Tattoo/ Taboo

A story as old as time?

Are Tattoo’s still considered Taboo?

I have to start this piece by saying that I ‘am a huge fan of Tattoo’s as a form of individual expression and as an artform.

Yesterday I was watching a documentary from 40 years ago about Tattooing becoming more popular and accepted in culture.

It struck me that with this particular form of self expression the story just repeats itself.

Tattooing comes into and out of fashion, styles of Tattoo come and go, but one thing remains the same.

It’s the one form of self expression that remains Taboo.

Where does the Taboo come from???

Self expression has been around as long as we have, in the early days this self expression was often markings such as piercing’s, tattoo’s or scaring even that firstly marked out the tribe and then specific roles within the tribe.

As we started to live together in towns and cities and those tribes broke up in Western and some Asian cultures, the need for that self expression to identify ourselves went away.

The desire however for some people to be tattooed did not.

As society changed and we moved to what are the more modern religions followed today, modification of our bodies was seen as a sin and therefore moved out of popular culture.

Then as now Tattooing was practicised by sailors.

During the 15th, 16th, 17th Centuries and the so called golden age of piracy, tattoo’s gained further notoriety as something that identified pirates and so of course that social stigma of the tattoo got stronger.

In Japan they were even illegal for the best part of 150 years.

The outlook today???

During the last 20 years, this form of self expression has been going through a revival, after falling out of popularity in the 90’s.

Styles are changing as they always do and the scene seems to be going from big art works like full arm ‘sleeves’ to smaller and more visible tattoo’s, but its still here and it doesnt look like going away anytime soon.

There is also a growing trend in people getting their first tattoos in their later years as something that they tick off their ‘bucket list’.

At work those with tattoo’s are also gaining more acceptance, and they are no longer a career blocker, although large visible tattoo’s are still frowned upon.

What does the future hold???

Will the taboo around art work proudly displayed on skin ever go away?

Probably not, its such an ingrained part of thinking throughout society that there will always remain some reservations about tattooing and therefore those who are tattooed.

What is for sure though, is that neither the culture of self expression in humans that leads us to getting tattooed nor the cultural taboo’s that surround this very personal art work are going away any time soon…

The Power of Habits

Can you make or break a Habit in 90 days

The 90 day rule

There is a school of thought that says you can both break an existing habit or form a new habit in 90 days.

As humans we are of course creatures of habit as they say and a habit is an incredibly powerful thing for us.

So does this 90 day rule exist???


Yes & No

Can you effect change in your life in 90 days? Absolutely

Is it possible to make or break a habit in 90 days? Yes

Is that always the case? No

As with anything in life, the result is determined by the effort you put into it.


Rinse and Repeat

Whether it takes 90 days or 900 days, following through every day or rinse and repeat daily is the key.

Consistency is the key to making it, that’s the only things that works.


Final Thoughts

The truth is that anything is possible in life even changing or forming habits.

Our only limitation is our own thoughts. Turning up each and every day is what makes the seemingly impossible possible.

Does this 90 day rule hold up? Well if you are committed and work hard enough then yes it is, anything is possible if we show up and work hard enough to make the goal happen.

Habits are powerful things for us Humans, whether they are good or bad.

The possibility to break out of them, or to form new ones is there, it just takes hard work and dedication.

1001 Personal Experiments Continued…

A casual fling with Vegetarianism

The project continues…

I’ve written on medium before about one of my strategies for being quarantined, which was to give myself a series of challenges or experiments.

A lot of those had focused on my relationship with food, which is not a coincidence, since I’m a little more than half way through losing a significant amount of weight.

This new experiment took my by surprise when it entered my thoughts yesterday and so I think its worth writing about.


Challenges of losing weight…..

One of the challenges of trying to lose a significant amount of weight is that what worked for you in the beginning wont work for you all the way through.

Weight loss plateaus, either because your body gets used to the regime, or because you got fed up following the plan.

My strategy to weight loss is intermittent fasting and exercise, and while I don’t find myself getting tired of either of those, I do still have the weight loss plateaus to deal with.

Im in one of those right now, which is how the thought came about I’m sure…


A vegetarian experiment

As a dedicated meat eater, my first thought was have I been abducted by aliens or drugged maybe, there has to be a reason that these thoughts are entering my head, it’s not natural at all….

The more I thought though, the more it makes sense, I need to change gears on the weight loss again and I have already cut red meat consumption down significantly, so this is just the next step in the process.

I wont become a vegetarian full time, that’s not the goal and I have to be honest in telling you that.

What I am interested in is, what can a vegetarian diet (Still consuming dairy) do for my weight loss and my overall health.

To begin with this will be a 7 day experiment.


What will I learn in 7 days???

Not much I think, 7 days is really too short to evaluate anything.

