Quote Of The Day 19/03/2020

THURSDAY, 19/03/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/632263235168208567/

‘Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.’

– Carl Sagan

Quote Of The Day 21/02/2020

FRIDAY, 21/02/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/608760074609303153/

‘Why are you there even in my silences? Why does my loneliness keep talking about you?’

– Avijeet Das

Top Talks (#5): 10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training – Admiral William H. McRaven

Welcome to week five of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

Hello there!

Welcome to week five of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!

So…

WHO IS ADMIRAL WILLIAM H. MCRAVEN?

McRaven is a retired Navy SEAL for the United States. Among his long list of accolades, he has served as Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Commander of Special Operations Europe (SOCEUR), and Director of NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC).

McRaven also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School and is openly critical of the Trump Administration (for those who care).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._McRaven

10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training – Admiral William H. McRaven

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’:

This ‘Top Talk’ is not necessarily new – McRaven gave this speech in his 2014 Commencement Address to the students of the University of Texas (which is when I first heard it). However, it has always stuck with me as I’ve made my way through my University and young adult life. McRaven gives his 10 Life Lessons from his SEAL training:

  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
  5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses
  6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first
  7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks
  8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment
  9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud
  10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell (to quit)

Although all of them are worth their weight in gold, I always liked number one and three the best:

Photography of Bedroom

MAKE YOUR BED EVERY MORNING

This particular life lesson is especially notable (McRaven even published a book based around it). The idea is:

‘If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.’

Your brain releases a hit of dopamine (a neurotransmitter responsible for generating feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness) every time you complete a task, meaning you will feel good and want to complete the next one.

By the end of the day, that one task head lead to many others, big and small.

Making your bed each morning is a reminder that the small things matter and are always worth doing. McRaven also reminds us that if we do have a crappy day, at least we will come home to a nicely made bed!

MEASURE A PERSON BY THE SIZE OF THEIR HEART, NOT BY THE SIZE OF THEIR FLIPPERS(!)

… or the size of anything else, for that matter – be it bank account, friend group or other.

McRaven speaks about the ‘Munchkin Crew’ – a crew of SEALS that were all under five-foot-five; but the best crew of the lot.

The other crews would lightheartedly make fun of the ‘Munchkins’, because their flippers were a smaller size than the rest. But no matter what, the Munchkins always made it to shore faster than all the other crews.

McRaven said SEAL training was a great equalizer:

‘Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.’

Pair of Black Flippers

McRaven’s main message throughout his speech is one of empowerment, and of the profound impact one person can have on the world and on others. One decision can have an incredible impact on those around us – meaning it is vitally important we make decisions that are embedded in integrity, compassion and strength. We need to band together, rather than let our differences keep us apart and be strong even when it seems we should give up.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

ADMIRAL WILLIAM H. MCRAVEN

Top Talks (#4): The Opportunity of Adversity – Aimee Mullins

Welcome to week four of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

Hello there!

Welcome to week four of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!

So…

WHO IS AIMEE MULLINS?

Believe it or not, Aimee Mullins is a double-amputee. But don’t let that doubt her ability. She is a record-breaker at the Paralympics (1996), prosthetic advocate, model, actor and an all-round successful business woman.

Mullins was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017 and given an honorary degree at Northeastern University, Boston.

Source: https://bestofcomicbooks.com/aimee-mullins-hot-pictures/

The Opportunity of Adversity – Aimee Mullins

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’:

This ‘Top Talk’ was part of a training session I took recently on disability awareness. It shines light on a variety of different issues, including the language we use to define the people around us who live with a disability and the power of adaptability.

Dictionary Text in Bokeh Effect

LANGUAGE IS POWERFUL

We all know language is a powerful tool that most of us use to communicate.

We start to learn it from the moment we are born, and our lives are often defined by the way words can describe us: tall, smart, athletic, empathetic, strong…

But the language we use can also dis-empower us, just as much.

Aimee Mullins proves this point in her TED Talk, by reading out the dictionary definition of ‘disabled’:

‘Disabled, adjective: crippled, helpless, useless, wrecked, stalled maimed, wounded, mangled, lame, mutilated, run-down, worn-out, weakened, impotent, castrated, paralyzed, handicapped, senile, decrepit, laid-up, done-up, done-for, done-in, cracked-up, counted-out... see also: hurt, useless, and weak. Antonyms: healthy, strong, capable.

Now I don’t know about you, but the dictionary’s definition of disabled does not accurately describe any of the people I know that live with a disability. And why are the antonyms healthy, strong and capable?

People with a disability are not automatically unhealthy, weak or incapable.

As Mullins points out in her talk, it’s not about the words themselves, but what people believe when we name them with these words. By naming people by these words, we are putting them in a box, ignoring their potential and casting shadows on their dreams.

As a community, a worker, a friend, a family member or as an individual, it is important that we use words that empower the people around us, rather than dis-empower them.

Running Field Photography

ADAPTABILITY KNOWS NO LIMITS

The other important message I got from Aimee Mullins’s talk was the importance and significance of adaptability.

Mullins quotes Charles Darwin on the topic:

‘It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor is it the most intelligent that survives: it is the one that is most adaptable to change.’

Close-Up Photo of Three Slinkies

And he is quite right – and it is a great way to look at the idea of adversity as rather a chance to adapt to our surroundings – whether it is physical adversity or emotional, mental or social adversity.

White Dandelion

This idea really helped me see things from a different perspective. You don’t have to have a disability to be able to understand (and perhaps find comfort in) the idea of being or feeling different. Struggle is a part of human development. Adversity isn’t the end of the line. It is just the beginning.

Mullins puts it this way:

‘… the human ability to survive and flourish is driven by the struggle of the human spirit through conflict into transformation.’

Being able to adapt to our situations is an incredibly important part of every day life. Aimee Mullins has of course had more than her fair share of adversity, but instead of seeing it as adversity, she sees it as an opportunity. We can all recognize and appreciate times in our lives when we have been through dark times and come out stronger on the other end.

The only true disability is a crushed spirit.

AIMEE MULLINS

Top Talks (#3): The lies our culture tells us about what matters – and a better way to live – David Brooks

Welcome to week three of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

Hello there!

Welcome to week three of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!

So…

WHO IS DAVID BROOKS?

David Brooks is a political and cultural commentator who writes for The New York Times.

Brooks is a published author, columnist and a teacher at Yale University.

Brooks is a strong admirer of President Barack Obama, and a critic of President Donald Trump (not saying that means anything… but it might).

Brooks is also actively involved in Weave, which is a social reform project – which we’ll look at more in a moment

Source: https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GCEA_enAU846AU847&biw=1745&bih=807&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=tTRBXeG8OYj59QOwtpzQDQ&q=david+brooks+ted+talk&oq=david+brooks+ted+talk&gs_l=img.3..0j0i24l5.7328.8462..8607...0.0..0.353.1695.2-4j2......0....1..gws-wiz-img.......0i67j0i8i30.FCLJetHi-p8&ved=0ahUKEwih67S0w97jAhWIfH0KHTAbB9oQ4dUDCAY&uact=5#imgrc=FJhA2hWfjnvOpM:

The lies our culture tells us about what matters – and a better way to live – David Brooks

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’:

This ‘Top Talk’ was all about looking at life and social change from a better perspective. He talks about the lies our culture tell us about what matters, and how we can combat that in a way that is helpful and connective.

Coconut

YOU CAN BE BROKEN, OR YOU CAN BE BROKEN OPEN

David Brooks’ talk had so many amazing parts to it, but something that resonated with me was the statement: ‘You can be broken, or you can be broken open’.

This is such a soul-crushing truth. When we are broken, we are hurt, grieving, angry and prone to lashing out.

When we are broken open, however, we discover a deeper part of ourselves. It’s about discovering heart over ego. Being able to go to a place where ego is not wanted or needed, and into a place where love and care flourish, is an incredible realization.

It’s about helping people, and people helping us. It’s about care and consideration. It’s about community.

WEAVE: THE SOCIAL FABRIC

The second (and very powerful) idea I learned from Brooks’ talk was the notion of weavers. David Brooks started something with the Aspen Institute called ‘Weave: The Social Fabric’. He describes weavers as people who are community and social-change orientated – giving the example of Asiaha Butler, who lived in a rough neighbourhood. She was on the verge of moving away with her husband because it was so dangerous there. But instead, after seeing two girls playing in an empty lot, surrounded by rubbish, she decided she wasn’t going to move.

Asiaha wasn’t going to part of another family to leave. Instead, she began volunteering in the same neighbourhood, and now runs a large community organisation there.

Another example Brooks gave was a lady who came home from a trip, only to find her abusive husband has killed himself and her two children. She was so angry, she began volunteering and helping women cope with violence.

Brooks argues that it is these people, who have seen or experienced adversity, that become the fabric of society. They are not driven by ego, but by heart and by change.

White Rope

He says they are all around us – people who are not driven by an individualistic life – and they are rooted in empathy and can’t stand to watch atrocities happen without attempting to put up a fight. He says that when we are around these weavers, they see people at twice their size. They see deeper. They believe in change, and they believe in being a part of that change.

Some of these weavers switch jobs, take up volunteering, start a movement. But one thing is always the same about them: they have intensity. They have hope. They have found a language of a recovered society and want to share it.

And to me, that’s incredibly powerful.

The central fallacy in modern life is that accomplishments can produce deep satisfaction. That’s false.

DAVID BROOKS

Unrealistic Expectations & Their Consequences

What to do when there’s too much to do.

It’s the same old story: impossible deadlines, unachievable KPI’s, not enough team members, inadequate budgets and bosses who seem to live in a fantasy land.

Whilst setting goals is perfectly normal and an expected part of any job, the reality is that setting the bar too high has incredibly negative ramifications on employees and over time, the business as well.

