Australian beach cliff sunrise
blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

It Started with the Door

I was washing the Schnauzer Dog this morning and the young pup and rest of the family kept interrupting me, pushing open the door hitting me in the shoulder, when I was working with the dog in the tub, full of shampoo.

If it wasn’t the pup pushing open the closed door latch, it was the Moth a.k.a. ‘Man of the House,’ (New homes appear to have internal doors that don’t securely latch closed, unless you slam them).

Each time the door was opened, the very wet and soapy Schnauzer, now full of shampoo would repeatedly try to leap from the tub, and and you can just imagine how slippery a fully soaped up dog was. It was a slightly exasperating situation.

Dog washing complete, I then set about cleaning the laundry and the same scene repeated, much to my dismay. Newly cleaned floors covered with either Schnauzer paw prints or Moth footprints as suddenly everyone wanted to get into the laundry for some reason. Grr.

I felt the tension rising in my body. I was irritated by the door latch not staying closed and the laundry suddenly becoming busier than Central Station. After a few grumbles under my breath, I paused, took a deep breath and tried to remember the wise saying I read earlier this week:

When you are upset, remind yourself the cause of your discomfort is your own attitude.

This is Freedom.

Dr. Lee Jampolsky

If there is something you don’t like, you can either change it or change the way you think about it.

Each and every day, the real battle for freedom takes place in your mind.

 Ingen kan hjelp den som ikke vil hjelpe seg sjøl.

Noone can help someone who will not help him/her/themself

Norwegian proverb

Do you have a way of dissolving tension that works for you?

If so, I would like to hear it.

shrine in Tokuyo
Motivational

Herd Mentality

The Honey bee is successful because it is a master of teamwork and collective decision making. They use their communication system to allow good decisions to spread and diminish information that is unhelpful.

Joanne Reed
bee

According to Author Joanne Reed, humans in a group, are influenced by what the majority of others are thinking, or doing, a similar thought, or thing, rather than the message, a type of herd mentality. When there is uncertainty in the environment surrounding a decision, she notes that people tend to feel safer, ‘siding with the crowd,’ rather than going it alone, even if that decision might be a bad one. Yet we are alert to bad news, it garners our attention, more so than good news.

Social Experiment on Herd Mentality

Citing a social experiment using slot machines and payouts, Joanne Reed talks about how people tended to follow the choice of the majority, once they had learned a particular slot machine paid out, more often than the rest. When the winning slot machine was changed, they stuck with playing that same machine even after it no longer paid out.

When uncertainty increased, players apparently took even longer to break away from conformant behavior.”

authorjoannereed.net

Many marketing techniques exploit this tendency in human nature. Just this week, I saw a video advertisement for an online program designed to teach you “Secret Ways to Boost Sales,” (of one’s art products). The message was clear – You would be foolish to pass this opportunity by, as everyone, yes, everyone, is doing this and everyone, is increasing their sales exponentially.

Really?

Everyone?


Social Media and advertising plays around with this herd mentality and our decisions as a consumer. We seem more inclined to trust a beauty or personal product if it is endorsed by a particular celebrity, or professional. Products that receive a gazillion ‘likes,’ or positive reviews, appear to be seen as trustworthy and reliable, than those with a mere one-star rating.

Where am I


“People are sheep. TV is the shepherd.”

Jess C. Scott, Literary Heroin (Gluttony): A Twilight Parody

Some are tempted to follow blogs or social media accounts with large followings, based on the quality of the site’s content, or the curiosity to check out what all the ‘hype,’ is about? These folks might think there is a very good reason people view them and they want to know too, right?

In smaller groups or where there was a less challenging task to undertake, people seem more comfortable pursuing, or willing to explore, less popular or divergent decisions. But this feeling of certainty and penchant for safety in numbers, that draws us to side with the crowd – where has it come from? George Patton appeared to value divergent thinking.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

George S. Patton on authorjoannereed.net

Given that bees are highly successful using collective communication methods, it is interesting that we have been successful despite our tendencies towards herd decision making. Some research suggests that we have been successful, not just because we were a co-operative species, but because we have been friendly. People are more likely to work cooperatively, if their colleagues are friendly.

