Here’s to Tried & Tested Ideas

I really liked the sentiment in Bernard Salt’s article in the Weekend Australian Magazine (Feb 10-11, 2018) on Page 34 where he makes the case that these days, there seem to be so many voices (and they tend to be loud and intrusive voices) advocating all sorts of left-field thinking or radical thinking that are meant to disrupt society, the workplace and the community generally.

Yes, I fully understand that there’s rapid change occurring on almost every sector led mainly by technological and scientific break-throughs that impact our way of being. I realise that our world is shrinking as the global economy takes over. I get that things are changing…and fast.

However, beyond all the calls for diversity, for flexibility, for individuality, for equality, there are some fundamental truths that never seem to be heralded. Some basic life principles that seem to get swamped by the fringe opinions that want to be heard and that demand to be heard. Some essential truths that never get discussed and certainly get pushed aside.

As Salt exemplifies, what about those basic notions such as, “Work hard, don’t do drugs, don’t smoke, build good relationships, learn skills, save for a deposit for a house, spend time with your kids, invest in your health.” How is it that we don’t have discussions about these matters? Is it somehow uncool?  Is it too simplistic?

He goes on to say that another “radical idea” that doesn’t get aired is that “Sometimes when raising a family it’s necessary to do a job that you don’t particularly like for months or maybe even years on end in order to provide for that family. This isn’t life being mean to you; sometimes you just gotta do it. Accept it and move on”.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves as a society or too clever — some things remain constants and need to be heralded.

Letting Go of Worry

I’ve often had people come into my office and describe themselves as a “worry wart.” On questioning, they also admit that both or one of their parents were the same. As they say, the apple never falls far from the tree!

However, there are no born worriers. People might think they are, but they’re not. As I’ve said to many people, I’ve never seen a baby born a worrier. Worry is something you learn.

However, worry is unreasonable for a couple of reasons. […]

Economic Recovery

Thanks Prof Blandy for some straight-forward common sense. Sadly though, common sense doesn’t seem to be that common any more.

The essence here is to understand that governments traditionally never “lead” the people. They simply wait until there is a momentum or a ground swell and then they tend to jump on board. Hence, they are not in a position to “lead” a jobs recovery or an economic turn-around. […]

The UK Rocks, but for all the wrong reasons

Early August has seen unprecedented rioting in the UK, first in London and then spreading to other parts such as Birmingham and Manchester. But this was rioting and looting with a difference; a big difference. Yes, it might have been started by the police shooting of a drug dealer in Tottenham, but the rioters in other parts of England had no concern for that particular situation.

Now that the carnage and anarchy has subsided, the real questions are being asked. […]

Coping with the Knowledge Age

Get your head around this.  According to Prof Urs Gasser who is the Executive Director of the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society, and the author of “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives,” the following is true:

  • Researchers around the world are deliberating over the question of how the meaning of “knowledge” alters in a society which produces so much information in a single year that it will fill 12 parallel stacks of books reaching from the Earth to the sun.
  • If all information on the Internet were to be written down, it would take 57,000 years to get through it all – reading non-stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Wikipedia is yet another example of users collectively amassing information and moulding it into a comprehensive digital encyclopaedia of surprisingly high quality. It now comprises 14 million articles written in many different languages, mostly by slightly older Internet devotees, but keenly used by the digital adolescents.
  • According to an EU study, the current stock of freeware is the equivalent of 131,000 man years of work. As the development work is largely under remunerated, the estimated annual added value of Euro 800 million is not reflected in the balance sheets for the economy.

So, how will we attempt to get across this vast avalanche of information that is not only immense in size, but is coming at us at such a rapid rate?

Will we need to employ “Information Sifters” to sort through the myriad of information and get to the crux of what we’re after?  One thing is for certain, we won’t be able to sort it through ourselves.

Patience is a Virtue

It was only a small article in “The Advertiser” (Tues, 19th July, 2011), but it caught my eye.