SHORT TERM PROBLEMS:

Unrealistic expectations in the workplace can have immediate effects on employees and the business, including:

A DROP IN WORK QUALITY

What happens when we have deadlines that are unrealistic? We rush. We cut corners and we don’t double check things…. because we don’t have time!

And when we rush, we miss things. The quality of our work is sacrificed and things become sloppy and disjointed.

Stress Handwritten Text on White Printer Paper
Person Lying on Sofa

ABSENTEEISM

Who would want to get out of bed and go to work, knowing they will never live up to their bosses expectations?

Unrealistic expectations create stress and anxiety which costs workplaces money in sick/ stress leave.

Not only does absenteeism go up, but pressure rises too – the rest of the team has to pick up the slack.

MISSED DEADLINES

When there are unrealistic expectations, deadlines and due dates become increasingly difficult to achieve.

This becomes a massive issue, especially in team environments, where missing due dates could potentially mean missing out on bonuses.

Flat Lay Photography of Calendar

LONG TERM PROBLEMS:

Setting unrealistic goals, time-frames or other expectations in the workplace not only have immediate ramifications, but can also lead to longer lasting issues in the workplace, including:

Boy in Brown Hoodie Carrying Red Backpack While Walking on Dirt Road Near Tall Trees

EMPLOYEE TURNOVER

People don’t want to work in a job that has an unattainable ideal. If workers don’t get praise, or manage to reach goals and feel successful, they end up disenchanted.

Often, employees feel they have to seek validation and success somewhere else.

This is a huge issue, where companies want to achieve great things, but end up losing workers with valuable knowledge and experience in the process.

LOW MORALE

If the work is ‘never done’ and the goals are never met, when do staff get a chance to celebrate their achievements?

Never.

When we don’t celebrate the successes, it can lead to low self-esteem, low motivation and productivity, and eventually, low morale.

Photo of a Woman Thinking
Pair of Red-and-white Low-top Sneakers

FAILURE BECOMES ACCEPTED

If success is not an option and targets are set too high, failure is a given. Sometimes, this failure becomes the norm, and eventually accepted.

People stop trying, projects become doomed, and no one achieves their true potential. Not only that, but respect for managers becomes non-existent and employees become un-willing to do anything but the bare minimum.

So, how do we avoid setting the bar too high?

Unrealistic expectations make for an uninterested, unproductive team. It affects employees, managers and the company as a whole, so it is worth tackling properly. So how to we do that?

NUMBER ONE:

Understand Your Employees

How will you know what your workers are capable of doing, if you have no idea of the scope of their skill set?

Understanding what people are good at, what they need help with and who is able to help them are all important things to know.

You also need to know their limits.

If you know your Call Centre employees can make roughly 80 calls a day, you don’t set the target to 300. If you know a job requires at least 4 people, don’t make one person do it.

Gallup uses the Clifton Strength Finder is an amazing way to understand the people who work for you, and how they tick.

But asking questions, being available and have a workforce that isn’t dehumanized is a great place to start!

Person Holding Light Bulb
Macbook Air Beside Printing Paper

NUMBER TWO:

Constant Evaluation

If you want to make sure you aren’t setting unrealistic expectations, looking at trends in your data is a great tool.

Not only that, but asking for feedback from the people who work for you is an excellent way to keep an eye on morale, while also finding out what works and what doesn’t.

If you can keep track of the numbers, and can see there hasn’t been any goals hit for months, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.

These days, there are even websites like Peakon, which gathers employee feedback, and can provide insights for improvement.

NUMBER THREE:

Be Reasonable & Outline Expectations

Look at the project you need completed as a whole. If you want something completely in a month, what resources will you need? How many people, how many hours, how much money, etc., etc.,etc.

You can’t just decide what you want and when you want it and dive right in without a plan.

Take a step back and consider what the entirety of the picture looks like, and how it will be achieved.

Only then can you set the expectations, and only then will they be thought out and reasonable.

Photo of Person Holding Dslr Camera
Man Holding Pen Pointing Note in Front of Man in Black Suit

AND LASTLY…

Support Your Staff!!!

You’re all in this together!

Why put unnecessary pressure and unrealistic expectations on the people you see day in and day out? They’re there because they have the ability to make real changes in the company – so support them!

As Wolfgang Von Goethe puts it:

A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.’

Re-Humanizing The Workplace

What is dehumanization and how do we combat the growing number of disenchanted employees?

Have you ever felt like you’re just a ‘number’ at your workplace?

You’re not alone.

We live in a time where there is a huge focus on figures, our budgets are being slashed and employees are constantly asked to work more, for less.

Although there are some companies who have recognized and adapted to this (LinkedIn, Google & Salesforce are some great examples), there are plenty of industries where stress, hours and restraints are increasing, and job satisfaction is decreasing.

When I go out with friends, I avoid talking about work at any cost.

Let’s not talk about work tonight’ is a phrase I find myself saying more and more. Sound familiar?

