3 Subjects You Hated In College But Will Make You A Successful Person

Reading time: 4 mins

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This blogpost is the sequel to piece that I wrote awhile back called 3 Subjects You Hated In School But Will Make You A Better Person. Period.

There’s a lot of changes happening in Education and The Marketplace at the moment. There’s lots of arguments on whether modern education is still relevant and whether the education system needs a massive makeover to keep up with the huge technological and social challenges that we face in the near future.

As I have previously blogged before, we are now living in the Information Age and the 40-40 plan (40 hours of work per week for 40 years) is dead. As a teacher, I have felt often that we are not preparing our kids for the Real World – although it’s great to learn about how many wives Henry VIII kicked it with, it will not help you land that dream job (unless you are Tudor historian).

In my short life, here are 3 subjects I believe that you may have hated in college (6th form/upper high school) but if studied can make you materially successful…

1) Psychology

I just wanted to be honest: there have always been 2 groups of people that I have been scared of: clowns (have you ever seen Stephen King’s IT?!?) and psychologists. Everytime I meet someone who turns out to have studied psychology, I get the heebee jeebees as I feel that they can ‘see through me’ and they are studying my every movement. I feel like they reading my mind like a pre-Logan Professor X…

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You don’t have to be this man to read minds…

But of course this is not the case. Us human beings are a complex lot. We a mass of walking contradictions: thinking that we are rational but doing exactly the opposite and the scary thing is that most of us don’t understand why we are doing them! Understanding psychology gives you the unique ability not only to understand others but yourself which can help you safely navigate and progress through your college, your workplace and life.

Malcolm Gladwell popularised the ‘10,000 Hour Mastery Theory’ but he also mentioned that the secret sauce to becoming a rockstar programmer, athlete, politician and well… rockstar was a great dose of Emotional Intelligence. You can be as talented as you want but let’s be honest, no one wants to work with a douchebag and eventually this will call your downfall (please reference Julius Caesar, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair or… Son Goku…).

Understanding other people’s motivations, gaining leadership skills and how to deal with conflicts will be a skill that will never go out of fashion and in fact take you right to the top.

2) Economics/Money Management

Money is like sex. Everybody does it but no-one talks about it. I’ve always found it interesting that in school, we can learn about all the cultures of the world, unravel the mysteries of nuclear fusion but our National Curriculum doesn’t offer a simple class on what debt is and how to select the right credit card. I would take it a step further, putting on my conspiracy theorist tin-foil hat on, that The-Powers-That-Be don’t WANT us to know how to handle money (more on that on a future blog).

This is not to rant against the dangers of our Post-Modernist Capitalist society but we must face the facts… Until World War III destroys the world and we go back to exchanging hair brushes and goats, money as a means of exchange is here to stay OK?

scrooge-mcduck-warehouse

If you tried to do this in real life, it would really, really hurt…

Considering that money is such an important part of our lives, I slowly realised that in order to get ahead, I needed to have a very basic understanding of how things like mortgages, debits, credit cards and balance sheets worked.

And no you don’t have to be Warren Buffet either.

Understanding how to make a household budget, shop around for better deals on your bills, save 10% of your income and invest safely are absolutely vital to you and your family’s financial future. Don’t skip money class.

3) Sales

Whenever someone says the word ‘sales,’ images of a balding middle-aged car salesman, selling you a dodgy ‘motor comes to mind. ‘Sales’ has become a dirty word and it feels… sleazy.

pushy-car-salesman

No. Don’t buy a car from this man.

But from a very young age, we are learnt how to become professional sales people. Have you ever:

  • persuaded a friend to watch a film that they weren’t to sure about. That’s sales.
  • Talked your boss into giving you a promotion. That’s sales.
  • Asked someone to marry you? That’s sales.
  • Got your Mum/Dad to come to pick you up in the middle of the night? Sales, sales, sales – you get the picture

In fact I would argue that every single day, everyone of us is selling. But sales are not about tricking the other person to buy something that they don’t want. In fact, great sales are just the opposite: Great sales are about understanding the other person’s needs and meeting them. That’s it. If you meet the other person’s needs again and again, they will give you more money/benefits/time/love or any other value you can think of and everyone is happy.