Some folks might be more inclined to join a protest rally when their friends were doing it, or it seemed the right thing to do because there is a subconscious message as everyone is doing it? Would they still join the protest on belief in the cause, alone?

The nail that sticks up, will be hammered down

Japanese Proverb

Food for Thought

Does this have implications in what we see in today’s society? Or how future societies might be?

Are we just as guilty of herd decision-making, if we side with the majority of a team in a workplace?

How influenced are you by the herd?

Do you listen to divergent opinions?

Something to Ponder About




History & Traditions, Motivational, Philosophy

Weekly Quote and Proverb

Proverbs and Quotes provide us with wisdom from days past.

These words, generally anonymous and uttered so succinctly, can teach us so much, in just a few words.

Here are this week offerings:

The greater love is a mother’s;

then comes a dog’s;

then a sweetheart’s – Polish Proverb

Schnauzer dog

In these times of pandemic and social distancing, we would do well to remember the Danish proverb:

No one is rich enough

to do

without a neighbour.

Danish Proverb
Dragør

As a second wave of Corona looks to be commencing in a southern state, the final word goes to Thomas Edison –

Stay safe.

shopping centre with consumers
Australia

Post LockDown Possibilities for Retail Centres

Worst-case Scenario

I think we all are aware that brands and stores may not survive the financial hiatus resulting from the pandemic. Together with the shift in the popularity of online shopping, the enforced elimination of in-person appointments and alternative home delivery methods, what if shopping malls could become a relic of the past?

Already anchor shopping centre retailers, like Kmart and Myer are closing stores and looking at ways they can down-size their in-store presence.

Shopping malls might become ghost towns, abandoned places left to rack and ruin, post-Covid.

Might it be possible that abandoned locations such as those could undergo a phoenix-like transformation should the worst happen in a post-pandemic environment?

A Silver Lining

With a little alteration, abandoned malls could become emergency shelters or accommodation for the homeless or disadvantaged folks. The infrastructure exists – services such as lighting, electricity and plumbing etc could be re-connected.

Small stores might easily be converted to residential rooms and larger stores to dormitory or dining areas. The homeless or troublesome graffiti artistis will infiltrate abandoned places anyway!

There could be retraining and shelter facilities, hardware stores could become areas for learning trades or sheltered workshops.

Photo credit: Tweed News

Is it pessimistic to think that this might unfortunately come to pass, or that a rejuvenation in a humanitarian form even possible?

All is Not Lost

There are reports and discussions occurring about opening up society again and how our Government could gradually do it.

The process has started, with parks and playgrounds re-opening, as our Covid new case rate is relatively low, compared to some other countries. Travel between Australia and New Zealand might even be allowed in the coming months.

Mortgages in abeyance will still have to paid. If the employment is there, can they play catch up when income has been severely restricted or absent for several months? If not, then more emergency shelter accommodation will be needed.

Time will tell.

Where am I

Hopefully, your shopping mall an small business will survive and rise to the challenges of online business.

Sunday Saying

Things are never so bad that they are not good for something.

Aldri så gale er godt for noko

Swedish Proverb

We look for the silver lining.

Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Procrastination

Dr Robert Boice spent two decades delving into the minds of writers to work out why they are so easily distracted. He found that master procrastinators are suckers for falling for the short term hit at the expense of their long-term goal.

blog.reedsy.com/learning/courses/writing/stop-procrastinating-and-build-a-rock-solid-writing-routine/kill-procrastination-gremlins/

People prone to procrastination place a disproportionate focus on the outcome, rather than the input required to make their dream come true. This can cause increased levels of anxiety.

https://blog.reedsy.com/learning/courses/writing/stop-procrastinating-and-build-a-rock-solid-writing-routine/kill-procrastination-gremlins/

“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.”
– William James

Then the panic sets in….