I will be able to see the effect on my blood sugar levels and I’ll know if I feel a difference in myself but that will be it.

So then why 7 days you ask?

The answer is simple, this is probably the biggest and scariest life change I have ever thought of.

If I can compartmentalize it, then I can do 7 days without issues and then extend it if im comfortable with that in 7, 14 or 21 day chunks.

I know I need at least 1 month on this, but that’s looking to far ahead right now and this approach will keep me going.


An exciting new world awaits

All I can do is put one foot in front of the other here and try and make this work, while that’s daunting there is an immediate advantage.

I get to try something new, vegetarian cooking. An exciting new world where the veggies are the main event and not the side show.

As someone who enjoys cooking it’s a new challenge I can look forward to and it genuinely gets me excited for the days ahead.


Final thoughts

In terms of these small personal experiments this is the big one for me.

Its a radical change, so one small step at a time and a compartmentalised view is key.

Ive not focused on the pro’s/con’s etc of a vegetarian lifestyle here because I honestly don’t know.

Im taking the YOLO approach here and will see how it turns out, like much that I do in life.

I’ll write about initial progress this time next week, in the meantime if anyone doe’s have any advice or tips etc please do get in touch…

The Back Up Plan

Wedding plans in ruins, there are option’s….

Sound familiar?

I can relate to that, I should be getting married to my better half in a little over 6 weeks time.

Between hotels being closed, us stuck in one country while the wedding is planned in another plus the headache of needing a visa for my partner which we can’t get because the embassy is closed, all bets are off.

We need to re-arrange, which at first looked like it would be a nightmare.


What are the options???

As anyone who is planning a wedding will know, they are not cheap, so the first priority in our case was cancelling what we could and minimizing the financial impact.

Once we had done that (nothing like pouring over contracts to suck the romance out of the room), we quickly worked with the vendors to get money back or make settlements.

This was purely because we had fixed dates for being in the UK, and if those did’nt work we needed other options.

If you can delay, then use that option as it gives you time to get back on track, extra time to pay and you don’t lose deposits etc. just make sure you read the contracts and understand what the options are…


A back up plan fit for the king….

Uh-Huh, the back up plan is for us a stroke of collective genius.

We have a deadline to get married due to a pending work move and visa requirements. Looking at all the options and also being people that focus a lot on fun, we did some research.

Turns out Las Vegas even with flights and hotels is a very economical way to get hitched.

Having a suitable fake Elvis tie the know for us should also be great fun and give us some great memories, albeit we won’t get the special day with family and friends that we had planned.

While this works for us I understand it may not be the answer for you. Its important though to talk things through with your partner and work out what does the back up plan look like and how you will achieve it.


Final Thoughts

It can be a bit if a kick in the teeth to have to cancel, delay or rearrange, but as the saying goes:

A smooth sea, never made a skilled sailor

Life will throw curveballs at us from time to time, this is just a big one. There are plenty of options available without having to sacrifice money already spent.

Just make sure you know what the impact is for you and talk with you partner to work out the back up plan that works for you both.

If you can control that then it one less thing to stress about.

You could even be like us and take a trip to the meet the King, just make sure you don’t make a booking at the heartbreak hotel.

Attitude

The one thing that can make or break a career

Really?

Yeah I have some bad news, our attitude really is the difference between making it or not in our careers.

There is an idiom that often gets shared on social media where someone has written hard work, punctuality and a few other words on a white board and underneath each word they added the number in the alphabet for each letter and added those up.

Its goes on until the bottom word which is attitude equals 100% and I think thats true, there is quote I love which goes:

A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you can’t go anywhere unless you change it

Its one thing that we all have the ability to change, and the one thing that can make a huge difference in our lives.

A little humility goes a long way

Life happens to us all, maybe we lose out on a promotion or our dream move, or maybe we are less motivated by what we do than we used to be.

The situation can spiral out of control if we let it. Our attitude goes downhill and before we know it we are in a worse situation than we were to begin with.

When these bumps in the road come along its important to keep perspective, and keep a good attitude, the opportunity will come along again and with a little self reflection you can be ready for it.

Even worse is the situation when sadly a job is lost, which in the market right now is happening more and more.

Its really hard to keep perspective and a good attitude during these time, especially coming from a highly paid job to something very different. There can be rewards however, a different perspective on life for example that will pay us back in time.


Final Thoughts

A smile, a laugh, a joke , humility and hard work are the good attributes and attitude that can keep us going and keep us in a job, almost more than anything else I can think of.

In the horrible event that anyone of us loses a job, then its that same good attitude and sense of perspective that will help get us through.

As an ex colleague of mine remarked today after taking a job in a garden centre part time:

I really miss the salary and the free lunches in a fancy restaurant paid for by someone else, but working hard, meeting people and then eating a sandwich in the back of car at lunchtime, has given me a whole new respect and perspective on life

Attitude really is the thing that makes the difference….

