The Truth About Depression

DepressionOur ego, our psyche, our identity, who we think we are, it’s made up of a whole bunch of value and belief systems which have been formed by the totality of our life experiences and culturalisation. It makes up a framework through which we see the world. It is what we believe the world is and should be. It is represented in our brains as an intricate web of neural connections called a neural network.

What that framework really is, is a whole bunch of expectations that we place on ourselves and everyone else we interact with. It’s lots of rules that we think people and the world as a whole should adhere to in order to meet our expectations and to fit within our framework of how we think the world should be and how it should act.

We effectively go through life trying to control everything possible, people, places, times and events in order to bend them and force them into our framework and to meet our expectations. We judge everyone according to their performance against our unique criteria and expectations. We don’t look the other way when it comes to ourselves either, we judge ourselves in the same light.

Now because everyone has a unique set of life experiences and culturalisation, everyone has a different framework upon which they see the world. Can you already see what a disaster this set up is? A world filled with people all playing by different sets of rules trying to force everyone else to play by theirs.

We have created an absolute plethora of fears attached to our framework of expectations. As an example let’s look at a few things that might be included within our egoic framework:

  • In order to be of value you must be successful.
  • Successful means being rich.
  • Being popular is a sign of individual value.
  • Being beautiful and a size 8 makes me valuable.

So then based on these example expectations we then attach fears to the failure of meeting those expectations, for example:

  • Fear of not being good enough because of poverty
  • Fear of not being liked and approved of by everyone
  • Fear of being rejected as a result of being overweight or ugly

Obviously the list of expectations we place on ourselves and others is very long, as is the list of fears which spawn from it.

So as a result of our egoic expectations we assign our ego the impossible task – control all people, places, times and events so as to avoid these fears being stimulated; that becomes our life; we are slaves to fear.

Most of us live life in variable degrees of neurosis as a result of internally analysing by way of the little voice in our head all of these fears. It’s ultimately ‘the human condition’, suffering. Most of us tolerate it because we feel there is no alternative, we don’t talk about it and we just get on with the impossible task of trying to avoid the fears and meet the expectations.

When we find ourselves falling further and further short of our own rules and expectations, being ever more engrossed in our fears, they accumulate to a certain level and reach a critical mass, we reach a point of overwhelm or what’s now been given the label ‘depression’.

Depression is the realisation we’re playing a game we can’t win.

Now a key part of the human condition is the fact that we live in the past. We re-live past suffering as well as anticipate the future to surely be more of the same which leads to anxiety which is simply suffering in advance. Therefore we don’t spend any time living freely in the only point of existence there ever is and that’s now, this very moment.

The reason we live in the past is because we don’t let it go. If we have an experience, let’s say a partner betrays our trust. We then form a new neural connection in our brain that says, ‘people aren’t trust worthy’, and as we look through that framework we will make it so. That neural network then gets reinforced and becomes harder to break, what it also does is keep us connected to that past experience, it is literally a mental pollutant that we subconsciously drag around with us and re-live that pain constantly as we look to reinforce that neural pathway, otherwise known as emotional baggage. As we believe the world to be, so it shall be.

We accumulate many of these painful links to the past and become addicted to their reinforcement. Everyday repeats the past because that is what we are determined to see and create. Our mind becomes a polluted cesspool of all our fears and past emotions. This is a self-induced limited state called ‘social consciousness’.

Depression is but the highlighting of the human condition to which we are all suffering. It is that human condition that needs correction.

So while the accepted treatment of depression, things like drinking more water, talking to your friends and exercising are without doubt genuinely intended, they are by themselves for the most part frivolous. It is like giving your house some new carpet and paint when the entire house is built on sand. While you may enjoy some added moments of pleasure sitting in your newly painted room, as soon as the next storm comes and of course it will, the entire house is washed away. Don’t settle for what is simply socially acceptable levels of suffering.

Now if you are suffering from ‘depression’, take a moment and rejoice, because therein lies the birthplace of greatness. Rejoice in the fact that from depression you will hopefully be, as I was, forced to ask the big questions, you will look at life and say ‘what the fuck?! There must be a better way.’ And indeed my brothers, there is.

Let us awaken to the truth that we are a boundless, limitless enigma of divine radiance and beauty, we have the power within us to create literally anything our mind could possibly conjure. Our bandwidth to the infinite intelligence that so effortless binds this universe together is limited only by the pollution that you know as your egoic mind.

Happiness and joy are not emotions, they are the absence of emotion, they are your God given natural state of being. We’ve just got lost in our own drama.

Take from a man all his jealousy, regret, judgement, anxiety, hatred, fear, and all the rest of it and what are you left with? Joy.

If you are interested, I would like to humbly share with you what I have found to be real steps towards correcting the human condition and an end to suffering…

What is the meaning of life?

OKdownload once again just a quick recap on the last post. We went through twelve techniques to increase our base level of happiness… all scientifically proven in a field of study which has exploded in the last decade. Using the analogy of our fulfilment being a balloon and the air that fills that balloon being our most profound positive states such as Love, Gratitude, Inspiration, Hope, Peace, Joy etc. Each technique provides a source of air to increase our base level of overall happiness, well-being and fulfilment.

Back up to speed? Ok great.

The scientific research has provided great new insight as well as validation for wisdom which has been preached throughout the ages where previously only anecdotal evidence could be cited.

There of course still remains much wisdom which science is yet to reach and may never do so. That doesn’t necessarily reduce its value to fable. Science would look foolish if it attempted to quantify man’s state of being when exuding unconditional love. Does the infancy and incapability of science alter that truth? Granted though without science, it does challenge the sceptical mind if the receiver has no personal experience on which the wisdom can be vetted.

Today we are going to venture beyond the realms of science in many respects.

It’s about to get deep.

If we think of life as an ocean, to fully explore all its wonder and better understand its unbounded brilliance, we can’t simply paddle on the surface…

So here we go.

Straight into the big question. What is the meaning of life?

To a flower, what is the meaning of life? To an eagle? A butterfly? The meaning of their lives is the same as it is of ours; and of all things. To exist in harmony with all that is. To exude our true nature so as to be an interdependent part of the whole; the divine universal order.

Everything on this planet and beyond works in perfect harmony. The trees, the oceans, the animals. Everything…except us, except man.

Ekhart Tolle says “Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now. Let it teach you Being. Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real. Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.”

While animals have brains and cognitive processing ability it is not that which guides them through their lives, it is their connection to nature, their innate connection to the divine, to all that is. Just as it is with the tree, the rose, or the butterfly, they all effortlessly exist in perfect harmony.

Yet man is different. The ultimate contradiction. What makes him strong, also makes him weak. What gives him freedom, so to enslaves him.

Our unique ability to reason, our superior cognition, that which separates us from all other life is what becomes our greatest barrier to harmony. Finding our way back to harmonic flow, in tune with nature’s way; that is the meaning of life.

Nature’s challenge for us as cognitive reasoning beings, is to find our way back. When we experience glimpses of expression from our true self, our soul, our spirit, which manifest into emotional utopias like love, Joy, Awe, they act as our internal guidance system showing us the way…the more we feel these states of bliss, the deeper we feel them, the closer we are. And so Nature communicates to us through it’s ineffable and infinite brilliance.

Science has reaffirmed the shortsighted benefits of happiness, however left from the equation is nature’s motive for such benefits. The extensive research into happiness has taught us many things, however to the most profound truths science can not reach. The desired emotional states were merely nature’s way of guiding us towards a state of harmony… These states are the uninhibited breaths of our soul, no longer choking on the toxic thoughts of the ego. They show us the way home as if through the beauty of an angel to which we cannot see but feel.

If man seeks happiness for his singular internal pleasure alone, he acts solely in his self-interest; to the greater whole, nature’s universal order, he largely remains oblivious; but nevertheless he is guided.

The philosophies of ancient Greece held highly this same ideal. Stoicism and Cynicism professed that it was virtuous to display a will that was in tune with Nature. They also believed that living that virtuous life was sufficient for happiness and fulfilment.

Further back still to ancient China around 600BC. Laozi who founded the philosophy of Taoism and who is credited with producing the timeless script of the Tao Te Ching also conveyed similar principles. Taoism’s key premise is to live in harmony with the Tao, the Tao is difficult to translate but considered to be ‘all that is’, ‘’the way’, ‘the source from which things came as well as the force behind them’, ‘the universal flow’.

I convey these words as my truth; not as a regurgitation of ancient philosophy or religion. Each man holds within himself his truth and eternal wisdom. He may learn from another where to look and may recognise much when it is found; but he need not inherit or assume the thoughts of another as his own.

On numerous pillars has my own truth been built. Often my own experience has been followed by the discovery of like wisdom. Other times words when read resonate with my very soul. All the time clarity progressively bestows itself. My nature, as is yours, is absolute.

Emerson wrote, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it.”

So if we are to find our rightful place in the universal flow, a place of harmony; how is it to be achieved?

I believe we must live with a specific practical ideal which can be embodied by any man in any situation. When living with this ideal man finds harmony with all things and all things are drawn to man.

To the ‘how’ of harmony we move next…

Happiness – 12 Steps to get your happy on

42528712954ddebef15fe09.93531036OK here we go…

Here’s a quick recap on yesterday’s post. What we really want in life isn’t the ‘things’ but rather it’s the emotional states of happiness and fulfillment we believe will result from having those ‘things’. Therefore it’s happiness or fulfilment if you prefer that’s argued with the support of science to be life’s big prize.

So here’s how we can start moving in the right direction…

Heard of rose tinted glasses? They’re kind of like beer goggles but used when you’re sober. Well that’s how happy people look at the world. They look at the world through the lens of Happy tinted glasses. People who are always miserable look at the world through Shit coloured glasses.

You can put two people in the same situation and the happy person will build a perspective of it, and interpret it, and then react to it, in a way that supports their fundamental paradigm of the world. Look for yellow cars and you see them everywhere right? Or choose to look for black cars and you’ll see them everywhere too.

Within your default personality how do you see the world? Through rose tinted glasses or through shit covered glasses? Ultimately it’s not the situations you are faced with in your life that will determine the quality of it, it’s how you frame them and choose to interpret and respond to them, that will. What you focus on is what you will experience and ultimately feel.

I’m sure you know some people who are inherent moaners, ask them how their day was and they will always find something to complain or moan about, doesn’t matter how many great things happened, they’ll find the shit. And then their are the people who find empowering meaning is legitimately challenging circumstances. We all have bad days but what glasses are you wearing most of the time?

So if you are currently walking around with shit smeared all over your glasses, we need to do something about getting you some rose lenses.

Change the way you see the world and your world changes.

Ok, so allow me to introduce Sonja Lyubomirsky, she’s a prominent researcher in the field of happiness and written a couple of great books. I’ll reference her top 12 habits for increasing your happiness here from her book “The How of Happiness” as they provide a good initial spread and have been scientifically proven.

Before we kick into those, if it wasn’t enough to want to be happier because it just feels great, here are some extra proven benefits enjoyed by happy people.

A myriad of studies have found that happy people earn more (we’ll come back to this later when we revisit the bling), have more satisfying and longer lasting marriages, more friends, better social support and relationships, more energy, better health, increased immunity, less stress and live longer… just winning all round really.

More happiness, more mojo.

Ok so here we go…

Number 1.
Be grateful.
It helps if you write it down and the more regularly the better. We all have so much to be grateful for and sometimes we are pre-programed to always be looking to the future and what we don’t yet have and forget to look around us and give thanks for that which we do. Change it up and you will scientifically be less likely to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious and neurotic – bonus!

Number 2.
Cultivating Optimism.
Ask yourself more empowering questions? What’s something good that can come from this? How have I been made stronger from this situation? How can this help me in the future? Avoid letting yourself fall into the victim framework.

Number 3.
Avoid Overthinking Things and Social Comparison.
If you get into a negative loop of contemplation, interrupt it and go for a walk or for a run, play with the cat. Change things up so it doesn’t get a hold. As for social comparison I love a quote from the ever-wise ‘Anonymous’ – “There is no nobility in being superior to your fellow man – true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Number 4.
Practising Acts of Kindness.
I’m sure we all know how good this can make us feel. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, little things can generate just as much goodness.

Number 5.
Nurturing Social Relationships.
Be good to your partner, your family, and your friends. Remind them that you care.

Number 6.
Develop Strategies for Coping.
Find some techniques that work for you that you can turn to in times of hardship or trauma.

Number 7.
Learning to Forgive.
Write all the lingering feelings you have left on paper so you have an outlet and then release them along with that person. Forgiveness is about freeing yourself. It brings a great quote to mind from one of my favourite people Buddha – “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Number 8.
Increasing Flow Experiences.
Do more of what you love to do, find that place where you lose yourself in the moment.

Number 9.
Savouring Life’s Joys.
We all know the saying “Slow down and smell the roses” – well slow down and smell the roses. Take your time a little, look at the sunset a little longer, enjoy the smile of your child. Speaking of children, revisit the wonder of the world as they see it. George Elliot warned “ The golden moments in life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.”

Number 10.
Committing to your goals.
Set meaningful goals and simply begin the journey towards them, little consistent daily efforts. Progress is powerful.

Number 11.
Strengthen your spiritual connections.
People often confuse religion with spirituality. You don’t have to subscribe to a religion to develop your spirituality. This is a big one in my opinion. Meditation can be a great place to start.

Number 12.
Take care of your Body.
Move, meditate, keep the blood flowing. We all know the benefits of some consistent exercise.

Now it will take a little effort to reform the way you see things but it’s about consistency.

Think of your Happiness, well-being and overall fulfillment like a balloon, each of these techniques is a source of air inflating that balloon… Think of the air as representing the positive powerful states enriching your soul in any given moment – Emotions like Love, Pride, Peace, Hope, Joy, Gratitude, Awe, Inspiration. The fuller the balloon the more fulfilled you are.

Focus on the strategies that you enjoy. You don’t have to do everything everyday. You’ll get just as much air from doing a few techniques consistently as you will from doing all just now and then.

Now here’s the kicker… I thought that was the whole story but then I uncovered in my own life experience as well as the literature what I feel is the ultimate source of air. I believe it trumps all others and if you live with this then your balloon of fulfillment will always be full.

Call it lucky number 13.

If you embrace this all powerful ingredient in your life, success in every sense will chase you, yes that means the bling too. There will be no need for you to chase it. It’s how I found early financial wealth and when I lost this special ingredient so went with it everything that was truly valuable in my life. But I have found it again and am excited to share it with you…

We’re building momentum here so stay with me… this will change your life forever if you let it…

How to be amongst the truly wealthiest people in the world

Happiness-beach-textSo what do you want? What drives us? What’s it all for?

It’s been put forward by the great scholars of our time in positive psychology that the ultimate currency of life is ‘happiness’.

What does it mean to be happy?

The term ‘happiness’ in this context isn’t the two dimensional word you might think of to simply describe a child given a lollipop. The broader definition would include this type of emotional state but also goes much deeper. While the harvard scholars use a broad definition of ‘happiness’ I personally find ‘fulfillment’ a term easier to digest. I’ll use the terms interchangeably in this post and consider their meaning to include all positive emotions and states like Love, Pride, Peace, Hope, Joy, Gratitude, Awe, Inspiration etc.

So what about the bling right? You might be thinking that these new age hippies need to get with the program. Show me the money! Well 15 years of scientific research in the field of ‘positive psychology’ has shown what many who have acquired some bling apparently already knew –  the bling has no zing.

Anecdotally I think we all had a suspicion that this was the case. Didn’t we? If material wealth was the big prize and the key to fulfillment, then why are so many wealthy people suffering from depression? Some commit suicide, many are just unhappy. Not all by any stretch but quite possibly proportionately the same amount as those with average incomes. What about those families who live in impoverished communities around the world? We see documentaries and hear personal accounts of how happy they are. When we really step out of our conditioned beliefs and look at it, there doesn’t appear to be any correlation between people’s material wealth and their fundamental level of happiness and fulfillment.

Still think it’s all about the Benjamin’s?

Well back to the research then. It showed that each of us has our unique well being or happiness baseline. Some days we’re happier and are above that baseline experiencing positive emotions like love or pride or joy and some days we’re sad or frustrated and we’re operating below that emotional baseline… in either case a short time will pass and we’ll return to our inherent equilibrium.

Taking our baselines into account, you might find interesting the research conducted by Psychologist Philip Brickman and his team. They studied baseline happiness and well-being in people who won the lottery. They found that within as little as a single month some winners returned to their baseline level of happiness. If they were unhappy before winning sooner or not so much later that would be unhappy again. It also works the other way around. They found that accident victims who became paraplegic were returning to their baseline level of well being and happiness within as little as a year.

Truth is society sold us down the river with respect to its picture of success. You need to be rich, beautiful, preferably famous and have the latest gadgets. As a result many of us live our lives with true happiness as this elusive conditional prize. ‘One day when I have this then I’ll be happy.’ ‘One day when I get that promotion, then I’ll be happy.’ ‘One day when I’m famous, then I’ll be happy.’

So for many of us we’re heading in the totally wrong direction and could live our whole lives with our potential happiness and fulfillment attached to an outcome that may or may not ever eventuate. Fuck that.

So here’s the basic premise for why happiness and fulfillment trump C-notes and everything else as the ultimate currency in life.

Essentially it’s argued that what we really want is the emotions and states that will eventuate from having those things.

The researchers apply the big ‘Why’ test.

I want lots of money. Why? So I can travel. Why? So I can see the world. Why? Because it’ll make me happy and gives me a sense of awe.

I want to build schools in Africa. Why? So I have a sense of contribution. Why? Because I like helping people. Why? It makes me feel grateful, content and at peace.

Get the idea? Ok cool.

So the great news is, we can do a bunch of things to increase our baselines of happiness, wellbeing and overall fulfillment. So they need not be a conditional reward for some potential event in the future.

We can live with more Love, Pride, Peace, Hope, Joy, Gratitude, Awe, Inspiration right now. So in terms of what Harvard Professor Tal Ben-Shahar calls the ultimate currency of life, you can be amongst the truly wealthiest people in the world, in no time at all.

Want to know how?…Stay tuned.

 

Are you feeding your mind shit?

omaskThe plane is shaking, adrenaline is spiking…people start screaming! Your children to whom you love more than anything in the world sit either side of you. You would gladly choose death so that they could draw a single additional breath. The oxygen masks drop from the overhead compartment, what do you do? You must put yours on first.

Remember what it was like when we were kids? There was so much wonder, so much excitement. Boys ran around as superheroes and girls as princesses. Possibilities were endless. Our minds were like sponges, we absorbed an unbelievable amount of information, we learned at an incredible rate. We laughed often and lived in a state of empowered curiosity absent of fear.
The movies we watched as kids were full of emotional purity and moral fortitude. They taught us not to give up and that the underdog would triumph and that good would win over evil.

What happened when we grew up? What happened to that state of mind?
Did life somehow suck all of that out of our soul. Where did fear, judgement and hate come from? We weren’t born with these.

Society as we know it happened. The pain, fear, failure, judgement, intolerances and disappointments of past generations were passed down to us as a new way to see the world, replacing the childhood beliefs we had of wonder, promise, joy and curiosity.

We lowered our standards. We sold out our childhood selves.
We are bombarded with everything that is wrong with the world on a daily basis. Misery, horror and disgust, that’s what rates in the media. We are accepting a skewed microscopic sample of the world as our reality. It’s easy to digest these bits of information as accurate portrayals because it’s spoon feed no preparation required. No need to spend time and effort forming our own view of the world when there is one pre packaged in easy bite sized chunks ready for consumption.

The movies we watched as children have been replaced with medical dramas of misery and loss, law and order programs showcasing the most derelict behaviour humans can contrive.
Is it any wonder that we live in a world being more and more consumed by depression and mental illness? I have been there and it is a terrible feeling. I would describe it as the feeling of drowning in your own life. It is the point at which you feel you can no longer climb out of the psychological hole you have found yourself in. Your mind is clogged with shit. You have lost sight of all you have and are focused on all that is wrong. You have become the victim of your own thoughts, paralysed by your own internal turmoil and darkness.

It is not easy to fight out of but it is certainly doable. The critical aspect of recovery and maintained recovery in my opinion is the preservation of an empowered state of mind. This is the state of mind that society does not support or encourage. I needed to clear my mind of all the shit it had accumulated, rid my mind of those thoughts and beliefs that dis-empowered me and instead rebuild my mind with new beliefs to once again live in harmony with my inner child. I now stand guard at the entrance of my mind and defend it at all costs. There is no greater asset to me than the preservation of an empowered state of mind.

There is no doubt that unbelievable atrocities are happening in the world, there is horror, there is murder, there is poverty. Those stories that are covered in the media are but a drop in the bucket. I have deep compassion for those in the world who struggle in any capacity. I have a strong desire to help people in a way that my skills will allow. In order to do that I cannot feed my mind a diet of sorrow and helplessness. This is the diet our media and our society in general would have me endure.
I believe that we have to look at what our circle of influence is. What can we do to make the world better? What actions can we take? As Ghandi so rightfully said, we must be the change we want to see. We need to avoid the learned helplessness that can transpire when continuously feeding our minds with the misery and pain of those we cannot help. But rather empower ourselves with actions we can take to support and assist those we can.
To protect my state of mind I choose to see the world on my terms. I choose to see the good, the great, and the wonder. I am aware of the darkness but I choose not to focus on it or emotionally live there. I know I must choose a degree of ignorance. I choose it not to ignore the struggle or plight of my fellow man, but rather to enable me a state of mind that empowers me to act.
I have to put on my oxygen mask first.

Lessons of a Playground

3478123517_39da217544_zI love taking my kids to the playground. At the playground the rest of the world is irrelevant. The playground is a vortex of positive human behaviour, a place where evil cannot reside. Joy is the currency of time. Adults become citizens of impeccable moral character, all desiring to teach their next generation solid characteristics of fairness, generosity, courtesy, caring and respect.

“No Jonny, let this little boy go first”,
“Go to the back of the line Paul, you must wait your turn”,
“Be careful of the little girl Jesse”,
“Let her play with the ball if you’re not using it” –
Adults seem to bond easier in this environment of common interest, we all have our best on display, I’m sure we feel better about ourselves and what we are contributing to the world. We effortlessly embrace a little small-talk while soaking in the righteousness.We can find ourselves pushing the merry-go-round not only for our own kids but for whoever decides to jump on just because it’s a nice thing to do and there is a sense that being the cause of a child’s laughter somehow replenishes your soul, counteracting what the outside world can on occasion siphon. Kids interact with each other in a way we seem incapable of – immune to the stereotypes and racial prejudices’ that infect the outside world.

Adults have a pass to act silly again, no-one to impress in the playground but their children. Dad chases the soccer ball and rolls one foot over the top while flicking his other foot behind him kicking the ball in a way he hopes shows off the skills he still has as opposed to the ones he used to have. Mum butters the bread and prepares the picnic as she watches on satisfied that life is as it should be. She’s a little over protective but only because she fears anything interfering with the perfection that is her children.

Dad climbs the spider wall with his 3 year old son just because he can. Mum runs alongside her little girl on the flying fox catching hands at the ready. She’s exhausted by the tyres, she didn’t anticipate it going that fast. Dad wants a go but knows he’ll either break it or be dragged along the dirt.

A sense of peace is in the air. We forget about the bills we’re not sure how to pay, we forget about the hardships in life. In this time, in these moments, we understand what it is to be grateful, to contribute, to let go of conformity, to embrace the purity of love and the appreciation of it. This is how life was meant to be. This is our playground.

What Waitangi Day Means to Me.

