Perception

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Perception is something I struggle with a lot in life. I think perception for many has become more important than truth or reality. An event can happen, two people could experience it and have two very different reactions to it.

Being balanced

I think it is important to remain as balanced about things as possible. Give someone else your life and they may think it is amazing life, give it someone else and they may think it is a pretty rubbish life. When someone says life is a bit rubbish try not to accept it at face value, try and find out why it is rubbish in their opinion and the same with those that say they have an amazing life.

Sometimes it can seem pretty hard to change your life or circumstances; sometimes it’s easier just to change your perception of it. Try in life not to get carried away with emotion and other people’s emotions. Try and work out fact from fiction and make your own opinion about it.

Don’t believe the hype

It’s like with the media and the press when they hype TV programmes, films, sporting events etc. They want you to get carried up in the hype, but you have to remember in life that the reality very rarely lives up to the hype and that the great things in life really don’t need hyping. Normally the more something is hyped, the more it needs it and what is being hyped isn’t actually that good.

So I want to encourage everyone to take a step back today and really think about what you have seen, read and experienced. How do you feel about what you have experienced and why do you feel like that? Is it because of perception or reality? There are many people who are glass half full and many people that are glass half empty people in this world. I choose to say that both statements are perspective and the reality is – if someone has just poured something out of the glass, it is half empty but if someone has got an empty glass and filled it half way, it is half full.

Lets all be reality hunters and strive to find the events that caused the perceptions to happen in the first place.

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100 and counting

Last week WordPress sent me a notification to let me know I had just posted my 100th blog. I have achieved this in a little over a year and the great thing is that I don’t think subjects to talk about are drying up.

That means on average, I have shared my thoughts on a subject in the form of a blog every 4 days. When I started this blog, I didn’t know how long I would keep it up for or how regular it would become. I started with one blog a week, but found I had lots more to say than one blog a week, so I upped it to 3 quite quickly and since then I have kept it up. Without fail every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will now post a blog here.

Understanding the world around us

I think the world evolves faster than we can think about it at times and there is so much going on, that you will never be able to have an opinion or thought on everything. That being said however I am a huge fan of people sharing their thoughts and experiences and it is only by people doing, this that we can try and understand the world around us.

Through my blog I have been able to talk with some very interesting people and I have seen my blogs read in countries, that I might never get the chance to visit. That’s the great thing about a blog, it may not change the world but it can impact lives around the world. We all possess enormous power to influence people for the better and I for one am determined to use it to its fullest.

Your opinion matters

For those that have never blogged or too worried about what people may think if they did – I have one thing to say to you – your opinion is no less valid than anyone else’s and by voicing your opinion, you might empower others to do the same.

No one has to listen to what I say, but no one has the right to stop you from speaking. So many people would love the opportunity to speak their mind and speak up, but because of their situation they can’t, so don’t let your opportunity go to waste.

There is an audience out there for you

People out there want to read other peoples stories and thoughts. There is an audience out there for everyone and the Internet, social media and blogs have made it easy for bloggers, to reach an audience and for people to find blogs, which interest them.

So thanks to everyone who has joined me on my blogging journey so far. I hope I have entertained you or inspired you in some way. Here is to the next 100 blogs.

The best way to win an argument is to avoid them

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I think one of the most futile things in the world is an argument. In the instant world we live in, people seem to make arguments out of anything these days. People seem to go online with a want to argue with people or the want to try and start an argument.

If you seriously care about educating someone or changing someone’s opinion I think having an argument is one of the least effective ways of making a difference. If someone thinks they are right and you try and argue with them, all that it is more than likely to do, is get their back up even more and for that person to dig their heels in further. The problem with the internet these days is that you can literally find something to back up any argument and then you wait and watch, when you argue with someone online, for them to come running back with some links they have found.

Relationships

Arguing only leads to break downs in relationships and makes it even harder for you to get your point across to the person you are arguing with, as they are less likely to listen to you. Remember what you say only matters, if the person you want to listen is listening.

Nobody wants to look stupid or be embarrassed. No one likes to get things wrong or be ganged up upon. This is why so many of us are afraid to lose arguments. Taking that step of admitting defeat or being wrong is a step too far for many people, because instead of treating it as learning or being better informed they can’t get past the not wanting to be seen to be wrong.

