What are you doing this weekend?

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This must be the most popular question asked in offices around the world today. Normally the answers are “not much” or something big and exciting. It seems that if you aren’t doing one or the other, it isn’t worth mentioning. I personally think it is a shame that we seem to only be able to answer in one extreme or the other.

My favourite answer to that question used to be “spending time with my wife” now it is “spending time with the family.” When did people start deeming these things not exciting enough to talk about? When did people think they weren’t worth mentioning? When did people get embarrassed to say these things?

I live for and love the weekends. My weekends are usually the best part of my week. Because I enjoy time with my family so much, I have started scaling back what I do outside of work to make sure I get as much time with them as I possibly can.

What we are doing isn’t important to me. It’s the spending the time together away from other things and distractions, which is the most important thing to me. Just spending time with my family is doing something. When you are asked if you are doing something, you don’t have to be doing an event or going somewhere in order to be doing something.

Don’t get me wrong I do like going out and doing things, but they are always more special if I am doing them with my family. Sharing an experience and having a joint memory is so much better than sharing a story later with someone who wasn’t there to experience it with you.

I hope I can encourage other people to be loud and proud about just enjoying spending time with friends and family over weekends. Don’t feel the rush to have to show off about what you are doing on a weekend, don’t feel like you have to. The truth in many situations is that the ones showing off would rather have the situation you have.

Promoting Good News

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There is so much bad news in this world that I think it is important to promote, make and share good news wherever we can. Thanks to rolling news, social media and the like we are bombarded with peoples thoughts and opinions that we never asked for or wanted at every turn. Sadly in the most the majority of these thoughts, opinions and news are negative.

I read and hear so much everyday that I don’t agree with and a lot that is just flat out wrong. We now seem to know peoples views in a way that we never did before, thanks to over sharing. Some of these views make me sad and it makes me sad when you see people have views that you never thought they had.

Don’t despair

To try and stop from despairing I now try to post as much positive and good news as I can online. As part of what I talked about last week about showing love instead of arguing, (https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/love-wins-any-argument/) I am also where I can trying to actively post good and positive news, thoughts and opinions where I can, in the hope that people will be impacted by them.

I don’t believe that when you see something you don’t like on social media that unfollowing, unfriending etc. etc, is the way. I think it is important to stay in the conversation and in the connections & relationships you have built up. Never forget the reason you connected with them on social media in the first place, if it was because you care for them then what they share / say shouldn’t matter as you should still care for them.

Keeping relationships

The only way you can help, inspire or give hope is by keeping these relationships and to keep on sharing positively. Sometimes it is so hard not to react emotionally about what we read, hear or see and to react in a kneejerk way but we need to fight this as much as we can. People may not agree with what I say, my views or what I post online but as long as they read it, one day it might affect them when they least expect it.

When the world seems a sad, bad or miserable place try not to get down, just keep doing your bit and keep spreading positivity as that is all you can do and all you can do is good enough.

Putting things off

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One thing I am trying to get better at this year is not putting things off. In the past I have been terrible at not putting things in the diary, not passing on information as soon as I got it and not doing things I knew needed doing.

One of our family things this year, in our year of being intentional, is “to not delay and act today.” I have taken this to heart and ran with it. Everything I can get done today, I try to. When things crop up I try to immediately put them in the diary or act upon them depending on what is needed.

Never a perfect time

I don’t know why I behaved like I did before but I know it is a way many people behave. For some reason people like just keeping things in their head and not sharing information with others. Some times people think it is best to hold on to information and break the news at a time they think is best, when in reality for bad news there never is a perfect time.

Putting things off is illogical and irrational. Putting things off gets nothing achieved, adds to your workload and adds to your stress. Putting things off may make you feel like you are in control but in actuality it is a sign of someone who isn’t in control or someone who will become out of control very quickly. People who succeed and get things done are people that don’t put things off.

Removing things from your to do list

Sometimes another good way to avoid putting things off is to not add to your list of things to do unnecessarily. Just look at the things you are putting off, are they necessary things to do or do they matter to you? If not throw them away, scratch them off your mental list and free yourself from them. Don’t add to your stress and imprison yourself with things that don’t matter. Take a step back and just look at what matters and what doesn’t.

