Monday, December 13, 2010

48 Online Authorities Reveal Their Most “Unrealistic” Accomplishments

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This is a  link to a neat post that is guaranteed to inspire -on the topic of setting AND achieving 'unrealistic' goals

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ordinary May Be Overrated!

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We live in a culture that increasingly embraces connectivity. The melding of outward disconnection with a simultaneous 24/7 digital conversation is both ironic and mildly disconcerting to those of us not permanently attached to this digital umbilical chord.

Social niceties and courtesies are becoming severely diluted. I recently navigated the labyrinth that is Victoria Station and found myself marveling at the mass commuter hive of activity and yet clinically barren of human interaction.

Each earnest participant on this treadmill journey seemed to be lost almost trance-like in some parallel universe, having engaged some sort of automatic homing device to skilfully navigate the human traffic.
Ipods at full volume, newspaper in one hand, steaming coffee in the other and midst this madding crowd a complete absence of eye contact. 

In this new world it would seem arcane and redundant to distract the herd by smiling, excusing yourself or being so bold as to offer some poor lost soul assistance.
The pause for thought prompted me to ponder the irony of this mass disconnect in a square mile comprising of innumerable heartbeats. I wonder if this immersing in our digital universe comes at a price.

A belated message? We are fed a diet of tabloid sound bytes that morphs into pop culture. We celebrate the superstars of the quarter minute and behold their ascension to the pedestal of the extraordinary. Meanwhile the masses despite more capacity for creative genius at their fingertips become ever more ordinary.

Be extraordinary. Try it for a moment. Find a voice, not one that is part of a chorus, just a unique sound. Herds provide comfort and security, but equally they are easy to shepherd and lead to some one else’s tune.

The problem with aspiring to the extraordinary of course is that peer pressure can be hard to ignore. Fitting in is the name of the game and being bold requires a little bravery.

  • A random act of kindness
  • stopping to offer assistance even though you’re late for an engagement with a cappuccino
  • responding to others tweets despite an overwhelming urge to share your fascinating thoughts to the world
  • checking out your loose facebook connections and making a comment even though they’ve never bothered to acknowledge your birthday
  • sending the secretary a bunch of flowers anonymously just to say thanks…..

Being extraordinary is not earth shattering, but can be profound in so many ways. I defy you to take a step away from the societal norm even briefly and be extraordinary and not feel a sense of enervating connectedness that lingers.

It may not be extraordinary but if you’d like to shake your urge to completely disregard this scribble and leave a comment that’d be great!!


Here’s hoping ordinary or extraordinary life’s unfolding well for you!



Pop over to my business site for a bunch of FREE inspirational resources - no opt in all visitors welcome CLICK HERE

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Road Less Traveled - Conformity May Be Your Achilles Heel

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 The tone of this post is wry and gently provocative and not a rallying to call to quit your job, divorce, burn your friendships, or change one iota of your current status quo - not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that!

We are the champions"– so sang Freddie Mercury an eternity ago and the song echoes throughout the great sporting stadiums of the world. It’s rousing and evocative. Evocative of shared triumph – and epitomizing a truly tribal sense of belonging.

There’s a primeval urge that is felt by all reasonably socialized individuals to fit. As rebellious youth we are defiant in our rejection of stereotype. It’s all about the individual, and expressing that unique albeit pompous voice that contradicts the old fashioned social mores and yet…..
With an uncanny predictability, each generation ever so subtly morphs into a diluted version of their parents.
100 years ago The Who proclaimed, “I hope I die before I grow old ” and with an irony that is breathtaking, sold the rights to the biggest television syndication of the millennium (CSI)

In the spirit of my Life Matters Blog I’d like to provoke a pause for thought for your consideration!
Social Networks are an extension of the school playground. There are leaders who dictate what’s cool. There are the followers – those that fit in and comprise the masses. And then alas there are those poor misfortunates that don’t quite fit, and are derided, teased, bullied or ignored.
Follow their path for a few years and you’ll often find they are more often than not the interesting members of society. Misfits build multi billion dollar empires out of digital thin air. They evolve into Authors, actors, king makers and sociopaths. Interesting doesn’t always equate to wholesome!
I doubt there are too many sociopaths reading this post and if so, no offense!  But here’s a thought. Imagine completely disregarding convention in your business and social networking endeavors.

Sell when others are buying. 

Un-follow those that annoy you.

Quit your business that you’ve invested all that emotional energy into and start over

Try a new less fancy blogging forum. 

Jump on Facebook and imagine all those connections you’ve spent months cultivating are potential friends rather than list fodder, then follow some threads and see what they’re about and engage without any thought of developing a business relationship.

Empty your pockets next time you see a homeless person instead of searching for the smallest coin you can find. Say no when someone asks you to go to a function/family gathering that you have no interest in attending.

Find your own voice and tempt ridicule by expressing the real you.

Be authentic and imagine that it’s ok to be you.


Of course this is not the pulpit of any brand of insightful wisdom. The intended message is as follows. Bland is boring. Effective is uninspiring. Efficient is mechanical.  Copy and paste is expedient but rarely leads to long-term success.
Warts are interesting. I don’t want them but I’m intrigued when fallibility is shared. Tribes are safe places, and safety is an important cog on the hierarchy of needs, but it is also a potential creativity suppressor.
So try it for a day, a week or a month. Go against the tide, follow the road less traveled, and you may end up lost confused or enlightened.






 




Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Isn't The Law of Attraction Working for You?

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This is a confronting and provocative question. It presumes there’s a gap in your life and that you are in some way failing, falling short of your own expectations.


If The Law of Attraction does indeed work, how then do we explain how bad things happen to good people? How can we explain how the worst of criminals can win the Lottery? Indeed we can question whether this much-quoted Law is in fact a myth.