I worked in retail/sales jobs for almost a decade before I became a teacher and I still use a lot of my training today – selling education to the students.

Don’t ever stick up your nose to retail job – For me it has been the best education in learning how to understand people (point 1), how money works (point 2) and taught me how to sell (point 3).

Thank you for reading! Are there any subjects that helped you progress in life? Write a comment below or tweet at me @karlwebdev.

Thank you as always and see you next Thursday!

Karlwebdev

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3 Things You Should Do When You Are Rejected – And Why Its OK To Be Bummed

Reading time: 4 mins

nero thumbs down

Well no matter how bad it gets at least you don’t have to face the lions…

We Regret To Inform You…

3 weeks.


It was 3 weeks ago when I wrote that application form. It was for a coding internship at a world renowned media organisation that tackled issues that I cared about. This was the perfect job for me – my golden ticket into the world of Tech. When I submitted the form, although I fought it, my mind started thinking about prepping for the Assessment Centre… then passing the interview & getting the job… meeting my new colleagues… going out for ‘Happy Hour’ and talking about which Star Trek Captain was better James T Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard?


3 weeks of wondering, wishing & waiting.


Then the email appeared. This is it. I opened it & here’s what it said:


“Dear Karl,
          Thank you for your recent application for the ________ internship (so far so good) but we regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful…”


My heart sank as I read them say something about ‘keeping my name on the system’ and wishing me ‘all the best.’


To be honest, I’m not made at the organisation – considering the possible thousands of apps they received, I’m grateful that they let me know. But I really wanted that position – like a little 4 year old kid wants McDonalds… and it hurts.


But according to the ‘Motivational Brigade’ it would be because ‘I didn’t want it bad enough so I didn’t manifest it.’


Nonsense. As I grow older, I realised that something’s just won’t work out no matter how hard I try.


So… What do you do? Drown yourself in Ben & Jerrys & give up? Nope. Here’s 3 things I think you should do…


1) Feel Bummed Out

 

“Hold on!” I hear you say. Didn’t you just say being depressed is not the answer?

 

It’s not. I’m saying to call it what it is. If the situation sucks, it sucks.

 

In our hyper-positive, ultra motivated world, we’re bullied into thinking that we should ‘stick a smile on our face and always be happy’ or ‘push through the pain’. But ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. This is like seeing a friend break a limb and then telling them to ‘dust yourself down and walk it off’ – that ain’t happening.

 

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These are the only 2 that can live in Lala-land… Not anyone else

If positivity causes you to deny the situation then that is delusion. Unless you’re Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling, don’t live in Lala-Land. See it for what it is, what it is, mourn what it could have been or what you lost. Give yourself some space.

 

2) Take A Break

 

Apart from learning to code, I’ve also been hustling to whether I could find any internships of paid work experience. Like Gollum with his ‘precious’, I was constantly researching and analysing all the possible routes in. Michael Scofield would have been proud.

 

But after the rejection letter, I decided to take a break. Taking a break doesn’t mean quitting. Sometimes you need to take a break to restore your strength. As I wrote in a previous post, we are not machines – our bodies need the right balance of work and recovery. Sometimes in pursuit of our goals, we forget about about everything else – and risk being burnt out. Taking time out can help with Step 3…

 

3) Take Away The Lesson

 

After taking Steps 1 and 2 will help it easier to take this step. What did you learn? How could it have been handled better? Now for some people, they do this by expressing gratitude or seeing the ‘Silver Lining.’ In our culture, many believe that every bad thing, if you look hard enough, has seeds of good in it. But me being me, I look at things differently: there are loads of different meanings in the same situation both good and bad and ultimately it’s YOU that draws meaning from it. Depending on how big, traumatic or sudden it is, this can be a life long process.