Don’t put off sorting your life out. Your life, your happiness and your health should be what is most important to you and I know these are things that I want the most days of in my life, everyday you don’t get it sorted is a day you are robbing yourself of having the best day. Everyone will try and clutter your life so its time you started uncluttering it yourself.

Proud

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One thing I am is very proud about the way my family do life. I always want to shout it to the hilltops. I want to do this not because I think I am better than anyone else but because what we do brings me joy. From the way we organise our time to the practical and emotional support we give each other, there isn’t any area that I am not proud of. Yes we are always looking to do things better and ways to improve but it’s that want to look after each other in the best way possible, which makes me so happy.

The sad thing I find in today’s world, that it is so hard to be proud. When you act proud for some reason it feels like you are rubbing other peoples faces in it and saying that you are better than other people, that your life choices are better than there’s. It seems to be hard to have a good day and celebrate that good day when others around you are having bad days. I hate that we live in a world where someone’s success can make another person feel inadequate or a failure. I don’t want to celebrate something good to make others feel worse, all I want to do is share good news.

Not better than anyone else

When I celebrate achievement I’m not trying to say I’m the best or say that I am doing things in the right way and that everyone should be doing this. I am simply saying – this is working for me and I am happy it is working for me. Yes I want happiness for other people and would love them to get success from doing things that have worked for me but I’m not saying it’s the only way or better than anyone else’s.

It feels like I am constantly having to censor myself, which I don’t like doing. It’s like when you have a conversation and someone says something negative like ‘sometimes I feel like strangling my kids’ you feel compelled for some reason to go along with it and agree even if you don’t feel this way.

When did it get this hard?

I just don’t know when it got this hard to be proud. I think in the modern age we are too busy trying not to upset anyone that we stop being happy ourselves, which in the long run just makes everyone unhappy. I hope that in years to come it becomes easier to be proud, as I never want to be anything other than proud.

Quotes

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A few years back I was very much in to reading powerful and motivational quotes. I was so much of a fan of them that I would regularly share them on my social media feeds. Everyday I would be on the lookout for more quotes to get more inspiration. When I found good ones I then took great pride in sharing them and impressing other people with them.

Catching our attention

I think quotes are great at catching our attention. I think I suffered quote overload though. Instead of getting the most out of each quote I stumbled upon, I would be on this race to find another one straight after finding a good one. I was reading lots of quotes but I wasn’t achieving any more with my life than I was before. Inspiring others by sharing them was more important than taking them in. I wanted to be seen as somebody who was great for knowing and sharing these quotes, rather than living by them or doing something with them.

I woke up a few years ago and stopped sharing quotes I found on social media. There are so many automated social media feeds out there pumping out quotes every minute to try and get more likes, shares and follows. It seems quotes have just become a currency on social media to engage people with.

Sharing originality

Now I regularly share quotes I have come up with myself. I now want to add something to the world and to get people to think. I don’t share as regularly as I used to though and I share the quotes to get myself thinking as much as the people who view them.

The one thing I dislike is when people share thoughts and quotes on social media that they have found from somewhere else but don’t live by what they share. Sharing something is pointless if it is just to get a few likes, when you share something you are associating it with yourself and if you don’t live by the quotes you share you just damage yourself and make yourself look fake.

Start of the journey

Remember the quote should be the start of the journey not the end of it. The more you use a quote the more you get out of it. Remember not everyone is going to agree with the quotes you like and share. What is most important is what you get out of it. Don’t overload yourself with quotes. Pick a few which mean the most to you and refer to them often.

Think before you share

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One thing I have noticed a lot recently online and in social media, is how quickly and easily people share things, without giving it much thought. People will stumble across a post, photo or video, then quickly decide they like it and hit the share button. Without much knowledge of where the post came from or who was behind it, they are happy to associate it with their name and their feed, showing friends that they either like or support it.

A not very discerning audience

This isn’t a revelation by any means and this means that many organisations are cashing in on it. People and companies know the social media audience isn’t very discerning, so with a well thought out idea they can promote themselves easily to millions by people sharing it on their feeds. People my have compelling and interesting arguments to promote, but if you don’t research it you won’t know how true, how real or how valid what you are sharing actually is.