The point of this article is not to ponder the riddle of this apparent phenomenon or get bogged down in the mire of attempting to define the intangible. Rather I would like to posit the following commentary.


Let’s twist the above question. Imagine that despite your initial reaction to the topic, that you are indeed living the dream, but have failed to realize this fact. Perhaps your appreciation lens is clouded. 
Perhaps you are with your ideal life partner but are blinded to this fact by virtue of your incessant fantasizing of some parallel universe where some Goddess or God is attentive to your every need.
Imagine a world in which some serious health defect was to consume your life. Would you spend your waking hours longing for a dream life that was manifested simply by good health?
The dream car that you drool about and crave, how important to you is it really in comparison to the love and respect of friends?
I prefer the less sexy ‘Law’ that I’ll call The Law of Tendencies.


Perhaps it’s pedantic, and probably ludicrous to call a label such as tendency a law. However bear with me for a moment longer. Imagine a belief system where all meaning was contextual. Imagine that happiness, sadness, joy, wealth and indeed any emotion was a manifestation based on nothing more than a sequence of neurons following a scripted pattern.


People have a tendency to think in a certain way, which then creates their beliefs and certainties. Our tendencies lead us toward repetitive patterns of behavior. We tend to hang around certain people. We tend to gravitate towards certain situations. We tend to surf certain web sites. We tend to communicate with a certain style.

Not surprisingly I would suggest;


our tendencies set us on a path of intersection and collision with others of similar tendencies. 

It’s not so much that mere meditation and visualization guarantees the object of our longing will manifest itself, but rather that in the midst of an infinite universe our patterns of thought and action more often than not propel us on to the same route as other like minded individuals.


Is there a message here? I hope so!


To achieve landmark goals, try hanging around those with similar aspirations. Spend time with those that you admire and whose apparent life experiences you would like to mirror. Network with those you aspire to be like and persist until your new tendencies become ingrained.


You may still walk under a truck, but there’s a more than reasonable chance that one day you’ll wake up and marvel at how your tendencies to all intent and purposes have become a facsimile of that elusive phenomenon called the Law of Attraction!


In the words of Desiderata-perhaps the universe really is unfolding as it should.



Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Power of Negative Thinking!

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This a reworking of an older Post with the slightly torturous title "Doomsayers, Geniuses and the Nonsense of Scarcity Economics"

Despite the long winded title, there are a few morsels of insight that encompass the importance of mindset and perspective in determining the direction of our passions. Passion, focus and determination may bring accolades in the short term but they are often in hindsight proven to be utterly wrong!

Hope you enjoy'

You may never have heard of Paul Ehlrich or Thomas Malthus unless you have an interest in the economic principles of scarcity. That being the case I'm surprised to find you here reading this irreverent scribble!  In fact Malhus 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.

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 'genius' 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, if he won!

In a previous article I asked ‘Does Truth Exist?’ 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. 

However despite the aclaim garnered by the two aforementioned geniuses, the real hero of the 20th century may be another unheralded character: Fritz Haber. It was he who managed to extract Nitrogen from the air in the form of Ammonia, the consequences of which form the basis for the abundance most Western countries enjoy today. That one innovation allowed mass fertilization to occur and the evolution of the Corn Economy.

The point 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.

All thoughts appreciated-Cheers Kiaran 




Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maybe You Should Just Quit!

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Not a slogan Nike would advocate!


Without some context words such as persistence, patience, endeavor and dedication suggest a noble attitude to life matters. They symbolize ‘the stiff upper lip’ attitude to struggle. "Never ever give up"; to paraphrase Churchill goes to the heart of most self-help and personal development philosophy.
The danger of blindly following this type of perseverance without considering its context is that more often than not, triumph does not overcome adversity, at the first attempt.
There is a massive industry peddling personal development material. Books, Seminars, Webinars and all manner of strategies that range from useful and inspiring to borderline extortion.
Harsh comment? I don’t think so. We live in a society that reveres its celebrities regardless of their substance. The personal development industry has its share of super rich ‘leaders’ who have attained a status within their tribe equivalent to religious pontiffs.
Some of these leaders are charismatic marketers who meld their worldview into the economics of their business. This has consequences.  Akin to a cult, many adherents lose the perspective to judge whether the vision presented is real or illusory.
That said I am a big believer in the power of positive reinforcement, inspiration, motivation and the harnessing of the minds awesome potential. My bookshelves are laden with the works of Robbins, Tracy, Waitley, Branson, Canfield and the like. From time to time though I consciously step back and say ‘but it ain’t necessarily so!”
Wisdom is often only observed in hindsight and some of the lessons we believe to be true, especially because our heroes have uttered them, are wrong.
Winners never quit! Actually they do, considerably more often than couch potatoes. Never ever give up! Why not? If you are in a terrible relationship or job or non-profitable business or any number of pursuits, there comes a time when decisions need to be made and acted on.
The magic ingredient is context. Success in any area of life requires a belligerent never say die attitude. It is the attitude of believing in the dream or aspiration and the continual refining of the skills required to attain success that really matters.
The vehicle may change many times. Quit the business, but keep the belief in the goal. Quit the Yoga and take up Pilates, quit the doctorial studies in Medicine and transfer to Law.  Maintain the rage I say. Maintain that passion for attaining your childhood dreams, but be mindful there’s more than one way to reach the summit.
Hope your life is unfolding and with exhilarating possibility on a daily basis!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life Matters - The eBook

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My Blogging serves many purposes including a de-cluttering of the mind to see if the translation of my random streams of subconscious thought have a coherent value, in other words to see what pops out.