 

Although I’m disappointed by not getting the internship, on the cosmic-scale of things, it’s not Earth shattering. But when facing the bigger challenges of life, death, sickness or relationships, although there maybe pain, I don’t look for the positive, but look at the learning. Learning from difficult situations may not be instant either – sometimes these processes can take weeks, months or even years – but don’t be too hard on yourself, that’s all part of being human. What I have found is once I have fully absorbed the learning then the positivity tends to walk walk behind it.

 

As always, thank you for reading. Do you agree with these steps? What would you add? As always, drop a comment below or hit me up @karlwebdev.

 

See you next Thursday!

 

Karlwebdev

 

The Simple Word That Can Vastly Improve Your Life

Reading time: 4 mins

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Even the Former US President could be stopped by this word…

The Magic Word

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a legend about a word that was so powerful, that it stopped bullies, conserved your time and energy and even helped you feel happier in your life. But alas, as time moved forward and technology became advanced, that word started to fade away, only to become legend…
I recently discovered that word and want to share that discovery with you!

 

The magic word is… No. That’s it.

 

But in our daily lives, many of us find it really difficult, uncomfortable and even rude to say that to a boss, a colleague and even a family member. For some people, ‘No’ is akin to a swear word.
But what I have realised is that as our lives get more complicated and busier than ever, saying ‘no’ is absolutely critical to our long term success and happiness.

 

3 Reasons Why We Must Say No More

 

1) Stress and Overwhelm

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Yeap. This is how I feel during morning rush hour too.

We live in stressful times.

 

 

Many people say that ‘multi-tasking’ is the answer but more and research is showing that multitasking is more likely cause us to burn-out rather than be productive.
Our brains were not designed to handle so much information and we are suffering for it. A lot of personal development books today focus on time management, productivity and ‘getting more done’. But don’t confuse doing more with being more effective – I still make that mistake.
At one point, I was a full-time teacher, a part-time events manager, aspiring coder and caring for a sick relative and I totally burnt out. My health was poor and I was chronically exhausted. It took me awhile to realise that I was not the T1000 and I was a human-being that needed to rest.
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Even the T1000 said ‘No!’

Sometimes by doing less, we feel guilt as if we are ‘letting the team down’. But the opposite is true – if you push yourself to the point of having a nervous breakdown or severe illness, you won’t be no good to anyone. Sometimes the most caring thing you can do for others is to look after yourself.

 

2) Opportunity Cost

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Yeap. Poor woman didn’t even 1p. Painful!

If you went to the Self-Help section of your local bookstore and picked up just one of the books, 9 times out of 10 it would full of fluffy statements like “follow your dream” or “you can do whatever you set your mind to – if you want it back enough”.

 

Although they are some seeds of truth in these statements, they don’t really give the full picture. As I mentioned in a previous blog, humans have the great ability to oversimplify things known as ‘abstraction’. Which is great in some cases but can case great problems in others. Most humans find it extremely hard to accurately see all the pros and losses of a future event.

 

For example, looking at the average superstar CEO/artist/entertainer/athlete, most people wouldn’t mind having the money and apparent freedom from a ‘normal’ deskjob. But could they handle the pressures of fame, like no privacy, public shaming and humiliation, the lawsuits, never knowing who you can trust and the gruelling hours of practice/performance that will keep you #1? Although there are many positives in their life, the tabloid papers remind us the extreme downsides as well.

 

Every time that you ‘yes’ to something, you are in saying ‘no’ to something else. Everything that you do costs, in either time, energy/health or money. And there are no exceptions. Most of us make choices without counting the cost. Saying ‘no’ allows us to make choices on our terms rather than someone else’s.

 

3) Focus

jean-claude-focus

The perfect image of intense focus.

Guys I really struggle with this one: I think that my focus DNA is faulty.

 

I have noticed this is my journey learning to code. If I create a 2 hour block to code this is what usually happens:

 

a) Start coding (20 minutes)
b) Come across a challenging piece of code & wrestle with it – then wonder why I bothered trying to learn it in the first place (20 minutes)
c) Watch YouTube/surf the web then feel guilty and try again (30-45 minutes)
d) Loop

 

After a ‘2 hour session’, I walk away feeling proud of myself when in reality I did 30 minutes work.
Saying ‘No’ is not always dealing with external factors or people. Sometimes the person that you will really need to say ‘no’ to is… you. Sometimes you will have to say ‘no’ to the distractions, being comfortable, trying to make sure that everyone is happy and enjoying short-term pleasures for long term gains.

