Sunday, December 27, 2009

Check this Guy out-Goosebump Stuff

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Occasionally a unique artist appears out of left field and shows up the manufactured Idol wannabees for what they are. No offense to those who aspire to achieve their goals via reality TV but I like the fact Mr Gurrimal has come from total obscurity-a remote aboriginal settlement-with the added challenge of blindness to connect with a world wide audience via his sound alone-ie without the slick record label honchos-directing his sound.

Have a listen and leave a comment-Enjoy-
Cheers Kiaran

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Seasons Greetings and Hope You Have an AWESOME 2010!

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Thank you for visiting my Blog during what for some was a fantastic 2009. My hope is that you and your family have a great 2010 and your aspirations find fulfillment.

Some of you may have had the best year of your life and some alas the worst-that's the swings and roundabouts of this merry go round we call life. I welcome you to re-visit next year as we build our community of like minded individuals for common, Inspiration and Motivation with my goal to make it an AWESOME-2010

As always I welcome your connection-Cheers Kiaran-here in currently very summery Perth-not a snowflake in sight!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free E-book By Seth Godin-No Opt in Required

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Something different. I've just downloaded this content rich 80 page E-Book which is chock full of insightful observations. I hope you enjoy. Return and let me know your thoughts

Cheers Kiaran

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


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Is there a more pointless emotion than frustration? It serves no useful purpose other than emotional feedback that something in our status quo needs to change. More than likely that change is one of perception.
A long and mentally challenging day at work is rarely a factor of the actual activities we’ve engaged in, but rather the sense of impotence in achieving our goals.
There are many ways to define frustration; I like to define it as the gap between what we want and what we’ve got.
To eliminate this debilitating emotion we need to do one of two things: change our focus on what we want or accept that something’s are not in our control and move in the direction of that which we can control.
If the kids are doing your head in, or the boss, or your spouse, you do have a choice. Regression is the response of what I call the spoilt brat! Throw a tantrum, sulk, cry and any number of other manipulative performances.
However whilst this may provide temporary respite from our feelings of helplessness as we hook others into our ‘poor me drama,’ the long-term consequences are that people start to treat us like kids and become immune to our cravings.
Sadly, frustration is no laughing matter and there are many unstable individuals locked up due to letting emotions such as disappointment gradually escalate into despair, anger and eventually into irrational out pourings of anger and sometimes violence.
We are all calibrated differently with different trigger points and coping abilities. However once we become self aware of what’s actually going on emotionally then we start to become empowered with regard to our calculated response as opposed to the more typical knee jerk reaction.
Impulse control is mostly a factor of being tuned in to the moment and being aware of the bigger picture and consequences of our actions. Many regrets in life are the result of acting on impulse, when in the clear light of day we wonder why we acted so irrationally.
Alcohol for example is a well-known inhibitor of rational thought and the consequences of impulsive drunken behavior are well documented.
The message?  Be aware of your ability to handle frustration before it consumes you. If you feel you can’t, then make some changes. Change job, relationship, or whatever is creating the most stress OR adapt and start to care less.
As the line in Desiderata states: perhaps “the universe is unfolding as it should”

Monday, November 30, 2009

Random Act Of Kindness Experiment

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Something different. I don't Blog to espouse any particular life philosophy, but rather to momentarily prompt pause for thought. December is a month of celebration and reflection for many. Connecting with friends and family, present giving and receiving and for many some contemplation and renewing of spiritual beliefs.

In the midst of this crazy neon illuminated tinsel sprinkled hustle and bustle are many lost souls enduring a disconnected sense of emptiness, highlighted by the apparent joie d'vivre playing out all around them.

Here's a thought. Not original I might add. Try doing something a little outrageous this month. Let's call it a Random Act Of Kindness. Random as in unplanned, spontaneous and possibly anonymous, and marvel at the impact. I'm making a leap of anticipation here, and that is; the impact on YOU will be as profound as the recipient.

Some concrete for instances. When someone next asks you for some change, tell them you've only got a $20 note, would that do?!  Perhaps stopping to assist some poor motorist who's broken down, even if it's raining and you're late for an appointment. I am sure you can think of some much more creative ideas, I'd love to hear some examples, both of how you felt and the reaction of the recipient.

It's good occasionally to step out of line and do the slightly irrational act and notice the ripple effect it has on the rest of your day.

Of course you could totally ignore this dribble and perhaps be a recipient, and that'll definitely mess with your world!

Please share your Experience and thoughts-I am online to be inspired and occasionally inspire!

Cheers for now-Kiaran

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The End Of The World!

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According to the great prophets of doom and supported by a heavy mix of pseudo science and science fiction the world is on course for a predictable conclusion in late December 2012.

Wrapped up neatly in ancient Mayan mythology, though mostly ridiculed by modern Mayans, the 2012 phenomenon as it is referred, posits global cataclysm of Doomsday proportions. The end of the world as we know it.

The hype and speculation certainly adds fuel to the fire of Hollywood self promotion. A film (2012) that reputedly cost nearly 300 Million dollars to spawn will milk every ounce from the flood of speculation and accompanying sensationalism.

What fascinates this scribbler however, is the observation that so many outwardly intelligent participants in this soap opera seem hypnotized and unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.

There are an increasing number of accounts of people preparing for the 'inevitable'. talks of suicide pacts, and other troubling stories of mass delusion.

Where do these apparently absurd beliefs emanate? How is it that celluloid villains are chastised and admonished on the street by apparently normal people seemingly oblivious to the fact that these are actually real life people.
Matinee idols are equally feted by virtue of their onscreen animal magnetism.
Invariably in the flesh they are 5 inches shorter and displaying love handles a fact that seems to perplex these hypnotized folks.

If suspended belief helps us transcend normal cynicism and heighten our escapist enjoyment of popcorn entertainment, then so be it. There must be a moment though when we realize that it's not entirely healthy to completely embrace fantasy into our everyday interactions.

If you're over the age of 6 and still have an imaginary friend, or are accustomed to sitting on the train chatting away to yourself whilst gesticulating wildly, then it may be time to investigate the merits of medication or at the very least a little therapy.

Yet behavior not too far removed from the above, is encouraged and reinforced by the  media as if it is reasonable. Before long group hysteria starts to take over and fantasies become profound beliefs. Therein lies the problem. The inability to engage rational reason creates a default to populist thinking.

What can be more populist than John Cusack earnestly racing across our screens to save his family from the apocalypse. He seems credible, so let's enjoy the ride and buy in to the plot and become part of the cast of millions.

Just remember to exit rear stage when the credits roll!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gettin' in the mood for action-This guy's psyched!!

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A 90 second pause of light relief. Can't believe people want to know if it's a real gorilla! Enjoy-RSS me if you like any of my ramblings or maybe check me out on Facebook-Cheers Kiaran

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Profound Gap between Obsession and Indifference

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Have you ever met a an ambivalent success story? Have you ever admired someone or aspired to to achieve their state of nonchalance?

The polar opposite of indifference is obsession. Is this a more favorable disposition? if someone described you as pathologically compulsive, would you feel flattered?

Somewhere between these two states lies our default zone, and as a direct consequence, our capacity to shape our destiny.

Ambivalent people are mostly bit players, and extras in the comedy of life. Life indeed, is something that happens to them, rather than something they direct. Motivation is the fuel that allows one person to run through a brick wall in the pursuit of a goal, indifference provides barely enough fuel to get out of bed.

On the continuum of emotions from indifference up to obsession there are a myriad of complex stimulators and inhibitors that aid or hinder our quests. The problem with obsession is that the narrow focus and lack of peripheral insight repels rather than attracts the object of the obsession. It is an addictive and often self centered pursuit of self gratification.

If you could choose your emotional state (which of course you can), which emotional state would be most conducive to your pursuit of your dreams, goals and aspirations?