A survey in the United Kingdom found that most of us lose patience after just 2.5 minutes. At that point of 150 seconds, 60% of us began to show obvious signs of annoyance such as muttering and shifting around, and at 5 minutes, half of the 3,000 adults questioned walked away from a queue such as in the Post Office, waiting for a train, or trying to get into a bar because they felt the anger mounting.

Interestingly, one in three rant at strangers if they are made to wait. And 1 in 6 adults admitted to having a row with a shop assistant.

The triggers that get our dander up include the following: […]

An ‘F’ Grade for Education

Dr Stephen Covey wrote in his book “The 8th Habit” that “We live in a Knowledge Worker Age but operate our organisations in a controlling Industrial Age model that absolutely suppresses the release of human potential [bold type mine]” (Page 15). Just substitute the word “schools” for “organisations” and you have it.

Our schools were originally designed to put students in rows in order to learn to read and write so that they could move off the farms and into the factories for the Industrial era. Not much has changed really.

[…]

Get Serious; Early Intervention is the Key

I happened to fall across the documentary last night on ABC1 called “Drive” largely about our young men killing themselves on our roads. There were interviews with the parents (largely mothers), the ex-girlfriends or fiancés, the mates, friends and so on. There was a reciting of their history, their struggles at school, their development into teens, a snap-shot of family life (or lack of it) and the culture that they embraced with alcohol, thrill-seeking and such.

It seemed clear to me. If we are serious about our young people in this country, then we have to be serious about early intervention. No if’s, but’s.  Governments can talk all they like about about strategies or programs, but they are only band-aids or patch-ups. If they don’t get to the root cause of the problem, then they are simply hot air and vote catching.

There is no doubt that these young people would have been clearly identified in the early years of school (Reception, Year 1-4) as having problems, as experiencing learning difficulties, as being disruptive, as being hard to manage.

But what do governments do about this? Zip.  Nil.  Zero.  Nothing.

This you can therefore expect…that the problems with our youth will continue to spiral out of control…there will be many more deaths and carnage… that much is clear.  Very clear.

When are we going to get serious?  Really serious…

Christmas Office Parties; Career Stopper or What?

The reporter from “The Advertiser” rang to ask what advice I might have about Christmas office parties. In short, they can be a big negative or a big plus.

On the negative side, the combination of a festive spirit, coupled with the expectation of holidays, along with alcohol (and possibly recreational drugs) all caught up in a party scene means that inhibitions are thrown to the wind and people behave and say things that ordinarily they wouldn’t do. Yes, such actions are career limiting. Don’t for a moment believe that your bosses aren’t making mental notes of your behaviour.

On the positive side, it is a great occasion to network and meet others in your company or group that typically, you may not have had the opportunity to do so. One of the hallmarks of those who are successful are that they know a lot of people, and are well connected, which means that they can get things done and done quicker. So, this Christmas, just don’t hang out with those you work with, move around the group and enlarge your contacts. One day, you may be very grateful that you did just that.

Cyberbullycide

Cyberbullying is on the rise and out of control.

This is the reason why I have created a special website called www.cybersafetydoctor.com.au which seeks to bring the whole community together to fight this growing and insidious assault. The site provides a course for students, parents and teachers. Together we can make a difference.

There have been several cases where teenagers were driven to committing suicide because of cyberbullying. The case of 14-year-old Megan Meiers made headlines worldwide because it was found that she was being tormented by her adult neighbor, the neighbor’s daughter, and an employee of the neighbor, who spread a cruel online hoax about her. A 13-year-old boy Ryan Halligan from Rhode Island in the USA was tormented for months and called gay until he committed suicide. A mother from Melbourne, Karen Rae, blames cyberbullies for her 14-year-old daughter’s suicide.

But one case is already one too many. Perhaps the measure of this alarming trend is the fact that this phenomenon now has an unofficial name: cyberbullycide.