This blog was originally born out of an intention to tweak some pervasive ‘truths’ and offer an alternate perspective of this transient essence we call life, and was never intended to pontificate as to how anyone else chooses to frame their life.

Enough of the verbal gymnastics. I’ve just completed the first draft (who knows, it may be the last!) of my eBook- a collation of scribbles and insights from the archives of this Blog. 

For those of my visitors who appreciate the slightly warped tone and content of my ramblings I offer you a complimentary download. It needs some editing and polishing, and maybe something as fancy as an eBook cover but in the meantime my celebrity dog-Zola- who makes a few appearances on my sites, including Youtube will have to suffice as the point of click.

Any content can be shared, there is no protective mumbo jumbo copyright clauses, I only ask that if you choose to copy and paste bits and pieces that you include my author credits.

Comments as always appreciated, all the more so if I don’t have to filter them through babel fish – that said I have had some nice comments in foreign languages and do welcome them

Cheers Kiaran 


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nonsense

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"When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’


’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’


’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all." 

— Lewis Carroll -Through The Looking Glass

Do you have a favourite word? I quite like the word oxymoron. Maybe it’s a Bart Simpson puerile thing, you know, an adult word that finishes in moron must be laugh worthy.

What I like about the oxymoron is how unpretentious a word it actually is. Once the terrain of stand up comedians, the oxymoron seems to have become the default of political obfuscation. Not coincidentally, perhaps my second favourite word.

Very good, you picked the irony (hint: second favourite!) As an aside the reason I like the word obfuscation is not because it sounds so pompous, and indeed is most used by pompous types but because it is so apt. The very pronunciation virtually requires a mouth full of marbles to best enunciate. And that of course is the point. Obfuscation is the deliberate mangling of language in order to confuse and obscure meaning. Hence the reference to politicians!

That’s awfully good, a definite maybe, an original copy, a minor crisis, with a dose of job security and a dash of Facebook privacy thrown in for good measure.

Twitter also gets an honourable mention partly because it so accurately captures the essence of the medium it describes and yes you’ve guessed it comprises the word Twit.

A scribble on the topic of verbal nonsense probably needs a counterbalance. I have two words that are pet hates of mine. Hate is a little strong perhaps, hence the softener of the preceding pet.
Ultimate. A pretty neat word I guess, unpretentious and innocent enough, but… Arguably the most misused word in the English language. The favourite adjective and adverb of media voice over presenters, to introduce the ultimate game show, crime series, cat food, ab-machine, or holiday destination, is patently untrue. 

An unsubtle segue to my other word of irritation. A few years back, everything was just so patently obvious. It was the word of choice by the most condescending of smart alecs. Not only is it a redundant word it not so subtly implies that not only is their point of view actually obvious (actually gets another honorable mention) but its so obvious, patently, that anyone not realizing this, i.e. having a contradictory opinion must be a buffoon.

Enough of the silliness. Sometimes it’s interesting to step out of the moment and listen to the dialogue and tune in to the peculiar nonsense that passes for conversation.

Here’s hoping this finds you clearly confused!


Cheers Kiaran

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What Are You Excited About? The Key to Happiness

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This is a slightly different theme to my usual Blogs and a little less tongue in cheek. One of the most baffling contradictions I see in life is the prevalence of unhappy joyless people surrounded by an environment of milk and honey and more choices to do, have and experience than ever in the history of the world. Are we pre- programmed to be cynical or just blind to the 'miracle' of existence, or is it a mal-adjustment of our perspective lens? You be the judge

Excitement, anticipation, aspiration or however you want to label the charge that gets you up in the morning is probably almost completely aligned with you happiness quotient.

Some of the most cranky, uninspiring people I’ve ever crossed paths with have invariably shared a couple of personality traits. One is ambivalence, that devil may care attitude, that on the surface presents as cool and unruffled, but upon closer examination manifests its true essence, that of disenchantment.

A second trait shared by these joyless poor souls is a lack of empathy. Perhaps this is not a trait, but certainly a common denominator. An inability to care about another individual is as big a barrier to communication and rapport development as you can get. 

I suspect the latter affliction is genetic, but the former, that air of boredom is a learned handicap and often a precursor to depression.

It’s hard to be bored, ambivalent or dare I say depressed when you’re excited. So what’s exciting you right now? What are you aspiring to? When was the last time you rekindled those childhood feelings of Christmas Eve, awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus?

Alas for many, those feelings have remained lost in the memories of childhood.

Some reasons to be excited: 

• Start or end of a relationship!
• Starting a family.
• Moving in to a new career or business venture.
• Training for a marathon or triathlon.
• Building a house, or writing a book.
• Losing 15 kilos.
• Connecting with lost family or friends.
• Learning a new language or pursuing an adult education program.

There are an infinite number of inspiring projects that we can focus on and yet for many, there is another route taken. This route is that of expedience. Expedience is the trade off of a quick fix that is tension relieving rather than goal achieving. 

An hour at the casino can seem temporarily exciting and fruitful, whilst simultaneously seducing us into believing there is any substance or foundations beyond the momentary thrill. A snort of C or a shot of H can have a similar effect. Short-term gain, life time misery.

Excitement is rarely something that happens to us. Rather it is an outcome of pre-planned intentions. Waiting to win Lotto or bump in to good fortune will produce a very predictable outcome, that of disillusionment and frustration. 

Setting unrealistic goals however creates a new energy. New ventures become adventures and lead to destinations often unpredicted. Limitations become less clear and reasons to be cheerful emerge.

We have a choice. We can focus on the countless reasons to justify our misery, and I’m sure they literally are immeasurable. Or we can choose to focus on new horizons and possibilities, which are equally infinite. Yes I’ve spotted the paradox-but you know what I mean.