This is a simple scale of states you could choose from.

Vague Interest.
Strong Desire

Very few changes in the conditions of our life will ever occur, unless we can find the inspiration and hot button to move us into the state between Strong Desire and Passion. That is the zone in which common folks find the energy to accomplish uncommon goals.

Sadly most people live in the zone between Hope and Vague Desire, which provides neither the energy or motivation to set goals, take action and move out of the comfort zone.

All of us have unimaginable potential to achieve great things, but a combination of lack of belief and unempowering mindsets, inhibit our ability to achieve fulfillment.

Try being a tad obsessed about achieving a significant goal this year, and if you lose traction perhaps you'll slip back into the zone labeled passion!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quantum Physics and The Law of Attraction

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It has become popular in recent years to blend the intellectually unfathomable concepts of quantum physics with pop-psychology precepts such as The Law of Attraction.

Can science prove the theories of the philosophers who since time immemorial have built huge and loyal adherents espousing this seemingly mystical observation?
How would you explain the science of Quantum Physics to a 6 year old? It’s like explaining that the world of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is the real world and that we live in a parallel world where nothing makes sense.

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t

Quantum Physics examines matter and energy at an infinitesimally small size, and at this particle level, all the Newtonian Laws of science appear to break down. Even Einstein needed some convincing to accept the empirical evidence.

The essence of this phenomenon is that it confronts our certainties. If you can’t entirely rely on logic and rationality a whole new horizon of possibility thinking emerges.

The Law of Attraction has been the central tenet of personal development authors such as Napoleon Hill and more recently Rhonda Byrne and many are now using the principles of Quantum Physics to support their theories.

As there are perhaps only a handful of scientists capable of coherently expressing or indeed understanding this nebulous concept any attempts by mere mortals to weave philosophy, spirituality, logic and particle physics into something meaningful is destined to be labelled hocus-pocus.

Some concepts that are expressed are as follows:

Thoughts are things.
We attract like-minded people to us.
Everything is energy and in a constant vibratory state.
Visualization manifests actualization.

The lesson here is that the boundaries of the possible and the impossible are becoming blurred. Perhaps nothing is as it appears.

The mistake is probably akin to that of wave-particle observation. Observation changes the nature of what is being observed.

We live in a world of infinite possibility that simultaneously vacillates between elegant order and utter chaos.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

80/20 Book Review

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From time immemorial our elders have preached the merits of working long and hard to succeed. The motto that hard work equates to success is a rational concept, yet upon closer analysis, the empirical evidence doesn’t actually stack up.

Over a 100 years ago an Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto produced some counter intuitive evidence that seemed to suggest that 80% of Europe’s wealth was controlled by 20% of the population, and this pattern of skewed effort and reward manifested itself in all manner of societal observation.

80% of Crime appeared to be committed by 20% of criminals. 80% of carpet receives 20% of the wear! 20% of Insurance Sales Reps earn 80% of total commissions. You get the point.

Richard Koch examines Pareto’s Principle from both an economics and business management perspective and is unequivocal in his endorsement and the lessons and advantages that can be gleaned from acting in accordance.

Unlike many authors who talk the talk but often fail in the walking department, Koch achieved significant financial success in his private equity investments business, which he attributes to the application of this strange theorem.

Many successful business entrepreneurs attribute much of their success to the application of Koch’s lessons, and this book is frequently quoted as being the most influential and favourite book in many a library.

Some of the lessons that Kock espouses:

“Leverage your own time so that you focus on the things where you add five times more value than elsewhere.”

“Choose a niche that you enjoy and in which you can excel”

“Identify where 20% of effort gives 80% of returns”

“Figure out the 20% of what you do that will contribute the most to your success in the future, then concentrate your time and energy on that 20%”

Anyone who’s ever played golf can probably appreciate the quirky contradiction that the harder you try to hit the ball the less likely it will travel far. The more you relax the better you will perform.

This is a lesson that very few amateur ‘hackers’ will ever truly accept, and therefore continue in their futile attempt to defeat the law of effort and reward. Less effort, concentrated in the pivotal area will always produce the highest degree of reward.

This is a book that takes a little patience to reach its conclusions. The first half reads like an economics manifesto, full of graphs and charts, with statistical analysis that will not be to every one’s palette. The second half however is worth waiting for. There are at least a dozen lessons that if applied can produce some profound changes in your results.

At the risk of sounding banal, you’ll probably find that 80% of the benefits you’ll gain from reading this book will come from a mere 20% of the content!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Life Scripts and Metaphors

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Philosophers from all walks of life have burned out innumerable brain cells pondering over the riddle; ‘what is the meaning of Life?’

Since the dawn of civilization emperors kings and queens have built ingenious structures from the blood sweat and tears of their minions in the hope of gleaning some insight into the mystery of our existence.

In a modern day society of empowered freethinking individualism, we have greater reign to express our individuality and posit our beliefs to the teeming masses that jostle and compete for recognition, than ever.

In order to navigate through life without a brain explosion, it is simpler to reduce our search for meaning into basic scripts and metaphors.

Body adornment, including piercings, tattoos and painted faces, have been a symbol of self-expression since we vacated the trees and set forth on two legs chasing some answers.

There is some irony in the fact that consumerism has helped reduce our Individuality to the bland slogans of our clothing brand and bumper stickers on our cars. Inevitably puerile and banal, yet evidence to some degree of what we stand for.

It has become trendy recently to tattoo slogans across bodies. “Such is Life” for example. These labels become self-fulfilling prophecies that can come to define our life experiences. The above example, while outwardly, a devil may care attitude, does perpetuate and reinforce the belief that life is something that happens to us, rather than something that we shape and bend to our will.

The question I am prompting is this. Do we choose our life scripts and labels or are they woven into our lives as a by-product of our peer group influence?
What’s it all about? Life that jigsaw puzzled mystery that consumes so much of our waking hours contemplating and deciphering?

The thought for the day this scribbler is throwing into the melting pot is this:
The metaphor that we use to describe our life defines the meaning of our life. The degree to which we align ourselves to this image determines how much sense and meaning we perceive.

If Love is a battlefield, if you’re an accident waiting to happen, if life is a bed of roses, or a journey, or a gift, or a purgatory, then our sense of fulfillment will be related to how faithfully we adhere to these scripts.

If you could choose a metaphor to express your attitude to life, that would describe what you stand for, what would you choose? Just a thought!

Friday, September 25, 2009

' I Could Have Been a Contender!"

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It was one of the truly memorable great quotes, uttered by Marlon Brando over half a century ago.

"You don't understand! I could've had class. I could've been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, Charley, let's face it." Terry Malloy-On the Waterfront (1954)

It resonates, because so many can identify with the plaintive message. We all know people who live in the past and regale us with their stories of what they could’ve done, what they could’ve been, what they could’ve had, if only…

There lies the rub. No one really cares. Lost perceived opportunities exist in the realm of science fiction parallel universes. If you had asked that girl out, if you had got that dream job, if you had given up smoking, if you had started your own business, and any number of alternate choices had been taken, are fodder merely for idle day dreaming and the sustenance of frustration.

The only thing that will ever impact our current reality is that which we actually do in the moment.

We can all be contenders. There is however one very significant hurdle to be cleared, one that very few people will ever scale. Virtually every conceivable and measurable achievement we ever attain will be defined by the limits of our comfort zone.
If ever there was a mislabeled term or misnomer, it has to be ‘the comfort zone’
The gap between our potential fulfillment and the reality of our experience is mostly a factor of fear. Not only fear, but more accurately, perceived fear.
Fear of public speaking, fear of failure, fear of intimacy, fear of success, and fear of any number of illusory shadows in the dark, that are in fact rarely based on actual evidentiary fact.

The ability to extend our comfort zone, will, more than just about any other activity, redefine our future achievements.

