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Chronicles of the ex Employee Pt 1: My boss is dumb and they don’t pay me enough.

I haven’t done a blog post in a long time and usually they’re about self improvement and conquering depression etc but this has been kicking around in my head for a while and since I’ve played both employer and employee recently I find myself in a unique position and I feel compelled to give you a glimpse behind the veil – and to vent at how scary and horrible what I do can be at times.

My name is Ayman. I’m 27 and self employed – which is wonderful and fun and exciting and also sucks a fat bag of dicks – I make considerably less than minimum wage and certainly less than if I was on the benefit. Admittedly this is mostly my own fault as I’m generally unorganised, foolhardy and am prone to slumping into unproductive stints of depression and procrastination. I have done my share of shitty minimum wage jobs and have at one point or another complained that I’m not getting paid enough – as I’m sure most of us have. The more I run the wheel of self employment the more I conclude that I was an entitled little shit bag – that being said, if you’re working for giant multinationals rolling in fat stacks of moohlah who could easily pay you more then maybe I’ll hold my tongue – this discussion generally applies to working for small to medium size businesses. I won’t be going into why I think the minimum wage sucks and hurts employees nor will I be discussing why lower wages and automation are generally the easiest ways to cut costs and drive the lowest possible price for the end user –frankly, I’m not an economist, nor am I experienced enough to weigh in on these things – I am just going to discuss my musings on the employee/employer relationship in light of my recent experiences as both.

This past weekend I had been invited to an event to sell my wares (a bunch of swanky natural handmade men’s grooming products that you should totally go and buy at madarabindustries.com) this was a one off market tied to an event happening in the city– it was being run by a group that I’d worked with before and I trusted their hype and their track record for putting on a great show. It was tied to a major local event, it was run by good people so it was presumably a safe bet and a chance to raise some much needed capital (to pay for the next event).

The usual deal for these shindigs is to pay a stall fee upfront –this secures your spot and goes towards advertising, hiring the space, a band if there is one and paying event organisers etc – at least that’s how it’s supposed to go. This fee can range anywhere from $30 upwards of $1000 if the foot traffic/ expected turnout is massive or the event organisers are taking a monumental amount of piss. It is always a gamble and you never know how much stock to take let alone whether the stall fee, accommodation and other overheads are going to be worth it – i.e. less than the amount of money you end up making.

Leading up to a big event I’m usually making a shit load of stock, I’ll have no money(or worse get I’ll get into debt to make enough stock or to pay the fucking stall fee) and I’ll be laying awake at night praying that things go well. Additionally I’ll get a friend to help me with labeling or selling and I’ll either pay them whatever I have on me or pay them once I’ve sold some stock (the latter makes me very nervous). As nerve wrecking as it all makes me, it’s usually ok because we’ll usually break even or do well -meaning I can pay people and get some money together to pay for the next thing.

If things go well or I at least break even, I’ve just helped some of my even more broke ass friends get a bit of money together to pay rent or pay for a tyre so they can pass their WOF or whatever. I pay everyone that I owe money to and the economy marches forward. Let’s say things go perfectly for a long time and I need to hire people full time – well then I’ve just created a bunch of fun, well paying jobs that let employees pick their hours and listen to the music of their choice (having worked in a super market – I cannot stress how important this is) and we all set sail toward the horizon with the wind in our beards and smiles on our faces.

So, what happens when things don’t go well, when you don’t break even and you just paid $1000 to sit in the rain for a day and sell two bottles of beard oil? What if the event organisers over blew their event’s expected foot traffic and overcharge you? Or it rains and you get a quarter of the expected foot traffic and subsequently none of the expected sales? The worst part of this is your debtors and your employees have the audacity to expect to be paid regardless of how things went–so what do you do?

You know, other than put a gun barrel in your mouth and say it’s not your problem anymore.

Well, maybe you take on some awful minimum wage job to pay everyone back, maybe you get into more debt, maybe that gun barrel starts to look quite tasty again.

Bar the last option it is YOUR responsibility to do something about it.

This is what the past thousand odd words have been getting at – the responsibility – IS ALL ON YOU. The risk- IS ALL ON YOU. So surely the rewards (if they ever even happen) – should all be yours. Your employees did not take the risk, your employees agreed on a rate for their time and THAT’S IT.