Woman Sitting in Front of Macbook
Man Working Using A Laptop

In an article by Rachel Druckenmiller, she identifies that 88% of Americans feel like they work for a company that doesn’t care about them as human beings.

For most, work is a necessary evil, rather than a pleasure. Workplaces are so caught up with numbers and figures, they forget that the people driving their companies are, in fact, human.

And salaries are no longer enough to keep employees motivated. In fact, the top two motivators for employees are recognition and a sense of achievement. Throwing money at employees will not fix the deep-rooted problems organisations can face – one of which is the dehumanization of the workplace.

So what is dehumanization?

Dehumanization is a social phenomenon, where in certain environments, people are perceived by others as not human, but rather an instrument, object or a number in a large organization.

In extreme cases, dehumanization can go as far as seeing people as not human at all – instead, indistinguishable from other animals. A perfect example of this social phenomenon is the persecution Jews and other minorities faced in the Holocaust. Another example would be extreme racism, or taking away someone’s basic human rights. This type of dehumanization is called ‘animalistic’ dehumanization.

However, in the workplace, people are more commonly victims of ‘mechanistic’ dehumanization – where they are likened to instruments used for another’s benefit. This is an incredibly diverse social issue, where workers are often denied basic things, such as empathy, emotion or the opportunity for expression of self.

Qualities of a ‘dehumanized’ workplace:

Many workplaces and leaders within them prioritize efficiency over empathy, competition over connection and power over purpose.

Dehumanization takes many forms, but in the workplace, it can be anything from subtle to severe – manifesting itself in ways that may not always be obvious as ‘dehumanizing’:

Lack of Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand, relate and share feelings with someone. It is something vital to building strong relationships with others. Yet many workplaces lack empathy.

Employees aren’t expecting a kiss and a cuddle every time something goes wrong. But they are expecting to be treated as human beings.

Many employees have reported being asked to work in the midst of family tragedies, work longer hours to make up for missed deadliness and many also report feeling as though their emotions are not valid in the workplace.

Group of People Holding Arms

Showing empathy can sometimes be seen as weakness or emotional vulnerability, which often creates a culture of ‘not my problem’. This is at odds with studies that prove that empathy actually promotes pro-social behaviour and builds trust and respect.

Condescension

Man Holding White Teacup in Front of Gray Laptop

Condescension, or condescending behaviour, involves patronizing attitudes and creates an air of superiority. It’s generally associated with snobbishness or disdain.

We’ve all had a boss like that at some point, haven’t we?

In the workplace, condescension usually comes in the form of snide remarks, offhand comments or in extreme cases, gas-lighting.

This behaviour is incredibly harmful, and can be emotionally draining, distracting and demeaning for a worker to have to deal with.

Sometimes emotions are hard, and it’s easier to dismiss them. We put an emphasis on efficiency, and things like emotions, connection and compassion can hinder this. But we can’t sacrifice our basic human needs for work performance.

Cliques, ‘Boy’s Clubs’ & Poor Company Culture

This is a particularly frustrating form of dehumanization within the workplace – and often the downfall of many organizations.

These types of workplaces can often seem more like high-school than a place where grown adults work. There is usually an obvious hierarchy, where ‘some’ people seem to progress far faster in the company than others.

This dehumanization manifests itself in behaviors such as forming clear ‘groups’ or ‘cliques’, rumor-mongering, giggling behind hands or a range of other obvious gestures, such as eye-brow raising.

Man Raising Right Hand

These are all signs of poor company culture, where people are not seen as equal or valid. Although this is not the only indication of poor company culture, it is a direct contributor.

Workplaces often dehumanize their workers in this type of way – socially ostracizing them, creating ‘minorities’ within the company, maintaining outdated ‘Boy’s Club’ cultures or otherwise finding ways to subtly discriminate based on sex, race, gender or even just by perceived ‘popularity’.

Dismissive Attitudes

Grayscale Photography of Man Holding Smartphone

We’re all guilty of not paying attention every now and then. But dismissive attitudes go further than a simple slip of focus.

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve come up with an idea, only to have it dismissed on the spot, ignored entirely or even worse, laughed at? This is the type of attitude many company leaders possess – dehumanizing and invalidating their workers in the process.

Body language also speaks volumes when it comes to being dismissive. Looking away, obvious disinterestedness, checking your watch or phone are all signs of a dismissive behaviour and attitude.

Although sometimes we are genuinely busy or our focus is elsewhere, the dismissive attitude that is often displayed by bosses or company leaders is invalidating and rude, and creates a feeling of not being respected or valued not only as an employee, but as a human.

So how do we ‘re-humanize’ our workplaces?

The first thing workplaces need to do is to recognize the behaviors and attitudes that might be dehumanizing their workers. Often, these attitudes come from senior levels and work their way down to middle and lower-management.

Having the right people leading our workplaces is incredibly important – people who are willing to recognize issues and realign them with the needs of their employers.

Dehumanization in the workplace is an extremely complex issue, which can affect individuals, the organisation and even society as a whole.

