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 fa├žade 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

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

Below is a link to some archive Blogs: