A lot of us sail through school, college, whatever,  picking up grades, honours and badges by merely showing up. To people outside these systems, without these experiences, we’re often heralded as geniuses, or intimidatingly intelligent, or any other label allowing for systematic ordering. We measure others in order to understand ourselves.

Obviously this isn’t healthy but it’s damn difficult to overcome. If I had suggestions on how to break free of this mechanism, trust me, I’d give them. Sadly I don’t. What I can show you, however, is that this is a disease prevalent inside of everybody at some point in their lives. For the more sensitive among us, myself included, it’s often more frequent and reoccurring. Perhaps we look at others, throughout the day, and stand in admiration. Then, before we even know it, the gun has slowly turned on ourselves and our subsequent failure to match up. The onus, of course, is only on ourselves to relax this kind of pressure.

But we’re probably unlikely to do that for a while at least right?

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My Little Stand

March 18, 2014

Aged 20, I became a vegetarian. Between then and now there’s only been one year, due to a fitness experiment, I’ve reverted back. That’s seven full years of non-meat eating.

During these times I’ve been asked, as you invariably do, why I made this decision. The best thing I can come up with is that I did it just because I can. That I have the choice. That I can make that little stand and exercise that right. It’s never been about the politics or ethics so much – although, for the record, I am pro-animal rights.

All this serves to remind me why I choose to act in this way in the first place. Why do I find it necessary to experiment with my options? To go against the mainstream?

Not eating meat has certainly highlighted the fact that it’s a much less convenient lifestyle. So why do I feel it necessary, morals aside, to inconvenience myself? Surely it would be much easier to simply fall in line and follow everyone else?
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Sharing a story on the web these days is super uncontrollable LOLZ. We’ve got all these new-fangled tools, each with only minor differences to the other, that make filling the internet with more stuff as easy as polishing off an entire tube of Jaffa cakes.

Want to see a bunch of code while you write? Try Ghost. Want to see a big-ass map to pinpoint your photos and text? Try Maptia. Want to read listicles on Buzzfeed but feel too pretentious to do so? Hit up Medium.

It’s all so incredibly utopian, publishing in this day and age. There’s a platform for everything imaginable.

But, when all is said and done, and every new start-up is funded, isn’t there one crucial matter at stake here? The quality of the storytelling itself?

Look around and you’ll see that most of what’s surfacing on today’s web is produced by artless morons. Morons dependent on the dumbing down of culture. Morons who think that rock, paper, scissors and getting slapped in the face is an interesting tale of Tolstoyian proportions.

Quite frankly it’s depressing these people have an audience in the first place. That they can make a decent living off silly stunts or pictures of politicians in wellington boots. All that just makes me want to go live in a cave.

Giving them one more platform to broadcast such inanity? Hardly seems worth the effort to me.

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What Works Really Well

March 16, 2014

If you want to do anything that gets some amount of traction in life you really just have to do one thing. It’s the same thing I struggle so much to do. And something I see in at least one new person I meet and talk with on a weekly basis.

It’s really just a two step process. The first step involves sacking off all distraction for a while, then making something, anything, that has a tiny bit of “you” in it. You can do this in a variety of ways. Choose your medium. Whether it be writing, fingerpainting, photography, a dance routine or whatever else that makes your heart sing. I like writing, so I go with that. But I also enjoy painting, design and lots of other stuff too. Chances are you’ll be somewhat similar. So just go with one thing for a while and see where that takes you.

This first step is almost always the easier one when it comes to the process. Locked away in our own private worlds to create, we’re often a lot less vulnerable. Less subject to critique and criticism. Less able to take things more personally than is necessary.

But if you want to get traction on anything you ever do, stopping at this first step is devastating. Serious improvement at anything involves throwing yourself open to the thoughts and opinions of others. That’s why the second step in this process is so pivotal. You need to show your work to people. And you need them to rip you the occasional asshole from time to time too.

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One Sick Puppy

March 15, 2014

There’s nothing quite like the buzz of being called the scourge of satan by a nameless, faceless commentator online. Nothing.

It’s this feeling, the dizzying high you get from causing a nonsensical ruckus, that draws me to digital journalism. It’s beautiful. The rolling out of a bunch of typed up rubbish. The picking a line of reasoning you don’t actually believe in but know will cause people to go apeshit. The sitting back and watching the poisonous comments unfold.

All that provocation and fire-stoking? Great. Let’s load up on the emotional ammo. Get you twisting and writhing over what celebrity X said to celebrity Y. What this start-up founder really thinks. Who’s got a boatload of cash.

At the end of the day we know you just want to make yourselves feel more inadequate. More damaged. More inferior.

At least that way you’ll remember you’re alive right?

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