It’s that time of year when everyone is all partied out and can’t be bothered with the whole ‘returning to normality’ thing.
Happy new limbo to you all – I hope you had a good one!
So with this in mind I thought it would be a great idea to revisit my favourite articles of 2013. I have a few in the works but right now my brain isn’t in the mood to give them the credit that I feel they deserve. I’m still in holiday mode but it’s been 2 weeks since I last posted here so if you’re bored at work or just need your ‘Psycholocrazy fix’ (I know some of you do, right… right?) then keep reading.
So what’s happened in 2013? Well firstly, Psycholocrazy burst through the 1000 subscriber barrier which excited me so much I had to sit down, take a few deep breaths and change my pants (That’s English pants.. the proper kind). An article that I submitted to The Huffington Post ended up being shared well over 140,000 times via social media.
I had to change into another pair of pants.
Hopefully in 2014, I can continue to grow this website and push myself from the rambling nonsensical idiot that I am into some kind of legitimate writer. Time will tell of course, but as with most things in life, it’s not up to anyone else, it’s all down to me.
There will be changes to this website in due course and if all goes well, hopefully a book before the year is out. I’ll keep you posted with that one.
As many of you know I quit my job in 2012 to start teaching guitar. If you’re new here then this article will show you a glimpse of how I ended up where I am today. But you know what? It’s not going too badly. I have reached 20 students after only 18 months of setting up my website and hopefully the post-Christmas rush will fill my pockets a little more too.
This quitting your job thing really does work, so if you’re worried about failing, don’t; success is inevitable if you just throw some hard work and a bit of time into the pot and stir like crazy.
With regards to my personal life, my year has been a mixed bag but there were far more positives than negatives. I had a relationship with a wonderful girl and had some great times in London and Bruges to name a couple of places. 2014 should see me travel a lot more and one of my goals is to spend a week partying in New York.
I wouldn’t say that I am happy with my life, but considering how down I was 18 months ago I am more than pleased with my progress.
So here’s to a great 2014!
So without further ado, here are my favourite articles of 2013. I hope that you enjoy them.
15. 6 ways to instantly make yourself a better person
Everyone thinks they are a good person, and why wouldn’t they?
Most people don’t run around with axes or intentionally set out to hurt others and sadly this seems to be the barometer that we seem to judge ourselves on.
‘Well I haven’t chopped anyone up lately so therefore I must be a saint’.
Yes well done, you’re not a murderer but can you honestly say that you treat people the right way?
To help you out I have come up with 6 flaws that nearly everyone reading this will recognise in some form. Maybe you have been guilty of these in the past, maybe you know someone who does some of these things regularly.
Maybe you are hurting someone right now and don’t even know it.
It’s never too late to change so have a read through this article and see if you can positively impact someone’s life today by becoming a better person.
14. 5 people you should eliminate from your life immediately
Social circles are strange things, mainly because we don’t really get to choose the people we hang out with the most – they kind of just happen to be there.
As kids we are thrust into a particular class at school and this becomes our first ever social circle. Cliques start to form within that group and these will usually remain, give or take a person here and there, throughout our childhood and into our teenage years.
These early social circles always contain a mix of personalities, styles and the odd black sheep – actually you may notice this scenario happening in the workplace. You’re thrust into a group of people and a weird bonding process takes place, even if you wouldn’t necessarily choose to hang out with them in the ‘real world’.
You just learn to tolerate these people.
Thousands of years ago we just hung out in small tribes and even though we are now linked to the entire world via the internet, our monkey brains still cannot cope with knowing more than roughly 150 people.
Obviously you know more than that. Take a look at your Facebook friends list, if it’s fewer than 150 then either you have a very tight grip on your relationships or you’re a misanthropist in training.
Because modern living throws new people at us every single day, eventually some of them will stick.
Some of these will become your new best friends, other will inevitably piss you off and the rest could end up fitting into one of the following 5 categories.
Are any of these familiar?
13. The Fallen Man
Shortly before Christmas I witnessed something that has had a pretty huge effect on me. I will be totally honest, at the time I didn’t give it much thought. On the surface it was a brief incident, all over in 30 seconds and quite easy to forget.