When an employee takes on a job they don’t say to the boss “I will work for no pay if the business doesn’t do well this week” the agreement that’s generally made is “I will trade you hours of my life for x amount per hour” – obviously I’m speaking very simplistically and not considering commission based jobs or whatever the fuck Fonterra’s been up to.

What I’m getting at, if your boss is driving an [insert name of overpriced late model luxury brand of automobile] and you’re driving a [beat up rust bucket typically of Japanese origin] then I feel it is generally somewhat justified: the employee doesn’t take on massive debt and risk, the employee doesn’t spend years living off of rice and cheap coffee -working unpaid every hour of the day to get a company off the ground, the employee certainly doesn’t lie awake at night wondering if everyone who needs to be paid gets paid on time and finally the employee has the greatest phrase in the history of employment ; “let me get my manager”- THIS IS ARGUABLY THE THING I HAVE MISSED MOST ABOUT BEING EMPLOYED – the ability to throw your hands up and dump all responsibility on your boss – I got to use this a couple of times a while back and it was so liberating – it almost made me consider going back to the employee life.

Before concluding I would like to clarify I don’t assume your job is easy, nor am I assuming it pays you a fair wage, I’m not suggesting your boss is a saint and deserves his Audi. I’m just saying the grass isn’t always greener – Shit this blog is supposed to be about beards… Err… The beard isn’t always softer on the other face – yeah that’ll work.

Finally, thank you to everyone who’s hired me, supported my brand and most importantly given their time to help me get this venture and my ideas off the ground –this includes you – Mr or Mrs Reader.

Love,

Ayman
Founder, Steersman and Chief Mad Man of Mad Arab Industries

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Don’t let yesterday’s fuck ups be today and tomorrow’s hang ups

What up! It’s been a while.  I highly recommend you listen to this post today instead of reading it! https://youtu.be/Tj856sgi5zw

So today’s post is inspired by my guitar – that sexy curvaceous piece of craftsman ship that sits on my lap and acts as an extension of my very soul. I could write you a whole essay on why I play guitar and what I love about music and the importance of having a creative outlet that takes your demons away.

However that’s not the point of this discussion –in brief: I play quite a bit, I’m not that technically proficient or musically educated but I love making music and it makes my soul happier than almost anything else on this planet.

This is the first point I’m going to make:
If you love doing something –  being not amazing at it isn’t an excuse to not do it. You should spend as much time as you can doing it –because you will get better just by virtue of doing it and frankly it’s not about getting better, it’s about doing something that you earnestly love.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this discussion.

Do some visualising with me:

Picture yourself playing a tune on whatever instrument you wish –a guitar, a piano, a kazoo, a banjo -whatever–maybe your friends are jamming with you, maybe you’re playing in front of a crowd.

The music is flowing, your soul is alive, everything is perfect and it feels like nothing could go wrong. It feels effortless and you’re just riding this beautiful wave of inspiration.
*PLUNK*
You hit the wrong note or the drummer drops the beat or something happens.
Do you stop and cry about it?
Do you stop playing and apologise to the instrument, yourself, the audience and the rest of the band? Do you say you’ll never play again because you made a mistake?
No mother fucker, you wince, grit your teeth, maybe let out an Fbomb and keep fucking playing!

The flow is more important than the one or two sour notes- the best part about making a mistake while playing is that mistakes happen. A mistake is one isolated moment but time is a never ending stream of moments – some good, some amazing some shit and a lot in between.

The number of mistakes I’ve made, the number of opportunities I’ve passed up…
If I were to stop and count them or spend time feeling sorry for myself do you know what would happen?

I’d never do anything, I’d never learn anything and I’d miss a life time’s more worth of opportunities.

So certainly learn from your mistakes but don’t let the past hold your present back. Don’t let the baggage that no one but you cares about stop you from having new experiences – don’t let it make you hesitate and worry about fucking up again – you’ll more than likely fuck up again but that doesn’t matter.

The band doesn’t care if you fuck up- they all fuck up too.
Does the audience care? No they’re having too good a time to notice what you’re doing.

And if you do fuck up so badly that everything stops and everyone notices then make it funny, have a laugh- pick your ass up and keep playing- the show must go on!

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Just do it

The following post could be summarized in the Shia Labeouf video titled ‘Just Do It’ – come to think of it, most of this blog could be summarized by just watching that video. However some of you need it spelt out even clearer so here goes:

This is dedicated to my numerous friends who give me dumb excuses. You know who you are – to be honest, you’re probably not reading this so whatever. I’ll probably curse at you a few more times by the end of this post.

