Bullying: Make Or Break

Photo cred: Talkspace

One of the major contributing factors to a lack of confidence is bullying, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. I am sure we’ve heard that old childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

Wrong.

Our brains are a collection of all of the information we “download” throughout our lives. Therefore it is not an astronomical leap of logic to assume that the words that others say (or their behaviour towards us) affect us in some way. It can in fact affect us massively.

Bullying is repeated aggressive behaviour towards someone

In the UK 1.5 million young people bullied in 2016

145 000 bullied everyday

14% consider suicide – 7% attempt it

Source: www.bullying.co.uk

You’d think that those that engage in bullying suffer tremendous lack, therefore they need this sense of superiority to make up for what they don’t have. Maybe they do suffer lack in one area of their life (emotional, social, etc) but I chose these statistics to point out that even a first world environment like the UK can still breed people who seek to harm others. Monetary lack may have nothing to do with it. Therefore if you are experiencing bullying – don’t allow yourself to sink deeper into self-pity by believing you are alone. You are NOT alone. And one other thing – yes the words and actions performed by a bully may hurt you… but guess what? They don’t need to define you. In fact – they can be the very springboard you need to flourish more than you’ve ever done before. It’s all in the attitude.

Intrigued? Get ready for two case studies coming up tomorrow.

What Confidence IS NOT

I could have made this whole series one long post but I know not everyone has the time to invest in such a thing and because I want to impact as many lives positively as I possibly can I’ve split it into several chunks that are easy to swallow.

The things I will touch on this week actually work. I’ve seen them in action. I recently gave a 25 min presentation on Confidence and Self-esteem to a group of teens. On the first day the smallest one from this group, this tiny little girl, could not look anyone in the eye and would waffle or even remain mute when put on the spot. On the 3rd day this same girl, boldly said something in a presentation I will remember for a very long time. 

Confidently she declared, “I am who am I am. I am me.”

That’s what I want everyone who reads this blog this week to come away feeling.

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.” — Maxwell Maltz

“Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree , it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein

There are some things confidence is not, namely:

  • presumptuous
  • proud
  • disrespectful
  • beating oneself up
  • feeling unlovable, incompetent or awkward
  • something that fluctuates day by day
  • something that you CANNOT build (yes that is indeed a double negative)

If you tick any of these boxes, this series is for you.

 

Confidence

photo cred: https://youtu.be/hLtxKNgBzUg

For the next 7 days we are going to talk about ‘Confidence’. This will cover ‘Self-Confidence’, ‘Self-Esteem’ and ‘Self-Love’. I’m genuinely stoked about what we’re going to walk through together and I am 100% convinced that this will impact your life positively. If you’ll be a darling and be your brother’s keeper, share the content that will be coming up in the next week with someone who needs it.

Creativity: Killer Ending

photo cred: Fog Hill Of The Five Elements

I remember considering writing a story for my collection: ‘Unrealistically Plausible Short Stories’. I shelved the idea for later as I felt the fantasy element would clash mightily with the more believable stories in the collection. I am certain my high school English teacher would be proud of that decision. I did come up with a killer ending for it though and would like to use it as an example of a story I would like to read.

The plot goes like this: Imagine a world where certain deities ruled over kingdoms that were basically territories equivalent to continents. These beings were imbued with great power and mirrored certain elements. The ruler of the kingdom to the South was made of flames, to the North ice, to the West earth, to the East gold and central air. The being of air was the weakest and the most humble but God had granted him territory from all the other 4 nations with the greatest resources. The 4 conspired to murder him but he got wind of it (LOL) and escaped. He hid himself somewhere as they held a meeting to divide the spoils. Meanwhile Air was listening in…

“So I propose we split the land equally, each one of us incorporating the land on their side,” Gold’s words were gilt-edged and sweet as honey.

“Right… that’s because you know the mines are to the East you sly dog!” scoffed Fire. Immediately he started boiling with murderous rage… the same rage that had inspired him to plot the murder of Air. “Keep this up and you and all your kin will be molten.”

Worry rippled across Gold’s face. He simply nodded. Ice laughed a bitterly cold laugh, she shook her head and snowflakes slowly drifted down to the ancient oak roundtable between them. “I don’t know what’s stoked your flames so, but keep this up and none of us will ever see the next millennium.”

Fire shot to his feet like a rocket, flames flaring behind him like a wedding dress burning with eagerness to shoot a fiery retort… but found that he couldn’t. Air had had enough evidence of Fire’s murderous intents and lack of restraint. Air was finally going to use his God-given right. See, the others thought Air to be the weakest of the 5 rulers of the earth… this was in fact false, he was just the most cautious with his great gift. He knew it was to be used only in the advent of a serious threat to the peace of the land. So with foam tears of carbon dioxide dripping down his face, Air pulled the Breath of Life out of Fire leaving him to sputter and die right there on the roundtable; collapsing into a cloud of ashes, leaving the other 3 deities shellshocked.