And yet now, four weeks onwards, I cannot get this out of my mind.
The fallen man.
I had just met up with a friend and as we were walking down the road something small entered my peripheral vision. A movement, small and barely noticeable but it was just enough to interrupt my conversation and grab my attention.
An elderly man was lying on his back on the corner of the road, legs in the air, at first I thought he was going to find his way to his feet but no, he lay there.
After a second or two I realised something was definitely wrong so I walked over and thankfully he was fully conscious and looking directly up at me.
“Hi are you okay?” I said, offering my hand.
“Yes, yes” he replied.
This was something I failed to recognise at the time but thinking back it was the one thing which now troubles me.
The resignation in his face said it all…
12. 6 reasons why being beautiful sucks
I don’t know about you lot but it seems to me that there are more beautiful people roaming the planet than at any time in history. Of course the standards were a lot lower in the past – you were considered a sexual Goddess in the Stone Age by virtue of being less hairy than the other women of your tribe.
The opposite was true with the men. Think Russell Brand with a club.
Suddenly things changed and millions of years of evolution went out the window – somehow the last 10 years allowed all these pretty men and women to come out of the woodwork and dominate our lives.
Every picture has been Photoshopped – boobs are bigger, stomachs are flatter – evenBeyonce had her skin tone touched up to make herself more appealing to the masses. It’s not just the professionals either. The self-conscious among us run our photos through some editing software before posting online and God forbid if someone tags us on Facebook without our knowledge.
The men are at it too.
Sales of male grooming products are at an all-time high – chests are shaved, moisturising cream applied and tanning salons become a home from home. Men are carrying more muscle and less body fat these days and the use of androgens is becoming the norm rather than the exception
What’s going on?
11. 5 Harmful things you need to stop doing today
I don’t know about any of you lot but I’m continually doing things which are either unhealthy or a total waste of time. Worrying about factors that are totally out of my control or stuffing my face with Doughnuts when I should be on a low carb diet.
It’s normal, I’m human and I’m as far from perfect as it’s possible to be.
One thing that I like to pride myself on is the ability to recognise where my failings are and to act upon them. I don’t need a punch in the face to tell me that I’m acting a certain way just as I don’t need a wide berth around me to let me know I require a change of clothes.
I would like to think most people share similar thoughts but it’s easy to fall into other less obvious traps that make up a part of our everyday lives.
The following list is a collection of harmful activities and behaviours that I have caught myself doing recently that I personally want to minimise as much as possible.
10. 5 things you think you know about life but always get wrong
Life is basically one long ass experiment that we have to take part in. 70 plus years of trial and error where we all try to do our best to make the most of what we have without killing ourselves in the process.
It’s a fine line.
We all make mistakes. We all walk down certain paths only to realise that we should have turned back a long time ago. It’s ok, it’s just how we learn.
Occasionally the matrix likes to reveal a few truths and if we’re paying attention, get to discover a few ways in which this whole life thing is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
9. 32 things I’ve learnt in 32 years on this planet
I have recently turned the horrifically ancient age of 32 and while I am embracing the idea of buying some slippers and resting my creaking bones by the log fire to do today’s crossword, I thought I would offer some insight into what I have learnt in my time on earth thus far.
1. Question every piece of advice you’re given.
Yes, including the following 31 items in this list. Never take any advice as gospel.
2. It’s okay to be terrified.
Many times in my life I have been scared. Not just with pushing my comfort zone or doing something new but also in everyday situations. Once I figured out that everyone on this planet feels the same way I began to feel more relaxed and at ease with the world.
3. Don’t over think things…
Should I do this? Should I stop doing that? Deep down we already know the answers to most of our questions and our gut instinct should be the voice we listen to the most. I over analyse everything and this is why I am king procrastinator. My best decisions in life have been those where I acted spontaneously.
8. The most important question you will ever ask yourself
“What am I actually doing to change my life?”
Think about that for a second. I’ll wait…
Seriously, what are you currently doing to change your life situation?
Are you one of these people who ‘talks the talk’ but when actually pressed for a bit of action, you retreat back into your dreary existence, wishing and wanting but not doing anything about it?
