Merry Christmas and Goodbye 2015!

This will be my final blogpost of 2015, I’m really getting into the idea of blogging and have realised it’s actually quite a lot of fun!. As I’ve started very late in the year, 2016 will see this blog really taking shape hopefully. I will aim to make it as interesting, informative and fun to read as I can, although this is largely subjective (being dependent on what interests you – the reader).

Ok so Christmas….
I like the idea of Christmas. I love the songs that are played every year, it’s like history kept in a bubble that’s preserved and rediscovered every year. The decorations everywhere are very glamourous and in some cases, spectacular. I absolutely love the food and the present giving
is a nice aspect. It’s quite endearing when you receive a gift from someone that you love, as it’s an indication that they know you well, they know what you like and they pay attention.

They’ve taken time to select the right gift for you, and they’ve put some real thought into it.One thing that’s pretty weird for me is how I absolutely loved receiving gifts as a child, whereas now I prefer giving gifts. The best thing about Christmas is spending time with family, this is something I don’t get enough time to do normally throughout the year,
so this time is special and I look forward to it every year.

So all of that’s nice, but what’s my problem with Christmas?
Well, it’s just not all that special when you’re an adult.
I won’t burst any bubbles (encase children happen to come across this blog post) but when the erm, shall we say, BIG REALISATION happens, it loses it’s magic. I found out quite harshly when I was 7 or 8 years old. An older girl at school was teasing me for not knowing. I was really confused and understandably upset at the time. I asked my parents later that evening and sure enough, the girl was right.

After that, Christmas was never really the same. It lost it’s spark. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a marketing student or perhaps that I’m just older and wiser to life in general, but Christmas for me is just the commercialist holiday. That one time of the year where all retailers rejoice because we’re going to spend INSANE amounts of money purchasing gifts. There’s this weird, twisted sense of irony that lots of advertisements on TV are calling people to give to homeless charities. And when you see the masses of people in shopping centres and districts scurrying around, scrambling around to get the ‘right’ gifts, these people on the streets are all but forgotten.

I guess I’m suggesting we should spend a little less time and money on christmas and little more time helping and giving to those who really need it. Yeah ok shoot me, I guess I’m that annoying person trying to make everyone feel bad. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy Christmas or anything like that. I’m just saying that yeah, for me it’s not that special. It’s definitely not the religious festival that it was. Sure, people do still celebrate it for those reasons, but ultimately all that most people seem to care about is the present giving. I really don’t care about that anymore.

Things change, people change. But it’s funny, Christmas never changed, my attitude towards it changed. I guess we should just appreciate this time for the right reasons and not the superficial, material reasons.

2015 was an important year for me as it marked the end of my first year at university and the beginning of my second year. The transition was pretty rough and we had a lot of work to produce within a very short space of time. I learnt quite a bit about teamwork and how to work with different groups of people. It’s funny to think that something you do
all the time could need to be improved, but yes, I learnt some very hard lessons about patience and understanding.

More importantly, 2015 was the year that I published my first poetry books, and for that matter, the first time I ever published anything! You can find them via these links below (yeah I know, shameless
self promotion, but hey, I haven’t got a marketing department yet, but when I do….aha)

2015 brought many lessons for me about myself, about how to treat others, and generally about life. In my opinion, we as humans are always learning and growing. Anyone that tells you that they know it all
and do not need to learn anything else is lying, or just ignorant.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a 5 year old child or a 87 year old, you always have lessons to learn and things to realise about life.

I’ve learnt that it’s very important to focus on one’s self and own ambitions, lessons and life. You cannot go through life comparing yourself to others, it doesn’t matter if other people do, that’s their mistake. You simply have to focus on you and nothing else. That’s not to say that you should completely disregard others around you, or the people that you love. All it means is that when it comes to making decisions about life, making choices or even just how you life your days, make sure you’re doing exactly what you want to do, and not what others tell you or pressure you into doing. I believe that it’s very important for our souls to do this. If you don’t, you’re restricting yourself, imprisoning yourself. You won’t just feel sadness, disappointment, anger or regret emotionally, you’ll feel them physically too. So it’s crucial that you make sure you’re as happy as you can possibly be.

Oh and laugh as much as possible, don’t take life so seriously. Because really, is all of this petty stuff like money, social status,looks etc going to matter when you’re dead? No, all that will matter is how you lived your life, what you experienced, who you hurt, who you loved, who you saved and most importantly, what you gave. Life isn’t about taking, it’s about giving.

But hey, I’m a 22 year old man, I don’t know everything and I have a long journey ahead of me. These are just my thoughts and realisations. A reflection of what I’ve learnt this year and what I’ve gained.
I find that it’s really good to record these things, to write them down and reflect. I feel as though we rush around too much in life and never really stop to take time to appreciate the good things, the amazing things.
It’s like Matthew Broderick once said ”Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”.

So Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year
See you in 2016!

– Christian Reeve

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Listening Skills

‘People never listen, they’re just waiting for their opportunity to speak’ – Unknown.

I’ve always loved this quote. To me it epitomises people in our society.
Of course not everyone is like this, however I do feel that if more people made a conscious effort to truly listen to what other people say, we wouldn’t have nearly as many arguments or misunderstandings as we do.

I remember having a very heated discussion with a previous employer about their conduct as well as mine. It was brilliant because I was not expecting to learn anything from the altercation, I simply wanted
to make it clear to them why they were in the wrong, and why this behaviour couldn’t continue.