The main goal of re-humanizing the workplace is to help all workers be open, honest and feel confident to be an individual, while also thriving in the organisational environment. Re-humanization is integral to positive social interaction.

So what can we do to work towards making our workplaces more human?

Group Hand Fist Bump

Accept & Admit Shortcomings

Creative Story Book Near Black-framed Eyeglasses

The first step to re-humanizing your workplace is to remind the people around you that you aren’t perfect, and that’s perfectly okay.

Accepting and admitting (out-loud) your shortcomings creates an environment where others can too. In an article for Forbes, Dina Gerdeman outlines the importance of being a humble leader. She takes note from Professor Alison Wood Brooks, who says:

‘People find you more humble and likable when you not only reveal your successes and accomplishments, but your struggles and shortcomings, too… If we want to see positive workplace outcomes, we shouldn’t underestimate how important it is to be seen as humble, grounded and well-liked.’

This is also the same approach Brene Brown shares in her book ‘Daring Greatly‘, where she speaks on shame, and the importance of understanding ourselves in order to grow. She quotes Peter Sheahan, CEO of ChangeLabs, who says:

‘If you want a culture of creativity and innovation, where sensible risks are embraced on both a market and individual level, start by developing the ability of managers to cultivate an openness to vulnerability in their teams.  And this, paradoxically perhaps, requires first that they are vulnerable themselves.’

Owning our shortcomings provides a positive environment where personal and professional growth is encouraged and can flourish without fear or shame.

Ask Questions

This might seem simple, but it’s something that so many people in leadership positions fail to do.

They’re the bosses that walk past the same people every day, with their coffee in one hand and their phone in the other, and miss multiple opportunities to connect with the people they work right next to.

Some managers couldn’t tell you who their receptionists’ name is, what their co-worker’s kids names are, or who the person in the waiting room is. They often put this in the ‘trivial information’ basket and move on.

Woman in Blue Suit Jacket

But the thing is, this information is what makes people the way that they are – and without knowing anything about the people you work with day in and day out, you are setting yourself up for failure.

If you take the time to ask questions and build rapport, you instantly become more approachable. You are seen as someone who doesn’t just see their workers or colleagues as replaceable, disposable or ‘just another number’. Being interested and involved is all part of being ‘human’.

Be The Change You Want To See

If you want to re-humanize your workplace, the culture change needs to come from the top.

If workers can see leader that shows compassion and interest in the community, the employees and other managers, they are more likely to do the same. Not only that, but part of making a change is being the change.

You can’t expect others to care if you aren’t giving them an example to work with.

‘Practice what you preach’ comes to mind here.

Creating a workplace culture that cares about its employees is hard. There are many considerations and obstacles to take on board, including ingrained company culture, the attitudes of board members, the business’ current financial position and much, much more.

Sometimes, re-humanization starts from a place of transparency and honesty.

But at the end of the day, re-humanization is a process of accepting that every person is unique, and that we all play a part – and every person is entitled to feel that they are valued.

Woman in Brown Knit Top

Making sure employees feel validated and valued is not the same as making them feel useful. That difference comes from a place of genuine care for the people, not the company, profit or the numbers the computer spits out. CEO Barry Wehmiller said this about involving and honouring the people around us:

Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them.

Turn Your Anger Into Action.

We’ve all had moments that make us see red. It’s about what we do next.

We’ve all had moments that make us see red.

Just last week, something happened to me at work that made me so angry I was blind with rage. I only just managed to make it to the HR Manager’s office before I burst into tears.

Someone had questioned my work, and by extension, my work ethic, and that made me angry.

Sometimes it only takes one misguided conversation, one person or one incident to send us reeling into a complete rage.

And that’s absolutely fine, and absolutely normal. In fact, over 65% of office workers admit to having experienced anger and rage at work, and 45% of staff regularly lose their temper in their workplace.

However, the trouble comes when we use this rage in unproductive ways – such as withdrawing, deciding not to do as much work, ignoring the person or issue or just storming around the office without venting.

Anger, when harnessed correctly, is a powerful emotional tool. When used productively, anger can help us move forward, forge new paths and better relationships and empower us to achieve our goals in new ways.

Anger Creates Determination.

Have you ever noticed that when someone does you wrong, the first thing that comes to mind is often revenge?

When we’re angry, we’re determined. We want to get back at the person or situation which has hurt us, and we want to prove ourselves.

When used in the right way, we can use our anger and determination to find ways to be better. We want vengeance, and we want it to be swift.

So what better way to become better, than channeling our will for vengeance into a positive force. Use that determination to get something done you’ve been pushing aside. Finish that project you’ve been working on. Apply for that new job you were thinking about. Get that pile of washing folded. Whatever it is, smash it!

Turn your anger into determination and use it to power through.

Empower Yourself.

When we are angry, we are often angry that someone has insulted or harmed us in some way. When someone does this, it is only natural that we want to prove them wrong.