 

Former British Prime-Minister Tony Blair once said “once you decide, you divide”. The word ‘decision’ comes from the latin word ‘caedere’ which means to ‘cut off’. Every time you decide you completely cut off another part.

 

As I wrote before, my Old Man used  to like to garden and he would often prune the flower bushes. The Old Man would explain that in order for the actual flowers to be stronger, we would have to cut off additional leaves so that they didn’t take up extra resources. The word ‘no’ does not have to be a swear word. The word ‘no’ can be used as a powerful tool to cut off the unproductive things in your life that take up your natural resources so you can focus on what really matters.

 

Thank you for reading! Do you struggle to say ‘no’ like I do? Where can you insert more ‘no’s’ in your life? As always let me know what you think by leaving your comments below or tweeting at me via @karlwebdev.

 

See you next Thursday

 

Karlwebdev

 

My 5 Favourite Blogs About Life

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Hello People!

This blog will be the last blog of January 2017… Where has the time gone?!? January is often the month of reflection and this is where a lot of people make (well.. at least certainly try to) make changes for the better.
Although my main passion is technology, I have wrote blogposts about many different subjects and one of my favourite topics to talk about is this weird and wonderful thing called life.
Here are my 5 favourite posts that I have written about life that I have written and I sincerely hope that they help make a positive change in your life experience.
1) 2 Ways to Totally Mess Up Your Life – My 1st ‘life’ blog and this is really where I made the commitment to explore my passions. You only have one life. Don’t use it up doing things you absolutely hate.
2) 3 Subjects You Hated In School But Will Make You A Better Person. Period. – If you master these subjects, they will take you far, young grasshopper…
3)  3 Ways Social Media Kills Your Relationships – And How To Save Them – Research has said time and time again that the quality of your life is determined by meaningful relationships. Please preserve them.
4) Stop Bullying Yourself – With the alarming growth of anxiety and depression diagnoses around the world, I think it’s time we stopped beating ourselves up but patching ourselves up.
5) The Simple Exercise That Busted My Stress & Boosted My Happiness – It’s surprising as a culture how obsessed we are with getting things done and being ‘efficient’. But what is equally important are the things that we DON’T do…
Guys again thank you for reading! What did you think? Were there things that you disagreed with? As always comment below or tweet at me @karlwebdev.
Thank you for reading and see you next Thursday!
Karlwebdev

It’s Good To Dream…

Reading time: 4 minutes

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When I was just 8 years old in Primary School, I remember feeling like the world was such a wonderful place. Everything seemed so fresh and so new and every person was so warm & friendly.

I grew up in the outskirts of East London. The late 80’s saw a massive wave of immigration in the area with people from all around the world. I was friends with kids from all around the globe: From Nigeria to France – but we were innocent, never judging someone on the race or skin colour but their football skills and who had the coolest sneakers.

One day while I was playing football in the playground with my white friend Paul, Danny the school bully, who was also white, decided to ‘join in’. Danny pushed Paul to the ground, cutting open his shin. Seeing my friend hurt, I charged at Danny and with fists balled up, screamed at Danny, “C’mon then if you think you’re hard!”. The next words that came out of his mouth have been tattooed on my mind ever since.

“Shut up you nigger! Paul shouldn’t be playing with you anyway.”

Whoa. Seeing red, I charged into Danny & although I tried my best, he absolutely destroyed me. Paul although injured himself, managed to get help me up & take me to the Welfare Room, thanking me for sticking up for him. But 2 things forever stuck into my mind that day:

1) That was first time someone called me ‘nigger’

2) That was first time that I felt different to other people and for things I had no power over…

If my world was a balloon, it was someone let the air out and for next 25 years, I’ve been desperately trying to fill it up again.