Tomorrow we start the Confidence series. Buckle up.

 

 

Creativity: Exposure (Books)

I am a little annoyed as I have my posts planned 3 days in advance and yet I somehow missed posting on Friday night. The good news is I will double post tomorrow to make up for it as we begin and conclude a 3-part miniseries called ‘Creativity: Exposure’.

So… Creativity is a function of our minds. As we continue to stretch our mental muscles there is inevitably going to be a wall ahead of us. This is because our minds can only create with the information they take in. We don’t create new information – not truly, we manipulate existing information and change it into something new. This means that the intake of information is necessary for creativity to keep being vibrant and fresh.

What if I read the same type of information all the time? Does that not limit the creativity of what I produce? I recall a time when all I would read ‘Romance’ novels and all I would produce would have romantic connotations. To broaden the scope of ones ideas it is therefore necessary to read widely, touching on all genres and reading books from different eras. See how you grow in terms of imagination when you do just that.

Books are crystallised sources of information that may have been compiled over a lifetime. That’s why we have all these books. The more you read the more “lives” you live in this one that you’re given.

Books are simply exposure in the form of pages.

I never used to like novels. I started reading out of a sense of competition. Someone in my class in 7th grade bragged to me about how they had filled their entire library slip and laughed at how I only had three books ticked off of mine. I was so annoyed I secretly vowed to read more and fill more slips that he ever would. That’s when I discovered the amazement of other people’s creativity. That ushered in the many trips to the hundreds of worlds I have visited while seated on a bench or lying in my bed. That’s how I ended up reading over 350+ novels in my time at St. George’s College… My tip to you? Read for that exposure and watch your creativity blossom.

The Pit

Nobody likes the pit. It isn’t a pleasant place to be in, but when you look back more often than not you’ll have a different perspective of the pit. The pit isn’t always an intended destination, but it can turn out to be for your good. The pit is the place where despair and desperation marry, their union seeks to take control of your life and smother you with their baby, depression… if you overcome this trio however, the pit will be where your character is built and you develop the traits required for you to flourish when you achieve what was once thought impossible. If you let it, the pit will weed out all of your shortcomings and jumpstart your transformation to being that man or woman you aspire to be.

One of my favourite true stories involves a bragging annoying teenager who was loved by his father above all his many brothers. He was egotistical and vain and would often share what he envisioned himself becoming, demeaning his siblings in the process. What did they do when the favourite child’s pride became too much for them? They threw him into a pit and told their father that he’d gone missing. In the pit the arrogant teen’s pride was instantly stripped away, replaced by a deep appreciation of life and everything that he had and a realisation of the value of others. In the pit he stopped envisioning things falling into his laps and developed a mentality of discipline and hard work steeped in iron-wrought principles that would not bend under intense pressure. It was in the pit that the metamorphosis he needed for his visions to come true occurred and years later when he was promoted to be the most important man on earth, the pride he had prior did not destroy him. On top of that he went on to forge an unbreakable, genuinely positive bond with his siblings. The pit gave him humility and the ability to forgive. That guy was called Joseph.

So the next time you find yourself in the pit, a pit you could have fallen into because of your own ignorance or poor decisions; or one where you might just be a victim of circumstances, look up and grasp the image of the sky above knowing that…

the time in the pit could be what propels you way above the clouds, far beyond the stratosphere to leave you dancing among the stars.

This marks the conclusion to the Individuality series. I will definitely return here once I’ve completed reading ‘Slight Edge’ and implementing more of these techniques in my own life. See you tomorrow for the start of the Creativity series.

Meek Means Freedom

The meek shall inherit the Earth.

The quiet and gentle nature of those who are meek has been portrayed as weakness in this age. We have this not-so-hidden obsession to appear tough and overly confident – it’s what we are instructed to be by what we see on television and read in books. Vulnerability is frowned upon, almost taboo at times. We are led to believe that to embrace our freedom of expression and blast out whatever we want to say is right because that’s what liberty is – isn’t it? When I proclaim my opinion because “I know I’m right and if you disagree then that’s your wrong opinion” am I not doing right by those that gave me a voice? LOL. Check this out:

“Have you heard of the phrase “Empty vessels make the most noise”? It’s a proverb that means that those with the least talent and knowledge usually speak the most, speak the loudest, and create the most fuss — whatever makes their presence felt the most.”

By: https://personalexcellence.co/blog/empty-vessels/

The rest of the post is pretty outstanding too, I highly recommend you check it out.

Being meek is the opposite of the above. Meekness means you are willing to be quiet and listen sometimes. It means you are willing to be corrected and acknowledge that you don’t know everything. If you didn’t know it, believe it or not, you don’t know everything! Neither do I! The beauty of admitting this fact and laying down your pride is it puts you in the most optimal position for growth. You create a barrier to learning whenever you believe you know the wisdom or knowledge someone wants to impart before they even open their mouth. Pride incarcerates. It makes you unwilling to reach out for help when you need it. Every solution needs to come from self and I’m afraid unless you’re God, that isn’t happening. When you are prideful you are confined to the prison of what you know, unable to expand past the perimeter of your skull… but if you’re meek… if you’re meek you’re free.