Not only do we have thoughts of seeking revenge, and also of proving to ourselves and others, but we feel like we need to be redeemed. We need to prove to the world that we a worthy of better. Better treatment, better people and better situations.

When we are personally insulted in any way, it can spark anger in us – and that is completely valid and completely normal.

So what better way to use that angry energy, than to use it to show the world we are worthy? Just because one person tells us we aren’t good enough, doesn’t mean that we have to believe it. With the right attitude, we can empower ourselves and seek out our feelings of worthiness.

We can use our anger to show people who we truly are, what we stand for and what we won‘t put up with.

Anger Breeds Optimism.

When something bad happens to us, our mindset tends to change. Perhaps not straight away, but eventually, whatever happens to us shapes us.

If we’ve been through something before, we’re more likely to feel like we can get through it again. We can stare at our aggressor and say: ‘Hit me with your best shot.’

Because we know we can deal with it. Humans are designed to adapt and overcome the issues we are faced with. It’s in our genetic make-up.

We are constantly changing and evolving as we experience new things – and sometimes that means bad things too. The best part of going through something that makes us mad, is that we can laugh in its face the next time around.

Next time you’re angry…

Next time you’re angry, remember to breathe, and try not to do anything rash. While anger can be an obstacle to success, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to harness anger and turn it into something usable – it’s about what works for you. Channeling your anger and planning for your future are incredibly powerful tools when it comes to dealing with an issue that’s come to a head.

You are worthy, you are strong and you grow through what you go through. Don’t let anyone get in the way of your success, no matter how they make you feel!

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Let’s Talk: Psychologist Waiting Periods.

The waiting periods to see a psychologist are far too long.

I’m not saying my mental health is more fucked than anyone else’s, or deserves to be seen to before anyone else.

But what I am saying, is that the waiting periods to see a psychologist are far too long. I’ve battled with my mental illness for many years, and I’m starting to come to the realization that half my problem is that I had stopped bothering trying to seek therapy of any description.

I know that might sound a little self-destructive, but hear me out.

I first saw a psychiatrist when I was under the age of 5.

He was trying to get inside my little, child brain, to understand what was happening around me, and whether I should be placed in the care of my drug-addicted Mum, in a dangerous house that had pedophiles, drug addicts and criminals coming in at all hours of the day and night, or my Dad, who hadn’t so much as raised his voice at me, ever.

When he visited me at my Mum’s house, I would be told by my Mum and Step-Dad that I should ‘tell the man you want to live with me, or all your toys will be sold and I won’t see you’.

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When he visited my Dad’s house, my Dad told me to ‘tell the man the truth’ to the questions he asked.

Do you know who the psychiatrist thought was the better option? My Mum.

And so, my poor relationship with psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors began.

I didn’t see anyone else about my mental health again until I was 15.

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I had been living with my Dad since I was seven (after the Family Court finally realized who the right parent to live with was), because I was a missing person for 8 months because my Mum and Step-Dad took off when they couldn’t pay a drug-debt.

Growing up, I had always been a quiet person, and found myself feeling a lot more mature than my peers most of the time. I didn’t know what depression, or anxiety, or mental illness was back then. I just thought that I was different.

And then when I was 15, a close friend of mine died, and I was encouraged to see a counselor, who I went to see at the local hospital. Even in a town of less than 2,000, it took me 4 weeks to get an appointment.

Then, the first thing the counselor did was point at the scars on my wrists and tell me I was obviously not depressed and just wanted attention.

I immediately disliked her.

I had a second appointment a couple of weeks later, which I decided to go to, just in case I had misjudged the counselor, or hadn’t given her enough time. But all she did was ask me why I was so sad, and then told me if I couldn’t tell her, that meant nothing was wrong.

I didn’t bother seeing her again.

I didn’t see another psychologist or mental health professional until I was 19.

By the time I was 19, I had finished High School, I had ran away from home, lived in poverty to the point of living in the street, moved to a big city to start University, moved in with a boyfriend, broken up with him, moved to an Aunt’s house, moved out with another boyfriend who was abusive to me, and began to realize that there was something seriously wrong with my mental health.

One day, I broke down and cried and cried and cried, walking around the neighbourhood after dark for hours. I was having terrible thoughts, panic attacks, mood swings and felt like I was all alone. It was then that I decided I needed help.

I went to a doctor, who ‘diagnosed’ me with depression, gave me some anti-depressant medication and sent me on my way. It wasn’t until I went back to the same doctor’s surgery and saw a different GP that they set up a Mental-Health care plan, which included a referral to see a psychologist.

I said I couldn’t afford to see someone. They put me in a queue to see someone in the public system.

That someone was a 45 minute drive away, and was only available to see me every 2 weeks. But I was desperate for help, so I drove the distance and waited for my appointments.

This psychologist was the first one who ever actually seemed like she cared about helping me get better. She asked me about my family history, asked me about my relationships and my studies and my home life. We began to dig a bit deeper, and I remember her telling me that she thought I should get a proper diagnosis from a psychiatrist, but that we’d organize it in the next session.