So here goes

Situation One

Friend: “I want to do stuff but I don’t know what to do…”
Me: “Well what have you tried doing?”
Friend: “Nothing, I want to draw, I want to write, I want to make a video game, I want to learn to play guitar and I’d like to learn a language.”
Me: “have you started doing any of this?”
Friend: “no, I don’t know which one I should do and I’m scared of doing the wrong thing”
Me: *has aneurism and while making gurgling noises*

If you don’t know what to do with your life, but you’re sure what you’re currently doing isn’t the right thing then start trying everything until you find something. Not everyone gets the pleasure of a perfect epiphany telling them what their sole vocation is – not even I, I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur, a comedian or a musician – I love doing all three things so I’m doing all three things.
By trying to actually DO STUFF you will quickly figure out what you don’t enjoy doing.

Situation Two
Friend: “I’m so jealous you’re able to motivate yourself to do all these cool things”
Me: “you know it’s not very easy to stay the course, you just have to get up and do it”
Friend: “I read a few self help books and am just waiting for that aha moment”
Me: “that aha moment doesn’t so much happen as you just have to practice disciplining yourself to get more out of your life”
Friend: “but it’s so hard to get out of bed and get things done”
Me: (getting frustrated) “I know, but really the best thing you can do is start journaling your success and writing to do lists, having a clearly defined goal with a reason to accomplish it really helps things along too”
Friend: “I tried that but I couldn’t keep it up”
Me: “That’s where the discipline comes in…”
Friend: “but you make it look so easy though…maybe this trip to South East Asia will inspire me”
Me: “it isn’t easy, there have been many days especially after my break up where I didn’t do anything useful and the only thing that brought me out of it was myself. If you can’t discipline yourself at home, what makes you think being in a foreign country will help?”
Friend: “the energy of the place and the experiences I’ll have”
Me: “here drink this bottle of bleach, maybe it will help inspire you”

Seriously though, I get sick of hearing this sort of shit. People just waiting for the right thing to get them to act – news flash sweetheart! IT’S YOUR FUCKING JOB TO ACT!

I’m not any different to you. There are days when it’s a struggle. Do you think that I wouldn’t just like to play dark souls or watch Rick and Morty all day? Do you think when I’ve got a girl round I don’t just want to spend all day lying next to her alternating between cuddling and fucking like rabbits? Of course I want to! However all the video games, Netflix and pussy eating in the world will not get me to where I want to be, so it’s really about focusing on what matters. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still indulge in these things but not until my work for the day is done, not until I’ve attended to the important things because MY DREAMS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY TEMPORARY PLEASURES AND DISTRACTIONS.

So many of you brilliant and beautiful people are restlessly drifting through life unhappy, waiting for that perfect thing to come along – YOU HAVE TO GO FIND IT!

 

And for you lazy fucks who simply can’t ‘find the motivation’ I will share with you my three greatest motivators:

Proving others wrong
Demonstrating to yourself that you don’t need your ex girlfriend
Seeing your own breakthroughs and progress

That last one is probably the most inspiring. Seeing how far you’ve got, what you’ve accomplished –it demonstrates to you very quickly how you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

I hope this slightly antagonistic post inspires you to go out and do something. If you’re worried about doing the wrong thing, you’ll only find out if it’s the wrong thing by going out and doing it.

Life is about doing stuff, succeeding and making mistakes – you’ll typically learn more from your mistakes anyway so regardless, it’s win win.

So go fucking do stuff.

Fuck you Katherine go do some shit.

You too Ryan, you’re brilliant so start acting like it. If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

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Decide or the universe will decide for you.

Firstly, fortnightly seems to be the release time on these bad boys. Hope they’re treating you well. I’ve got Barbercraft this weekend and it’s already ten past midnight but I was dumb enough to toss a coin and ask ‘Should I write a blog post tonight?’

The coin spoke …. fuck.

Also, why am I taking orders from a coin??

Because I couldn’t make the decision on my own.

Couldn’t?!

No, I DIDN’T make the decision on my own and left it up to chance instead of stating what I wanted and pursued it. Now I’m here writing this article instead of sleeping.

Guess that’s what we’re talking about.

IF YOU LEAVE SOMETHING UP TO THE REST OF THE WORLD – THE WORLD WILL DECIDE FOR YOU AND YOU WON’T HAVE A CHOICE – IN ANYTHING.

