If someone is “opinionated” is it ok for them to be tactless?

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015

Do you feel you’re encountering more people who lack in tact, or a respect for the often unique situations that others might find themselves in?

Let’s talk about tact: a noble virtue, a lost virtue, a very necessary virtue. Long gone, it seems, are the days when tact was common, or in which people behaved with thoughtfulness, discretion, and sensitivity. Long gone is the era wherein people generally minded their own goddamn business.

I sometimes find people who are tactless attempt to warn others of this by stating they are “opinionated”. They speak their mind, fair enough. Try giving an opinionated person a taste of their own medicine though. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Don’t be so sure.

On the other hand, there are one or two people who struggle, or are, for whatever reasons reluctant, to express themselves in a direct fashion. Theirs is a world of silence and involuntary agreement. There has to be a happy balance between the two, right?

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Why don’t we know more of our neighbours?

Thursday, 18 June, 2015

Either it happens, or it doesn’t. You become friends, to some extent, with the people next door, or your neighbours. Even if we’re on a cordial footing with those living around us though, only one in five Australians are so connected on Facebook, but nearly two out of three people actually socialise with their neighbours. At least in NSW, that is.

Just 18 per cent of Australians were Facebook friends with the folks next door, according to a new online survey. Furthermore, just half said they would recognise their own neighbour on the street, and 52 per cent would have a neighbour over to their home. In the slightly friendlier territory of NSW, 56 per cent of people would recognise their neighbours, 59 per cent would invite them over, and 75 per cent have spoken with their neighbours in the past week (compared to 66 per cent nationally).

I’ve lived in a couple of medium size apartment blocks that have had a shared laundry room. It certainly meant you met many of those residing in the same building, and that eventually lead to friendships with some people.

It could be that latter day lifestyles are a little too contained, or self-sufficient, to see that sort of interaction occur on a more widespread basis. Maybe town planners need to consider incorporating neighbourhood laundry rooms into future residential developments, to foster more of a sense of community.

Totally crazy idea of course, but one thing is for sure, you’d know many more of your neighbours by first name.

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There are four stages in life, where are you at?

Wednesday, 17 June, 2015

US writer and entrepreneur Mark Manson identifies what he sees as the four key stages of life, mimicry, self-discovery, commitment, and legacy. I guess I’m at the third, though somehow it doesn’t quite feel that way. No, maybe still two…

Stage Three is the great consolidation of one’s life. Out go the friends who are draining you and holding you back. Out go the activities and hobbies that are a mindless waste of time. Out go the old dreams that are clearly not coming true anytime soon. Then you double down on what you’re best at and what is best to you. You double down on the most important relationships in your life. You double down on a single mission in life, whether that’s to work on the world’s energy crisis or to be a bitching digital artist or to become an expert in brains or have a bunch of snotty, drooling children. Whatever it is, Stage Three is when you get it done.

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The Quiet Revolution is nothing for introverts to keep quiet about

Wednesday, 17 June, 2015

I think a little noise needs to made about Quiet Revolution, a new resource “to unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of us all”, by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Tired of being told you’re quiet, or need to come out of your shell, doubtless by someone who can’t stop talking? Then this is all good stuff. Especially this, there is an actual, biological, difference between introverts and extroverts.

Introverts’ and extroverts’ brains use different neurotransmitter pathways, and introverts and extroverts use different “sides” of their nervous systems (introverts prefer the parasympathetic side, which is the “rest and digest” system as opposed to the sympathetic, which triggers the “fight, flight, or freeze” response). Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that introverts have larger, thicker gray matter in their prefrontal cortices, which is the area of the brain associated with abstract thought and decision-making. If your child tends to be more cautious and reserved than her extroverted peers, rest assured that there’s a biological reason for it.

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Hotels, a home away from home, or nothing of the sort?

Tuesday, 16 June, 2015

A morose contemplation of a perpetual traveller, Suzanne Joinson, and her ambivalence to hotels, where she often stays on her frequent journeys away from home.

A person is not supposed to be in both Asia and Africa in the same week on a regular basis; the world should not be traversed at that speed. It was scrambling, discombobulating; worse, it was damaging – some central element of my subjective self was being ebbed away. Yet, I still said yes. I was the go-to girl for a last-minute flight to anywhere, and whenever I returned home, lightly tethered to a house-share in Brixton, south London, I plotted to be away again.

I guess if I lived in a sharehouse, I might also feel it necessary to be away from home as often as possible…

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Footpath runner coming though, time to sound the Runbell?

Tuesday, 16 June, 2015

What if runners, or fast walkers, carried a bicycle-like bell, that alerted those in front of them that someone moving at speed, was coming through? What do you think? Might such a device help ease footpath rage, or further contribute to it?

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Don’t sweat the big things in life, save it for the small stuff…

Friday, 12 June, 2015

How much time do you spend thinking about the apparently big decisions that you’ve made, after you’ve committed to the course of action? Big decisions could be things like moving overseas, getting married, starting a family, or setting up your own business.

So, how much time? Not a whole lot? Unless it turned out to be a monumentally bad decision? I think I find myself agreeing with the thought that is it more often than not the small, seemingly insignificant choices, that end up having more impact, or causing the more angst, joy, consternation, or satisfaction, as the case may be:

Terence J. Tollaksen wrote that his purpose became clearer once he began to recognize the “decision trap”: “This trap is an amazingly consistent phenomena whereby ‘big’ decisions turn out to have much less impact on a life as a whole than the myriad of small seemingly insignificant ones.” Tollaksen continues, “I have always admired those goal-oriented, stubborn, successful, determined individuals; they make things happen, and the world would be lost without them.” But, he explains, he has always had a “small font purpose.”

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What happens to gloomy poems? Some end up as fridge magnets…

Thursday, 11 June, 2015

If you’re looking for a pick me up, then it may be best to avoid any refrigerators that may be in the vicinity, lest they have become host to gloomy poems such as these.

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Go left, a rule of thumb when it comes to queuing theory

Wednesday, 10 June, 2015

I didn’t know that there was a branch of mathematics dedicated to the study of queuing, but there you have it. And if you so desire, you can read a little more about what is sometimes referred to as queuing theory.

To cut to the chase though, if confronted with a number of longer lines, which might be the best one to queue in? It’s possible that it may be the one to the left of the others. Understand however that your mileage may vary:

When faced with two choices – a line to the left or a line to the right, some people believe that the left-hand route will be faster. That’s because approximately 90% of the population is right-handed, and so they tend to naturally head to the right. This may be an old wives’ tale, but if you’re at a theme park with long lines, heading left is worth a try.

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I write all my own anecdotes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it

Monday, 8 June, 2015

Oh dear. Have you ever… appropriated a story told by someone else, and tried to claim the experience as your own?

It may not be the right thing to do, but you’re by no means alone… it’s something nearly half of us do, according to some Southern Methodist University research. Assuming the study participants were telling the truth, that is…

Brown also asked the students to justify or explain their story plagiarism, and their reasons are pretty much what you’d expect: Some of the students said they’d heard the story so many times they’d started to think of it as their own. Some said they were trying to impress their audience; others admitted they just liked the story, and so they took it. And some argued that a story is just more entertaining when told in the first person, regardless of its veracity.

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