If you can find just a half a dozen reasons to be genuinely excited and focus your attention almost exclusively on this for the next 21 days, your energy, enthusiasm and happiness will change utterly.

Hoping this finds you with a compelling reason to get out from under the covers-Cheers Kiaran - all comments appreciated-

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why Having Too Many Followers Maybe Killing Your Social Media Experience.

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I have way too many Twitter connections. Let’s not delude ourselves that they are Followers-that’s a misnomer if ever there was one. Yep that’s the price you pay for accepting every request. What you say! How can you have too many? Isn’t the goal to have an infinite number of Tweeters in your tribe? Those with the most followers win-surely.

Ok perhaps I’m being overly wry. But have you considered the downside to building a large Twitter base?

  • Too many tweets from anonymous twits create a din, not an orchestra.
  •  The tweets that you actually see are completely random and virtually impossible to engage.
  •  Too many ‘followers’ assume that they now have an intimate relationship with you that justifies them sending you automated direct messages-that under any other circumstances would be considered spam.

Why bother then? Well of course it’s not ALL bad! A few minutes browsing especially following the retweets (those are usually the interesting ones) can be very illuminating, diversionary and lead you in directions that you’d never expect. 

There’s also that nagging feeling that Twitter is a social medium that hasn’t fully evolved yet and perhaps its better to be in it and see how it all unfolds than be a bystander.

Enough about Twitter. This Blog was originally supposed to touch on that nebulous concept called engagement. This is somewhat different to connectivity. Hook me up to your Facebook page and I guess we’re connected perhaps never to directly communicate. Engagement is immeasurably more powerful than a degree or two of separation. 

We may share an acquaintance, but that doesn’t mean we are now related. We do however have a reference point that gives us an excuse to become acquainted.

It’s ironic how much time many social networkers spend chasing people to add to their collection and then proceed to sprint off into the distance with barely a wave.

Here’s a thought. Not very original but I would suggest profound in its effectiveness. Make a decision to actively engage 10 or 20 of your connections per day for the next 21 days and be prepared to see a quantum shift in your online experience.

How? Sorry If I’m over doing the rhetorical questions!

Respond to comments. No I don’t mean copy and paste the same response all over the place like a poodle introducing herself to the neighbourhood! Check out someone’s Facebook profile and see if you have anything in common that you can make a genuine comment about. If you have nothing in common why are they in your social network? Not many people do this and when it happens it creates a much bigger impression than you’d think.

Check out people’s blogs-and yes you’ve guessed it-leave a relevant comment. I don’t mean something like ‘hey dude great Blog check out my GRQ affiliate program it’s awesome!”

Once you’ve built some genuine connections you can then ask them to visit your Youtube channel or blog and many will reciprocate. Imagine if just 1% of your social media connections popped by your site and left a friendly and supportive comment. You’d feel like an absolute celebrity. How come? Well work out how many people that is. More than likely 1 in 1000 will take the trouble to so unprompted.
Authenticity takes time to become second nature. Human nature has a natural default towards competitiveness, which alas is not great glue for social adhesiveness. 

  • Instead of trying to impress, try being impressed.
  • Be interested instead of trying to be interesting
  • Give compliments rather than chase them.
  • Tell people how inspiring they are.
You get the message. I know, you already know all this-we all do-but sometimes we kinda get sucked in to the vortex of following the crowd-shouting ever louder to get our message out there-only to realise no one’s listening. 

Hope this doesn’t sound too evangelical!

If you can be bothered leave a comment and yep I do practice what I preach and I’ll gladly reciprocate-of course if you think it’s all rubbish then feel free to ignore.

Hope your universe is unfolding well for you!


Cheers Kiaran

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Hope Your Delusions are Working Well for You!

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“I read the news today, oh boy” The Beatles lyrics echo like a broken record in my head. If you’re under 30 I’ve probably lost you with the insect and antique references!
As an avid scanner of newspapers, another soon to be outmoded medium, I’ve been wondering lately if there is any correlation between media exposure to ignorance or wisdom.
In Ireland there is an idiom, ‘cop on to yourself’, meaning to get a life and not to be so stupid. It’s one of those neat rebukes that is rarely taken offensively, but serves to highlight and dismiss pretentiousness and stupidity. Which I would argue are one and the same anyway.
I would also argue that the degree to which we are exposed to the latest media expose is actually more likely to delude us into believing we are savvy, attuned and wise. If you didn’t tune in to the latest current affairs show, read the newspapers or even listen to the radio, what would happen?
No doubt the world would continue to unfold on a daily basis. However your prejudices might subtly change.  They would become intrinsic and less a factor of the editorialized view of your friendly local media mogul!
Imagine how you’d act if you were ignorant of the Great Economic Global Recession 2, imagine if you’d even missed the first one. You would probably go about your life, in the eyes of your colleagues as an idiot savant, blissfully unaware of how ludicrous it is to be optimistic in such times of crisis and doom.
I have recently been informed by someone ‘who knows’ that the whole economic world as we know it is about to collapse in a heap, don’t worry, it won’t happen until September! Wow, I’m glad I know that, it would be such a shame to be unprepared when it happens.
Bad news sells. All news is heavily edited. The headline news that ‘yet another surfer has been killed by a shark,’ is scary enough to make you think twice about venturing in to the water. Curiously you’ll probably still cross the road and take a far greater risk of getting run over by a bus. Not so newsworthy perhaps.
House prices maybe tipped to drop dramatically. Interest rates maybe predicted to go through the roof. Global warming may destroy the icecaps whilst simultaneously leading to a dramatic increase the sales of sun cream in Ireland!
Funnily enough it’s almost certain that those who choose not to tune into the ‘truth’ and continue on a daily basis to be proactive, learn new skills, aspire to new challenges and ignorantly go against the flow will mysteriously thrive.
The closest definition I have of the meaning of life is pretty simple. ‘All truth is contextual.’ If this is so, then all our prejudices and behaviour triggers are at the mercy of those that create the context. 
So I think I’ll just ‘cop on’ to myself and ignore the conventional wisdom of the better-informed preachers of doom and destruction.
Hope your delusions are working well for you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are You Depressed or Just Having a Bad Hair Day?