Imagine, if you had a momentary insight in to that parallel universe in which you lived the alternate life you were capable of living. Imagine glimpsing the person you could be. Successful, happy, respected by your peers, with an awesome family life, healthy, wealthy and wise.

I would imagine that would be a thoroughly depressing insight to have on your deathbed.
The message therefore is as follows: expand your comfort zone, even incrementally, on a daily basis. Take little risks. Ask for a pay rise. Ask your next-door neighbor, the supermodel, out for coffee. Set some real tangible hardcore goals for yourself that you want to achieve in the next 12 months, and start acting ‘as if’ you can’t fail.

You are a contender, every instant of your life, and the shackles around your neck are imaginary, as is the comfort zone that you inhabit.
Just a thought!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Most Famous Person You've Never Heard Of!

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I’m going to make an assumption, so please bear with me. I’m guessing you may be familiar with the names of some of the winners of any number of reality shows, such as ‘Idol’, ‘Biggest Loser’, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and perhaps even the winner of Miss World. If for no other reason than by osmosis, from seeing the magazine headlines that abound.

My second assumption is that you’re not up to speed on the works of Norman Borlaug. Me neither. I spotted a small obituary recently hidden in the depths of a celebrity gossip filled newspaper, that caught my eye, and made me question, why I’d never heard of this chap.

Agronomists, humanitarians and Nobel Laureates are generally not too well known, unless they simultaneously have rock icon status or adopt third world children to parade on the red carpets of the world.

So who is Dr. Norman Borlaug? Well as C.V’s go, I doubt you can ever hope to better his. He is credited with having saved more lives, an estimated Billion, than any other person in history! That’s not a typo! Incidentally that equates to almost as many people that were alive when he was born nearly 100 years ago.

For a sneak preview of this remarkable person’s achievement I’d recommend taking a few minutes to check out some Wikipedia citations. Suffice to summarize: Gorlaub spent most of his life in the pursuit of eliminating global starvation, by means of dramatically increasing crop yields. He was responsible for developing wheat strains that were semi-dwarf, high yield and disease resistant.

In the mid 1960’s there was a very real fear that crop yield would not support a population of more than 4 billion. Yet between 1965 and 1970, Borlaug’s intervention, helped avert an unprecedented famine scenario in Mexico, India, Pakistan and China. It is estimated that his discoveries have contributed to a quadrupling of food production.
Remarkably, this trend in global food production has expanded faster than population growth. The new estimates for population sustainability are now in the vicinity of 10 billion.

Sometimes the work of scientists can seem drab and uninspiring, and yet if some of these unseen heroes were feted with just a fraction of the idolatry that the latest manufactured celebrity receives, then I believe many of us uninformed consumers of the mass media production line would be genuinely inspired.

I’m not sure if Mr Gorlaub had matinee looks or dated a model or two, but I believe society would be well served by at least being aware of his impact.

Who’s inspired you lately?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Coming Soon-My Pet Monkey Online.....

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There's something afoot. I will be introducing a unique character to the Information Marketing World who will revolutionize how how you view this terrain and utterly change the landscape as you know it. He is currently working on his totally unique 'whois' page whilst simultaneously launching his personal brand that he likes to call "Gorilla Marketing". His name is Nigel and I promise his impact will astonish! On that cryptic note I'll depart for now. Tune in or pop over to for my Free Report and sneak preview

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Two Key Factors that will Determine your Success in every area of your Life

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On a daily basis I observe stressed out puffed out, morbidly obese, frustrated,underpaid emotional bankrupts stumbling blindly through the daily monotony that defines their mortality and bereft of any enthusiasm, joy or hope.

So who these people are that I’m hanging out with! I’d guess they’re the same poor souls you notice everyday vacuous with funereal expressions in cubicles, factories, shops or commuting in cars, buses and trains.

We don't live in some Dickensian world of poverty, rather in a modern golden age surrounded by abundance. In a world of unparalleled opportunity,where the barriers of social standing no longer inhibit upward mobility, how is it that the barometer of health and happiness, often labeled 'Life balance' seems to be so out of kilter?

Stress, obesity, frustration, and empty relationships are mostly a manifestation, not of unfortunate luck or inherent genetic flaw but something profoundly simpler. I'll call it 'sclerosis of the attitudes'. This is obviously a play on words, referring to that other devastating health issue: the hardening of the arteries.

I have studied the subject of self concept, belief, value systems, and the degree to which it is a predictor of general well-being. yet whilst feeling good about ourselves undoubtedly is of huge benefit in attracting positive energy of people and circumstances in to our lives, it doesn’t answer the question; How to you acquire this magical state of being?

The two magic ingredients that will propel you to untold heights of attainment in any area of your life are the following. Wait for the drum roll! Inspiration and Aspiration.

Aspiration is the visualization or goal that you desire to achieve. Much frustration in life is a factor, not of unfulfilled dreams, but rather the emptiness left in the absence of a precise measurable target. The comfort zone of familiarity is often a bleak place, and alas often a prison of our own making, This failure to spot the horizon and the possibilities that lie just beyond, tie us to our worlds of quiet desperation.

Inspiration is the ingredient that enables obese people to lose 60KG’s in six months after a lifetime of misery. That motivates a blind person to scale Everest, a mother to work three jobs to send her kids to private school and factory workers to become over night self-made millionaires in their spare time.

Curiously, these chains that bind us to the status quo are often a eureka insight instant away from being lost forever. There is often a moment of clarity that precedes all great success.

It might be a word of encouragement or a television documentary that inspires us to make decisions and take new actions. Occasionally it can be that moment when we reach rock bottom. That moment of darkness before the dawn when we finally become sick and tired of being sick and tired and truly decide that something must change, and it must change now.

For some people this moment happens at a young age, for some in middle age and alas for the majority it never happens. The beauty of this insight however is how simple it is to implement, and thus utterly change your life experiences.

30 minutes invested in brainstorming and committing to paper your dreams hopes and aspirations is the first step.

The second step is marginally more difficult. Find a role model. Or two or three. If you want to lose weight, then simply Google the topic, jump on to YouTube and find someone that you can relate to, connect and get inspired. The inspiration will motivate you to take action.

If you are in an unhappy relationship, then decide what you want. Either take the steps to make the relationship work or ‘get the hell out!’ At the risk of upsetting some people “this ain’t no dress rehearsal”

If you underwhelmed by your job, or are financially embarrassed, then look for mentor or role model whose been down that road and achieved success. There are people achieving outstanding success online everyday with relatively little investment in time and money. Take some action steps. Make some connections and get out of that less than comfortable default zone, fast.

Inspiration and aspiration will ultimately define your future success in every area of life. Enjoy your journey!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Doomsdayers, Geniuses and the Nonsense of Scarsity Economics

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I am always amused when I hear an opinion prefaced with the statement; "I'm no rocket scientist but..." The implication being that you don't need to be a genius to debate a subject. It's amusing because the passing of time often renders yesterday's "rocket scientists" as naive in the extreme, and more often than not, patently wrong in their predictions. no doubt the original flat Earth Society were highly regarded for their insight at the time.

You may never have heard of Paul Ehlrich, or Thomas Malthus unless you have an interest in the economic principles of scarcity. In fact Malthus died back in 1834. His Principle 'The Malthusian Catastrophe' however lives on.

Mr Ehlrich published a couple of best selling books between 1968 and 1971, including ‘Population Explosion', ‘Eco-Catastrophe', (that word again!), and ‘The End of Affluence’,. At the time they were the best selling environmental books to date, selling millions of copies. These were the epitome of doomsday thinking.

So well regarded was his work that he received the ‘prestigious’ Macarthur Foundation Genius Award in acknowledgment of his ‘wisdom’. Why the parentheses you ask? Well, remember the aforementioned Malthus? He was the chap that declared in volumes of scientific rhetoric, that the price of societal improvement and welfare was impending doom, manifested as epidemic, pestilence, plague and starvation. You see the principle of scarcity states that in a world of limited resources there can be no place for aspiration to achieve.

