(GIVE YOURSELF A) BREAK [ING POINT]

plane crash - waynekirtonwriter

plane crash - waynekirtonwriter

“MAYDAY! MAYDAY! We’re coming in hot! Fuel’s on E, Carlito’s dead, and I think we just sucked a bird through the blades again! This bitch’s coming down!”

Life was a mess to say the least. And you’d never suspect from his current predicament – his reckless abandon and apparent disregard for human life; screaming into the radio handset of a Cessna 172 hurtling towards the thick South American Jungle below* – the growing pains of someone who once could be so mindful and precise.

 “The comfort zone’s there for a reason,” the Ego said to The Sucker.

“Yeah, seated between Mediocrity and Death!”

“You’re going to die right now…”

“Will you shut up? I’m trying to land a metal box on a tree!”

His mind raced back quicker than the altimeter – space whizzing past the windows providing the backdrop to the visual theater as it replayed that last phone call he made, and how poorly he had treated her ever since they arrived on the this damn island… That college degree he never achieved all those years ago, knowing full-well how proud it would have made his mother. It would certainly have kept him grounded.

“Oh well.”

Back further… His first kiss, and how in that moment – with the sun pouring over him through the trees, as he sincerely accepted love for the very first time – life just seemed so enthusiastically, incredibly possible.

And here it all laid, spread out before him: Failures and regret like piercing branches disemboweling the fuselage and the suffocating vines of Mother Earth calling her son home.

“It’s been nice knowing ya,” he said to himself bitterly.

———————————————————————–

Sometimes life can get crazy.

Everything piles up over time, with us (blissfully and) ignorantly thinking there’ll be more time tomorrow, and somewhere along the line it all starts spiraling out of control. “You’re fucking it up,” the face in the mirror spits back at you self-righteously, always so quick to give you a hard time as if it wasn’t responsible for getting you there in the first place. Sometimes we as “humans”, with all our philosophy and science and sentience, can be pretty fucking stupid.

I wasn’t doing too well. I was freaking out about life. Again. I was doing everything I thought I should be doing but the happiness just wasn’t there. It’s hard to feel trapped within yourself – just you and your thoughts. And the voice is never helpful. The voice usually sounds like that kid who teased you back in school, or your parents, or that ever-present subconscious thought that ultimately you’re not good enough.

I-know-that-feel-bro-blank
Actually, I’m dead inside and therefore have no feelings…

Life can get crazy. And bet your ass it will! But when it does, it’s important and helpful to remember that it’s okay to be feeling the way you do. I’ve been connecting with a lot of people lately, both out of my active interest in establishing new and strengthening current relationships, and also entirely out of the happenings of the Universe. And during the course of my relating, I’ve come to find more and more just how incredibly hard everybody is on their self – how much we expect from ourselves, and the limits and deadlines we install by which we grade and measure our existence. We feel so entitled to endure the pains of life our brains tell us we should be feeling.

“I loved him so much, gave everything, and in the end I just wasn’t enough!”

The thing to realise, however, is that giving in to those thoughts and feelings is a choice. It’s making the choice between 1) this bad thing happened to me and I want to feel bad about it, and 2) this bad thing happened to me and no matter my thoughts or feelings about it, it won’t change the past so I may as well try and find happiness in the present.

“I’ve been struggling with this my whole life and it just feels as though I’ll never be happy!”

I don’t know why we gravitate towards self-deprecation and assault. Why we have to be the ones telling our inner voice, “I’m confident! I’m successful! I deserve this!” I don’t know how we can put a man on the moon but not know how to be happy; truly happy.

Eckhart Tolle postulates that the ego’s need for suffering is to create a sense of identity within the individual. It adds drama to “our story” and makes us unique in comparison to the rest of the world. “This is me and this is what I’ve been through!” The irony being that self-identification is maintained towards the promise of happiness, yet is characterised primarily by misery and suffering.

“When I get that promotion, THEN I’ll start living!”

I’m doing really well now. I think the breakdown was necessary. Sometimes it takes life crashing to the floor to force you to look at it realistically. The reality being that life, ultimately, is only ever as hard as we make it on ourselves.

So be kind to yourself today, forever. Listen out for that voice which tells you you aren’t good enough, or that your teacher was right, or that being skinny will make you happy. And then kill it.

Because the voice is lying to you, man! And we are all idiots for believing it. If there’s anything I’ve learned since connecting more, and just being receptive to the stories so many wonderful people have shared with me, it’s this:

You are not alone.

There is a world of beauty out there, filled with misery and heartache. 7 billion humans scared to reach out and touch each other**. Living in fear of rejection, or the wealth gap, or the colour of his skin. But I tell you this: For every single one of you reading this, for any problem you have been through or are going through right now, there is someone else on this ridiculous spinning rock going through the exact same thing.