And most pertinent in this Corona phase of life:

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”
– Olin Miller

Do you identify with facets of procrastination?

Is it a fear of the future that holds you back from dealing with issues or would you consider motivation, or a lack thereof, more imperative to procrastination?

Why do we procrastinate so much? Is it worse since the advent of our electronic devices?

If so, is that mean we are more distractible these days. And then, my question would be, what does that lead to in the long term?

Something to ponder about this Sunday.

Join in the discussion. I would love to hear your perspective.

Motivational

Leadership

Weekly Quotes

“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” – Klaus Balkenhol

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes a good leader?

Does a manager lead by example or by words?

Is compliance of employees achieved by checking, verifying, straightening those who they see as divergent from their policy or procedures? Can successfully managing a team mean you do not need to mould, reform or control?

Some years ago, I worked in a friendly and collaborative workplace, until sweeping changes created some newly appointed Team Leaders and the group dynamics changed.

The decline in morale and mood in the workplace was palpable. Many Senior staff left the organization and the atmosphere became toxic. Harassment, and criticism became commonplace. The boss tacitly supported this through direct, brusque emails. Softer, quietly spoken colleagues were the first targets to suffer under this micro-managerial behaviour.

The result: A disconnected, ineffective workplace with high absenteeism rates and resignations.

To be an effective manager of staff, you must possess a range of skills. Particularly decisiveness, empathy, intelligence, problem-solving skills, and great communication.

Similarly, in Government, we see politicians sit idly by until the public who elected them cry out for them to do something. Then, threatened by their own downfall, they move, often in the wrong ways and far too late.

The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.

– Woodrow Wilson

Our politicians would do well to remember Woodrow Wilson’s words.

As always, the old pearls of wisdom and quotes provide us with much insight into learning what constitutes leadership.

Weekly Proverb

Verona
Verona

He that would be a leader must be a bridge.

– Welsh Proverb

Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Saying -Misinformation and Communication

In this regular Sunday post, I welcome discussion of traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within their succinct words.
Not only do they have an ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age, they may also impart knowledge; a knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us to interpret it how we see fit and how we pass it on.

Weekly Proverb

Caution minimizes loss

– Filipino proverb

Fake news has been systemic for several years now, and the pandemic has seen masses of digital misinformation, from conspiracy theories to suggestions that only old people are affected. Social media is one of the usual protoganists.

So it begs the question:

Will history books be the only truth-tellers of our time?

Weekly Quotes

I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.”  

-Reuben Blades

The great enemy of communication… is the illusion of it.

— William H. Whyte
Where am I

Where do you get your information from and how is it communicated?

Do you know much about the people behind the company who conveys your news? Their agenda or background?

Who do you believe? And Why?

How do you verify your news is not fake news?


Linking this also to Debbie’s communication post

You are welcome to join in the discussion. All comments are welcome.

Community, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Hurtful words

This week in Australia, there has been many hurtful words slung in the fight for supplies in supermarkets – primarily panic buying on toilet paper. The premise is flawed as we have enough supplies and manufacture it here. But still, folks panic buy a trolley load! Brawls have erupted in the toilet paper isles of the major supermarkets! Hurtful words have been said.

beach

Feeling Irritated

A few weeks ago I was discussing what happens when we feel irritated by someone else’s words.

I asked:

What do we gain by feeling irritated? Is there any kind of benefit in this?

  • We get to feel like a martyr – meaning I AM still okay so you are NOT
  • We get to blame others for our feelings
  • We get to feel unhappy and it’s someone else’s fault

Ultimately, all of us need to take responsibility for our own feelings and aim to be more accepting of other people, their temperaments and priorities.