Presumably we should live in huts and embrace a life of privation and subsistence. Happy times! Paul Ehlrich inhabits the same doomsday world as Malthus. His best selling books that garnered him his reputation including his ‘genius’ award, predicted apocalyptic disasters on a scale never before seen. Hundreds of millions would starve to death. Famine, plague and societal disintegration would become the norm. Indeed the world as we know it would collapse like a house of cards. When will this happen, you might ask? Ehlrich was remarkably specific. During the 1970’s!

I must admit to being perplexed as to the predictions his vanquished competitors came up with in the ‘genius’ award category, if he won! In a previous article I asked ‘Is Truth a Myth?’ and facetiously postulated that truth is entirely contextual and biased by our subconscious belief and value systems, which are largely a factor of our cultural up-bringing. Hindsight is a great ally when predicting and forecasting outcomes.

At the other end of the Truth spectrum is Julian Simon, who won a famous bet with Ehlrich, that resources actually drop in price over time and therefore are not scarce, and by predicting that contrary to the assertion that we live in a world of scarcity, we actually live in a world of untold abundance. The air is cleaner. We use less land to produce more food, thanks to the ubiquitous Corn Economy, that accounts for so much of our food and packaging.

The point here is not to gloat over the misguided predictions of past scholars, but it is interesting that negative doom and gloom catastrophe and impending apocalypse is easier to sell than the more likely script, which is that the power of innovation to replace and refine our technologies is inevitably more likely.

All innovation starts with the seed of a ‘what can we improve?’ question. Doomsayers prefer to build their audience on the Principles of Malthus and Ehlrich. Maybe the doomsdayers are right but their timing is out. It seems to me however that given a choice,I'd prefer living a life of optimism, aspiration and enthusiasm, which is profoundly more fulfilling than that proposed by the aforementioned 'rocket scientists'.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Are you addicted?

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Are we a society of addicts? Addicted to Shopping, Alcohol, Shoes, Drugs, Food, Sex, Sport, Gambling, Work, Twitter?
The bigger question is; are these addictions of choice that add fun and excitement, color and texture to our lives? Or perhaps they are subconscious default habitual addictions that imperceptibly eat away at our ability to adapt to our social environment. Whilst there are physiological addictions that require medication to stabilize behavior, ever more research is providing compelling evidence that a huge percentage of destructive habit patterns are controllable. This research is suggesting that many addictions are adaptations to stress. Often these behavioral adaptations are inherently self destructive.

Stressful events affect the immune system. Anxiety, fear, tension, anger and sadness are emotions and physiological stressors.

It needs to be understood that these descriptive words are actually describing chemical reactions in the body. These chemical reactions define our physical and mental health.

Addiction derives from something called the dopaminergic system, or in simpler English-The brain's reward system. The intensity of this desire for reward (the rush of dopamine running through our veins and the ensuing spike in sensory pleasure)

A polarizing theory is posited by Professor John Booth Davies in his book 'The Myth of Addiction' He asks the question 'Is addiction a choice?' and suggests that addicts fall into two categories; those interested in changing, and those not interested.

Insight is the starting point for those interested in changing their habitual destructive actions.

Dr Hans Seyle, coined the term 'General Adaptation Syndrome" He describes three clear stages of adaptation to stress. Initial brief alarm, followed by prolonged resistance, and eventually the third stage, which is exhaustion and death! The chemical precursor to this disturbing eventuality is; enlargement of the adrenal gland, atrophy of the thymus and spleen, and lymphoid tissue, as well as gastric ulcerations.

This is not a medical resource article, but it's worth noting that the throw away labels we give to our emotions and behaviors have an underlying and very real impact on our well being.

So much misery in life is the result of maladaption to stress. What interests this scribbler however is the area of science called Psychoneuroimmunology. Research in this field of science, looks at the impact that state of mind has on the immune system. Former Harvard professor of physiology-Walter Cannon first coined the term Homeostasis. He observed that there is a brain body dialogue played out via control of cortisol levels that can largely be manipulated by conscious thought. Popularly known as the power of belief.

Many NLP(neuro-liguistic-programming) practitioners believe that we can trick the body by changing our response to stress triggers. The belief is, that the stimulus is not the stressor, rather our response. How we label a stimulus defines its impact. Are we angry, or merely annoyed. Are we devastated or merely sad. These labels, our interpretations of our life experiences, are ultimately manifested within our immune system.

Beware how you label your experiences it's self fulfilling. Just a thought!

What would you do if you knew you had 5 years to live?

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If you knew you had exactly five years to live, would you do anything differently?

This is a question that cuts to the quick regarding what really matters and what we truly value. Step back for a moment from the hustle and bustle of making a living and observe your efforts in creating a life. What defines you? Is it the car you drive? The acres of tiling or marble that envelopes your house? The manicured lawns? The awe and esteem of your subordinates? The fear of your enemies? Does your sense of well being relate to your sense of status within your peer group?

Perhaps the bigger question is whether this sense of life purpose and relative self importance is merely an exercise in futile self delusion. A recurring question this scribbler posits is thus. In the absence of context can anything have meaning. Hence the question; would you live your life any differently if you knew its exact expiry date? Would you smell the roses more frequently. Would your perspective alter with regard to what really matters? Would the smile of a child mean more than the compliment of your boss?

We could wax lyrical with any number of metaphoric images to convey the essence of living. The point however is this. If you would make any significant changes to your life in the knowledge of its use by date, then what on earth is holding you back? Are you going to wait until you reach the ripe old age of 95 before you start focusing on what really matters? Procrastination is the default for so many sad souls. Waiting until the time is right before living life. Building houses, instead of homes. Delaying enjoyment today for delayed gratification tomorrow.

For what it's worth, here's a little paradigm shift of context to mess with your grey matter. Reframe your goals in the context of a finite 5 year time line. Notice what adjustments you would make. Notice what your true values really are. If you don't rate the 40 plus hours per week you spend at work as at least an 8 out of 10 in terms of relative enjoyment, then perhaps something needs to change. In the next 5 years you will no doubt use up 9600 hours, engaging in this activity. That equates to 400 twenty four hour days.

If you had only 5 years to live, would you want to spend 40% of your waking hours in the pursuit of an activity that rates so low on the enjoyment scale? Of course we can defer fun and pleasure today, the French call it joie de vivre in order to indulge in our sunset years. Problem is of course, if we are already in our sunset years and haven't realised it, then that really would be disappointing! Life matters is obviously a play on words.

Sometimes it pays to step off the treadmill of life and ask, what is it that really matters? And act accordingly.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

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Perhaps the better question is; "Why do you want to grow up?"!

Remember a time in the dim mists of time when life's riddles seemed simpler? Grown ups would delight in endlessly interrogating any young child in sight as to what they wanted to be when they grow up. Answers such as doctor, nurse, pilot, builder, policeman were positively and knowingly approved. Ask the same question today and you might feel less enlightened by the answer.
Traditional jobs are 'all so yesterday'. Much in the manner that a previous generation may have responded to the career choice perhaps of a cobbler, chimney sweep or basket weaver. It's all in the realm of black and white movies of a bygone era when politeness and formality ruled over spontaneity and individualism.

Predictability in our warp drive journey through the vast digital world of untapped knowledge is all but dead. 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' Is a question that presumes some future Nostradamus-like insight into the shape of things to come.

The modern child prodigy is more likely to define their future career goals in terms of what they want to become rather than how they want to spend their lives. Predictability is the antithesis of the new generation's future strivings. It's all about now. Predicting future trends is the new Lotto. It's all about finding contemporary niches to manipulate. 'Niche' is the new buzz word for the ambitious. It's not about becoming an engineer or accountant anymore.