Fight_club_Not_a_snowflake

And regardless of how entitled we feel to experience hurt and heartache, ultimately the only purpose it will ever serve is to make us feel like our lives suck.

Life is hard; give yourself a break. You are, after all, only human. Just like everyone else.

———————————————————————–

* Just finished FarCry 3… AMAZING!
** Sexual Harassment is a thing, I’m aware.
Advertisements

The True Cost of Winning, sponsored by iWits

joker curning money

My parents play the lotto religiously. I think that there is a deeply-ingrained desire in the modern human to better and build the world around him. To improve our situations and have all [the media told us] we ever wanted seems to still be the general life goal of the still early 2000s.

Making it rain seldom leads to drought relief
Making it rain seldom leads to drought relief

Even so, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting. And in most cases it’s a blessing unto humanity to wish to build and create where there was only scarcity before. There was a time in early human history where everything was so limited that having anything above the stock of one’s peers held a significantly greater chance for the survival for the individual: the ultimate* human need.

It’s unfortunate to see, however, how the modern-day equivalent of this need has perpetuated itself. To see people who have so viciously identified with the idea of monetary acquisition that it comes at the expense of their values, their lives and, more often than not, the well-being of fellow beings.

War would be the ultimate example of this idea: A few good men** who sit around a board room table and send brothers and sons out onto a battlefield like pawns on a chess board, all for the grand aim of filling numbers on a ledger. War isn’t hell, dear boy; it’s business! And business is booming according to Reuters.

One of my dearest friend’s stepdad was fatally stabbed in South Africa a few years back over a R300 TV set. While I can never claim to understand what the situation of the killer was like leading up to the incident, I use it to help convey a very troubling thought:

That right now, lurking in certain individuals among us, is the belief that money has greater value than human life.

joker curning money

The True Cost of Playing

On Monday 13 October 2014, iWits – local social marketing and web dev company – launched an awareness campaign sneakily disguised as an online scavenger hunt.

The scavenger hunt was a (legitimate) competition for N$1,000; however, some of the tactics employed in the competition were less than dignified.

To enter the competition, eager contestants were required to fill out an online form, read some terms and conditions, click “I agree” and start their journey towards winning that cool N$1,000!

Today (27 October 2014), over 250 Namibians are receiving emails from iWits informing them that they have been conned! Duped and swindled out of their hard-earned money and assets…

The email goes on to explain that hidden within the terms and conditions, which a staggering 83% of entrants failed to read carefully enough, had the following clauses hidden within them:

  • By entering this competition, the entrant agrees to pay iWits a monthly fee, totalling their full salary, allowance or retirement package for a total of 48 months.
  • By entering this competition, entrants agree that all property owned by the entrant or the entrant’s parents will be signed over to iWits within 30 days after the competition has closed.
  • By entering this competition, the entrant agrees that iWits may select one family member of the entrant to use in any and all advertising materials for iWits for a total of 12 months, furthermore agreeing that no compensation will be provided to the entrant or the family member that is being used in the advertising promotion.
undignified baby in an owl costume
“You did this to me!”

The average time the non-reader (a.k.a “sucker”) spent on the terms and conditions page was 1 minute 7 seconds, compared to those who followed the hidden links to the legitimate terms (14% of entrants) who spent an average of 9 minutes 6 seconds reading. 3% of potential entrants (this one included) opted to simply eject from the competition entirely.

It’s scary!

It’s scary because it has real-world implications. People sign contracts every day, and every day people are cheated out of their money. When I was still posted at Ogilvy, I handled the NAMFISA Consumer Education Bulletin and almost every edition there would be some article or paragraph outlining the importance of reading contracts. People will literally sign their salaries and houses away for a thousand bucks without a second thought!

Scarier than that is the fact that there are people who do this for a living! People who spend hours crafting and perfecting ways to trick you out of the money you spend all day earning. And he’ll get it right if you aren’t vigilant.

I personally at least scan through terms and conditions. I’m particularly interested in how a company or website wishes to use my information, as I’m equal parts paranoia and spam hater, but even I missed the first crazy clause. Had it been the only one, I too, may have been suckered.

But I encourage you keep dreaming, Namibia, because there’s nothing wrong with wanting a better life for yourself. Just always a) ensure that whatever you want in life does not come at the cost of your fellow man and b) don’t be so blinded by what you want that you are taken for all you have.

View the official iWits release with all the stats here

###

EDIT: Lastly, iWits wishes to inform the public that the offending clauses have been invalidated and no entrants will be held liable for them – this was only an awareness campaign, after all.

###

*secondary to reading waynekirtonwriter
** Isn’t Jack Nicholson just dreamy?