Traveling the world

Its bigger than you think but smaller than ever

Smaller and more connected than ever before

The age of the internet really does mean that the world seems smaller and is certainly more connected than ever before, but that doesnt mean we should’nt take the change to explore it.


The magic of travel

The experiance of the sights, sounds, smell and culture of the places you travel to and experiance, just cannot be replicated by watching or reading something online or in a book.

The magic of travel is soaking up all of those things in person, meeting the people, visiting the landmarks, travelling between places and trying new things, new experiences.


Travel broadens the mind, but often empties the wallet

This is one of the single biggest fears that a lot of people have.

While I can’t say that this isn’t totally untrue, travel today is much cheaper than we tend to think it is, and in fact there are more opportunities to be paid to travel for work than ever before.

Budget airlines, air bnb and group travel options all make it cheaper than you might think to go take a life changing trip.

Or you could explore the career options which allow you to travel for work, these are almost endless and go from long distance track driving and sailing through engineering, sales, management, the list of jobs and list of industries is endless.

If you want to travel and see the world, the options to do that are endless.


Final thoughts

The world really is smaller and more connected than ever before, yes they are some challenges and getting out there right now, but once those end the world is out there.

If you want to make the most of it and see what you can, then the options are there.

When the going gets tough

It can be hard to get going

The tough get going apparantly, but what about the rest of us?

Well today the going is definitely getting tough, from cancelled wedding plans, vacation plans, job losses and illnesses, their are so many challenges for us in the world right now.

That old saying:

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

Can feel like a joke, at the best of times and especially so nowadays.

Here is the thing though, for the rest of us the same rule applies.

Its just a case of putting on foot in front of the other

This is it, the secret to getting through those tough times, is just taking one step at a time.

This is the secret that the tough live by when they do get going. Its not that they are tougher than the rest of us, more resilient nor do they have superpowers.

They just compartmentalize the challenges and take them 1 step at a time.

Keep going its almost never as bad as it seems

There is a statement made by the US military that when you think your done and can’t go on any further that in reality your only 40% done, you have much more left in the tank than you realize.

By putting on foot in front of the other and making small steps they achieve the aim and get through it.

You can do the same.

How?

Four things you can do when the going gets tough to make it easier to come out the other side of the struggles you may face:

  • Write the problem down, getting it out of your head onto paper will release some stress
  • Take the problem and write down the steps you need to take to make it through and keep these with you, tick them off as you go
  • Compartmentalize it all, break it down in sections to work through, don’t try to tackle everything at once
  • Talk to someone, a problem shared is a problem halved

These things are what those tough people do when the going gets tough, to work through the issue.

Final Thoughts

Life can be tough at times, but its manageable. You don’t need superhuman abilities to overcome struggles in life, just a strategy.

As always what works for you is RIGHT for YOU, but these are some lessons ive learned over the years which im happy to share, and if they help anyone then that’s great.

Turning Negatives into Positives

Its all in our heads

The glass is always half full

At least this is my attitude, in the eternal optimist.

Not everyone understands that way of thinking and people who think this way can appear to be naïve or living in a different world at times.

Neither impression is quite correct but I do think that being an optimist or opportunist makes you look at the world in a different way.


A World of Opportunity???

Depends on the way you look at the world and the situations you find yourself in.

Often times the only difference between negativity and positivity is what’s in our heads.

When we think negative thoughts or negative words about a given situation come out our mouth, they really influence the outcome of the situation and our thoughts about it.

Im not suggesting that we all need to be joyously happy all the time, but if we look for the positives in a situation it can make a huge difference in how we see the world.

A world of opportunity is only ever a positive thought away, its that simple.


Final Thoughts

I was reading the book by the Motorcycle Racer and Commentator Steve Parrish the other day and it really was the inspiration for writing this today.

While I probably don’t have quite the same attitude as him, I do see where we share similar traits which I think are worth sharing.

Any situation in life no matter how dire it may seem has something positive in it, even if that’s just the fact that your learned a life lesson its a positive.

Humor often works also to change the mood, and again positive humor changes the mindset.

Its amazing what such a small change in mindset can do.

The next time you feel negative thoughts bubbling through, try simple smiling, laughing at them or deleting them by saying something positive, you may well be surprised at the outcome.

Mind Mapping Fun Top 5 use’s of Mind Maps over Notes

Why Mind Mapping?

Yesterday I wrote all about mind maps and why they can be a more efficient way to write notes or a more efficient planning tool.

Today I wanted to write about 10 tasks we can introduce a little bit more fun into, by using the mind map to making a note heavy task much more visual.

The benefit of mind maps that most people who use them will tell you is that they are a more visual way of keeping notes.