It's about finding and tapping into a hidden somewhat obscure yet lucrative market place. Perhaps garden gnomes. Find a community of gnome enthusiasts and cater to their predilections Join their social media communities. Blog with them. Identify their desires and provide solutions. Sell them an e-book on some curious angle about their passion and conquer the world!

The glazed somewhat confused look your question may elicit may not be the result of lack of ambition, but perhaps the instinct that their answer will be so incomprehensible to you that it's not worth the effort answering.

It's a new world where spontaneity, laced with a touch of hedonism and living in the moment, whilst not particularly sensible and definitely not predictable is undeniably perfectly adaptable. Adaptation is the key to survival in any environment and perhaps this new unblinkered approach to career possibility is enlightened.

Just don't expect a simple answer to your question!

why is it that everyone wants to go to heaven, yet no one wants to die?

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Facetious statement, I know. There is a hint of truth there, however.

How is it that some seemingly fortunate folks seem to sail smoothly through life, with few turbulences, crises or adversity worth talking about, whilst an all together larger percentage of the population seem to experience the opposite? Catastrophe, bad luck, and various examples of strife seem to shadow their every venture.
If the personal success guru's are to be believed. Then it's all pretty simple really. It's to do with the law of attraction. We attract the people and circumstances consistent with our dominant thoughts in to our lives. Taken to it's logical conclusion therefore, this law would seem to suggest that peer group is the biggest influencer of success and failure in life, all other things being equal.

Having worked with Juvenile Justice recidivist offenders, Olympic Champions, Multi-Millionaire Entrepreneurs, and more than a few of life's hard luck stories, I've often pondered what is it exactly that most determines the differences in their respective life results.

At the risk of condensing the myriad of life's complexities down to a few simple platitudes, it does seem that there are certain strategies that have a quite profound impact on performance when implemented.

For almost immediate guaranteed change to take place in your life, try a couple of simple exercises, and reserve judgment until after the exercise.

Firstly. Make an emotional decision. A decision that some aspect of your life MUST change. Now!

Secondly, establish the belief that you are capable of actually making the change.

Thirdly, take massive and immediate ACTION.

The degree of change that you want to occur will determine the the extreme level of action that needs to be undertaken.

CHANGE is the operative word. Try Changing your peer group for awhile. This is the biggest influencer and reinforcement of your current situation. Break free. Build new social networks. Try different activities.

Change, if necessary, disempowering intimate relationships. Change job. Change clothes. Change thinking. Just start making changes!

Find a MENTOR. Success in sport, music, art, rocket science, is rarely acheived independently. Life accomplishments are more quickly acheived with the assistance of others. Find someone to model, copy, duplicate.

There's an old Irish expression that states that 'everyone wants to get to heaven, but no one wants to die!'

The challenge for many potentially outstanding individuals, is that the comfort zone of their lives, whilst far from being comfortable, is preferable to the unknown. Sometimes the umbilical cord, connecting us with an often malignant and miserable experience needs to be cut.

There is in life a risk in stepping in to the unknown. However continuing on the same path to predictable oblivion makes no sense whatsoever. It may be a cliche, but nevertheless there is a simple truth to the line; 'if you keep doing the same things over and over, then don't expect different results". In other words if you want to fly with eagles, get out of the turkey pen!

Fatalism and Simpl-exity Conundrum

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Friar William of Ockham seemed like an interesting fellow. 600 years after his less than earth shattering comments, along the lines that, simplicity is invariably the answer to all manner of puzzle, quandary and bafflement, philosophers still debate vigorously the merits of this belief system.
The more grounded and less sophisticated ponderers of life's big questions might wonder what all the fuss is about, over someone who stated the 'bleedin' obvious' yet whose tenet 'Ockham's Razor' has slipped so comfortably into the modern lexicon.

This scribbler however does question this assertion that the simple answer is invariably the best. The inspiration for this brief ramble was a chance conversation recently with a chap who informed me with no hint of winking kiddology that he expected to depart his mortal coil at aged 62. He wasn't specific though regarding the exact time and date. His fatalism was borne out of nothing more than the observation that many of his predecents died at around this age. His thinking might have been applauded by Friar Ockham.

In a universe that is unfathomly diverse and debateably, immeasurable, is such fatalism justified? In a world where bad things happen to good people, is it useful to live as though free will is an illusion? We've all been inculcated by the passed down aphorisms of long passed cultural sages such as; 'what will be will be'.

The old wise Greeks coined a term; Moira for that unseen power that rules over human destiny. If cosmic determinism really scripts our life novel, then are we then deluding ourselves with the belief that life has any meaning or purpose? Nihilism-the belief that nothing has meaning, lays the seeds of indifference. This pervasive attitude manifests in feelings of pessimism, hopelessness and despair.

Some religions counter this bleak prospect with the idea of Providence. Christianity would refer to as Divine Providence. In the absence of certainty we are offered solace in hope. The problem of course, is that a life lived with the guiding light of hope as its engine is generally rendered impotent. Self determinism or self actualisation therefore is the domain of the non believers.

This is not an article on philosophy or religion, but rather the questioning of whether it is useful to choose beliefs that are empowering, motivational, inspirational energising and uplifting rather than dreary self defeating indifference that pervades that of fatalism.

Perhaps the whole concept of our existence is not within the scope of of our grey matter to ever comprehend. Given the choice of choosing positive simple beliefs that are positively charged, whilst not conclusively verifiable may lead to a more fun journey.

What's the story with Life Coaching?

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Sounds like the introduction to 'Seinfeld" skit!.

Life Coaching: When did it become fashionable to acquire a life coach? There seems to have been a dramatic shift from the psycho-therapist's couch to the On-Line Life-Coach/Personal Planner in recent times.
Are we becoming less sane? Or are we becoming more self aware and sophisticated in our personal development?

In a mere few generations, society has moved from agrarian to urban. Family and village values that tied communities together became diluted as the pace of change increased and peer groups became less cohesive.

Back in the day, the Sunday pulpit served as a voice of reason and consolidation of values and meaning. The erosion of simple life philosophies through education bred cynicism, and questioning of ones place in the natural order. The problem with self awareness is that increasing introspection can leave a void. A sense of fuzziness as to our life's purpose.

This 'helter skelter' rushing around chasing work, home, social, education, health, sport and spiritual pursuits, in the hope of achieving a successful balance of sanity, happiness and meaning no longer seems so simple. Divorce rates have never been higher. Kids today are reared by biological and step parent/s. Their siblings are biological and step-'half-brothers and sisters'. Families relocate frequently. This dislocation can impact our our innate sense of balance and social calibration.

How do we define ourselves? Are we mothers, teachers, entrepreneurs, friends, or confidants?

This awareness that Life's no longer simple and predictable is producing generations of stressed out confused and uneasy individuals, assessing their life balance ratios.

What is life Coaching? Generally accepted as unregulated and non accredited, the Life Coach is often a mentor within the same social circle. Often a calm voice of non judgmental reason and sounding board. A motivator and listener. The main difference between a Life coach and certified therapist is that a therapist focuses on diagnosing the past. The LC however focuses on facilitating change in present and future behavior.

The main goal of most LC's is the inspiring of a more positive future vision. Identifying and inspiring goals. The two most important roles of the LC however is eliciting a conscious balancing of life goals to produce the highest degree of happiness, and uncovering the highest life goal, which is that of Life Purpose. There is very little in life that is more profound than the search for meaning. Life purpose may be defined as that which we would be willing to die for. Ironically, this life purpose can get lost in the head long rush toward insignificant accoutrement, and once lost, leave an empty feeling of pointlessness bereft of joy.

So what's your life purpose? A tad uncomfortable question to answer perhaps, but worth the effort maybe!