TeRataWhile having a quiet beer at the pub and visually surveying the patrons, my 360 degree scan was interrupted as my eyes passed a nearby table of four lads sharing some banter and a few beers. The interruption came by way of one of them catching my scanning glance and acknowledging it with a casual “Hey bro”.
Not one to show disrespect to a genuine show of decency I made my way over to their table and joined the conversation. Laughs began to dominate the table and it seemed a foreign thought to think we had only met a matter of minutes before. Those minutes began to grow into hours and I happily welcomed them into my home as new friends as the laughs and enjoyment of each other’s company continued…
It then became time to make our way to their homes where they would show hospitality matching mine and invite me into their lives and introduce me to their wives and children as if a long lost cousin…
Sitting around the table in the garage – which nicely doubled as a man cave – guitar in hand the sing-alongs reigned. A purity of comradeship existed that is difficult to articulate…
A moment arrived when it dawned on me that it was Waitangi Day. It led to an observation that hadn’t been acknowledged nor discussed prior because there was no need whatsoever for it to be. The fact that it was Waitangi Day seemed to make it appropriate that we acknowledge that here we were three Maori brothers by blood, a surrogate Samoan brother and myself. Kiwi Brothers in Arms.

X-Factor – New Zealand’s Talent Exposed

xfactornzHasn’t it always seemed that New Zealand reality shows lacked a certain, arr, well…. everything. They so often seemed the poor cousin to their international franchise partners, often it was just straight out embarrassing. I use to wonder whether they would play them late at night in other countries just as a piss take off New Zealand.

Finally a New Zealand Franchise has stepped up and delivered a quality show. The X-factor has shown that we can get it right when we follow the format to the tee. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the show so far and it’s really renewed my enthusiasm in New Zealand talent. Well done TV3 for investing the money needed to deliver a quality show and well done Simon Cowell for being so bloody good at what you do. Keep it up kiwi musicians, you are without a doubt world class!

We Remember

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At 18 years old my biggest concern was which cheap vodka to buy and what party to go to. Many of you were doing battle on the shores, watching your brothers die at your side. Whilst we will never comprehend that level of burden and sacrifice and any tribute we pay you will forever be dwarfed by your contribution to our lives, we will honour you in the only true way we can, remembrance.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget

Why Money Won’t Save You

New-Zealand-Dollar-Small1

What would it mean to you if you won lotto?

How would your quality of life change?

 

 

If you desire money because you feel it will be the answer to all your problems, it won’t.

It will simply shift you along the social ladder giving you prettier problems. It’s all relative.

A child who is starving in a third world country with no access to education, medical care, or society as we know it has problems very different to ours. They would of course consider the life lived by our poorest citizens to be one of absolute luxury , wealth, and privilege. In the same light those individuals that we perceive to have ‘everything’ – wealth and fame… they too have problems relative to their lives.

There will always be masses of population with real world circumstances far worse than ours and many people with real world circumstances far better than ours. Yet interestingly the range and intensity of emotions we attach to our struggles and challenges appear to be the same. It’s all relative.

The man who has no legs appears to apply the same intensity of emotions dealing with his challenges as the famous celebrity does dealing with having gained 2lbs. It’s all relative.

In business money is very important, it’s the key currency of performance, the measure of how you are progressing as an entity, a benchmark for how good you are. However that’s not the case in our personal lives.

Why do people want money? They don’t want pieces of paper, they want the things that money can buy right? And why do people want the things that money can buy? Well it’s because they want the positive emotions they feel will come from acquiring those things… contentment, pride, stature, happiness, empowerment, sense of freedom. .. ultimately in life what we are all pursuing is better quality emotions.

What is the currency to our quality of life? I believe it’s our State of Mind.

The better the quality of emotions we have and in turn our ongoing State of Mind, the more enjoyable and fulfilled our lives will be. To be able to control our State of Mind is to grant ourselves the power to transcend the relatively of problems and dictate our own quality of life no matter what our social situation or level of financial wealth.

We often hear about those rich or famous suffering depression. We also come across those with very limited financial means that seem so happy and full of life and love. These of course aren’t generalisations or an attempt to link one thing with another, rather instead to again highlight that our State of Mind is ultimately not controlled by the level of financial wealth that surrounds us.

But don’t get me wrong, financial wealth is a legitimate and worthy goal to pursue as are many things in life. Just don’t let it be a condition on your right to enjoy life right now, that is a right I believe we are all inherently bestowed.

By better understanding what controls your quality of life you will come to the realisation that you need not hang on the edge of your seat hoping for a lotto win, as it is no longer the Holy Grail.

You have all you will ever need to create the most fulfilling life right now. The currency of life’s true enjoyment is in our control… what a realisation, if we choose to adopt it.