This can include your job, your lovers, your friends and ultimately your life.

I see people every day who have no idea what they’re doing with their lives. They coast through school, then into university to study whatever they hated the least at school (mine was biology). They ultimately attend university or have a ‘gap year’ because they have no clue what they actually want to do with themselves. They go to university or work a shitty job and by the end of it, all they want are better hours, better pay and to eat something other than instant noodles. Their spark for life and desire to chase their dreams gets swapped for their desire for a stable paycheque and nice things. You end up working a job you either hate or tolerate, with no idea what you want to do with yourself. You fill your life with plastic trinkets, video games, Netflix and the gym with no actual goal in mind for any of it. You then fall into the consumer trap of ‘I want to own my own home’ without ever asking “why do I want any of this?”

It’s the same with love, you go to a party, get fucked up, wake up next to someone, if you like the look of them you do it with them again until you’re both like ‘yeah sure let’s make this a thing’.
You end up in a relationship based on habit and comfort instead of a union of two souls that are working towards something together – which is ultimately THE point of a relationship: To grow together in a beautiful way and create something bigger than the two of you. Let me tell you, I’ve had this and it was one of the best times in my life and it fell apart when I started focusing on my lover instead of the vision (we may delve into this one day as it’s fucking important but the topic is still a little too raw for me to discuss objectively)

We are all adrift in a bountiful and endless sea. Some of us know where we wish to end up and work towards it, while most people are content just drifting instead of figuring out where they want to go and finding a way of getting there. Yes captaining a ship is hard work – yes you have to man the sails and manage the rudder but ultimately it’s better than eventually drifting into some rocks or being eaten by a kraken (cunty girlfriend that drifts you into marriage whom eventually rapes you in divorce court for everything you ever owned). You’re the only one who can do it and figure out what you truly want.  Also, it is totally ok to have the desire to support someone else in their vision if you believe in them and their goal – but you’d better actually believe in that person and their goal otherwise it’ll ultimately end in heart ache. I am aware while there are natural leaders out there, there are also people who WANT and ENJOY fulfilling the support role and there’s nothing wrong with that but I digress.

“If we don’t discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us”
-William Feather
Don’t let habit and convenience make you into something you don’t want to be. Don’t do something that’s slowly killing you inside just because it’s easy. It’s your life and it is your right, nay responsibility to do with it what you DESIRE. If you clearly define your goal and take just one step towards it every day you will be miles ahead of everyone else in a matter of weeks – and you’ll be so much happier.

Finally remember this all too important point:  ‘Indecision is still a decision’

Also, no vague goals – something tangible – something you can visualize, something you can hold onto when it gets hard.

That’s all I’ve got today, I am out of steam. Have yourselves a great day, wish me luck at Barbercraft and I’ll make sure the next one is more punchy. If this article wasn’t up to snuff let me know via comments or email but my excuse can be found here.

Also if you haven’t already check out Captaining your own ship, the sea and Why am I doing what I’m currently doing. They’re tied to this topic.

Lastly, if you want a great audio book on the subject ‘Out Witting the Devil’ by Napoleon Hill discusses this rather beautifully.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

 

 

 

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Be mindful of what you feed your mind

Every day we feed our minds with a lot of shit: advertising, images and scenes from movies and TV, song lyrics, other people’s negativity and criticism, memes and a lot of other junk. At the best of times this junk will just waste our brain power and distract us from what we truly want to focus on. At its worst it will make us do stuff we don’t actually want to do, like buying and consuming a double down, jerking it and wasting our vital life force or something equally pointless. Even more so this negative junk can affect us long term and cause us to think less of ourselves and form bad habits.

So first, I suggest you take a minute to examine the junk that you put into your head as well as your body and see if there’s some fat that needs trimming. This post however focuses specifically on the messages fed to us by those around us and by ourselves.

The most powerful voices in our lives are our parents, our lovers and our friends.
But there is one voice that rules them all: Our own voice –both the external vocal and the internal dialogue.

The power to get what you desire and to become what you want lies in the words you think and the words you say to yourself. What you imagine is also incredibly powerful- couple this with persistent imagination and constant mantras you have the power to create your own paradigms and subsequently the life you live. This, like all things works with positive thoughts as well as negative thoughts.

Suppose a farmer has some land, and it’s good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care. It’s up to the farmer to make the decision.

We’re comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn’t care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.

