helpgrowchange

Violence is not the answer

Violence is not the answer.

It just isn’t.

Gain vs Loss

Thus, one gains by losing, and loses by gaining.
Lao Tzu

When I first read this paradoxical quote from the Tao Te Ching, it didn’t make sense to me at all. As I thought about it more and more, I realised…we gain when we lose, and lose when we gain. The beauty of this one line is that we gain and lose at the same time. It is the natural order of things.

Bear with me a moment…picture a glass half-filled with water. As more water is poured in (gain), it reaches the brim of the glass and the excess overflows (loss). Similarly, when water is poured out (loss), this allows more water to fill the glass (gain).

As with the glass of water, we need to be more aware of how much is in our lives (friends, hobbies, social media accounts, money) and really contemplate whether we have too much, too little, or if we’re ‘just right’.

When we take on more tasks or responsibilities at work, are we lessening the quality of work we produce? When we begin a new regular activity like a hobby or gym, are we taking time away from our partner or family? If you gain more income from your investments, are your stress levels decreasing? What about new friends (losing old ones), more clothes (less value), or a bigger house (less income)?

The list can go on and on.

Here’s a little challenge for you today, consciously think about what you’re gaining and losing. Really think about what you’re gaining and what your loss could be. It can be minuscule or life changing, either way you are gaining or losing. What are you losing when you gain that second (or third) cupcake? What are you gaining when you lose your cool with the person in front of you?

It’s hard to decide what is right or wrong here. What’s right for you might be wrong for me, so I can’t answer any of the questions I’ve asked you today. It’s up to you to ask yourself the tough questions and determine whether what you’re gaining or losing is worth it.

Stop striving and start doing

Stop trying to be a good parent, and parent your children.
Stop trying to eat healthy, and just eat healthily.
Stop trying to learn coding, and code.

Just. Stop. Striving.

And start doing.

It sounds so simple doesn’t it?

Yes. Yes, it is that simple.

Easy? Hell no. But simple nonetheless.

Every day we are striving and trying to be this or that. But we get so focussed on the trying that we don’t actually do anything.

I know it’s hard. Trust me, I feel you. I fail daily. But that’s ok because I know I’m doing what actions I can and working towards being better.

Are you ready to stop trying and start doing?

Go on, you’ll be great. 🙂

See the constant in everything

There is no discrimination when it comes to the cycles of nature. The Sun still rises every day, Winter still arrives in an icy chill, and the tide still wades in and out to its perfect timetable.

Ever notice how events seem to come in waves? There are periods of time where very little is happening, then it feels like everything is happening at the same time.

"Why is that?"

It is the constant in everything.

Everything, and I mean everything, is in a cycle of some sort. The planet is orbiting the Sun, water is constantly making its way to the ocean only to be evaporated and taken back to the mountains, we are waking up in the morning – every morning – starting a new day. We breathe in, we breathe out. Life itself is but a cycle. From the day we are born we are already on our way back to where we came from.

Within these cycles are more cycles. Constant cycles within cycles. It's all around us, constantly working.

"So life is happening. What's the big deal?"

Once we realise this and learn to accept that we're in a cycle and everything around is in constant motion, we can grasp a very important concept. No matter what we are doing or where we are, it is only temporary, and things will never stay the same.

If we're happy, sadness will come. If we're sad, happiness will find a way back. If you're sick, you will get well (unless of course your cycle of life is returning to the beginning). After your shower, you will get dirty. The fully-charged battery on your phone will run flat.

No matter what we do, we cannot stop this continuous motion, these constant cycles in our lives. We can influence and delay them, but the completion of the cycle is inevitable. It is the Way of things.

"How does this help me?"

Learn to accept that the situation you're in is only temporary. You can't control what will happen. Yes, you can adapt to certain conditions and control your own emotions and thoughts to the situation. But you cannot control the outcome – it is inevitable.

Remind yourself constantly that your situation will pass (both good and bad). Rather than try control the situation, why not live it? Be in the moment and take comfort that change is around the corner.