She moved states the following week, and I never heard from her again.

At 23, I decided to give it another shot.

After the last psychologist, I gave up on seeking mental health for a few years. I had broken up with my abusive boyfriend by this point, but the relationship was incredibly damaging to me. He had told me I was a psycho, that there was something wrong with my brain, that I deserved the things that happened to me as a child, that I should just hurry up and kill myself – among the physical abuse and the rest of it. I had carried the weight of his words ever since.

That burden eventually became one of the reasons I didn’t have much success with relationships after that. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, I was lonely and I had to force myself out of bed just to go to work. I had started taking hard drugs and wasn’t in a good place.

But I finally built up the courage to speak to my (new) doctor, and asked her to help me, because I felt like I wasn’t getting better, I was only getting worse.

I asked her whether she thought I should be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, but she said no.

She upped the dosage of my medication and made a new Mental Health plan, referring me to a counselor close by.

I went to my first session, and was bitterly disappointed. This time, I walked into the room to find a man who spent half our session on the phone, and the other half telling me that the depression was all in my head and what I needed to do was change my attitude.

I told him I didn’t understand what that meant, because I was obviously trying to get better, otherwise I wouldn’t be in his office.

He then said “I don’t know why you’re here anyway, you seem like an intelligent person’.

I went to the doctor again when I was 25.

I told her straight out ‘I think I might kill myself one day’.

She upped my dose of anti-depressant medication, referred me to Yarrow Place (a service for women who have been raped) and recommended I join a gym.

I remember her saying ‘…Swimming is good for the mind.’

To keep things in perspective here, I never mentioned to this doctor I had been raped, that is something she simply assumed. The only other thing she did was give me a list of the crisis phone numbers I could call if I wanted to.

I contacted Yarrow Place and asked when their next available appointment was and they told me that unless it was an emergency (in their eyes?), the next appointment wouldn’t be for the following month.

I wanted to cry. Why was it so hard to get the help I needed?

Here, in the present day, I’m 26 years old. 

I went to my (new) doctor in March this year, and said I really think I need to see someone about my mental health. I told him that I had been feeling down for quite some time, and believed that medication wasn’t going to help me. 

He asked me straight out ‘…What could possibly make you so sad?’

This doctor is a nice enough guy, but he’s not a psychologist. I didn’t feel comfortable telling him much, and to be perfectly honest, I was kind of hoping to untangle all these years of feelings with someone who was qualified to do so. So I said ‘lots of things’ and he asked me to fill out the Mental Health Questionnaire that I’d filled in a dozen times before.

This time though, when he said he was going to make a Mental Health Care Plan for me, I asked him if I could be the person to choose who I was referred to. He said that I could, but that if they’re private practices, there might be a cost involved. I said I didn’t care, so he sent me away to research who I wanted to see, and to come back in a week and he’d write up a referral.

My doctor wrote the referral, and the very next day, I contacted the practice via email to organize my first appointment. The receptionist told me the first available appointment with the psychologist I wanted wouldn’t be until June.

My heart sank.

I asked her if there was anyone else I could see from the practice sooner. She gave me a date in late May and said it was probably best just to wait for my preferred psychologist, and that she would put me on a cancellation list, just in case a space became available.

I decided to grit my teeth a bare it, regardless of the wait or the cost, so that I can try and get better.

It’s now May 30th, and my first appointment is June 13th. I’ve been waiting for 3 months, with the only other alternative option being to present myself to the emergency department and be evaluated, and probably released the same day with no real therapy.

I’m just trying to get better. 

There are days where I drive home from work and honestly consider veering off into a pole, a tree or a ditch.

There are nights when I unpack the dishwasher and hold the knives a little too long, considering the ways I could use them. There are times when I wake up at night in a cold sweat and want to vomit my guts up or scream my lungs out.

There are days when I’m jealous of the people who get to go to therapy.

And then those moments pass, and I try again. I wake up to another day, and try to be optimistic. There are times when I  have arguments with myself in my head about whether I should be here, and I have to force myself to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving towards something that I can’t quite see yet.

I don’t need pills. I need therapy. But because I haven’t tried to kill myself yet, by professional measures, I’m fine. That’s just the way it is.

But the problem is, it shouldn’t be this way.

How many people has the system failed? I think about this every day. How loud do we have to scream to be heard? How much damage and trauma is deemed acceptable for help?

And what about the people who don’t want to talk about it to just anyone? Is it not okay to want to talk to a professional about something, rather than having to admit it to a GP first?

What about the suicidal people who struggle in silence? What about the ones who don’t think their struggles are worth someone else’s time? What about the people who are sent home by the doctor with a prescription and a referral to someone who doesn’t care?

I wonder all of these things and more.

But most of all, I wonder when the system is going to change.