‘The American Dream’

Back in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected the President of the United States, I like many people around the world thought that we were living a new era – Martin Luther King’s Dream had finally been achieved – where ‘a man would not be judged by the colour of his skin but the content of his character’. Some commentators said that we live in a ‘Post-Racial Society’ saying that because Obama became President, there would be no barriers for People of Colour & other minorities and discrimination had finally been pushed out of our civilization – and we all believed it too. 

But with the Brexit decision and the coverage of the 2016 US Elections, I saw that racism, discrimination and hate did not ‘die’ but crept off silently into the shadows, hiding and waiting in the fringes. Like a good horror flick, just when we thought it was safe, the monster was came back, grabbing & taking us into the darkness.

Tired

I’m not going to write about the reasons why I think that racism & discrimination are still with us and offer up solutions: Many great women/men, a million times smarter than me have been doing this for centuries & have been crusading for change. I’m just an ordinary joe. I don’t want to point fingers at white people, black people, Arab people or any other race because frankly from what I have seen in human history, one thing that our species are experts in, is finding new & inventive ways to suppress & kill each other – over something as dumb as the type of pigment in our skin.

So why am I writing this at all?

Because I’m tired. 

All I can talk about is what I have seen in my world and on my journey.

I’m tired of working of walking into the workplace and being the only Person of Colour, feeling like I have to the expert & ambassador of my entire race.

I’m tired of seeing politicians and other leaders openly discriminate and bully other groups to get votes or increase their poll ratings.

I’m tired of arguing about slavery/colonialism and who’s fault it is.

I’m tired of seeing people who look like me get brutalised/murdered just because.

I’m tired of people who blame society and the system for everything that has gone wrong in their lives, but refuse to do anything to change it or at least change themselves.

I’m tired of feeling that if I talk a certain way to one race, I’m not ‘good enough’ and if I talk a certain way to another race I’m not ‘smart enough’.

I’m tired of when walking behind someone in the street, when they person sees me, they walk faster or clutch their bag tighter.

I’m tired of people telling me not to trust a ______ person because of ‘the way they are’.

I’m tired of being told my ‘face don’t fit.’

I’m tired of people forcing me to justify the harmful acts of a misguided person that may look like me and blame the ‘system’ when it was their own stupid actions that got them there.

I’m tired of people who take religions which are built on love & respect and use them to spread hatred and oppression – really?

I’m tired of struggling with my own internal prejudices & the daily battle to choose love & understanding.

I’m tired of being tired.

As a teacher, I feel like I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to teach kids before society/culture/life starts putting these poisonous ideas in their head. The fact that 90% of these kids can look past their differences & work/play together never ceases to amaze me. But my heart also breaks for them – outside the soft bubble of school, the ‘real world’ has a habit smashing the hopes of the most idealistic of us.

I Still Have A Dream

Dr King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech is commonly voted as one of the greatest speeches of all time. It’s so beautiful, inspiring and heavenly and full of hope… But sometimes I do wonder, in the darkest and most lonely times of Dr King’s life, did he still believe that his dream could become a reality?

Talking to people & looking at things at home and abroad, all I know is:

Many people are angry.

Many people are hurting.

Many people are afraid.

Many people around the world feel like how we all feel when we have a beautiful dream in the night only to wake up – desperately trying to get back to sleep to run back to our dreamland but knowing that we will never enjoy it again.

But… because a dream is not real doesn’t mean that they are any less beautiful. Down the ages, it has been those who dreamed of a better world that have led to greatest changes to human kind.  

As the world seems to be pulling apart rather than coming together, it’s the beauty of that dream, no matter how far away it seems that gives me hope. Hope that we may never kill the monster, we can imprison it & go forward together.

It’s good to dream. It keeps the hope alive. I will keep dreaming… And I hope that you can too.

Thank you for reading guys! These are the  most raw & honest thoughts on everything that has happened over the last couple of weeks! Please let me know what you think in the comments below or tweet at me @karlwebdev.

As always thank you for reading and see you next Thursday!