To some degree, I believe that person did listen to me and take my points into consideration, however they did of course have some things to say to me that I needed to improve or just simply change altogether.
In the midst of the meeting they said to me ‘Listening skills are very important, you need to learn how to listen properly’. Now most people might take this offensively, and truthfully at the time, I was angry about the whole situation anyway, so I did take it as an insult.

However, when I had calmed down a little and had some time to think about it, I realised what they were trying to say.  In the immediate sense, they were telling me that I was not doing what they required of me, not listening to what they had to say,  and this had therefore lead to mistakes on my part, however what they really wanted to get across to me was this idea that listening skills are invaluable in life.

If you can set aside your ego, set aside your emotions and even set aside your opinions and beliefs about everything, even for just a single moment, you will be able to listen. Listening is a skill that requires you to be fully engaged with the person you are listening to. Clear your thoughts of judgement, or your opinion that your basing on what they are saying.
Just focus on what they are saying, the way they are voicing it to you and just relax. Let it all sink in, imagine as though you have an empty box in front of you, one that you intend to fill. You can only fill it once you know what to fill it with. So in this sense, you cannot understand what a person is saying unless you know exactly what they are saying.
So you need to properly listen.

People are too caught up in what other people think of them, or whether what they have to say is meaningful or useful. But listening to people allows you to learn, to grow and to prosper. It can help you understand someone so much more.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for me personally, listening to people and limiting how often I speak has allowed me to learn so much more. It’s helped me and it continues to help me.

Just a thought.

– Christian Reeve

Time to shine

We spend so much time complaining about how things are, but doing little to change them. We worry everyday and we fear for the worst, but why?

Shouldn’t we live our lives by ‘what is’ instead of ‘what was’ or ‘what will be’? When I consider that I am twenty-two years old as I write this, I’m wondering to myself, I may have 40 more years to live, or may not live another day. If that were true, wouldn’t I be wasting precious time?

So I’ve decided, I’m going to leave complaints and fear behind. I’m going to leave behind everything that tries to hold me back and just focus on what is. It’s time to move forward, it’s time to take all those projects seriously. Everything that I said to myself ‘I’ll do that when I get the chance’, or ‘I’ll do that tomorrow’. Instead of tomorrow, I’m going to do them today. It’s time to shine.

– Christian Reeve

Employability (Homoeconomicus)

I’m currently studying a management degree and we have been studying a module titled ‘Employability’. At first it seemed like a simple topic that just educates students on how to improve their CVs, and recognise their skills and qualities that would be applicable to their future careers.

However recently we’ve been studying an aspect of the module called ‘Theories of Employability’ which encompasses this ‘Homoeconomicus’ idealogy. Learning about this was fascinating and I thoroughly enjoyed debating about this with my fellow students.

The main reason it interested me is because I found myself applying it to my real-life experiences. This ‘Homoeconomicus’ or ‘the ideal worker’ is apparent throughout history and is still relevant more than ever. During communism in the Soviet Union the regime propagated the idea of ‘the ideal worker’, armed with his/her scythe or hammer and that the worker had to be ready for work at all times. This ideal has not changed.
Yes,in the western capitalist world you have a choice as to whether or not you engage in society and work for it. You might not be eliminated for failure to conform, but you are likely to be ostracised or arrested for
not contributing. You may just suffer because you are unwilling to take part. I am going on a slight tangent here, but are we not slaves in a manner of speaking?

Do we truly have the ability to say no and renounce society?
Will our lives still be enjoyable if this is our choice? Everything that I can see tells me the answer is no to both of these questions. So in this sense, we are slaves to societal values and the pursuit of financial gain.There is little or no room for individualism and creativity in its truest and purest form. Even when creative outlets such as art or music are brought forward into the public consciousness,they are quickly given a marketable value and a time limit for how long they are ‘trendy’, or to put it another way ‘potentially profitable’.Yes these are highly cynical views, but look around you, the evidence is everywhere and it’s as clear as day.

Just bringing things back to homoeconomicus, this subject intrigued me particularly because every workplace I have ever worked, every school or academic institution I have studied at and everything I have taken part in within society is always looking for that ‘perfect person’. This ‘ideal person’ that is a role model to everyone. Who everyone should look at and think ‘yeah, they’re getting it right, they’re the person we should follow’. Businesses in particular want this to be apparent and without them having to state it, because it’s more organic this way. If they have to explain what they want to you, it’s no different to them trying to force feed you. You will either swallow what they give you and regurgitate
it to others accordingly, or you will refuse and simply not be what they’re looking for.

I have definitely experienced this through working for various companies over the years. Some companies want you to adhere to a particular group mentality, they want you to love the company and consider it your family. They want you to consider it a part of you. They want you to internalise this trail of thought and act like a continual marketing campaign for their company. The more you speak about the company to others, the more you tell your friends how amazing and fantastic their company is, the more they will favour you over others. Businesses need to make profit, businesses need to advertise and market their brand in order to do this. They need people who are able and willing, or just prone to manipulation, people who cannot identify that are being exploited. They are ‘Homoeconomicus’.

– Christian Reeve

Microsoft Paint APP

It’s pretty incredible to have this app on my phone and be able to create art wherever I go. I remember the days when Microsoft Paint was just an application on those big, blocky box monitor computers from the 90s.

These days, just like anything, it’s now available as an app! and I’ve been messing around with it. It’s a lot of fun. I’m no Picasso, but here’s a few things I created.

– Christian Reeve