Now, let’s say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds-one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land…and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.”

As it’s written… “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

The Strangest Secret – Earl Nightingale

I cannot emphasise how important this analogy is to understand! If you can internalise this and apply it you’ve basically won the battle and can win at life.

Like everything, this comes down to training and practice– remember the more you do something – the easier it gets. Practice being mindful of the thoughts you feed yourself – both vocal and non vocal. You’re the one who controls them. Practice catching yourself thinking or saying something that hurts or limits you and change your dialogue – it’s as simple as the difference between I will try to _____ and I will ______.

Pretty sure a big eared midget once said:
“Do or Do not, There is no Try.”
Master Yogurt Startrek SG 1 The Phantom Galactica Strikes Back

Common examples of shit I hear people say and shit I’ve said to myself in the past:

“I’ll never be able to do that”
“I can’t dance”
“I can’t sing”
“I always get sick during ______”
“I’m never on time”
“I’m bad at finishing things”
“I don’t have the energy”
“I’m always tired when I get home”
“I’m no good at _______ why bother”
“It’s too hard”
“I’m too busy”
“If only I had ______ then I’d ______”
“I can’t live without _______”
“This is how I’ll always be”
“I need ______ to be happy”
“I’m too stressed to quit smoking”
“I wish I could do that but….”

Do you get the idea? These are examples of the little bits of bullshit we’re constantly feeding ourselves. These things keep us doing the same shit over and over and prevent us from developing into better stronger people.

When we hear these things not only does our conscious mind hear it, our sub conscious and unconscious mind hear it as well. Our minds take in, and process accordingly – so we’ve got to be careful what we feed them.

Usually, all that needs to change is wording or simply not allowing ourselves to say the shit that keeps us from growing.

“I’m getting better at dancing” instead of “I can’t dance”
The first step is being aware of it, the second is adding new personal dialogues (loud ones that rhyme are particularly powerful –in the morning and before bed for faster results) the third is eliminating or changing the old dialogues and the final step is to practice all three steps until they become second nature.

It’s a journey, sometimes you’ll do it a lot, sometimes you’ll forget – the tools are always there for you when you choose to use them.

Within your mind lie the very implements for your salvation or destruction. Use them wisely.

This ties into the poorly referenced story of two wolves – pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before. Paraphrased: Inside everyone there are two wolves a good wolf that represents light, love and bravery and a bad wolf that represents darkness, hatred and fear. These wolves are constantly at war. Which wolf wins? The one you feed.

On dealing with people who refuse to accept this paradigm: You can’t change them, only they can change themselves. All you can do is change and grow yourself and lead by example. You can guide and instruct those that are curious but there is no sense trying to help those who don’t want to be helped or are determined to keep you down. You can tell someone everything I’ve told you and they may take it in or they may laugh at you. They may say “that’s just how it is” or “I can’t change” or some other defeatist answer –you’ve done your part, move on and limit your time around them if they’re hindering you.

Disclaimers
Be careful not to dismiss all negativity or criticism. Advice and criticism can sometimes be grounded and constructive. Take it in earnestly, examine it and then decide if it’s valid – if it comes from several sources then it’s more likely to be valid – you need to be self aware, introspective and honest with yourself. The idea of this isn’t about living in lala land and lying to yourself, it’s about shedding the negative lies you’ve been listening to for years and putting in place the truths you know, deserve and are capable of attaining.

Homework
This week, I want you to try being mindful of your inner dialogue as well as what you say to others. Try to stop thinking in terms of lack and limitation and think in terms of prosperity and growth – encourage yourself and others to grow and develop instead of allowing and maintaining mental road blocks.  If you can make the effort you will see results both in your own life and the lives of those around you.

Extra credit
Pick one particular lie that you tell yourself regularly and either change it or replace it entirely with a new truth. Repeat it at least 10 times a day with conviction –out loud and see what happens.

Lastly, I WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU GET ON! I want to hear if this was helpful, I want your questions if you have any and I want to help guide you guys towards being all that you can be(ard). Go forth and feed the right wolf.

Readings
If you want more on this consider “The Game of Life and How to Play it” or “Your word is your Wand” both by Florence Scovel Shinn (I fucking love this woman, I wish I could go back in time, eat her box and give her every ounce of pleasure I am capable of giving in gratitude for her work).

Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret

http://www.oneyoufeed.net/ – I haven’t comprehensively been through this website but the general content is exceptional and very akin to this topic.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store, get in touch, follow me on the social medias or comment below.

This post is dedicated to Summer and Jamee, both of whom inspired me to get this written sooner than what I’d had planned. I hope you take something from this.

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Depression is F***ing S*** Part Two: Good thoughts, Good action Good head

Depression.
IS FUCKING SHIT.
Let’s fix it.

(This is Part two Part one can be found here)

How to fix depression

There is no ‘instafix’ or magic bullet. Unfortunately you can do everything in your power to fix your life and in will fly some sort of trigger that puts you into a spiral. The key to dealing with the spirals is being mindful of the triggers, your reactions and yourself as well as having good behaviours waiting to combat depressive episodes when they strike (this takes practice and discipline- but the good news is, it gets easier the more you do it).

If you can’t find the immediate cause of your depression and do something about it then the best thing you can do is perform good action. Good action gives you agency and a sense of control over things in your life.

Things to avoid

I think we’ll first start with a brief list of what not to do. You won’t like this list, but it’s for your own good.

In no particular order:

Sweet / delicious food – it’ll give temporary relief, it’ll fill the void. Then you’ll crash, you’ll get fat and you’ll feel even worse.

Porn / sex you’ll be temporarily distracted by the bouncing boobies and all the trimmings, but then afterwards you’ll be swept with lethargy, emptiness. The French refer to orgasm as La petite mort (the little death)  In some this can be accompanied by shame, anxiety and a bunch of other not particularly useful feelings.

Drugs / alcohol / cigarettes –sedatives and escapism – fill your body with temporary good feelings, then a crash. These are typically addictive and are bad for you. They also hinder your progress at actually finding a solution for your problems. Pretty obvious but I’m saying it anyway.
Video games– I have wasted many a night depressed and playing video games. Be it playing WoW or LoL –at the time I’m absorbed in the experience – great. Afterwards I log off and all my problems come back – I also usually feel worse because I look at the clock and realize how much of my life I just wasted not actually doing anything.
Video games are designed to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you haven’t. So as soon as you unplug, that reality sets in. Maybe you stay in denial for a few months/ years but one day that house of cards will come crumbling down and you’ll feel worse – that armour you spent 3 months grinding for is just a bunch of ones and zeros.

I’m not saying don’t play any video games but don’t let success in a game be the meaning in your life.

Basically avoid anything that gives you a false sense of accomplishment or temporary distraction from your issues unless it’s constructive or has long term, real world pay off.

What the hell is good action?

Any thought, action or behaviour that leads to good.

Some quick fire things that qualify as good actions:
Exercise
Creative expression
Enjoying beauty
Cleaning your room
Pet a cat or dog
Having conscious experiences
Helping an old lady across the street
Warmly greeting a passerby
Giving to someone worse off than yourself
Weeding your garden
Building a thing
Getting more sunlight (this was my dad’s go to)
Cooking yourself a healthy meal
Getting more sleep
Getting out of bed

For me personally: I like walking, playing guitar, giving a homeless guy on the side of the road a tenner. Alternatively I do something constructive that I needed to get done already – like fix the fence, mow the lawn or clean my room.

Basically you need to push yourself to accomplish something and accomplish it.

The satisfaction will lift you beyond the very stars and give you a sense of empowerment and control of your destiny.

Exercise is particularly good for this because biochemically it gives you a shot of endorphins to ease the pain – breaking a sweat every day also forces you to have a shower every day (something people with depression like to ‘forget’ to do)

Yes the pain will come back sometimes, yes it will hurt -but it’s about fighting through – because the more often you overcome, the easier it gets to overcome.

The other thing that I find helps me when I’m depressed is to do something for someone else – help someone else out, lift someone else’s spirits.
This can be as simple as checking in with a mate who’s having a rough time, calling your mum or grandparent and asking about them, giving blood or giving some money to a homeless person or a charity.

“Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”
Eckhart Tolle

IF YOU FEEL HELPLESS, HELP SOMEONE ELSE it will empower the fuck out of you.

A special shout out to cleaning your room
By sorting the excess baggage in your life, you sort out the excess baggage in your head.
To quote my father “an untidy living space is not conducive to mental well being”
Your living space is a reflection of your mental state so fix that and see what happens.

Count your blessings
Don’t lie to me! You know you’ve got them. Be thankful for what you have! Take some time to take a deep breath and list a few things you’re thankful for.

