person you were meant to be. That’s just silly, I believe in fate and destiny to a certain extent but only when it suits me. Obviously.

Blaming your bad luck or even your good luck on fate takes away the responsibility from your actions. Sometimes it is just random coincidences and you happen to be in the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time. But sometimes it’s also because you walked that path, you made choices that got you to that situation, you worked (or didn’t) to get to where you’re at. Don’t detract from that by saying it’s fate.

In much the same way you can’t blame your parents, or thank them, for all your positive and negative traits. Some of them are thanks to them (the need to talk to myself consistently – all praise goes to my mum on that one); but some are all down to you from the choices you made, the events that happened in your life and how you reacted to them. You’re insecure? No you weren’t born that way. That’s a developed  trait. You’re loud? There’s probably a reason for it; you probably and unconsciously made a choice to be that way.

Being born with it implies the ‘it’ is something you can’t change, like the colour of your skin, your sexual orientation or your ethnicity.

But that means that you can’t blame your shyness or your crazy dress sense on being born that way. If you really wanted to change it, if you really did want to do something about it then you would. It may be not easy but the fact is that it’s true.

The saying is that a leopard can’t change it’s spots: this is true if taken literally, I can’t change the fact I have olive skin (no I’m not green). But you can change certain characteristics of yourself that you have chosen to take on. Nobody is born unmotivated for crying out loud. When you’re a child you want to do everything, there are no restrictions to your dreams. At what age does that change?

So no, you’re not born that way. Next time you think to blame something negative or even positive about yourself on ‘it’s just the way I am’ or ‘it’s just the way I was born.’ Don’t. You’re putting yourself down if the comments are towards a positive trait and you’re shifting responsibility if it’s a negative one.

You are you. Not because of the exact timing of your birth making you that way, but because of your genetics (a small bit), because of your environment (a slightly bigger bit) and because that’s the you, you have chosen to be (the biggest bit). There’s no born this way about it.

You are you because you choose to be. Stand tall and take control. Be proud of it, don’t let fate take all the glory for your life.

Little orange guy showing how it's done. He stole my pose though. Awkward.


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Why I like to flog dead horses

It came to me as a lightbulb moment, a sign from the Gods; I am someone that can’t help but flog a dead horse. No, this isn’t me admitting to some sort of twisted animal cruelty; this is me admitting that I can’t give up: call me what you want but I’m no quitter.

I am stubborn and I am persistent. I will not admit defeat until I have tried something at least once, and even then it takes a lot for me to say that I can’t do something.

Driving is an excellent example, I passed just under a year ago and I love it. But it took me a couple of years to learn (with pauses of no learning at all). I failed my first test fantastically by not just scaring the crap out of my instructor but by forgetting my name, stalling more times than I care to remember, almost killing a cyclist and then almost driving straight into a rubbish truck. It wasn’t pretty. I relearned, rebuilt my confidence after that horrendous practical and insisted on my instructor giving me as many mock tests as possible, I rebooked my test, drank herbal tea and took some calms to soothe my nerves. And I passed – finally. After so long!

This flogging of horses is not always a good thing of course, sometimes you do have to give up. Sometimes you have to understand that it’s best to stop or as the other saying goes ‘quit while you’re ahead’ (although I’ve never really liked that saying – obviously).

However, with bias, I can honestly say I think it’s a good trait to have. People are too quick to give up nowadays. If something proves to be a little too hard or challenging, or have slightly more hurdles than they expected then it is easier to give up than to preserver. People think that everything should be easy, modern society expects to have things handed to them on a silver platter. If it isn’t then it’s either not worth having or we convince ourselves we didn’t want it anyway. But in doing this, in giving up at the slightest difficulty people are missing out on an important part of life. Life is about learning, it’s about pushing yourself and having these experiences so that you can grow as an individual. By trying to avoid the obstacles, by giving up when it gets challenging; you refuse to take part and you’re only giving yourself a disservice.

Modernity and modern society seems to be all about promoting the easiest and fastest route to doing things, to getting the machines that humans can do perfectly well but where do we draw the line? Modern society is breeding quitters, people that will refuse to flog a dead horse because there’s no point. People that see a brick wall and will turn away rather than climb over just in case. That’s how adventure starts, by pushing yourself. That’s how you grow by challenging yourself, failing, and trying again. Failure does not mean it’s over, it just means you’ve found a way to not do something.

I’m all for moving with the times, I like to consider myself a modern girl with an open mind. However, there is one thing that I will not change my standpoint on: you should never give up. You should always try. If you stop trying, you stop living. I don’t care what modern society says, I don’t care what they promote. That’s why I like to flog dead horses, because sometimes persistence is all you have. Easy is not always best.


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Eat, Learn, Move.

Eat, Learn, Move: an amazing trilogy made by 3 guys who who travelled to 11 countries in 44 days, travelling over 38,000 miles. The videos have been commissioned by STA Travel Australia who have probably now got the best advertisement ever made in the whole history of the entire world. Yes, I am that in love with these films and have been for a little while now.

I know these videos are a little old, but I don’t care. I watch them every time I need a little inspiration, a pick up or some motivation because what this guy did with his two friends is what I dream of doing. It’s what I will do one day.

Travel.

These videos show true workmanship in their editing, the music and the filming. It’s all so beautiful and I realised I hadn’t included it on the blog: a crime. So here they are, three fabulous films shot by three friends that will make you want to pack your bags and just go where the wind takes you. Eat, Learn and Move. Enjoy.


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Do it Now!

“I have a million things to do, there aren’t enough hours in the day. There’s so much to do, I’m not going to have time to sleep! I can’t stay, I have to run. I’m so busy! We’ll catch up sometime when we’re both not so busy. Bye” You rush off home or back to work, take off your coat, sit at your desk and procrastinate. Then you decide you need to eat, so you go and have lunch and chill, if you’re at home, you sit on the sofa and watch some rubbish television. Before you know it, it’s time for bed and you’re too tired from thinking about work that you’d done nothing. Then when crunch time comes you realise that you should have just done everything you had to do when you had time to do it. After all the work is done, with no time to spare, you decide to give yourself a break for ‘all your hard work’ and you ignore the growing pile of other things you must do. So the cycle begins again.

Nobody wants to be like this

Should I tell you something? Something that you already know but for some reason (laziness and de-motivation springs to mind) you choose to ignore this golden nugget of information. You have time to do something? Especially something that only takes five minutes? Then do it now. You have something that’s going to take LOADS of time, then start it today. Plan, and do a little bit each day; before you know it you’re done. There’s no time like the present and the faster you get things done, the more organised you are with work then the more time you have for yourself. The less stress you’ll feel when it comes to deadline times. The better you’ll do at the work you’re doing because you have time, because you’re relaxed and most importantly because you’re focus is not on just getting it done but can be on getting it done well. This is the crucial point, this is what takes you from good to great.

Doing something early on and getting a head start may seem like a tiresome thing but the cliche of the early bird catches the worm does stand true.  If you start early, you have more time in case things go wrong, more research is needed or help is required. It’s like when builders begin a project, they start early and leave contingency time just in case. Life is a very wonderful, random thing and so starting early means you can be ready for whatever it throws at you. You can be ready to catch it and throw it back or to enjoy it as all you’re work is done. You’re on top of things. You can focus on doing things you love, or improving what you’ve already done.

Do it now. Start taking all those buzzing things you need to do from your brain and actually doing them. You’ll become more motivated when you realise you can get things done weeks, days or hours (for the things sprung at you last minute) in advance. Living for now means working for now too. You’ll be a happier, more productive, more inspirational person as a result.