The way social media seems to work these days is that someone posts something, people start sharing it, the news starts reacting to it and then a day later people report on social media and the news on how fake or invalid it is. Myself personally I would prefer to wait before sharing something I liked, to let this timeline play out and to do my own research.

Popularity doesn’t equal quality

Just because millions of others have shared or liked something it doesn’t mean the item is quality, it might just mean that millions of people have fallen in to the trap of not checking the back story.

One thing I don’t like is when companies or organisations with a bad reputation or that do horrendous things, then post images that they know people will share, like patriotic things for instance, which in themselves are harmless just to get people to share. They know that when people share, people don’t first click on their page to find out what they are about and when you have already hit the share button it’s too late.

An instant world

Social media is an instant medium but it doesn’t mean we have to turn in to instant and impulsive people. There are many people out there who prey on the fact that the audience is sadly like that and take advantage of it, so the only way not to be taken advantage of online is to take your time and think things through.

By sharing things you run the risk of promoting something you would never promote in real life and promoting something at the expense of your reputation and standing. Social media also has such an impact on the way we think about the world around us and view the stories we read about in the news, so by sharing something you could be influencing the way people think about something, so use that power wisely.

How Clickbait has made the world focus more on headlines than quality content

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It seems we are a generation that are a sucker for a headline and will click links based merely on what they say. We get overexcited about what we are about to click through to and then 9 times out of 10 are left disappointed.

Viewing statistics are King

In today’s world no one seems to care about content and brand, all people care for is views so that they have impressive figures to boast to potential advertisers and sponsors. If I were running an organisation that created content I would want my brand to be known by what it provided, rather than how they sell what they do.

If something is being heavily promoted it is usually because the company behind it isn’t confident enough in the product. As a world we need to become a more discerning audience. I hope that one day that instead of being guided towards things by well-worded links that instead we go directly to the content providers that we value and that we think provide great content.

Sharing content has never been easier

I think because sharing content is so easy these days, there is so much out there and everyone is fighting to get noticed. This isn’t the only problem, one thing I notice on my social media feeds is that someone has been duped in to watching something through clickbait and then it then shows up in all their friends newsfeeds, so they in turn have a look and not before long the video, article or media has spread like wildfire. Hitting a share, retweet or like button I think at times has made it too easy for people to share things and has contributed to the clickbait world we live in.

The biggest and most successful companies in the world are the ones that provide the best service or product. If you are a growing company that wants to be big then you need to act like a successful company in the way you deliver your product, brand or service.

Engaging an audience

As a company you surely don’t want an audience that clicks through once and then never again, you surely want to be a company where your audience continues to engage with you. If you have to hide your brand to get people to clickthrough because you are regularly clickbaiting, then what is the value of clickbait?

You know you are a successful company when people are talking about your organisation without you having to use clickbait. There is more value in your audience posting things online off their own back, than there is in you posting things talking about how great your own company is.

Promotion

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

When I think about my blog and my current book project, that old philosophical question above always comes to my mind.

I started this blog and my book because I wanted to create and share high quality content with the world, which would impact and influence it in some way. The further I get in to these projects, the more I feel that creating the content is only a very small part of the battle. In a world, which is over-saturated with content, getting people to view your content, over others is a very hard battle.

Wishing content was king

When you start off on projects like this, you have no reputation and it is only by sticking at it that you can build a reputation. Reputation is what leads many people to your work and without it convincing people to view your content is very hard. You can have the greatest content, a great life-changing message but that has no bearing on how many views it will get, which I find sad. I wish people searched out blogs, articles and books based on the content, not on who has written them or who recommends them.

I believe there are millions of gems hidden all over the internet but just haven’t be viewed yet. I don’t think quality of content should be judged on the amount of views it has had, but if you goal is to impact the world then the number of views is hugely important.

Writing in hope

When you create content for the Internet you can normally see how many people have viewed it but you will never know how many people it actually impacted. Some people may read your content and forget about it in a heartbeat, but some will have a reaction to it and it may change their way of thinking. I think as a writer online you keep writing in the continual hope that you are affecting someone somewhere with the words you write.

Knowing that writing the content for my blog and book was only part of the battle, I have been working hard in recent months to promote both. It is important to remember that if you don’t promote your work then who will? I wish the world was more organic and I hate self-promoting with a passion, but if I want to keep to the reasons why I started both projects in the first place, I have to do it.