As with all good planning tools the key to the mind map is its simplicity both to use and to read.

We write in notebooks in a linear way across lines, but our brains don’t process information that way, the mind map matches the visual patterns our brains prefer.

Ok so the fun part?

The fun part is making everything more visual and also the ability to set out our notes in a much simpler way, linking the ideas to each other where that makes sense, rather than having to read through linear notes on a page to find what’s needed.

Now to the top 5 uses for mind maps over notes:

  • Meeting Notes, so often meetings don’t run to an Agenda, ideas are spat out all over the place and people often go off on tangents. Which can be a nightmare for the note taker. Using a mind map lets you connects all of these ideas and the actions or feedback to the central theme of the meeting as branches. The Mind map is much easier to edit to send out as minutes of the meeting, and much easier and visual for people to read later.
  • Project Management Plan, I’m kinda a project manager in my job and one thing I hate is how complicated people make project management, especially with all the text heavy documents required. Instead of writing a novel, I can simply and visually present the project management plan as a mind map. The Project becomes the central box and then my Budget, Resources, Scope, Deadline and People become branches I work and develop from there. Now instead of many pages of words, I just have a visual guide.
  • Studying, The same concept as the note taking, often there are a lot of notes and concepts I need to keep track of and those end up a mess with traditional note taking. Revising takes me a lot of time, just to organize my notes, again with the mind map its clearly laid out in branches and so I can tie up notes and concepts easily, giving me more time to focus on my studies.
  • Brainstorming, oftentimes the process involves teams coming up with lots of ideas and a lot of notes. Again in a traditional noted form, a lot of the time we lose a lot of the value of the ideas generated, but by sorting and making those ideas notes visual in a mind map we capture much more of the value from these sessions.
  • Decision Making, Im a huge fan of decision tree’s for critical decision making and to ensure operational flow through a task. However they are difficult things to write from scratch. I use a mind map first with the team in the same way as I would when Brainstorming and then that out put can be translated from the Mind map into a decision tree clearly and easily.

Final Thoughts

As I said when I wrote an introduction to mind maps yesterday, they are a planning tool I wanted to share, because they work for me and the teams I work with.

Since we started using Mind Maps, we really have found them to be a great productivity hack and a fantastic tool to really capture our thoughts clearly and concisely on a page.

Im not writing here to tell what you need to do, but if your looking for something to take yourself and maybe your teams to the next level, give Mind Maps a closer look, Im certainly glad that I did.

A pen, some paper and a head full of ideas is all you need to get started.

Using Vision Boards How to set visual guides to achieve your goals

Image by Canva

What is a Vision Board?

Its a collection of images, pictures and sometimes motivational quotes and aspirations, which are typically glued onto a simple board and set up somewhere in your home where you can see them.

The images and pictures should be things that are linked to your goals. For example they could be:

  • Images that make you feel good, and reinforce the way you want to feel.
  • Images of the way you want to your health to be
  • Images of the home you want
  • Images of a goal you want to achieve like writing your own book
  • Images of a vacation spot you want to visit
  • Images of an educational goal
  • Images of an event you would like to attend

Really anything linked to any of your life goals can go on the visual board.

The quotes and aspirations can be either linked to you goals or can be motivational to help keep you going towards those goals, there are no rules here.


Whats the purpose?

Did you know that visualisation is one of the most powerful mind exercises that you can do?

Essentially the vison board, is a prompt to help achieve your goals through visualization of them.

Because the board is set up somewhere that you can see it often maybe in the bedroom or living room for example, you eye see it often which means that subconsciously your visualizing your goals often. Your also experiencing the feeling of accomplishment or realization of those goals.

This is turn triggers your thoughts towards your goals and sets up powerful connections between your goals and the thoughts and action of success in the brain.

Athletes have been using these techniques for decades to help them improve their performance.

Studies have shown that a weightlifter for example using this technique has the same brain patterns when lifting weights as they do when visualizing lifting the weights.

If we have no mental barriers to sucess and accomplishment in life, it means the physical barriers are much easier to overcome.

Again there are no rules here, whatever works for you is best.


Final thoughts

There are lots of tools and techniques out there to help us with our goals, whatever those goals may be in life.

Vision boards are certainly one of the tools that we can use to build success and have the following advantages:

  • Easy to set up
  • Utilize the power of the brain and its association with visual guides
  • Take very little time to maintain, since the brain sees the goals often and goes through the mind exercise of visualization subconsciously

Im not suggesting that the vision board is the one and only solution you ever need to help achieve whatever goals you may have in life, however it is a low mainteance high impact tool which can help along the way.

This week I’ll be sharing some more on the other tools I use to help set me up for success in life, however what I will say on the Vision Board is that I use it daily and it definitely helps me keep going especially when I’m in need of some motivation.