The Lotto Fantasy

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I recently spotted an advert for an e-book, entitled ‘Proven Lotto Winning Strategies Revealed' If the title is to be believed then it should become one of the best selling books of all-time.
I’m not sure however what the motivation to write this book is however. Shouldn’t the author keep this epiphany of knowledge to himself, else all his believers dilute the winnings!Recently Oz Lotto had a first prize of $90 million. This was shared between two winners. A cool $45 million each. Some expressed amazement that one of the ticket holders had won, with the first ticket they had ever bought.

What I find infinitely more amazing is the irrationality of spending $20 on something with odds so small that there is more chance of getting into a fatal accident on the way to buy the ticket, than actually winning.

I understand the emotional daytime fantasizing that such a purchase derives. The building of hope and dream building, yet ponder this thought. If we could have an alternate perspective to measure the odds would we indeed ever part with our hard earned cash?

Consider this. The odds of actually winning are in the realm of 45 million to one. There are close to 50 million combination of numbers. Imagine flying into Heathrow Airport, paying a sum of $20 that would allow you to randomly select one person in the whole of the United Kingdom who had the winning ticket?

You’ve got to be in it to win it, the believers cry out. Buy two tickets and double your chances! Technically that is true but practically, deluded. Lotto is a game of outrageous chance and the pursuit of systems and tricks is as pointless as trying to burn water.

There are only four strategies that can produce financial independence.

Save: squirrel away a significant portion of your income for a lifetime. After a lifetime of poverty and misery you may achieve significant wealth.

Inherit: a strategy often pursued by completely unmotivated individuals.

Investment: in time and money to leverage and compound results.

Lotto: Hardly a strategy, but a default mechanism that offers solace and hope to those who have lost faith in any of the previous strategies to produce the bacon.

A little fantasy can be fun. But, a lifetime obsession chasing windmills is the epitome of irrationality. Bon Chance!

Is Adversity a blessing or a Curse?

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There's an old adage, that suggests; that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I'm not entirely convinced that all trouble and strife is heaven sent to strengthen our resolve and turn us into unconquerable uber-warriors. There is a corollary to this view however. The absence of challenge or difficulty often breeds weakness. Observe the the life outcomes of second and third generation offspring born into wealth and privilege. Often a recipe for mal-content and dysfunction
Adversity and Opportunity, are they two sides of the same coin? Adversity has two subtly different definitions. One is; misfortune, affliction, difficulty, trouble, hardship, distress and so forth. This definition refers to a negative reference point or actual manifestation of strife the sufferer of the adversity endures. It suggests a pervasive and passive state of existence. There is a hint of victimization apparent with this state of being.

The other definition of is; contrary, against, opposed. As in an adverse decision or finding.

If an adversity is viewed through our perception lens as less of an actual state but rather a set back, not to be endured but rather as an uncomfortable but temporary situation, then the attitude starts to change. This can then become a wake up call or feedback barometer that motivates us to look for the lessons that need to be learned in order to progress.

The language used to identify our adversities can define them. Simple words such as desperation, distress, hardship and crisis can become self fulfilling. If however in the face of apparent hopelessness we choose to revert to more empowering descriptions such as setbacks, blips, challenges or temporary hurdles, then the internal strength and resources to move forward become more easily engaged.

Opportunity is the enemy of adversity. The word itself is enervating. It conjures up visions of hope and self control. In the midst of even the greatest personal devastation we have a choice in how we respond. The problem may not evaporate but with an attitude of hope and orientation towards finding some opportunity from the depths of the despair some progress may eventuate.

Adversity is either a fixed state of hopelessness or an opportunity to re-analyze new options. There is nearly always an alternative way to respond to any situation and our ability to redefine the experience is the first step.

A life bereft of opportunity would indeed be cursed. Transient periods of adversity may however be a blessing, the fuel that propels our motivation.

Today's crisis may one day be viewed as the catalyst for greater triumphs to come.

How's your work-Life balance?

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Why is it that so many people love Fridays yet don’t like Mondays? This is not a trick question, as the answer perhaps seems obvious.
Many millions of commuters identify the daily grind of competing with the masses as a necessary evil in the pursuit of the wherewithal to pay for life’s bare necessities.

The weekend however provides the opportunity to indulge in social activities. Catching up with friends for drinks, coffee, meals and good banter. Perhaps to pursue hobbies and crafts. Paint landscapes, re-build old cars, write the grand novel go for long treks with loved ones whilst contemplating the marvel of life.

The reality of course is somewhat different. Monday comes around all too quick. The weekend is spent cleaning, gardening, taking kids to sport, paying the bills, catching up on the news and worrying about work.

Is your work complementing your life or getting in the way of family time and meaningful endeavors. Are you energized, enthused, motivated and empowered or stressed, frustrated, constantly tired, and on edge? If so surely there’s got to be another way. Is the alternative to work, the pursuit of a hippy life on some commune?

Millions of people are now searching for alternate solutions to the 40-hour week x 40 years to retirement existence that will be the default life for the masses.

The exciting news is that we currently live in the midst of greater opportunity and accessibility to knowledge than ever before in the history of the human race. There are more choices available regarding how to spend our time and earn a living than we can count.There are people working in their pyjamas at home earning more money and spending less time doing it than most of their friends spend just commuting to and from their labour of love

One of the great paradoxes of life, is that so many will spend their precious and finite hours in quiet desperation working to a plan that if successful will not even provide them with their desires.

Life balance is precious. There are alternate ways to live your life. Change jobs. Learn a new language. Live abroad for a year. Work from home. Try something new. Just do something different once in awhile!

Michael Jackson: a troubling epitaph

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As the dust settles after the frenzy that surrounded yet another celebrity melt down, it is interesting to reflect on the legacy Michael Jackson leaves behind. Those who worship at the alter of cultural icons rarely find an excess that can’t be reframed sympathetically, thus maintaining the almost divine aura of their hero.
Is there something in our cultural psyche that blinds us to the insanity of such obviously self-destructive behavior and hypnotically draws us to tears and mourning akin to that felt with the passing of a close friend or relative?

How do we remember Elvis Presley, now that 32 years have passed? It’s hard to differentiate between the musical legacy and the craziness of his last few years, which saw a relatively young man with more to live for than most of us could hope to aspire to in a thousand years. He had millions of adoring fans, was at the pinnacle of career success, with a family and royalty income that would keep an oil sheik happy for a lifetime.

How will Mike Tyson be remembered? Will he be remembered for his total and terrifying dominance as a heavyweight boxer or as a complete and total loser?

We create celebrity heroes to indulge our reminiscences. We love to look back and wax lyrical of our memories of Ali, Monroe, Gable, Jordon, Pele, Tyson, Elvis and Michael Jackson. Our Sporting, Big Screen and Musical idols provide grist to the wheel of our pub conversations.

Our collective appreciation for the sheer magic of excellence, albeit often fleeting, somehow bonds us as a society.

Legacy is by definition the imprint or lens by which we filter our memories of said legends. As role models however, it is curious that some of these idolized heroes of our generation, in the cold light of day represent a mother's worst fear for her children. What mother would trade the choice of 10 years fame and idolatry for the complete and utter car wreck in which many of these ‘heroes’ end their lives?

Like Elvis, it’s hard to separate the great memories with the knowledge of their extreme foibles. The epitome of dysfunction and excess pervades our memories and with the passing of time some of the gloss will wear off.

Some of the great inspirations of every generation are those that rise out of adversity and achieve greatness, the other journey from greatness to complete catastrophe is sobering and perhaps also inspiring, but for a different reason.

The lesson perhaps to be learned is that all success is contextual and that depending on the lens you use to examine a legacy ultimately determines whether the epitaph, is that of Legend or Loser. Judge for yourself!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Welcome to my Podcast

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Hi everyone, I posted an episode to my podcast, kiaran finns Podcast.

Click this link to check it out:
What exactly is the objective of this website?