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The following Blog is written with intention of providing a wry observation on Life Matters and I am flattered if it encourages commentary-however no offense is intended to those, celebrity or otherwise who are under the curse of depression and a link* is provided below to some resources that may prove useful.


In a celebrity obsessed modern culture which parades the foibles, inadequacies and fallibilities of these tabloid icons on the red carpet of our social consciousness, I ask the question: When did it become quaint to embrace serious malaise as trendy?


Depression seems to have taken over the mantle from suicide as the new chic of uber-modern social currency. How so?


I don’t expect delinquent athletes, supermodels or rock stars to provide a moral compass or embrace the mantle of role models. And yet by virtue of the sheer visibility of their every stumble and muttered obscenity, they do indeed have a profound influence on the malleable mind.


A demise of a tenuous flirtation leads to headline quotes of suicidal consideration. A couple of unfortunate set backs become the trigger for a confession of the debilitating effects of lifelong depression.


This craving for social sympathy camouflaged behind the crocodile tears of a self obsessed need for attention completely undermines and dilutes the very real misery suffered by those with clinical ailments.


If my goldfish dies perhaps the appropriate emotion is momentary sadness. If my football team loses the emotion is escalated to disappointment. My wife no doubt would find it unfathomable that I would have any emotion about the result of my football heroes! Bereavement crosses into the realm of grief. These are all normal symptoms of all but the local sociopath.


Suicidal tendencies are an obvious indication of a severe mental health issue. At the microscopic core of our human essence is a survival instinct that has evolved since time began.


Depression and disappointment should not be confused. Disappointment is the precursor to many a great endeavour. There is an innate need to prove ourselves to our parents and later to our children and those whom we look up to. The fear of coming up short is the fire that fuels many a great expedition.
Depression however is debilitating.


Disappointment is a signal that something needs to be changed. An indication that we’re not getting the results we’d like. The response? Change job, relationship, country, diet, attitude, or any number of daily choices that lead to our status quo. Voila! Disappointment dissipates as new life experiences manifest.


How we label our emotions can become self-fulfilling. I’m irrationally optimistic. If I can recalibrate an emotion back a click or two it invariably helps. Outrage morphs into disappointment. Disappointment dilutes to become irksome. Annoyance is barely worth the effort.


Of course this all falls by the wayside in the event of dodgy refereeing decision against my team, then all bets are off!


Here’s hoping your emotions are treating you well.


*Link to Resources

Friday, April 30, 2010

Why Are You So Stupid?

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Why Are You So Stupid?
If you have even a mild reaction to that greeting then you’re in good company. Call me any number of names and direct unsolicited vitriol in my direction and unless your opinion actually matters to me I guess I’ll continue on my merry way.
Or not. How many of us are that grounded and rational?
'Why are you so stupid?' is a question that reads differently depending on the word emphasized. There’s also a presumption you are in fact stupid.
Fully-grown and productive members of society often revert to the emotional state of a three year old when criticized, particularly if name-calling is involved.
This is most in evidence on the anonymous highways of our urban jungle. Placid librarians morph into frenzied psychotic gesticulators and incoherent expletive rendering ranters at the merest of accepted traffic etiquette being breached.
In the cold light of day and reasoned contemplation it would appear to be evidence of global lunacy. Let’s assume that all things do actually happen for some logical reason. It’s not a great philosophical leap to imagine that cause and effect manifests the apparent order in our universe.
What therefore is the trigger for all this irrationality?
Well here’s an anecdote that tells its own story. I recently observed a harried mother chastise her three year old with those words; ‘Why are You So Stupid?’
I found myself idly putting myself into the three year olds shoes but with the benefit of a grown up’s life experience and tried to process the question. I’m led to believe that three year olds are prone to do that, you know, make sense of questions.
I admit to being utterly bereft of any modicum of insight. The lingering message of course is that I must be stupid. Why? That’s another question.
With the benefit of adult hindsight it occurred to me that an appropriate answer albeit something of a stretch and risky in the extreme would be to respond, I’m only three what’s your excuse!
We’re subliminally programmed from a young age to buy into the thoughtless labels thrust upon us by careless authority figures. Over time the layers become reinforcing and the self-concept emerges.
As adults, when confronted by faceless critics we revert back to our three year old state, but become emboldened and react accordingly, empowered by our adult façade behind which lurks the child.
I like the quotation: "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response”
In the heat of daily frustrations many a parent neglects to pause and consider the impact of their communication on the fertile minds of their progeny, and if they did they may recoil at the echo of their words, the echo of their own parents.
So perhaps next time your spouse, child or fellow road user is ‘doing your head in’ consider whether your reaction is the response of the three year old. Of course you could be right and they are all stupid!


 



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Only Get What You Put Up With!

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‘You can’t always get what you want, but you know sometimes you get what you need.’ Inspiring words from Mick and Keith.

I have an irrational lack of appetite for shows that purport to be Current Affairs. Not for any compelling reason other than the fact that they gnaw on my soul when I inadvertently wander into the sphere of their influence.

Not unlike the sound of long nails clawing across a windowpane or a Celine Dion record for that matter, the irritation is palpable. 

Like fodder to sheep or lambs to the slaughter, to prolong the metaphor, the overt manipulation of salacious and highly edited ‘news’ into a neat advertising friendly package, is acutely self serving.
So what you may ask? 

