Time to read: 3 minute
It is a common mistake for those who are happy to assume that the reverse state is sadness. It isn’t. The opposite of happiness is boredom or fear. If the Gods want to kill you, they will first make you bored. But if they want you to suffer, they’ll make you scared.
Anxiety is the fear that we will not be able to cope with what happens to us. It can be a dark and overwhelming syndrome. But it can be overcome with the right strategy. My latest book, Overcoming Anxiety: The Definitive Guide, presents such a strategy and you can find that on the eBook page here. It covers all of the practices and skills which could be taught in schools, in order to prevent this kind of suffering.
The choice not to prepare children for personal issues such as anxiety is ignorant and reckless. Each year an increasing number of workers are taking time off due to stress, while mental health issues continue to be misperceived and treated flippantly.
Total reading time: 9 minutes Bolded text reading time: 3 minutes
Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire. - WB Yeats
Deducation exists to help others learn the things they should have been taught, and advocate that they be taught, in school. This core overview of my views will cover its fundamental flaws and some general suggestions on formal education including schools and University in the UK. It is worth noting that many of the underlying concepts which shape British education are seen in systems around the world.
The UK education system was largely established and centralised during the Victorian era. At the time, designers of education needed to produce individuals capable of following instructions and remembering basic facts in order to work on factory floors, given that manufacturing was not only an enormous employer but also most people’s only choice. Discipline, memory and copying were therefore the essential building blocks of education. More than 100 years later, these principles remain at the core of teaching and testing practice.
In a day and age where the vast majority of Britons work in a services industry, where they need to solve problems and test boundaries independently, rather than follow orders and do what everyone else is doing, the current system is failing to produce effective workers. In fact school is failing to produce effective humans.
We spend the first two decades of our life in school, trying to do well so we can get a job. Perhaps afterwards we go to University in the hope of getting a better job. At the end of it all, we are then told that education alone is not enough. Companies want finished products, with experience in the relevant area, to 'stand out amongst the crowd.' But education is producing us all as identical copies, so how are we supposed to stand out? We need extra experience, but who has the time?
Reading time: 8 minutes Bolded reading time (important bits): 2 minutes
This post will cover an epidemic addiction, which is killing more people each year than any other drug on the planet. It is a substance that you yourself are taking. But before we get on to that, we need to change our perceptions of addiction, because without understanding what you're battling, how could you hope to fight it?
When we talk about addiction we think about heroin needles and rehab. Maybe smoking and potentially alcohol might also cross your mind. What you would never contemplate is the idea that YOU might be an addict, without even knowing. And yet almost all of us are. Chances are, you are and addict. This is an idea that I have been contemplating recently, since I was awakened to the frighteningly obvious addiction that I was blindly allowing to ruin my life.
Do something everyday that scares you. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Standing under a warm shower one morning, half asleep and hungry, I contemplated the routine that I would fulfil that day, as I did every other day. Doing the same thing over and over again, Einstein tells us, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Yet I wasn't trying anything new, and was too comfortable in these habits. We live too long in our comfort zone achieving nothing and going nowhere. Still in the shower, I decided to do the most uncomfortable thing I could immediately think of, and turned the shower to cold. There begun my love affair with icy water, a bug that I have never shaken off.
Cold showers, at least at first, are incredibly unpleasant. Replacing the comfort of warmth with the shocking ice cold is something few enjoy, and yet I have found that not only do you very quickly get used to it, but that there are incredible benefits if you can withstand it. But for most people they aren't willing to scare themselves, or do anything unpleasant, despite the certain rewards. The biggest tip I can give for facing any fear is the art of 'pre-decision'.
Pre-decision is using a moment of motivation to determine in advance your actions at a moment of less motivation or drive. For example, if you want to take a cold shower tomorrow morning, decide now and take actions to ensure you do. You could tweet that you're going to do it, bet someone you live with that you will, or even turn off the boiler in your house.
Will power is OVERATED. Don't rely on will, force it. Sure the shower will be horrendous for the first 30 seconds, but after that it's actually quite nice. And then there are the benefits. This is an exercise in
growing more comfortable being uncomfortable, for your ability to do this is the surest measure of success. Or as someone more eloquent put it:
We do not rise to the level of our hopes, we fall to the level of our training.
And if it really is unbearable, swear very loudly. This can make anything feel better. Then hurry up, get clean and get out to reap the rewards. In less than a month, I discovered benefits far beyond my expectations.
The first time I experienced absolute mental clarity, I was skiing. In fact I was skiing straight for the edge of the slope. It was a steep drop. Whatever else was on my mind, suddenly wasn’t. I avoided the drop and live to tell the tale. I avoided the drop because I was able to focus solely on swerving away from the edge. I could not have done the same with numerous other things occupying brain space. I wouldn’t have been able to do it had I been reminding myself to put the bins out, feed the cat and call my parents. This is a vital lesson: you simply can’t give your best without giving over all of your brainpower to a task. And yet we constantly don't do so, and curse the disappointing results
We are all busy people. We want things to improve, we want to lose weight, run a marathon, grow rich and be happier. But we're just too busy. We mean well, but who has the time? That is where I believe this blog can help. The advice you find here will come in small, short, actionable morsels designed to be digested and implemented today.