Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sfumato – Managing ambiguity and change

One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn was to stop being so black and white in my thinking and learn how to be grey.

When I was a child, every thing was yes or no, right or wrong, everything was absolute.  Of course as a child, I did not know that I was thinking in an absolute manner, but I was. I'm not sure of this was a my personality or a result of the religious upbgringing I was raised in, but to me anyone breaking any of the rules was wrong and should be punished.

Looking back, I am inclined to think that this came from the religious background and was NOT an innate part of my personality. 

I think I used to be a lot like Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Books. She was bookworm, a know-it-all bossy boots, and one who frequently tattled on Harry to the teachers. That is one reason why I dont like her. She reminds too much me of myself when I was her age.

Hermione would withdraw into her books when people became angry at her. Well I used to do the same. I would often withdraw into my books to read just to escape the maelstrom of emotions around me.

It was not until I was in my mid to late 20's when I went through quite a lot of counselling where I learned the phrase that freed me from guilt - It's not my problem. I also learned that nothing is absolute and that change is inevitable.

So I have learned to be more flexible, and a LOT more open minded. Whether or not someone else is breaking the rules, is no longer my problem. I just need to look out for me. Of course now that I am married, Looking out for me now extends to my spouse and children as well.

You have to learn to be flexible about plans as well. Plans do change. Something happens that is out of your control and you suddenly have to change your plans. You have to learn to be flexible and go with the flow.

There are some areas I have trouble with changing.

I can use a PC computer with no problems, and I love surfing the internet. But after I saw the movie The Devil Wears Prada, I made a subconcious decision to never ever own a cell phone. WHY NOT? Because I do not want to be a slave to the phone, or to be at someones beak and call like Andy (Main character in that movie)  was. After all, that IS why I have a landline at home.

So be open minded and flexible to changes,

I think it was Heraclitus who said it best. There is nothing permanent - except change.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Da Vinci - Dimostrazione

Dimostrazione – Learning from Experience

The only way to really learn from experience, is to make mistakes so that you know what NOT to do in future. 

There are 2 different types of experience. The kind you read about in books, and the kind you learn in real life. These are called Book Smarts and Street Smarts respectively.

When I was growing up, pretty much everything I learned about life came from books.

Once I left school however, I was rudely thrust into the real world and, well, quite frankly, I sank. As in sink or swim. I sank. And even now more than 30 years later I am still barely holding my own.

Below are some of the things I learned by Experience.

Stop being nice all the time.

I was raised being told that good girls like me, had to be nice ALL the time. I also had to respect my elders and to respect anyone in authority. I used to whine to my parents every time my sisters or my friends broke the rules, complaining that it just wasn't fair. I was never told that LIFE ISN'T FAIR!!! Nor was I told that Respect must be earned and not given. Other use this phrase instead. Courtesy is given. Respect is earned.

One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn was how to say NO, Because I always felt that I had no choice but to say yes. Consequently I was taken advantage of and manipulated quite a lot in my younger years.

But I once I learned to say a key phrase - That's not my problem  - I was finally set free to think for myself and make my own decisions instead of just diong what I was told.

Carry a confident posture

This one I learnt early. I was told to ALWAYS Look Confident and walk as though you know where you are going.  So I learnt to study the maps and work out my route before I traveled, This was especially important whenever I worked on the late night shift for my job and was traveling home on the buses late at night in the dark. This was also very important if I was going into a new neighbourhood for any reason. .I was lucky that I was never approached or attacked, because I always walked tall. 
Speak properly and manage your conversations well

I never had a problem with this. I have always been able to speak well.  

Stop trusting everyone around you.

This was one I had to learn fast after I was manipulated into drinking rather a lot of wine. I hated myself for losing control when I woke up. 

I have never touched a drop of alcohol since then and I am teaching my son to NEVER EVER drink alcohol as well. Alcohol makes you lose control of the situation, makes you say and do funny and stupid things and can get you killed if you are stupid enough to drink and drive.

Basically I dont trust anyone at all now other than my spouse, my kids and my sister.  

Don't be afraid to say no.

Goes along with Number 1. stop being so nice and learn to say NO. If you don't say NO then people will walk all over you, use and abuse you and manipulate you.  

Learn to hide your emotions.

This one has always been hard for me to do. I can hide (control) my emotions so much better online and on the telephone, but I cant do it when speaking to someone face to face. 

Learn to trust and accept your gut feeling.

I have also learned to STOP second guessing myaelf. When My first thought says to do something or not do something, I go along with it, instead of arguing with myself.  That saves me time and usually also saves a big mistake further down the road. 

Be very wary of people who are just too friendly.

As much as I do want to chat and learn about people, anyone who starts asking me too many personal questions, usually has me saying something like, That's private, or That is none of your business.

More tips to keep yourself SAVE

  • Avoid venturing into unsafe neighborhoods even if it means a longer commute
  • Be aware of your personal belongings when you step out of the house
  • If an argument or confrontation is not worth the hassle, move on
  • Always hold on tightly to your valuables
  • Don't be afraid to raise an alarm
  • Remember the places and people you can go to if you need help

 More Street Smarts skills for kids and teenager.