I have no particular opinion on tabloid journalism. In fact the more outrageous the headlines, the more entertaining and by extension, the less seriously we accept the message.
Current affairs shows however, masquerade as arbiters of right and wrong, providing the moral compass for society. The real agenda is of course ratings. The pity is that these ratings come at the price of escalating human misery and celebrating the victim mentality.

At the risk of this scribble dissolving into a pious rant I’d suggest that the down trodden might have more success focusing on solutions than indulging in the pop psychology of Oprah’s couch or dare I say Jerry Springer!

There are countless legitimate victims in society. Those who by no fault of their own get snared in a web of inexplicable bad luck. Illness, bereavement, and any number of tangible sufferings which conspire to create the misfortune.

The other 90% of societies’ victims are, alas the product of false belief systems. The disappointment and rage that comes from unsatiated sense of entitlement.

An infant will cry at the merest scrape, whilst in the company of attentive adults, yet barely bat an eyelid when there’s no audience. This is a self-preserving instinct.
This can perpetuate into adulthood. Woe is me can be a seductive rallying cry for the ‘wanna be’ victim. The conversation usually starts with ‘let me tell you all the cr*p in my life…’ A bigger audience compounds and feeds the suffering and ironically and ultimately a state of complete impotence.

Here’s a thought and variation perhaps on the title to this blog. ‘You only get what you put up with most of the time’.

This is completely unpalatable to the victim, and who hasn’t played the victim card occasionally? There are remarkably few things we cannot change in our lives. Therefore if something is out of sync, then we do something about it or we can  indulge in the martyrdom. 

When I find myself whinging about Current Affair Shows or the irritation of a Celine Dion tune, then I guess it’s a wake up call to ‘put up and shut up, or move on’

As always the message is firmly tongue in cheek and hope I’m not really turning into a grumpy old man. I welcome any equally pompous retorts!



Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Tipping Point

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Certain phrases and labels mysteriously appear in the everyday lexicon and virally spread. Before long Four Wheel Drive vehicles are the quaint labels used by absent-minded old codgers to describe SUV’s.  Portfolios used to refer to man-purses carried by toffs. All day has morphed in to 24/7 and social networking has erupted from the realm of Church tea and scone get togethers in to the ubiquitous tweeting of mass popular culture.
A few years back it seemed like all change was described as a paradigm shift. More recently the term ‘Tipping Point” has made its entrance.
Unlike the word paradigm, which is a non-descriptive word without soul and colour, favoured by Lawyers and politicians for the obvious reason that they facilitate obfuscation, I quite like this new player. You can mentally shift gears when imagining a tipping point.
With the warp speed evolution of ideas into things and an apparent unquenchable appetite for the novel and uber cool latest technology; tipping points become relevant reference points to measure key predictors of performance-read profit.
When did Facebook move from being a nerdy indulgence into the leviathan it now is? At what point did Obama move from obscurity into the barely comprehensible position he now holds? Ideas hover as intangible flights of fancy until a tipping point where an action takes place. Individual actions appear irrelevant until a point when for no apparent reason the masses jump on board and the virus takes hold.
If only we could predict the tipping point and adapt accordingly. That point just before a relationship moves from uninspiring to broken, or from a brief glance into a full-blown life passion.
Some people seem to have a multitude of life tipping points. Eureka moments and moments of profound clarity that completely redefines their future endeavours. Many alas don’t. Those poor souls who live lives of quiet desperation, taxiing down the runway of their life, never quite committing to accelerating enough to take off.
In a world of immeasurable options, we all have potential tipping points on a daily basis that can potentially reshape our whole life experience. To protect ourselves from the chaos and anarchy of unpredictability, we covet our comfort zones. Comfort is not to be under estimated. The danger of course is that this zone is often not actually that comfortable, but ‘better the devil…’
If there is a message it’s this. Sometimes there’s merit and reward in throwing off the shackles of predictability and embracing the unknown. Tipping points are usually noticed after we’ve stepped over the edge. So there’s a risk, a risk of falling flat on your face, but nothing ventured nothing gained.
Hope your Tipping Point works out well for you!



Monday, April 12, 2010

Hope is Not a Strategy!

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As a preface to this scribble I'd like to reiterate that this Blog does not represent a philosophy or point of view I believe anyone else should adhere to. As the Header indicates, this is merely a wry commentary picking at the scab of human observation, in the hope of eliciting an occasional pause for thought and confronting some of the irony in life's journey. All hugely positive comments endorsing the the Blog are welcomed in the spirit of my own delusion.


I like the provocative statement; hope is not a strategy. The use of words such as wish, hope and turn of phrases for instance; 'if only..', are usually the precursors to paralysis. When we have delusional excuses to fall back on, it's easy to abdicate personal responsibility.


I wish i could speak fluent Japanese, bench press 150k, date a super-model(not really!) play jazz piano with ease and own a football team, ...if only.. There's the rub. 'If only' just doesn't cut it.


Having a fantasy goal such as winning Lotto, is a safe haven for disappointment. 'You've got to be in it to win it', or so they say. This presumes of course that the odds of winning improve significantly. Yet, winning Lotto is far less likely than falling off the perch of life for no apparent reason.


I enjoy the company of delusional people however. Those who have an irrational belief in possibility thinking. They fervently believe that their football team will defy all odds and win something. They exude a childish confidence in the outcome of their daily endeavors. When things go wrong they invariably conclude that this is necessary feedback, and occasionally they achieve unexpected victories and accomplishment. The super model, notices them. They find themselves transferred to Tokyo. They become acquainted with a mentor with the same passion for jazz piano as themselves. They create a supporters club for their team in a foreign land.