That’s fine. You’re normal, and nobody will ever hold that against you. But why do we aspire to be just ‘normal’? What benefit is there in being average? Why don’t we just fucking do something extraordinary for a change?
Within each and everyone one of us is the capacity to achieve greatness…
7. Has anyone ever told you that you’re amazing?
Do you remember the last time that you really fancied someone? I mean really cared about someone. How every day they would occupy your thoughts and all you could think about is whether they would ever feel the same way about you?
Most of us rarely tell anyone how we truly feel. We’re too scared to put ourselves on the line because the potential embarrassment of being turned down is too much for our fragile ego to take.
So we keep quiet and watch with resignation as we miss our chance and they end up dating someone else. This person never knew how you felt…
6. 4 terrifying life lessons we only learn as we age
Here is a little secret.
I have no idea what I am doing half of the time. I plan things out like a regular sane person and I have a vague idea of the future but quite often things don’t always go the way I want them too.
Like the final season of Dexter.
As I get older I have realised that I am, and always will be, a work in progress. My life is a movie with a cast of 7 billion and an audience of thousands. I haven’t a clue what the next scene will be or even if it will be my final performance, but that’s fine.
I am 32 and I have learnt a hell of a lot in my time but experience is exponential. The longer we live the more we learn about ourselves, those around us and life in general. Like not investing 8 years of your life in following a TV show only for it to turn around and slap you in the face. I learnt that this week.
I digress. I’m starting to realise that there is no such thing as a perfect existence. Everyone goes through ups and downs. Nobody is exempt from the rollercoaster that is life. Our elders are only wise because they have reached a grand old age without getting themselves killed in the process. They haven’t figured everything out, nor do they know everything.
Maybe that is why happiness is said to increase dramatically over the age of 55.
They have reached an age where they stop trying to resist life’s many obstacles. Instead learning to embrace everything that comes their way – accepting the good and the bad with equal relish because they have the experience needed to take everything in their stride.
But for those who are younger, who maybe haven’t figured it all out yet (me included), these lessons can be terrifying when they occur.
So far, during my 32 years on this planet I have come to realise that…
5. Are you an introvert or just a highly sensitive person?
I am often overwhelmed, but you wouldn’t know it. When the world is bombarding me with stimuli my brain responds with a ‘nope I’m not dealing with this’ and inside at least, I will shut down and do my utmost to ignore everything around me.
At least I make an attempt at doing so.
Crowded spaces are the worst. Busy town centres or nightclubs where you are literally being barged out the way every 5 seconds. But I am not claustrophobic in the slightest. Sometimes just the knowledge that someone is in my presence is enough for me to start looking at the nearest exit sign for a reprieve from the stress this brings.
God knows what my previous flatmate thought about me, always hiding in my room when his friends were round. But I’m not shy at all.
How on earth are you supposed to relax when someone is sat just feet away, knowing they can see you in the corner of their eye, listening to your every breath, interjecting your thoughts with banal small talk and the occasional moan about their day.
Living alone is where it’s at, bliss.
So what on earth is wrong with me?
4. 5 ways in which modern life is screwing with your mind
Once upon a time we lived in caves and our only form of evening entertainment was seeing how fast we could run away from a Sabre toothed tiger.
It was a fun game, if a little dangerous.
Even 30 years ago we would bring out that game of Monopoly and gather round as a family while we all fight over who gets to be the race car. Times were simpler and times were good.
Then a bunch of clever people invented the internet and ruined mankind.
Okay I’m being dramatic but over the ages, what we consider to be socially acceptable and even fun has changed significantly and technology is largely to blame. Kids these days spend most of their waking hours in front of a television or PC monitor instead of playing hide and seek outside.
Yes we may be living longer, the air may be cleaner and we are becoming more intelligent, but as a society we have to be careful that we don’t allow modern life and most importantly, technology, to rise up like Skynet and take full control of our everyday lives.
It could end up screwing with your mind. For example…
3. The 4 biggest lies we tell ourselves every day
The human ego is a very powerful little tool. It likes to jump in front of us, like some kind of invisible shield to protect our frail minds from the big bad world. One of the methods our ego likes to use is to convince us that there are legitimately good reasons why we do stupid stuff.