A snowball

I see self-promotion as a snowball. I tweet, email and post about things in my blog and book, in the hope that the people I connect with will be impacted by it and then promote it to their friends. I’m the one gathering the first few snowflakes in my hand but come a few months, I hope there will be a group of us pushing a gigantic snowball down a hill.

Writing something online and expecting people to read it is the equivalent of just talking at someone and not having a conversation. When we promote our work we can help build that conversation and it is that conversation that helps give our content meaning and attention.

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.

Ideas

Those that know me, know that I come up with quite a few ideas everyday, not all of them are good, but my mind is constantly working and thinking of them. I think there is something inside most of us that likes coming up with ideas. These ideas could be from the mundane – like thinking of a different route to get to work, to the extraordinary – like a technological advance that could save lives.

Every idea that is positive should be cherished and although not every idea should be put in to action, we should all be encouraging each other to keep coming up with ideas.

Sharing

The sad thing is so many ideas aren’t shared with anyone, let alone the world. So many ideas are stored inside the population of this world that nobody knows about. If we knew about just a small percentage of them I’m sure we could make some serious change in this world.

I’m quite different to many people as I like sharing ideas. I love to freely share ideas in conversation with people I know, whether they are something I am working on, planning on working on or not doing anything with. I think sharing your own ideas with others is great, as it can encourage them to start thinking about their own ideas and talking about your ideas can also encourage you to do something about them. It may just be, that the person you share your idea with has some insight or advice that can help you make that idea a reality.

One thing that happens to me a lot, is that I get ideas for other people or ideas I think that other people can use. When this happens I will normally email the person or organisation explaining the idea. After that its up to them what they do with it and if they don’t get back in touch I just move on to the next idea but if they do reply, I will do what I can to help get that idea going. I know I probably annoy a lot of people when I do this, as they have probably already thought of or tried the ideas I share. They may even think I don’t know what I am talking about or trying to tell them how to do their job better. I just always send them in the hope that they don’t think these things of me and that they appreciate the thought.

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Scared

The reason many people don’t share their ideas is because they are scared to do it. For most people I think it’s the fear of people thinking that their idea is stupid or that they are stupid for having it. If you build up an idea in your head that you think is great and someone else says it is rubbish, which can hurt you a lot. There are too many people in this world that just go with the flow and too many people that want to stop other people from achieving. The easiest way for people to suppress others, to stop people standing out and getting ahead of them is to stamp on any idea they have.

Some people are scared to share their ideas, as they are scared that other people will steal them and claim them for their own. To me, I think you know your ideas are great when others are trying to steal them, so it doesn’t bother me. I would always rather see my ideas being used and out there, even if it isn’t me that is the one that gets to use them.

For others the idea may be so hard to pull off that they don’t want to share it, incase they fail at it and are seen as a failure. I think this world has the wrong view on what failure is, as I think failure is never trying not being unsuccessful at something you try.

Action

I have spoken to quite a few people in life that talk about big successful companies and projects that other people are running and they claim they had the idea first. The problem is that these people either told no one about their idea or didn’t have the get up and go to do it themselves. You have to remember that to be successful, ideas need action.

Sometimes in life, people have ideas that they have the necessary will power and means to make happen, but in many cases those with ideas don’t possess these things. This is when if you truly believe in your idea and want it to happen you have to get support or entrust it to someone else. The main thing should always be that the idea becomes a reality, how it happens should be less important.

I think at some point in life we are all given ideas that we don’t have the knowledge, experience or contacts to make happen and there is nothing wrong with this. In these situations the only way your ideas will happen is by sharing and that strength to share could be what changes the world. On the other side not everyone who has skills and experience has the right ideas for their field so they may be hoping for someone like you to come along. If you can get people who have the right tools as passionate as you are about your idea, then that will be a partnership that could push your idea further than you ever thought possible.

What I want to be and hope others want to be as well

I just want to be someone that said something, that did something and that didn’t sit on the fence. I don’t want to be a person that wishes they had have said something, did something and didn’t sit on the fence. I want to be someone that tried to and hopefully someone that did positively impact something or someone for the better. All I can hope is that some people who read this blog will want to be and want to do the same.