Fantasy goals and outrageous aspirations frequent different points in space and time. One is illusory and one is tangible, though slippery. Chasing windmills a la Don Quixote is always more fun than wishing and hoping. Good lyrics to a song though!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Life Matters! The E-Book?

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Pondering the absurdity of quantifying meaning in an infinite and intangible universe- I am compiling a collection of recent Blogs into an E-Book. As a thank you to my social networking connections I will be offering 50 Free downloads to those who register interest. 


Let me know at kiaranfinn61@gmail.com


If you have a favorite title -Let me know-feedback's always appreciated.

Below is a link to some archive Blogs:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cognitive Surplus and What to do with 100 Million Hours of TV Advertising Time!

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I get a buzz out of those rare moments when my certainties are confronted. Recently a quote permeated that part of my brain that has nothing better to do than ponder and elicit some profound meaning.


The almost imperceptible buzzing on the edge of my sub conscious related to a comment by a certain Clay Shirkey (I’d never heard of him either!) To paraphrase; how can we waste our time watching TV when there are so many other options?


I found myself pondering this question from the high ground of the devils advocate. What makes watching TV inferior to any other number of past times? There are a myriad of reasons to flop down on the couch and bond with family and pets, disengaging the brain and recharging our flow.


How can you actually waste time anyway? Surely the absolute incomprehensible magic of inhaling breath and functioning as a self-actualized bundle of cells, constituting me and you is of itself breathtaking.


I pondered the relative merits of this apparent inane burning of precious time, and concluded with a sense of self righteous indignation that this chap must be a social snob, looking down with disdain on us unwashed unsophisticated.


I also love Paradoxes, those seemingly irreconcilable contradictions that flavour our daily interactions when certainties collide. Like most hard and fast beliefs, context changes the terrain and hence my paradigm shift.


The real essence of the commentary however concerned an exquisitely elegant term, labeled ‘Cognitive Surplus’. This sounded like one of those mind numbingly boring concepts I remember from Economics 101.


Excuse the rhetoric. Here’s the message.


Once upon a time not so long ago, a whole society shared the experience of TV watching between 6pm and 10pm. This was the source of all relevant knowledge. Discussions around the water cooler pertained to the previous evening’s programming.
If you didn’t watch Johnny Carson, The Football, Saturday Night Live, The Gay Byrne show (that’ll confuse some of you), then you were out of sync with the tribe, marginalised almost as if you were illiterate in a world of academia.


Quite dramatically the shared experience of societies has changed utterly. Choices abound. There are all our social networking sites to update. We need to upload our videos, contribute to our multitude of Blogs, contribute to Wikipedia, invest in our various online ventures, whilst multi tasking with our Skype and ITunes.


Cognitive surplus refers to the additional collective time that has seeped away from the aforementioned TV watching.


Think about this: At its peek just in the US alone, it is estimated that TV accounted for over 200 billion hours of individual time invested. Adverts consumed an estimated 100 million hours!


Imagine the impact of just 1% of this time, now moving towards another medium, more specifically an interactive one, such as those mentioned. That’s 2 billion hours surplus that is compounding its impact elsewhere.


More and more people are becoming increasingly creative with this mass surplus and the effect is tangible.


Change is afoot. The creative juices of a previously dormant section of society are redefining our world, and the architecture of participation is manifested in the evolution we are living through.


I still defend my right to turn off 90% of my brain and watch re runs of shows that I didn’t particularly enjoy first time around, but I feel a little less motivated to be so vocal, and yes I’ll continue to disengage from the adverts and update my Blog!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reverse Tweeting-Radical Twitter Experiment!

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Obscure title I know-but here’s a long dormant thought for you to contemplate.
Last year it occurred to me that there was an inverse relationship between the volume of Twitter ‘followers’ I had accumulated and the quality of the relationships.
This started to become apparent when my ‘following’ reached over the 100 mark, and has been reinforced as the numbers passed 2000.
It seemed popular particularly, thought not exclusively among online marketers to chase the numbers. There would be self-congratulatory tweets exclaiming joy at hitting 1000, 2000 or even 10000 ‘followers’ as if it actually meant anything.  E-books were compiled to educate the ignorant on how to amass tens of thousands of ‘followers’. To what purpose, a few may ask?
You’ve no doubt noted the inverted commas. I use the term ‘followers’ very loosely. This is undoubtedly a misnomer. If you are tweeting regularly on topics of inane pointlessness for periodic relief of boredom-then that’s certainly your prerogative, however I would suggest that the belief that you have 5000 followers taking even the remote interest is, well, delusional.
I doubt the irreverent tone of this Blog is upsetting anyone, unless the afore mentioned delusion was deeply ingrained, but the point of this scribble is to posit an alternate use of this hugely useful interactive tool.
I have a secondary Twitter account that I am just about to launch. It has been sitting sedentary for ages since the first seed of the following proposition popped in to my head. My experiment that I’d love you to join me in is as follows. Create a second account if you are already in Twittersphere and promote it only to those that you can build a genuine connection with. Those for instance whose content you are actually interested in and whom presumably will offer reciprocal dialogue.
My objective is to create a ‘following’ ‘followers’ target of max 100! –Excuse the garbled language! If you could only follow 100, who would you follow? Personally I would only follow those with some mutual connectivity benefits. Those for instance that post interesting, informative, humorous content rich tweets and links, rather than the random anonymous pitching of business links, without any effort to relationship and community build.
Hope this doesn’t sound like I’m pontificating. I will continue to maintain my other Twitter account but the link below is only for those with  whom I can genuinely engage.
So that’s it. The radical concept. Follow a Max 100 and only follow those who have 100 or less followers!  
Would love to hear your thoughts. My firm belief is that the quality of tweeting will improve ten or even 100 fold.
Hook up on www.twitter.com/kiaranfinn and if you’ve got less than 100 followers I’ll follow you back and hopefully engage!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Breakfast and Wisdom with Sir Richard Branson

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As part of a fundraiser for Strike a Chord for Cancer I had the opportunity to glean first hand some insight into the philosophy of Sir Richard Branson. Without eulogizing over the status that this king of branding has attained and the unusually high personal popularity rating his entrepreneurial endeavours have garnered, I’ll cut straight to the content.