Resources for those seeking help:

Remember, your safety should always be a priority. If you are in crisis or your mental health becomes an emergency, call 000.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you, or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to use the following resources:

Websites:

Headspace

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

MensLine Australia

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Q Life (LGBTI+ Specific)

Phone:

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

QLife: 1800 184 527

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Climate Change Is Changing The Way Young People See Their Future.

If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.

 

 

In case you’ve been living under a rock…

Climate Change is a very real, defining issue of our time. Regardless of whether you live in a place like the United States, where the President denies Climate Change (along with pulling out of the Paris Agreement to curb Carbon Emissions), or somewhere more advanced in its leadership on Climate Change, like France, who’s Prime Minister ended an address on the subject with: ‘Make our planet great again.’ … Boom.

Either way, we all live on the same planet, and it is our individual and collective responsibility to take action on Climate Change if this planet is going to survive even the next 40 years. NASA says the evidence for rapid Climate Change is compelling, noting key indicators, including:

Global Temperature Rises;

Warming Oceans;

Shrinking Ice Sheets;

Glacial Retreats;

Decreased Snow Cover;

Sea Level Rises;

Declining Arctic Sea Ice;

Extreme Weather Events and

Ocean Acidification

Climate Change is affecting the planet in significant, detrimental and soon-to-be irreversible ways. Without drastic action, the planet we know today will be gone, replaced with a landscape characterized catastrophic natural disasters, mass-extinction, global food shortages and increased exposure to conflict.

It’s for this reason that the younger generations are gearing up for a rough ride, and changing the way they see the world, in order to survive the damage our ancestors have inflicted on the planet.

 

 

Young People Don’t Want To Raise Children On A Damaged Planet.

More and more Millenials are becoming concerned with what the future may look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years from now. The phrase ‘I don’t want to bring children into this world’ is something you wouldn’t often have heard someone say 50 years ago. But in this day and age, there is a real, tangible fear of what the future may hold.

Global birth rates are declining, with more people becoming aware of the planet’s situation. The fear of bringing children into a world of uncertainty is a very real issue facing the young people of today. Even as recently as February this year, United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) asked the question ‘Is it still OK to have children?’ on her Instagram Story.

AOC argues that although the answer is not clear-cut, there is a scientific consensus that the lives of future generations will be difficult. And they know it. More and more young people are taking part in Global Climate Change Protests, like those started by Greta Thunberg who recently stated:

‘You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes… We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis…if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then… we should change the system itself.’

– Greta Thunberg

Younger generations are increasingly opting not to have children, with worries of food and water shortages, global unrest, natural disasters and political unrest present themselves as very real threats.

 

 

Young People Have Little Faith In Their Government.

A lot of Millenials are written off as out-of-touch with politics.

But the truth is, Millenials simply have no faith in the people representing them. Evidence of this is in the record number of Australians enrolled to vote this election – 96.8% of the total eligible voting population. This includes a record number of 18-24 year olds.

The world’s leaders have a responsibility to fight against Climate Change. We can only hope that as the older generations die out, they will be replaced with more switched-on individuals, who are dedicated to helping the planet and the people living on it, rather than continuing to be more preoccupied with the 1%:

“That future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once. You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.”

– Greta Thunberg

A survey carried out by Triple J found that 89% of young Australians believe the politicians in power aren’t working in the best interests of the planet. And guess what? Those same young people voted Environmental Policy and Climate Change as the most important issues to them, come election time.

That’s pretty damning.

 

 

Younger Generations Are Experiencing Higher Rates Of Mental Illnesses Dubbed ‘Eco-Anxiety’ or ‘Ecological Grief’.

The negative impact Climate Change is having on the physical environment poses real risks when it comes to the Mental Health of young people. A sense of doom where the future contains things like poverty, unemployment, natural disasters and resource shortages are very real issues that young people are having to face.

Even as far back as 2012, the National Wildlife Federation reported that over 200 million Americans would be exposed to serious psychological distress from climate related incidents. Of a study done by Millennium Kids Inc., 94.6% of the target demographic felt that Climate Change would be a problem in the future.

In the face of a changing climate, Eco-Anxiety is only going to become more and more apparent, with Mental Health organisations starting to get on board, such as ReachOut, who have a page dedicated to: How to cope with anxiety about climate change.

The page in question lists a variety of reasons young people might feel strained, stressed or anxious about Climate Change, including:

Feeling like planning for the future is pointless and/or hopeless;

Angry that the people around them aren’t doing anything to help;

Frustration at a lack of action they can take to help;

Worrying about whether it’s responsible to have children (see above) and

Feeling like their future is out of their control.

All very valid points. Climate Change is a hugely relevant issue in the world today, and one that deserves to be treated with urgency.

 


HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. There are lots of ways you can help the environment in meaningful ways, including:

 

Taking part in conversations with others about Climate Change

Joining the Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition

Taking part in School Strike 4 Climate

Joining the Australian Student Environment Network

Finding articles about ways to help the environment at home

Being active on Social Media Platforms

Joining clean up efforts, such as Sea Shepherd’s Marine Debris Campaign

 

 

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