But what about the other side of irritation? The fall out from those spiteful words said in a moment of anger that are often regretted? It is not always easy to repair the damaged relationship, nor unsay what has already been said.

Hurtful words are often said when we do not have, or cannot find, the words to clearly express our needs, clearly or succinctly. It seems like frustration and pain often lie behind the words that are spoken.

Te Mata Peak New Zealand

Weekly Quotes

“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future” – Robert Schuller

The Hidden Meaning Behind Hurtful Words

from pamfullerton.com

“In making hurtful comments, we are usually trying to communicate strong, unresolved feelings. However, this seems to work against us as it causes pain in ourselves and others.”

And if we don’t transform pain, we might transmit it.

Thinking about what it is that we really want to communicate when we say hurtful words to, someone we know, is useful.

Some examples:

Angry statement: “You never spend time with me anymore – you don’t care about anyone but yourself!”

The real meaning: “I miss you and sometimes I feel unloved & lonely when we don’t spend time together”

Said with frustration: “Calm down”

The real meaning: “I’m at a loss, I feel inadequate because I have no idea how to help you”

Said with hurt: “I’m done – I want out”

The real meaning: “I don’t want to be hurt anymore and I’m at a loss as to how to make things better between us”

Said in exasperation: “Get over it and just deal with it”

The real meaning: I can’t help anymore, as I am out of useful suggestions.

Expressing our true feelings can makes us feel vulnerable, and if the other person fails to respond to our admissions, with empathy, or begins to accuse or blame, the hurt will be felt even more acutely.

IMG_8851

“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings, but silence breaks your heart.” Source – unknown

Do you ever get the silent treatment in times of conflict? Phone calls that are blocked or remain unanswered?

Could this communication breakdown be a method of coping with the situation or possibly freezing you out so that reconciliation is impossible and the other party will be seen to be right? Are they finding it impossible to find any words to convey their true emotions?

Hurtful words damage the trust we feel in any relationship.

Quotes and proverbs provide us with some wisdoms:

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.”

-Archibald MacLeish

Weekly Proverb

A gentle word opens the strongest lock

– Old English Proverb

Sunday Sayings – Something to Ponder About

Community, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Resilience and Success

Weekly Quote

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

-David Brinkley

Weekly Proverb

If your only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail. — Gambian proverb

Resilience

A recent article suggests that those who can weather the storms of life have the ability to perceive events in a different way to those who feel stressed and negatively impacted by trauma and life’s challenges.

Whether you can be said to have resilience, or not, might depend on the way your life unfolds. If you are lucky and never experience any adversity, you don’t really know for sure how resilient you might be. When you come across obstacles stress and environmental threats, you discover how well you can cope with life’s challenges.

Reacting to Stress

Do you see a stressful event as traumatic, or a problem? Or is it a chance to learn and grow?

Why do some kids thrive in awful circumstances and yet others crumble despite hailing from more comfortable backgrounds?

Predictors of Resilience in Children

Who will be resilient?

According to the article, support networks are essential to resilience. A strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or other mentor, who believed in them tended to be more resilient, when life threw them a curve ball.

Children displaying the following strengths were also noted to be more resilient: [Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956753/%5D

  • mature, autonomous and independent
  • were naturally curious
  • used whatever skills they had effectively
  • belief it was themselves, not their circumstances, that affected their achievements
  • strategies to deal with stress
  • a talent or hobby valued by others
  • a sense of humour
  • responded well to others
  • tolerated negativity
  • well developed decision making, reading and planning
  • a balanced perspective of experience
  • hopefulness
  • flexible but tenacious

In short, “The resilient children saw themselves as orchestrators of their own fates.

newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-secret-formula-for-resilience

The final saying today comes from Janet over at This, that and the other thing:

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

Discussion

Do you see yourself as the master of your own destiny?

Join in the conversation. All comments are welcome.