If you’re stuck here are a couple of examples:
I am thankful that my eyes work and I can read this
I am thankful I am above ground and breathing
I am thankful I have leisure time that enables me to read blog posts on the internet
I am thankful for the internet
I am thankful I don’t live in a third world country

See how fucking easy that was? See how unshit your life actually is? This practice is really about giving you a sense of perspective and gives you a chance to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Depression could be interpreted as the habit of thinking negatively – so by doing this, we’re trying to counteract this with some positivity – with practice this can be enough.

Another interesting thing you can try is ‘Wim Hof breathing’ I can go into this one later or you can look it up. Basically you take a few minutes in your day and by taking deliberate, deep breathes  your mind-body connection improves and shit sucks less. I’ll put a link below.

I find that being depressed can also be a symptom of not being conscious enough – too busy stuck in your head worrying about your problems instead of existing in the outside world and experiencing shit. What do I mean by this?
I was walking in the rain today and intentionally shook a tree to create a downpour of icy cold water on my noggin –this experience was cold but invigorating and it really broke the numbness I had been experiencing today. I laughed and carried on.

While walking I generally like to touch (not break or rip) the plants I walk past, smell the smells around me and listen to the world (or the heavy as fuck music pumping through my headphones as my every step stomps on all my problems)
I hope you understand what I’m trying to explain here:
Experience things, be aware of your surroundings and focus less on the storm clouds in your head. By focusing on them and feeling helpless you give them more power.

Summary

Depression is shit and will affect almost everyone at some point in their lives.
Medication/ escapism and sedation shouldn’t be your first resort to fixing it.
Depression is an accumulation of negativity, dis-ease and disempowerment.
Good thoughts, good habits and good behaviours will trump the negativity if you steadfastly work on training your mind.
Being negative pulls more negative shit towards you. It puts you into that state of mind- that wavelength.
You need to consciously train yourself to think positively so you can overcome the negativity when it strikes.
Empower yourself in other areas to break free from the sense of hopelessness.
Reach out, find someone to help you deal with this stuff and realize it’s a temporary setback not how your life is meant to be.
Lastly and most importantly, one of my favourite maxim’s:
THE MORE OFTEN YOU DO SOMETHING THE BETTER YOU GET AT IT.
^this works for good things as well as bad.

Writing this article has been particularly beneficial for me. The sense of accomplishment is rather gratifying, I hope reading it provides you with some light in the dark – there is light inside you, you just have to reclaim it and foster it.
Thank you for reading, this was a long one. I hope it has helped. If you have any questions or comments, post them below or get in touch.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store,  follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

More reading

I personally found this well crafted article useful on the subject http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/12/21/call-new-strenuous-age/

Wim Hof with Joe Rogan

Therapy vs Medication
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201507/psychotherapy-vs-medications-the-verdict-is-in
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748674/

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Depression is F***ing S*** Part One: SSRIs, Shamans and a taste for the Negative.

Depression.

IS FUCKING SHIT.

Let’s talk about it.

So we’re going to talk about a subject close to my state of being at the moment and that’s depression –this is a long article so I’ve split it in two. You can find the other half here.

Now before I begin I’d like to add that I’ve had depression on and off since I was in highschool. Bullying, my parent’s divorce and my old man’s death all highlight the happy experience that was my adolescence. It’s a problem that affects most of us at some point or another- sometimes for a few days, a few weeks; sometimes for years and unfortunately for some- entire lifetimes.

To give you context, I’m currently depressed because a couple of weeks back I split up with my partner, designer and lover of over two years. It wasn’t mutual and frankly, it feels like I‘ve had a limb ripped off (to be honest, since I’ve written this and done a bunch of this stuff myself, I feel pretty good).

Such is life, we carry on: we either learn from these experiences and move on or we let them consume us.

So being depressed is fucking shit. Everything may as well be grey. Nothing tastes good, nothing feels good and you wander around like a zombie; numb to everything and the only thing you can experience is hurt. You can’t sleep, it’s hard to get out of bed and it’s almost fucking impossible to get anything done without dragging your heels and feeling like shit while you do it. Everything seems to go wrong and the universe feels like it’s against you.

A few ideas on the cause / source of depression

Cut and dry I’d say depression is a symptom of three possible things: Disharmony, Disempowerment and a habit of thinking negatively.