A series of questions were posed, crossing a wide spectrum inclusive, business, environment, education and space travel. Despite the diversity of topics some consistent messages emerged.


A core strength of his myriad of businesses is the empowerment of the people. Selecting those with exceptional communication skills seems to be a pre requisite in the hiring process.


Instilling the mindset of his team to not only identify problems but to also take immediate action to rectify.


Focus on the goal rather than the monetary outcome.
Encourage creative thinking in the education process.
Encourage continual feedback from the customer in order to respond hastily to problems.


Global collaboration in the pursuit of peaceful resolution of conflict.
Big goals require the ability to delegate.
Treat everyone with equal respect, regardless of whether they are cleaners or managers.


Have fun.
Take the wisdom of successful entrepreneurs, and elder statesmen and apply some of their strategies to global problems.


Like most true wisdom, it never seems quite so profound when delivered in bland script. The power of a message is compounded by the status of the messenger, and there are few have attained such an iconic status of achievement as Sir Richard Branson. His message therefore resonates so much clearer.


Common sense it would seem is rather uncommon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anomolies of Life and Old Wives Tales

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The Wisdom of Parents: ‘eat everything on your plate and be grateful you’re not one of the starving millions’ a rallying cry and first seed of an obesity epidemic is born.


Governor Arnie chastises his children for leaving too many lights on in the house, the environmental cost presumably equates to a punctuation mark in his litany of mind-blowing special effects, and Hummer driven excesses.


Global warming is a hysterical theatrical issue that we are cajoled into feeling guilty about in a manner reminiscent of teenage catholic boys reaching an age of carnal curiosity. How exactly is a perpetually drenched and windswept Celt worse off by this advent of clement weather? Perhaps the historically far more prevalent global freezing is the greater grim reaper.


Today’s hero invariably morphs in to tomorrow’s villain. Our sporting idols fall, we mimic the outrage of the tabloids until we adapt to their integration as mere mortals amongst us, and then rehabilitate them as rebels incarnate to be admired again as they triumph over adversity.


When have you ever tut tutted at someone’s indiscretions and later wondered what possessed you to become so self-righteous? Non smokers look with disdain on their fellow dim witted friends before hurtling off at literal break neck speed down the freeway of life, mobile in hand, distracted by the merest glimpse of sexual gratification via the billboard reflected in the rear view mirror.


Are we all mad or have we inexorably devolved into our parents. Say it isn’t so! When did we become so sure of our certainties, and the way the world should unfold? So many questions with fleeting answers that more often than not evaporate into the old wives tales they inevitably become.


Of course this all an exercise in irreverence, and the futility of taking life too serious. In hindsight we’re all living in a cosmic joke, with no punch line.


Hope you’re appreciating the nonsense of this temporary experience!

If any of this scribbling is to your palette's taste you might also like a previous archived Blog titled Does Truth Exist? 


All comments appreciated except the ones expressing what a tosser I am? Only kidding-they're appreciated too!



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Sunday, February 7, 2010

How's Your Obsesion Working For You?

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What a boring bland world this would be in the absence of mass irrational obssessiveness. There would be NO wonders of the world. Forget about the Guinness Book of Records or in fact any significant historical achievement.
Why would anyone in their right mind set sail in a barely sea worthy vessel in the direction of the horizon with no reasonable expectation of navigating anywhere but over the edge of the world?
We could argue that the Pyramids and ancient Aztec monuments were a response not to obsession but rather to a spiritual impulse. The appeasing of the gods as it were. Let’s not however meander in to that quicksand of philosophy. It would be all too easy to polarize most readers of this brief scribble by even hinting that Religion is an obsession.
It’s hard not to be fascinated by the apparent crazy impulsive behavior of many collectors. I’m not referring to those with an eye on turning over a dollar, but rather those whose lives seemed consumed in a never ending search for some obscure memorabilia of an even more obscure historical figure.
These philatelists, taxidermists, fusilatelists or even cruciverbalists, whilst an easy target for comedic fodder, are undoubtedly comment worthy. If you’re feeling a little confused by the labels above, then you’re in good company, spell check is equally baffled!
Perhaps our biggest misconception as human beings is the belief that we’re actually logical creatures. This is repetitively proven to be a delusion on an almost hourly basis.
We’re irrationally emotional, prone to temper tantrums and other non-sensical behaviour. We drink, eat, smoke and generally indulge to excess in a manner that defies any definition of logic.
Why is it therefore that we seem shocked by the daily tabloid stories of lurid tales of the obsessive actions of those that we irrationally look up to.  Why is Tiger Woods a role model? Why do we think that (former England football captain) John Terry a fallen icon?
Do you collect stamps, mount animal heads, (don’t be rude), collect telephone cards or spend hours doing the daily crossword? Hint: you don’t need to look up the above gibberish labels now!
There’s no particular message here. The observation I’m making, is that most of our behaviors are irrational at best and more often than not, downright illogical. With that in mind I say, choose your obsessions well. If they work for you, then don’t worry about justifying them to your pretentious peer group, because I guarantee they’re just as crazy as you!
One sobering word of caution however. Like all things in life, all actions have consequences, so with that in mind enjoy your obsessions!