traps

“There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.”

Philip Marlowe

realising when a diversion is out of control

“A large part of efficient time management revolves around avoiding distractions. An ironic aspect of life is how easily we can be harmed by the things we desire. Fish are seduced by a fisherman’s lure, a mouse by cheese. But at least these objects of desire look like sustenance. This is rarely the case for us. The temptations that can disrupt our lives are often pure indulgences. None of us needs to gamble, or drink alcohol, read e-mail, or compulsively check social-networking feeds to survive. Realising when a diversion has gotten out of control is one of the great challenges of life.”

From the book The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

productivity

“The trouble isn’t simply that we subjugate our non-work lives to work, but that we subjugate the present to the future – which, as you might have noticed, never arrives. In seeking to spend life as productively as we can, we bring upon ourselves the ultimate ironic punishment: we miss it.”

Oliver Burkeman – New Philosopher #20

loneliness

“Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties — all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion — these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.”

David Foster Wallace on Loneliness: I often like being alone – but I don’t like being lonely

lost connections

“Professor Andrew Scull of Princeton, writing in the Lancet, explained that attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is “deeply misleading and unscientific”. Dr David Healy told me: “There was never any basis for it, ever. It was just marketing copy.”

I didn’t want to hear this. Once you settle into a story about your pain, you are extremely reluctant to challenge it. It was like a leash I had put on my distress to keep it under some control. I feared that if I messed with the story I had lived with for so long, the pain would run wild, like an unchained animal. Yet the scientific evidence was showing me something clear, and I couldn’t ignore it.”

From an extract from Johann Hari’s new book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions. I’ve ordered it from my library.

a midlife “unravelling”

“People call what happens at midlife “a crisis” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling—a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live. The unravelling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”

Brené Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection

notifications

“These digital alerts continuously disrupt our activities through instant calls for attention,” said researcher Dr Eiman Kanjo.

“While notifications enhance the convenience of our life, we need to better-understand the impact their obsessive use has on our well-being.

“It is clear that social notifications make people happy, but when they receive lots of work-related and or non-human notifications, the opposite effect occurs.”

So that’s why turning off all work notifications on my phone was such a good idea: a study has shown that one third of the notifications on our phone cause a downturn in our mood – particularly work and non-human ones.

we tell stories to children for many reasons…

“We tell stories to children for many reasons, and if the goal is to teach them a moral lesson then one way to make the lesson more accessible to children is to use human characters. Yes, we should consider the diversity of story characters and the roles they are depicted in”

Patricia Ganea, from the University of Toronto on why having all the animals in most children’s books isn’t such a great idea after all.

walk the walk

“There are lots of things you could probably do to improve your life. You could make more money, for instance, or travel more, or write more, or be a better friend, or get one of those vacuum cleaners that cleans your house while you’re out throwing your head back laughing at after-work cocktails in a nicely ironed shirt, the sleeve of which you hitch up when your expensive watch reminds you to circulate so you can get home in time to do all the right things to be perfect again the next day.

On the other hand, you could just do this: go for a walk. Nothing quite like a nice walk to really turn things around. Okay, alright, it’s not going to fix everything. It might not fix anything. And okay, alright, if you’re crook or you can’t walk or are indisposed or it’s the middle of the night, it doesn’t even need to be an actual walk. Do the next best thing. Go to the window and look out of it.”

~ Lorin Clarke, Walk the Walk, The Big Issue #543

idleness is not just a vacation…

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

~ Tim Kreider: The ‘Busy’ Trap via What One Company Learned from Forcing Employees to Use Their Vacation Time

control your reaction

As Turia Pitt prepares to become a first-time mother in December, she recalls the life lessons her parents taught her.

“They made me realise even though I couldn’t always control what happened, or what other people said or thought, I could control my reaction,” Turia told Essential Baby.

“They also showed how I could reframe a painful or negative event, or use humour to diffuse a situation or disarm someone.”

Nothing could have prepared Turia for the Kimberley fire that left her with burns to 65 per cent of her body six years ago. But she said, it was the life lessons her parents, Célestine Vaite and Michael Pitt, imparted that helped build her fortitude.

Read more: http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/news/celebrity-parents/turia-pitt-three-things-i-will-teach-my-son-20170823-gy2ux9

i’m a human meat pie…

“You know what, I’m a meat pie. I’m a human meat pie, I’m not flash… there are no surprises. I like motorsport, I like my family, I’ve got two dogs, four kids, got chickens and some sheep. When someone says you’re the everyday man, the guy next door, or you’re the average joe, well that feels like a massive compliment. You know I’ve got a face like a dropped pie and I’m not exactly the right shape according to the magazines, but people let me on their TV screens. I’ve had some guys say, “you give me hope”.

I wouldn’t give my 16-year-old self any advice. I wouldn’t interfere with him at all, because for every broken heart and for every hard road travelled or every pothole that was hard on my emotional suspension, I’ve turned out to be who I am – and I am now with the woman of my dreams, I have four healthy beautiful children and I’m doing my dream job. Why would I risk changing any of it? I’m not going to send anything off kilter.”

~ Shane Jacobson – star of Kenny – the Australian film about a bloke that fixes busted toilets – via The Big Issue #543

the only exercise…

“Many people – and not a few companies – like to think that they can somehow stretch the cognitive limits of their minds, that doings lots of Sudoku or using programs like Brain Trainer will somehow enlarge their capacity. They’re out of luck. The only exercise that seems to nurture, or at least protect our brains is aerobic exercise. Yoga, toning and stretching may make you feel good but, in fMRI scans, only aerobic exercise seemed to have a visibly positive impact on the brain.”

~ Margaret Heffernan – Wilful Blindness