Stay tuned for the conclusion to our Individuality series tomorrow: The Pit.

Standing Alone

I am sure we can all agree that this world is obsessed with quantity, especially in one’s social life. We are often bombarded by sometimes unuttered questions such as: How many followers do you have? How many likes did you get?

Do you know that those social media apps could die? Most will eventually. The likes that we seem to live or die for will not last forever. 

Just like Digg. Now you can read titles like this about the platform:

Screenshot 2019-04-06 at 21.32.36

The same goes for the endorsement we feel we need from certain peers in our social circles. People come and go in this life. C’est la vie. My challenge to you is be intentional about who you want to hang around for the long haul. Seek quality people to do life with you. However, if you don’t find a character suitable at this moment, please don’t settle! Stand alone and run your own race! The validation of others isn’t worth potentially violating your principles – and if you can’t stand alone, that is exactly what you will do. When the character that you decided to cleave to puts you in a position where you need to choose their pseudo-loyalty or a principle you have, if you can’t stand alone, you’ll violate it. And all that’s going to do is place you further away from the standard you want to reach. But if you have the wherewithal to go it alone in that situation who knows how far you’ll go.

At the peak of the steepest mountains there’s very rarely room for two.

See you tomorrow for Meek Means Freedom.

We Are Not In This Together

If you were a teen or younger during the late 2000s you probably know of the famous High School Musical song. It’s full of youthful enthusiasm and pubescent fever but if we’re honest with ourselves the message is errant. We are not in this together. Before you pick up your pitchforks I’ll let you know I’m not afraid of sharp objects… just please make sure the prongs aren’t rusty, tetanus ain’t pretty. Human beings need a social life – that’s a given, however the assumption that numbers = completion is mistaken. Each genuine relationship formed requires some form of investment. The word investment means ‘taking something out of you’. Unless you are a deity, the amount of ‘something’ you possess to give is limited. When that pressure makes you reach breaking point you’ll probably become stressed (coz that is what stress means).

Good news! You don’t get stressed by an investment that you know pays you back! I’m not saying do things for people because you know they will pay you back, but I am saying that you don’t want to prioritise people and place them on a pedestal with responsibilities and expectations they will not fulfil. Doing so opens you up to a world of hurt. My suggestion? Spend time analysing people’s characters assessing their traits and measuring them up to the traits you would want in a close friend. Come to the realisation that once you make a decision, you own it – therefore be ok with the consequences of the negative traits you choose to overlook. Then approach those quality people and let them know where you wanna place them in your hierarchy of life – when you are both in the know of what you expect from each other you become accountable for how you behave and you don’t experience the conflict of expectations and reality misaligned. What about those other people in your life that it wouldn’t be so wise to invest all of your time in? You can keep ’em as acquaintances.

See you tomorrow for ‘Standing Alone’.

Lying Is Good For You: Trumping Fear

If you have followed this blog for a while you’ll probably know this story. I used to sleep with the lights on. My hyperactive imagination and darkness went hand-in-hand like a lick of flame to a bale of dry hay draped in gasoline. However there came a time when I fell in love with novels and nothing in the world could compete. I would spend an untold amount of hours immersing myself in Fantasy or Sci-fi worlds and it was pretty awesome. My favourite time to read was late at night, because that’s when I had the least distractions; my homework was done and most people in the house were fast asleep. When my parents started questioning why I was so sleepy in the morning it didn’t take them long, with all the wisdom at their disposal, to realise that I was staying up late doing something. Soon enough they found out and eventually asked me to stop reading at night so I would be alert during lessons. Fair enough if you ask me. It was a super sensible decision – but did I mention I LOVED my novels? Coz I did. As the good kid I was I “obeyed”. Back then I had a tiny Nokia just a shade cooler than the 3310. It had a bluish-white background and a game of football (soccer) that I mastered at the highest level (yeah I know I’m amazing). That was my first and most fondly remembered phone. I got into the habit of switching off the light (this was how they would know I had actually gone to sleep) then turning on the torch on this thing whose battery is probably still going strong a decade after it was last charged. I would read my novels under the covers until I could read no more. This is how I read Stephenie Meyer’s ‘New Moon’ in 2 nights. I didn’t notice it at the time but through the power of love (for novels) I overcame my fear of sleeping with the light off. It is this power of love that is a powerful tool. Similar to yesterday’s post, you need to lie to yourself that you can’t access the thing you love until you overcome your fear. Overcoming your fear just for the sake of it is hard – but doing so for a reward you cherish? Totes doable.

See you tomorrow for Part 5 of the Individuality Series: We Are Not In This Together.