- kiaran


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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Futility of Exercise

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My friends think me slightly odd. Perhaps I'm understating their actual viewpoint. You see I have a predilection, some might call it a vice. I frequent a 'no-name' fast food establishment, daily. Have done so for years. Apparently this is the behavior of the bewildered, odd, eccentric and by all accounts, one step from psychiatric Institutionalization.

I quite like the predictable ambiance. No one hovering around, trying to upsize you to desert, more drink. A macchiato perhaps. Also it's within the acceptable etiquette to eat alone whilst perusing the provided newspaper.

Not least is the lack of daily decision making about what to eat daily. like a mini celebrity, the 'usual' is proffered without asking.

Parallel to this apparent idiocy, is my thrice weekly visit to my local gym. There I 'mix' with many adherents of this peculiar pastime. Pumping Iron, pulling cables, sweating profusely, heart rate elevated. Except, what's curious, is this is actually not the case for most of these fellow gym junkies. Most look way too anemic to have ever stepped inside the 'No name" fast food eatery. Definitely the Veg and Fruit types. In all the years we've co-frequented this place of toil, they look exactly the same, except older. Neither more toned, larger, more defined, tauter. No just older.

Makes me wonder who's actually strange. Maybe it's the world that's out of kilter not me!

There is an observation here, maybe even an insight.

You see by normal social standards I should be obese. On the contrary.

I barely spend 35 minutes in the gym. That includes warm up and warm down. Yet I lift twice maybe three times as much weight as most of these unmet 'junkies' with virtually no recovery between sets. Some of these characters are 5 days a week 90 minutes a session participants. Yet no discernible change in body shape or strength. How peculiar.

It's a myth that fast food makes you fat. Bold statement. It's what you eat and how much. Newsflash: Fried food cooked at home and eaten in copious amounts washed down by a gallon of coke or bottle Chardonnay is not a healthy diet.

Exercise is either a form of obsessive compulsive pointlessness or its an ongoing incremental adaptation to stress. Without some level of stress, nothing happens. Lift heavier, take shorter recovery and make progress. It's not profound. Meanwhile I'll continue my peculiar relationship with my contrasting establishments.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Does Truth Exist?

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Have a listen to a political debate, eliminate the spin and make sense of what's left.

All truth is contextual. Change the context and the meaning also irrevocable morphs. One of the greatest delusions we inflict upon ourselves, is the presumption that there is a universal truth about anything. Yet we can literally lay down our lives in defense of an illusory ideal.

Changing context, fashionably labeled a paradigm shift, used to be referred to as walking in someones else's shoes in order to understand them. Still the myth perpetuates, the belief that we can really grasp any "truth" other than that filtered through our perception lens.

The degree to which an idea fits our quirky beliefs and value systems determines the label we give it. Fact or fiction, right or wrong. As we only have loosely shared life experiences, our perceptions will differ accordingly.

Which eventually brings me to an observation. In a world where beliefs define our actions, regardless of their veracity, we need to buy into the illusion of truth to avoid inertia. We must boldly follow our instincts and create our reality

Occasionally it is interesting to step back and notice the myths that abound, and take stock of the absurdity of some of our intransigent beliefs.

Danbisa Moya is a Zambian Global Economist, who's written a hugely confronting, paradigm shifting book, with an appropriately enigmatic title 'Dead Aid'. The premise being that the estimated $1 Trillion (how many zero's are there in a trillion?) in Aid directed to Africa over the last 50 years has been counter productive. She contends, from the perspective of an African, that it is a myth that aid actually works. Some of her arguments are compelling and not within the scope of this brief blog. But she notes how aid fosters corruption, lack of government accountability, and rather than being a band aid solution, is part of the problem.

Like all things there will be counter 'truths' It is however confronting to have a sudden perspective shift. Does this mean that Bono and Sir Bob, and the millions of genuine contributors are building a house of sand? Is the very real relief that is innoculating and tangibly helping millions in effect perpetuating an inter-generational poverty cycle that is ensnaring hundreds of millions. This a 'truth' not worth contemplating.

What do we do? Do we follow the creed of the ultra right wing anarchists? Embrace only the moment, to hell with consequences, and pursue the immediate goal of the tribe, to hell with the rest of the world? Or more hopefully do we accept that life's a myth and all progress is moving from one myth to a more sophisticated myth in the hope that good intentions bear some fruit.

Less controversial is the 'truth' about the multi-billion dollar Vitamin industry. What could be more harmless than the pursuit of better health through dosing up on a few daily Vitamins. Yet again, more and more actual scientific research is debunking the 'truth' that most vitamins offer much more than placebo benefits. In fact if the dollars spent on vitamins were spent in other areas of health care, such as Yoga or Gym, Pilates, fresh fruit, an hour at a spa perhaps then real benefits may emerge. Do we really want to know this? It's uncomfortable to question what we 'know'
The Flat Earth Society view of life supports the Status Quo. Which is very comfortable thank you very much.

Finally. There have been whisperings for some years now, generally believed to from the mouths of the fringe weirdo, nut jobs, that pre-stretching for sport is largely useless, and perhaps counter productive. Nonsense i say. The benefits of Stretching is an absolute truth. Or not. Looks like another myth i'm afraid. Recent research while contending that warming up muscles before explosive activity is useful in preventing injury, is also debunking the merits of those excruciating groin and hamstring routines we all loved so well.

Embrace your delusions I say. Next year, Smoking will be found to be good for you, Heroin will be on the pharmaceutical benefits list, and your wife will announce that she wished you'd stay longer at the pub.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Who needs Role Models?

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Remember your comic book heroes? Batman, Superman, Modesty Blaise, Andy Capp et al. As time progressed perhaps you evolved to Bart Simpson, or Homer, SpongeBob Square Pants or any number of quirky seriously flawed characters!

As you outgrew your childhood heroes the vacuum was filled perhaps with sporting gods to replace the war heroes of parents and grandparents. Remember a time when these Parents and Grandparents were the Role models for future generations. Reinforcing Nationalistic Pride and cultural values of yesteryear. What happened?

When and how did Brittany, 50 Cent, Eminem and Oprah step in to fill the breach? The cult of celebrity is at it's zenith.

Ambition lives on, yet it's a tad disconcerting that achievement is becoming increasingly rated on a continuum measures cultural status and fame. The higher you rate on this Totem Pole the closer you are to that highly prized goal that is, celebrity.

15 minutes of fame? 30 seconds will do. Whatever it takes. Contribution, altruism, sainthood, martyrdom, are a waste of time and energy unless visibly conspicuous. Let's get on the latest "reality" show. Let's get noticed. It's not about winning. It's about being outrageous, controversial, obnoxious. Noticed. That's the game.

The greatest fear of this generation sub-set, of broadband connected, social media savvy celebrity wannabees is, invisibility.

Who needs Role Models? What service do they offer? Are they in fact the glue that bonds disparate communities? If we have shared populist heroes, with millions of our cyber-peers, that must mean we're relevant by extension.

Imagine if our Role Models were not simply manifested by default. Imagine if we were inspired, motivated and uplifted by the works, actions and philosophies of non celebrity characters, and we started to model their beliefs, and attract their energy and results in to our own lives. I guess that would be a life designed by choice rather than default. What a concept. Old fashionably labeled self actualisation.

But who doesn't want to belong? Who doesn't want a 100,000 Twitter, Facebook, My space, Squidoo followers to validate our lives? Can't do that by drifting too far from the herd, might be labeled a black sheep, or worse, become anonymous!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rubik's cube!

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Mar 15, 2009, Rubik's Cube!

In 1983 a young man, let's call him Graham Parker, as not coincidentally is his real name, walks in to a store and buys a Rubik's Cube.

Wait for the punch line. 26 years later, after serious wrist and back problems due to the pursuit of solving the puzzle, announces triumphantly to the world, via every media outlet imaginable, that he's solved the puzzle.