Karlwebdev 

Stop Bullying Yourself

Reading time: 6 minutes

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Your ‘Best’ Friend

Hello Boys and Girls!

I want you to close your eyes and imagine something: imagine that you had a ‘best’ friend and you’ve known him/her for your whole life – in fact let’s give your friend a name: ‘Jamie’ (it’s unisex – just roll with it…).

Although you’ve known each other forever, your relationship with Jamie is… Tricky. Jamie is very opinionated and often says things at the wrong time. Jamie loves when you only do things that are “comfortable” – things that won’t rock the boat and that are routine. Jamie doesn’t like when you try anything new.

But if you go against Jamie’s wishes, and try something new – and you fail, Jamie gets vicious: Jamie becomes downright mean and opens a verbal can of whoop ass on you. All you will hear is:

“You’re a loser! I told you it wouldn’t work!”

“Everyone is laughing at you! They think you are fool!”

“I knew they would find out about you sooner or later! You’re a fake!”

Would you stay friends with that person for long? Or would you treat him like Uncle Phil did Jazzy Jeff and throw out of your house! But what if you couldn’t? What if Jamie lived in your head all the time? 

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If only we could do this to the negative voices in our mind…

“My Biggest Enemy Is My Inner Me”

For most people, ‘Jamie’ or that ‘little gremlin in your head’ is a daily reality. After doing a little research, psychologists call this voice the ‘Inner Critic’. Researchers believe that Inner Critic is actually a psychic defence. The Inner Critic was birthed in our childhoods & represents all the rules, judgements and expectations of our parents, family systems and even society itself. The theory goes that the Inner Critic is there to stop us feeling anxiety, pain and shame. Now although most people have an Inner Critic, some people may have a harsher Inner Critic if they had:

  • Significant childhood trauma 
  • Being raised by caregivers who were not affectionate & did not give them positive affirmations
  • Being pushed to always achieve and be ‘perfect’

Now the inner critic is NOT your conscience. Whereas your conscience may push you to do things for good or moral reasons, the Inner Critic is out to punish and criticise you. It’s not your friend. Sometimes, if a person has had many challenges in their life & not had support, then their inner critic can lead to anxiety, depression or in the worst case scenario, suicide.

We live in the most technologically advanced period of human history, with people living longer and having a better standard of living. But there are some very worrying stats.

In the UK alone:

And the stats keep coming in. Houston, we have a problem.

What’s Going On? 

Many theories have been tossed around from the breakdown of the traditional family unit, growing individualism, globalisation & even our environment. But I can only talk from personal experience & those closest to me & the common issues are:

  • Increasing work pressure & increasing in costs of living
  • Less time with family & friends 
  • 24/7 culture & information overwhelm
  • Seeing friends & family on Facebook living more ‘successful’ lives. 
  • Because of external pressures (parents/society) feeling like a failure when they don’t hit certain life goals at a certain time (be married with kids & have purchased a house by 30).

This makes the Inner Critic goes nuts. I once heard a motivational speaker saying you should “never sleep & give 200% to your job” and I cringed. Is this good advice? 

If in my bank account, I had £100 and I went to with draw £200 – guess what? I would be £100 in debt. Likewise many of us sacrifice the good things (relationships, health and meaning) for material things (money, power, status) and we end up lonely, sick and depressed and wonder why we are so miserable. It’s bad maths and it needs to stop.

What we really need is self compassion.

What Helped Me and Can Help You

With the severe illness of one of my loved ones last year, it made me realise how much I was focusing on the things that didn’t matter. Dealing with this and the demands of modern life, left me feeling exhausted, depleted and miserable. After meeting a close friend and explaining the situation to him, he said to me plainly “you’re bullying yourself into the ground – it’s time to show yourself some TLC (Tender Loving Care). I pushed myself around and thought I had to be Superman when really, I was Clark Kent. Here are some tips to help you put down your cape and relax.

