As is the case with most children, I was and continue to be a massive fan of exploration and discovering new things. Though looking back to when I was a child, the sense of danger and wonder was phenomenal. As you grow older, you see things through a variety of lenses depending on your life experiences – you may see things through rose-tinted glasses or glasses with darker and gnarlier tint. When I was a child, I saw things through danger-tinted glasses.
I would frantically scamper around the quarry, exploring areas away from the beaten path with my friends whilst trying to escape from these fantastic imaginary perils (admittedly coming close to falling down hills and facing very real perils). When thinking back to the imaginary perils that we faced, it’s easy to assume that inspiration was taken from all of the action movies we had seen over our brief years, with cliffs falling and rocks sliding and floods rushing towards us and quite frankly it provided some of the best early-years experiences I could have asked for.
To severely limit the scampering of a child is to limit their imagination and their sense of wonder regarding the world around them. Thinking back to my days of roaming the wilds and new lands, if I had a voice telling me to not do it I would have been distraught! Whilst it is natural to be wary of how children interact with their surroundings it is also obvious to me that without that level of curiosity and imagination, this child is missing out on a wealth of experience that comes with the perception of perils.
My sister will soon be bringing a baby into this world and one of my wishes for that child is to be safe, whilst feeling as if there are no bounds to what can be conjured in their mind. Reality is our shared perception of the world around us. Wouldn’t it be nice to warp that reality whilst we are able?
This prompt is marvellous in the way it begs for such an obvious answer from me and that answer is quite simply, train journeys.
My girlfriend lives in Newcastle when she’s not studying at the same university as me and whenever she goes home for the holidays I tend to visit her and to get there, I use the train. The journey usually takes a little over two and a half hours and involves one change. The first part is mediocre at best as it is more often than not, an old train that was designed for short journeys. The second part of the journey, the one hour and thirty five minutes is absolutely wonderful. Being able to sit silently beside the window and watch the world fall away as you pass is possibly the most magnificent feeling anybody can exist.
I personally forget how much beauty there is within the UK until these train journeys. You experience a multitude of different feelings when passing certain areas, particularly farmland! Farmland and the houses which reside within these areas have a way of transporting you into a dream. You dream of a time in which you can own one of these large, rustic houses and dream of a time in which you can be happy with your partner and potentially children and just enjoy life for a long while!
Being a passenger on a train has allowed me to be transported to states of mind which I never thought possibly beforehand. For your own sake, ensure that you enjoy a train journey. At least once.
One common definition of committing – and the most widely used most would agree – is to pledge one’s self to a certain cause. Whether that cause is great or small, to commit to something means to stick it out. How many of us have actually managed to commit to something for a long period of time?
New Years Day is a fantastic example of this. Without trying to sound like a cynic, millions of people will experience the ticking over of the current year to the next and believe that this is their time to commit to a particular course of action, whether this is to lose weight or to quit smoking or to devote more time to themselves. Most people fail in this, and fail quite quickly. What is our issue with committing to something?
Time. Time is the issue. Universally, time has always been an issue with people either believing that they have too much or not enough. We as a species want to see results that we believe are worth the time we commit to these (mostly) self-improving actions. Sadly, most of us are stuck in a world in which we believe fairness exists and that we should be compensated accordingly for time spent “living without”.
From my own experiences, I have found that I am unable to commit to a lot of things because of a selflessness that gets in the way. I will move the Earth for people who need assistance without reason but when it comes to committing to doing something for myself however, I struggle massively. When we assist others in one of their commitments, we see an instant reaction and as a consequence gain an immediate sense of accomplishment. This recompense seems adequate to the amount of time we put in.
In order to be able to commit to something fully, we need to understand that we are worth just as must as our family member and our best friend and we do not need any more of a reason to commit to something other than “because I want to”.
Appreciate your own commitments as much as you appreciate others’.
We should all take a minute to enjoy the simplicity of what paper is – a material designed to be drawn upon and engraved in order to portray information. I can go to the supermarket and buy 500 sheets for £3 easily, which is bewildering considering the source.
Maybe we can stretch a thought to a second minute, and understand what the creation of paper has allowed us to do. Pieces of paper have allowed us to construct the most beautiful and horrific of thoughts and store them for countless generations to see. Paper can be folded into intricate patterns and designs, can be folded into a plane which can soar across a room. Mostly, paper allowed us as human beings to express feelings that we were unable to vocalise due to fear.