Challenging

When trying to challenge someone’s views or change their opinions I would always advise of doing this out of the public sphere. You are more likely to be effective in person, talking to someone one-on-one and someone is more likely to listen to you, as they don’t have the worry of other people watching or getting involved, like you have online.

When you are arguing with someone, even if they keep coming back at you, the person might be being affected by what you are saying but they will never admit it and you will never know, these are more reasons why I think arguing is futile. The dangerous thing with arguments is that sometimes the smallest disagreement can lead to the biggest argument and the argument then grows so big that you lose perspective, on how it started and what you are arguing for.

Approaches

This is why I dislike it when I see people out and about whilst on a high street on a busy shopping day who are from churches and ministries (or more often one man mission) who are handing out leaflets and telling people they are going to hell or that they need to repent. The reason I hate it is, more often that not all that approach starts is an argument. If arguing with people worked, every church would be doing it and everyone would be a Christian.

Instead of rushing to an argument when someone says something you disagree with, why not take a moment and ask yourself why you think that person thinks the way they do. Try and understand the person’s past, because normally there are clues there and then try and work out what is the best way to engage with them. Timing is also key, as when someone is feeling emotional about a topic its probably not the best time to bring it up with them.

I’m not saying avoid the hard topics and the hard conversations as I think these are the most important ones to have. There are so many views in this world that need to be challenged, but challenged doesn’t mean argued. To me the more you have to argue the less strong your point is, as it is normally the views that don’t need an argument to back them up that are the best.

An important thing to do is not to take everything on your shoulders; it is not your job in life to change everyone’s viewpoints. You have to be wise and know when someone else might have a better chance than you of changing someone’s mind and leave it to them.

Just remember if you show someone you love them they will be more likely listen to you.

Getting Your Voice Heard

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I think it is easier today than it ever was before to share our opinion with the world. A post, a tweet, an email, a status, a blog, there are now many ways that we can instantly share how we are feeling, our opinions and our thoughts with anyone who wants to read them.

Back just twenty years ago there weren’t these opportunities that we have today to communicate with the world around us. To complain about a newspaper article you would have to write a letter and post it, now you can post a comment online underneath the article. To complain to a company about poor service you would have to phone them up or go to the business premises, now you can tweet them or message them on Facebook and get a response.

If you had an opinion about something it used to be a case of just verbalising them with your friends and family, now you can write a blog or post them on social media to start conversation. Your opinion can then quickly get exposure to millions of people you will never meet and before you know it people are talking about it.

It’s a jungle out there

The problem we have though is that because there are so many people, trying to share so many opinions, it is so easy for them to get lost in the jungle, which is the online world. Sharing your thoughts is very easy now but trying to gain an audience, I believe is harder than ever. For a thought or opinion to make a difference it needs an audience and a pretty big audience to make an impact.

When you have an audience, you then need the right people in your audience. Online there are so many automated, bot and spam accounts, you never know how many actual people are reading your words. There is a huge difference between viewing and reading. So many people just scroll through their social media newsfeeds, just scanning and not actually reading, that many people will just scroll on past what you are trying to share with the world.

Real world engagement

For your voice truly to be heard you need real world engagement, not online engagement. A like or a favourite on social media isn’t going to get your voice heard. What will get your voice heard is someone reading what you type, taking it on board and doing something about it in the real world.

Don’t think just because something you said got a bunch of retweets that it is making a difference. With social media and the Internet the term ‘5 minutes of fame’ must have been taken down to ‘a few seconds of fame.’ What trends this morning probably won’t this afternoon.

If you’ve got an opinion that you want the world to hear, don’t get complacent with it. Couple your opinion with some action and keep going with it. Make sure you are talking to the right people, not just anyone. One right person hearing your thoughts and opinions can be worth more than a million of the wrong ones.

Share what you want to share

I would encourage everyone to share what they have a burning passion to share, just make sure you are always aware of you are sharing it with. Just because we have the ability to share so easily these days lets not get lazy with it, as I think in todays world it is even harder to stand out, as with this new power at our finger tips everyone is at it.

I think social media is too much about encouraging us to have our own personal accounts and I think this just leads to more isolation. I think it is more important than ever to actually work with people and band together. It’s a big world out there online and just because you are a member it doesn’t always mean you are connected or feel connected.