Schnauzer
Community, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Heartbreak

De liefde kent vlek nog gebrek. When you are in love you do not see any faults or shortcomings. (ie. Love makes you blind)

Dutch proverb from from Gerard Oosterman
dream-feelings-love-pain-reason

Although it never gets better, the grief that comes with heartache adn loss, does get more manageable with time.

Time can be a wonderful great healer.

Finding the right words of comfort helped me at the most difficult times. At other times, silence can be just as comforting.

heart

It is hard, but coping with traumatic loss comes with time, and the only consolation is that you are not the first and only one to suffer in this way. You are not alone in your grief.

One day, the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.

Weekly Proverb

“A bitter heart devours its owner”

love

Weekly Quotes

Sometimes love can tear us apart and devotion a cruel master.

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

Unknown

And finally, the last word goes to Louisa Alcott:

“Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy.”

– Louisa May Alcott

Community, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Trees and Doors

Weekly Quote

unknown

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog which morphed into Sunday Sayings.

I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

Weekly Proverb

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.

The second best time is now.”

Chinese proverb
tree ferns

Sayings, quotes and proverbs offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton.

Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

lone surfboard rider in the morning surf
Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – The Self

A child is like an axe; even if it hurts, you still carry them on your shoulders.

Finnish Proverb

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog, now ‘Sunday Sayings.I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

These wise words offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Cedar Creek, Australia
Community

Sunday Sayings – Meditation

snow cottage sweden sverige skellefteaa
A Cottage in sweden

Weekly Saying

Man kan sola sig en hel dag i en varm tanke

One can lie in the sun a whole day with just warm thoughts

Swedish proverb

Thoughts and Meditation

pensive thoughful looking upward

One of the benefits of incorporating a regular meditation practice into your life is in helping to settle the mind.

With the constant expectations and intense stimuli around us in the modern world, thoughts may easily race out of control and threaten to consume us. Or, when all is quiet and we’re alone for too long, our mind and thoughts can worry us and give us no rest.

Relief may be found in relaxing the mind. Recurring or troubling thoughts may elevate our mental state and encourage the release of adrenaline and stress hormones in our bodies. Clearing the mind, or stilling those thoughts, especially the recurrent ones, may give the emotional self attached to those thoughts, a much needed break.

Sometimes it is impossible to ‘clear’ the mind; to just think more positively.

That’s when it may help to step back from one’s thoughts and see them as separate to your own self. Because they are!

You are not your ‘thoughts,’ alone! There is a person and a body in there too.

Looking at your thoughts as if you are an observer, as a silent witness can help quieten a tumultuous mind.

When I felt like the emotions deriving from troubling thoughts, especially negative ones, were consuming my thinking, I found the following analogy helpful, in promoting mental stillness and calm.

Meditation Exercise – Be an observer

Find a quiet place and:

Imagine that you are sitting on a riverbank and that you see a leaf or branch, stick or even a flower, (if that suits you), floating along with the stream’ s current.

That leaf/twig/flower is floating down the stream towards you. You see it approach, floating on that gentle current, and you continue watching it, in your mind. It continues to float by and eventually you see it pass in front of you, the current then taking it further downstream and then finally out of your sight.

stream

Each branch/leaf/petal, is a single one of your thoughts.

Sometimes that floating stick or branch might get stuck on a rock, or the riverbank itself for a while, before the current again catches it and it floats away out of sight.

Each thought is a different leaf or stick that will pass by on its way. You remain calm, staying out of the way, a silent observer on the riverbank but watching this from a distance.

In this way, you see yourself as separate to your thoughts, a silent observer.

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

-Mahatma Gandhi

The emptying or observing of emotions is like pressing a reset button on all the stress hormones and neurotic needs caused by daily life situations and experiences.

We can all use a Reset button at times!

There are many other methods of meditation that are useful to still the mind. I found mindfulness and bead meditation to be most useful for me.

meditation
Bead meditation and mantras

You have to find the method that suits you best.

Happy Sunday