Sleep

toddler-sleep

Sleeping like a baby will help you live to old age…

My relationship with sleep became like a loveless marriage: we grew apart but had to keep together for the sake of the kids. But because I wanted to improve myself so badly, I would function on 5–6 hours of sleep thinking that I was being productive but more of the time, I was groggy, irritable and I would constantly catch the flu – even in the summer. Research has shown that sleep make sure remember more, makes you sharper and makes you happier. In other words, more productive. Nowadays I aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep and I feel so much better.

Stop Being the Hare! Become the Tortoise.

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Not slow but STEADY wins the race…

As a culture, we have become obsessed with “overnight successes” – we seemingly see celebrities, entrepreneurs and other successful people parade on TVs and think that within 6 months of learning, we should become a genius, billionaire, play boy/girl, philanthropist (HT @IronMan). But we don’t see the years of dedication and perseverance that they needed to ensure. For example:

I know this might seem like some motivational mush, but we all miss the point. The point is NOT the success: these people simply endured without fuss & kept going at a steady, even pace. They ran their own race. It’s the small invisible daily actions that count & I’m learning to enjoy the journey on the way. I’ve stopped trying to leap into a happy and successful life in a single bound and now I’m happy to take the stairs.

You are NOT a machine. Turn off!

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We need to turn off once in a while…

My late grandmother had a farm. She would work from sun-up to sundown and that’s it. If my grandmother had a to-do list it would go like this:

  • Wake up 
  • Water the plants
  • Remove the weeds
  • Harvest the crop

That’s it. The time she was not farming, would be spent time with her kids & grandchildren. She lived to her mid 90s & had a full life. I envy her life is so many ways & wonder whether if in my lifetime if I will ever get that simplicity.

As technology goes forward & the world moves faster & faster, we forget we are not like the machines that (for now) serve us. We humans need to rest, relaxation and times to stop everything. I’m guilty of this too. Be a friend to yourself rather than treating yourself like the Igor in Dr Frankenstein’s castle.

Be Kind.

This post was inspired by 2 things:

  • Monday 10th October was World Mental Health Day
  • I watched a fantastic documentary by Keith Dube called ‘Being Black Going Crazy’ which highlighted the mental health issues that black people face in the UK. Mental health is a global issue and one that STILL has a massive stigma attached to talking about it. We have to get a grip on this now & we must be willing to be vulnerable. 

As I leave you, there are 2 challenges I want you to consider:

1) If you are struggling with your Inner Critic or Mental Health, take the steps above & be kind to yourself. It’s easy to let our Inner Critic run our lives but I can bet my life savings that you have many talents, passions and things to be grateful for. If you still struggle, don’t be afraid to talk to someone or get professional help. 1 in 4 or us will have a mental heath issue at some point in our lives so you are not alone.

2) Show some kindness and consideration to whomever you come across in your daily life. If someone has a broken leg, we can see it & show that little bit of extra consideration, but what if someone has a broken heart? There are some people that you see everyday that are smiling on the outside but are contemplating suicide. With the stats increasing as it is, the scary thing is you may have talked to at least one person today who is suffering from a mental health issue. Your interaction with them can be life changing for good or ill.

In the words of the philosopher Jerry Springer “Be good to yourself – and each other”.

Thank you for reading. As always please leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @karlwebdev.

See you next Thursday!

Karlwebdev

3 Ways Social Media Kills Your Relationships – And How To Save Them

Reading time: 6 minutes.

Technology-and-Companionship4

Introduction

I recently met with a friend who I shall call James that I haven’t seen in a year. James was successful in his field: he had money, a great career & got to travel to interesting places – sweet.

But James was not happy. He confessed that despite all the success, he thought that his job took up all of his time and he never got the chance to see his friends & his close relationships were falling to pieces. He admitted that he was feeling lonely, quite depressed and was terrified of ending up by all by himself.

Although I’m married, I totally understood where James is coming from. Being a teacher and switching careers left me less time to see close friends/family. James’ confession made me wondering how much I’ve neglected my relationships to chase those Queen Heads (pounds sterling).

Now you all know I’m a massive fan of all things technological and one of the greatest gifts Web 2.0 brought us is social media.

The likes of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp have permanently changed the way human beings interact. Social media has allowed us to be part of online communities and interact with people across the globe in the blink of an eye.