Triumph? Success over adversity implies surmounting all manner of obstacles, persisting a la Winston Churchill "never, ever give up"

It's a common mantra by sensible people of the world that there's no such thing as get rich quick. Which is patently untrue. People Win Lotto, Inherit, Steal, Share price quadruples, social networking site sells for squillions. More accurately it's extremely rare, more rare than getting run over by a truck in the pursuit of dream!

Which brings me back to the now "famous" for 15 minutes, Mr Parker. undoubtedly he has achieved his goal, which is probably of great relief to his body and sanity. Not wishing to denigrate the achievement, I am perplexed by his Strategy.

Setting and achieving goals, really does make the world go around, but progress would be incredibly ponderous, if every go-getter decided to re-invent the wheel before embarking on their journey.

Shared knowledge is what allows progress to be exponential in its growth. Some mathematician has worked out the number of permutations involved in randomly stumbling on the Rubik solution. 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (~= 4.32 * 1019). In less simple terms that's roughly Four multiplied by Ten to the power of Nineteen, and then some!

There's more than a couple of "players" on the planet of average intelligence that have completed the puzzle in about a minute. They of course use a different strategy to the above maligned random approach.

Who's ever tried to put together the most simple piece of furniture from Ikea with complete disregard for the instructions, only to see the light after much swearing and shouting? Generally doesn't take 26 years to see the light.

How's your strategy currently working out for you? It's comforting to know that information has never been more accessible, thanks Google, Twitter et al. Yet how many of us still drive around in circles without a map with smug misplaced confidence in our ability to reach our destination?... Eventually

Twitter me or check me out at cheers Kiaran Finn

Saturday, March 7, 2009

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Crisis what Crisis?

Remember the band Supertramp? They sang "Crisis what Crisis?" the Logical Song and Breakfast in America to name but a few big hits from the early '80's.

How apt is that song today? Everywhere you look, there's another story of crisis. More specifically the Global Economic Crisis.

As this label gets tired, the headlines adapt. Emergency! Catastrophe! Disaster! Meltdown! Climax. Recession! Depression!

We're at a juncture, tipping point. crossroads. What does it all mean? Should we go back to bed for a couple of years until it all blows over?

Yet I'm wary of buying into labels that define my life expectations. Someone you know, is currently enjoying possibly the best day of their life. Someone else (unlikely to be the same individual) is alas enduring the worst day of their life.

-Unless the mother-in-law has just driven off a cliff in his new Ferrari!

The above experience in fact mirrors the experiences of tens of millions of individuals on the planet. Crisis therefore is contextual. If unemployment reaches 10% this is so much more evocative and sellable by the media than the multitude of experiences by the 90% that are employed.

Should we not empathise with the victims of this Global Economic Crisis therefore?

That's our choice of course but whether we should partake in a global wallowing in doom and gloom as the media would have us indulge is not my cup of tea at all.

"Always look on the bright side of life" as the irreverent Monty Python would have us do, is perhaps a tad facetious, but not entirely ludicrous. Misery feeds misery as the older relatives mumbled knowingly has truth to it.

There's a bunch of elite individuals in Doha/Switzerland (about 2000 in fact representing 91 nations) currently discussing solutions to our "key economic concerns" bureaucratic speak for the mess we're in right now. Issues include Poverty, the Environment, Globalisation and the dangers of protectionism. Not a bad agenda for four days of discussion.

After the networking experience is over one wonders what solutions will emerge or whether this global elite (this is after all invitation only) will merely re-label our current crisis to fit the expectations of our palette.

What's going to be on your menu this year? Your best ever year or otherwise? Me? I'd like to feel I can create my own positive expectations of achievement, you too I hope.

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A Weighty Issue

Is there a more emotive topic regarding self concept than weight. More specifically ideal body weight?

There is a media driven obsession with defining the ideal body, actually the obsession is the selling of magazines.books, TV shows and so forth.

There seems to be a bizarre attraction-repulsion with modeling ourselves on the image of pseudo celebrities that we don't even admire, yet feel compelled to measure up against.

A dose of emotion, inspiration, adversity and voyeurism, contributes to the ongoing success of shows such as The Biggest Loser.

The massive contradiction within Western societies' attraction to the ideal self as epitomised by the latest red carpet spokesperson is how abject our failure to measure up actually is.

These role models that so inspire us to join the gym, enroll in pilates and spurn the nightly glass or bottle of wine, lurch from bulimia to anorexia as often as they change lovers.

Who wants to be a Super Model? Is there a show that better taps into the vicarious desires of mothers and daughters. There but for the grace of god...genetics, obsessive dieting, egocentricity, and psychological well being, go I.

This obsessive compulsive nature that strives for neo-perfection as defined by the media, is destined to end in a valley of tears and broken dreams.

What life partner wants to measure up to the perfect being. Waif thin, joyless, competitive and judgmental of their peers. We live in a world that is coming to accept child obesity as normal, yet there has never been more money spent on diet programs, gym memberships, and ab-machines!

The contradiction is stark. Everybody wants to go to heaven, yet nobody wants to die. A lifestyle that is out of kilter with health cannot be balanced out with the latest fad diet.

Check out all the great fad diets. of recent history. Atkins, South Beach, Cabbage Soup, Zone, Grapefruit and Beverley Hills to name a few. How many real disciples do these diets still have?

Expediency explains the illogical viral like spread of these diets. We want quick and easy, immediate results, and we want it now.

Look at anyone in great shape in their 60's or 70's and you see someone who besides being blessed with decent genetics and a touch of willpower, also embraces a lifestyle of exercise, moderation, and little excess with a joie de vivre.

Meanwhile the rat race Sex in the City Wanna Be's will eventually find it all too hard and default to worn out, can't be bothered old age before their time.

It's not that hard. A little structured exercise. 4 or 5 moderate portion meals per day, preferably grilled. Some form of destress activity. A little perspective and a sense of humour may just be the dose of medicine that keeps the Dr away.

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What's the BIG Secret?

A few years ago there was a tipping point in the personal development pop psychology publishing world. The release of Rhonda Byrne's book "The Secret" with more than a little help from Oprah created a feeding frenzy of interest, discussion and almost religious zeal in extolling its message.

There were echoes of the Blair Witch Project. You just had to investigate, what all the fuss was about.

Yep, it was all about the magic of hype and uncovering THE SECRET. Secrets sell.For those of you that remember the early 80,s "Who Shot JR?" was a cultural phenomenom with no apparent logic.

Which brings me belatedly to my point. Why are we consumers so seduced again and again by the promise of witheld answers, that we are willing to part with much hard earned coin and emotional energy for THE ANSWER?

The success of any soap opera is dependent on the producers never answering a question, without posing at least another even more vexing question.

Weight Loss; 2 acquaintances of mine, recently shocked me, with separate stories of how they managed to lose upwards of 40 Kilos!

What was their secret? Well here's the thing, and don't tell anyone in the weight loss industry! It's not the strategy, the pills, the laxatives, the self flagellation. It's not the new Ab Master, Home Gym. The key to their independent success was... Tune in next week, only kidding.

The key to both successes was the strength of their DECISION.

Bob(not real name) made a real decision after a family intervention. No threats or tears simply family concern triggered an emotional response that was life changing.

Rick woke up one morning looked in the mirror and just decided. Personal responsibility and making a real decision triggered actions and motivation never found in a supplement or diet book.

Thirty years ago my father an 80 cigarette a day smoker also made a decision, with no fan fare, to stop smoking. No patch, self talk, nicotine gum, or promises, just a real decsion.

Real decisions foster immense motivation to act. Rhonda Byrne's book, tells us that we attract into our lives that which we think about. Sorry if I've spoiled the plot. The packaging is so much more enticing than the answer.

What's the slogan? Just do it!