The relationship we have with written words is truly different to those words spoken, we often don’t realise the vast level of difference between them. Is it because spoken words somehow seem less permanent? Or because more time has been taken to ensure these words are communicated? Who knows. All I know that reading words on a sheet of paper, can be the most rewarding and the most devastating experience one will ever experience.
The humble loop. A shape and design we have never really put much thought into, I imagine? When actually placing thought into the idea of what a loop is though, the importance and gravitas of the loop is instantly apparent.
In a physical sense, the loop is one of the most perfect shapes that can be found within this universe – or should I say almost found – as it could be argued no loop is perfect. When considering what a loop can symbolise however, the symbolism transcends that of most ideas within existence. A shape that has the power to go on forever, a shape that hints at completion and cyclical events, the only shape that symbolises love and the shape that defines infinity.
Understanding how people understand the idea of the loop, in my opinion, is to understand people full stop. The loop can be seen as safe and secure, binding and predictable. For some people however, the loop can be seen as monotonous, infinite yet asphyxiating, the root of the seemingly endless grind through life.
Remember that the loop is a shape like any other, one that can be utilised like any other. Don’t work around the loop, allow the loop to work around what you want.
After undertaking three years of studying within the field of Management and Business, I have learned a wealth of theories that work in a wealth of hypothetical situations and ideal worlds. What I’ll be touching upon now is why the average store manager, in charge of a wide demographic, will never seem to be a successful manager in the eyes of employees.
Within management theories there are a wealth of theories that suggest “if you allow X to happen, employee will flourish”. This is all well and good, we all love when X causes employees to flourish! What these theories do not remind us is that they only tend to be somewhat successful in the setting in which they were theorised and researched. Which brings me on to the store manager.
I work part-time (though recently a lot more than that) at a supermarket in which hundreds of people are employed from a wide range of educational and personal backgrounds. As a student who appreciates how difficult it must be to manage such a wide variation of people and allow them to be somewhat happy within the workplace, I do think my manager is extremely successful within their job – but this belief is only partially shared.
For a manager to be successful, they need to be able to use incentives and levels of interaction which are favourable to the employees without being too favourable towards any particular employee, which automatically brings about a massive hurdle as employees all want different things. Some want financial reward, other progression, others recognition, and others just simply want to be left alone. This factor, combined with the fact that the manager has a difficult job of their own to complete to me suggests that no store manager is ever going to be considered successful by their employees as a majority.
Theories of successful leadership rely on a very similar demographic wanting the same rewards. In a setting in which people may be working part time to assist their studies, or in which people have been working full-time for 30 years, this level of success seems regrettably unattainable.
Rumination – the art of deep thinking
Rumination is arguably one of the most focused upon skills we are taught. We are taught to ruminate about more or less all topics, as soon as we are capable of such thought. We are taught to ponder upon philosophy, art, music, life, the future, love and loss. There is little doubt that rumination has its place in the world. However, what we seem to forget is that the opposite has just as much of a place.
To ruminate, in my opinion, is a very difficult habit to break – most likely because of how much emphasis is placed on such thought. You may be wondering: why should this habit be broken? and you would be fair to question! To think deeply is to wonder, to wonder is to be amazed and to be amazed is, well, amazing.
Being able to wonder why something is the way it is is glorious. The act of wondering has the potential of allowing our imaginations to run wild; think back to childhood. How does Santa deliver all of those presents in one night? How does the tooth fairy sneak away unnoticed? Why is the sky blue?
Wondering and knowing are a dynamic duo capable of causing great satisfaction and great pain. In my childhood, I remember each of these questions being answered and also remember a sadness from knowing.
It wouldn’t be fair or correct to suggest that knowledge is something we should try and hide from, as obviously that’s rubbish! However, if you have the opportunity to allow someone’s imagination to thrive for a little while longer, I believe it would be unfair to deny them the pleasure of wondering. Very few people wonder as much as they are doing right now at this time in their lives. Ignorance can indeed be bliss.
To ruminate for the purpose of the answer is to starve ones self of one of the greatest pleasures in life. Wonder.