It’s so good at this that it begins to believe its own lies. We become deluded, oblivious to the weaknesses that are infesting our day to day lives. The truth gets pushed deeper into our subconscious until eventually we engage our inner autopilot feature and we become zombies, wandering aimlessly through life, barely stopping to question who we are, where we are going and how we even arrived there.
The only way to remove the ego from this decision making process is to embrace your core values and allow your subconscious to guide you on the right path.
The following 4 lies are created as a means to protect us from the unknown, from the possibility of failure and thus a damaged ego. Recognise them, challenge them and ultimately remove them.
2. Depression is NOT a mental illness
This is a short article that I wish to get out there because it constantly irritates me about the many misconceptions regarding depression, what it is and who gets it. I want to begin by asking a simple question.
What is the difference between depression and food poisoning?
I’ll tell you.
With food poisoning you can phone in sick to work and your boss will allow you to have a day or two off with no questions asked. Have you ever tried to phone in sick with depression? I bet most of you haven’t, mainly because you just KNOW that your boss won’t believe you, let alone be ok with it.
So you make up a ‘real’ illness – you know, one that everyone can relate to.
How about when your friend asks you how you are feeling today? With food poisoning you can straight out tell them what is wrong and you will get sympathy in return. Tell them you are feeling down and all you’ll probably get is a ‘well cheer up, it can’t be that bad’.
It’s at this point you fantasise about punching them in the face.
1. Do you realise how lucky you really are?
During the summer of 2007 I had a job that was so demanding – I was constantly on the verge of curling up in the foetal position and declaring ‘game over’.
It wasn’t that the job wasn’t fun, it was. Or that it was boring, it wasn’t – just that what they made us do was borderline sadism.
I worked on the beach as a deckchair assistant and basically that means walking around all day taking money from the old people and the lazy. Sounds easy right? That’s what I thought, initially.
Yet try spending 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, walking on the sand under the summer sun.
Yes, ouch. Great t-shirt tan though.
I tell a lie actually – it was 8 hours walking on the beach and 4 hours running around putting several hundred deckchairs, sunbeds and wind-breaks back in the lockup before we could go home.
At the end of every week my legs would be begging for mercy and my back… well, what was left of it, had already given up.
I was 4 weeks into my contract when I began to have doubts as to whether I could continue in this job for the rest of the summer. It was making me genuinely depressed. I started to resent the sun for it meant a long and arduous day ahead of me. Rain would be a relief – a chance to sit down or maybe an opportunity to finish early.
What kind of weirdo begs for rain? Me. I was that weirdo.
I had a realisation…
Sounds awesome, Jamie. Congrats on what you’ve achieved so far, it’s really inspiring for me.
I never knew you had a Guitar site. Have you ever thought of teaching via Skype? I’ve actually tried one Skype piano lesson and it was pretty cool. 😛 The time difference was terrible though!
Jeremy recently posted..The Concise & Powerful Guide To Life (By A 22-Year-Old)
Hey, thanks. You know what, I have thought about it but right now my internet connection is so terrible the student would probably pay me double just to go away! 🙂
Amazing posts here, Jamie. I’ll need to get reading!! Just saw you were named one of the top 100 personal development blogs of 2014! Congrats!
Jessica Sweet recently posted..New Year’s Career Coaching Offers 2014
Hey thanks! That’s a lot of words to get through, good luck! 🙂
You never mentioned what happened with that special girl…
Have a great new year Jamie!
SEBASTIAN recently posted..A Scared Little Kitty
If it’s the one I’m thinking of, it is so far in the past it’s appearing as a documentary on the History Channel 😉
Congrats on the massive success on Huffington Post. Keep up the good work for 2014!
Ludvig Sunström recently posted..How Successful People Read Online
Hey Ludvig, thanks a lot and good luck with writing for Cracked in the future.
You’ve had a great year with some wonderful articles. Keep up the amazing work!
Thanks a lot Dan – same to you too!
Looking forward to what you’ll have in 2014.
Dan Erickson recently posted..our experiences shape our writing
Hi Dan, hopefully onwards and upwards, and of course, all the best to you this year too!