On changing our views

When making a statement, I think many people hold you to that statement for a long long time. Have you ever had the occasion where someone's held a gripe (or similar) with something you said 17 years ago? I have, and it sucks. Should we be held to the same views we had when we were 17, 25, 42?

No, I don't believe we should. We can't be expected to keep the same beliefs and values throughout our adult lives. We'd be stuck in the same loop the entire time, not learning anything new, not experiencing new moments, not even loving the people closest to us.

It would be a sad existence to live without change. Not just change in general, but changing the way we view our lives and ourselves. Everyday we are exposed to new information – blog articles, documentaries, stories. This new information is everywhere, and whether you like it or not, we are absorbing this information – consciously and subconsciously.

Some of this information might cause you to actively challenge your previous views. Like when I found out how sugar is in everything, it challenged my views on 'low-fat' dietary habits. Or how I used to think watching Mindless T.V. was okay.

It's okay to say you have changed your mind.

We live our lives the best we can with the knowledge we have available to us at any given time. There is no wrong in that. So when we learn something new, our views change. All that knowledge and experience over the years will change you. Maybe not drastically at first, and you may not even notice it, but you'll look back and think huh, so Terence was right, I have changed. It happens to me all the time, where I compare what I eat, think, and do with how I was a year ago, 2 years, even 7 years ago. It's amazing the difference we see when we take a little time to reflect.

It comes down to the choices you make on a daily basis. Cutting down on coffee in your day? That's a change. Going for a short run for the first time? Another change. Reading a book on parenting? You guessed it, another change.

These might not seem like big decisions or changes, but change always starts small. It's a little choice here, another over there, and before you know it, you're not drinking any coffee, you're exercising 4 times a week, and being a fair parent.

Don't be afraid to change the way you see your world. Be bold in admitting that you have changed your views. It's all about growing and changing and adapting in our world – it's made you who you are today.

The useless class has arrived

I read an article recently about how humans are becoming the useless class. Historian, Yuval Noah Harari, reckons we are not too far away from a future in which the technology we've created to assist us will put us out of work.

This isn't a new concept, but the reality of it actually happening has become much more prevalent than before.

The article states the jobs we do are all just algorithms – algorithms that are easy learnt, and in turn easily replaceable with technology (because – think about it – most jobs are pretty straightforward).

However, Harari also states that ancient hunter-gatherers had to perform a shit-ton of skills in order to survive – ranging from tracking and hunting animals, to knowing which berries to eat, and to making fire and cooking said food. Making it a much harder algorithm to figure out.

Today, we're "specialised and professionalised" in one career only, so when the machines learn – we're out in the cold.

Although it's good to specialise in a certain craft, it will be necessary for us to specialise in multiple streams. Don't get me wrong, specialisation is needed (doctors, engineers, psychiatrists), but the majority of jobs in our society are easily replaceable and will efficiently and effectively be done so with technology.

We've heard all this before, yet there was a very interesting point I took out of the article:

"Very soon this traditional model will become utterly obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives and to reinvent themselves repeatedly."

Having undergone a few mini "reinventions" through my own career, I can totally relate to this statement. I've realigned myself, learned new skills, new habits. Learned that there are different ways to solve a problem and that we are just one peg in a big-ass machine.

By reinventing yourself you learn how different areas of business work. You learn how to deal with situations that can't be solved with a hammer and duct tape. You learn new skills that add to your repertoire and can only benefit you when the going gets tough.

"But I'm good at what I do!" I hear you say, "Why do I need to change?" Because you become better, stronger, more versatile, and less replaceable by an algorithm.

Yes, it may be outside of your comfort zone to learn a new technology. It's damned stressful when you are now responsible for a group of people. You will feel out of place when you move to a new role in a new team.

There is nothing wrong with feeling any of discomfort.

Just push through, keep plodding, and be open to learning. Before you know it, you will be drawing on your multifaceted previous experiences in order to counteract whatever is in front of you now.

It's a scary world we're heading into, but I truly believe if you are adaptable enough and continue learning and changing, you'll be ok.

On a side note, the study to which the article refers to predicts that archaeology is one of the least likely professions to be replaced by technology (1% chance). Maybe I should follow one of my dreams and become an archaeologist (haha).

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