But something else is going on here. Despite being the most connected generation in human history, it seems that we are becoming the most isolated.

Studies show that loneliness – often seen as the problem of the elderly, in fact affects 60% of young people aged between 18 to 34 compared to 35% of the over 55s. Other studies show that loneliness can be as bad for your health as obesity and smoking!

So what’s happening? Here’s 3 things I have observed from my own life.

1) Information Overload

Businessman sinking in heap of documents

That’s what happens when you are off work for 2 weeks & you have to go through your work emails.

Technology has has made our lives undoubtably better but we are dealing with more information than ever & that has rocketed our pace of life. Studies have shown that we are taking in five times more data than we did in 1985 which is equivalent to 175 newspapers – and that excludes our daily work!

When I was growing up in the 90s, there was no Internet, we had four TV channels, no mobiles or 24-hour rolling news coverage. For entertainment would play football in the street or ride a bike is in the park. We had… Space. But now we have so much flying at us, we lack the time & patience true friendship needs to grow strong & healthy.

2) Unrealistic lives

Lamborghini-on-Tea-Cups-the-power-of-the-car-really-nice

That’s how we roll… on the table.

Social media has given access to all of us to have our 15 minutes of fame – but at what cost?

A family member of mine has a Facebook profile picture of himself with a brand-new green Lamborghini Aventador. When I asked him when he won the lottery, he told me he hired it for the day for photoshoot. He told me various things like:

‘You need to up your profile’

‘You need show people you’re ballin’

‘You need to show people you live life’

But paying £500 to impress people with the car that you don’t have, to people that you don’t know, to promote a life that is not yours is a lot of effort. But social media makes it easy to do – infact it’s promoted.

3) Lack of intimacy

emotional-intimacy

In-to-me-see.

 

When I upset my mother in public, my mother would simply say “wait until you get home – then me and you are going to have a talk”. Although sometimes that talk was not only verbal but physical, my mother felt that not everything should be for the public to see.

In a time we can share pictures of our holidays or our wedding photos, how do we share that a loved one is sick? Or share how we’re not sure about our careers? Or that we feel anxious/depressed? It blemishes that perfect picture we brought up of ourselves online and damages the “brand” – but are we big corporations or human beings?

Here’s 3 ways I’m using to reverse the trend.

1) Unplug & meet IRL (In Real Life)

unplug

Unplug. Go analogue.

I’m still terrible at this but for those people who I actually care about, instead of texting/tweeting/updating I try and arrange time in my calendar to meet them face-to-face. I try to clear a couple of hours in my schedule – this helps me slow down, be less charged up and more in the present with them. I try not to stay on my phone & try to give them my undivided attention – I still struggle with this but I know this shows I respect their time & presence.

2) Know that everyone doesn’t have it all together

ms-failure-roadsign-shutterstock-185554055

When we go on social media, we only present our perfect selves. To outsiders it looks like “We got all our stuff together” but that is far from the truth. The brutal reality of human beings is that we are often confused, irritated, we make mistakes and more often than not are ‘winging it’ in the adventure called life. Philosopher Soren Klerkegaard said

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”.

Sometimes in career & life building, we can get lost in the brand, but remember we’re human first. This helps us be more compassionate with ourselves & others.

3) Be vulnerable

Superman_Batman-smallville

Even Batman needs a friend…

Author Brene Brown in her book “Daring Greatly” said

“vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they never weaknesses”.

In some people’s minds, James is confession could be seen as weakness but in truth it was great strength. To admit your fears/uncertainties is what makes for genuine friendships. As humans, we often believe that our vulnerabilities are unique to us, like we are the first humans ever to go through our difficult feelings. But in truth, the more we open up to the right people, we grow stronger and realise that we all have a lot more in common than we think. That understanding and openness allows us to make a real connection: greater than anything Mark Zuckerberg ever can conjure up.

Thank you for reading! Does social media enhance friendship or hinder it? What do you think? Please comment below or tweet me @karlwebdev.

See you next Thursday!

Karlwebdev