Disharmony
Something inside you isn’t right and it’s manifesting into an internal uneasiness or a dis-ease if you will. Disease –see what I did there?
Internally you are not at ease. It could be anything from a repressed traumatic event, a shitty relationship, cognitive dissonance or something at work or at home that you haven’t dealt with.

Disempowerment
Another component of depression is a feeling of disempowerment. There is something that upsets you that you seemingly have no control over so you feel disempowered and unable to do anything about it-this feeling of disempowerment typically bleeds into the rest of your life making you feel like you’re absolutely worthless and that you can’t do anything to fix your situation.

A taste for negativity
This last component is mostly targeted at chronic depression. People occasionally fall into the habit of constantly thinking negatively and this inevitably fucks with their heads – they get so used to thinking negatively so that’s all they know. This is the trap those who’ve had something go wrong in their lives fall into and they sometimes get stuck there – and the negative shit just builds up until they don’t know what’s wrong but something is definitely wrong. They can lift themselves out but inevitably something happens that starts the cycle again. This is the hardest to combat but it’s beatable.

Lets first discuss the medical solution

SSRIs ( Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors -the most common class of antidepressant) SSRIs loosely work by increasing the amount of serotonin available to your neurons, serotonin is linked to feeling happy so having more of that around should fix the problem (my biology degree is crying in shame at how basic and generalized this description is).

Before I rip into SSRIs let me make it clear that I understand they can help some people, especially those who suffer from ‘chemical imbalances’. This is not the be all and end all on the subject. I’ve heard good stories about people going on them for a few months to get through the rough patch and they got off them no problem – but I’ve seen the other side of the coin more often and I have a few issues with them.

My issues with SSRIs.
1) They don’t actually fix the problem which depression is a sympton of
2) They effectively lobotomize your emotional side so you’re basically constantly numb and feel nothing
3) Their side effects are hugely fucked up -usually requiring you to take more meds to fix the side effects
4) They’re quite hard to get off of and getting off them can be rather dangerous
5) In my humble opinion big phrama isn’t about solving your problems it’s about generating revenue (yes my tinfoil hat is very comfortable)
6) We live in a culture where there’s a pill for everything – this isn’t always the best solution and in my opinion when it comes to depression it’s the worst solution.

How I would colourfully explain treating depression with SSRIs
“hey doc, I’ve got this nail in my head, could you pull it out?”

“don’t be absurd patient! Take these pills that you have to take every day that you’ll likely get hooked on. They’ll sort you out. They are hard to wean off, they could possibly make you suicidal, they can cause weight gain and other side effects including: spasms, impotence, reduced sex drive and a bunch of other shit written in tinee tiny fine print”

“ok, but what do they do about the nail?”

“oh that’s the brilliant part, eventually after months of being on this medication you grow indifferent to the nail, your head and the rest of your body and eventually your head may simply fall off”

“sounds good, where are my drugs?”

Last words on SSRIs
I think SSRI’s and other medication are bullshit because you’re effectively putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound without actually taking the bullet out. You can’t take things from the external world to sort out internal strife – you have to go on a personal journey inside yourself and figure it out – this is where a trusted friend, a psychiatrist, meditation or maybe even a shaman can help. Anything you take orally is for the most part either a temporary escape or some sort of sedative (weed, alcohol, SSRIs) the only thing that might help you internally via ingestion are possibly ayahuasca (DMT) or LSD but that’s not exactly something I can recommend but there’s some cool research on the subject you can look into yourself. These would need to be taken not for recreation or escapism but to help you travel inside yourself and tussle with your demons head on (this is where the shaman would come in to guide you along and shamans can help you travel inside yourself without the use of psychoactives).

DISCLAIMER: I am sure you’re all smart enough not to take my OPINIONS as medical advice. If however you are that stupid and consider what I’m saying to be medical advice then I prescribe 5 blue jelly beans a day and your depression should clear up in about a week. If you’ve tried everything I’ve mentioned and nothing has helped I suggest you speak to a professional

Shaman disclaimer: I’ve never used the services of a shaman or anyone of the nature but I see it and hallucinogens as a potential treatment of finding out about one’s self. The issue is it’s very hard to find an actual shaman in a world full of quacks and stoners who watch VICE that like to call themselves shamans.

That’s the end of part one. Part two is about fixing depression without meds. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you for Part Two.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online storeget in touch, follow me on the social medias or comment below -feedback is always appreciated!

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Aim for Completion not Perfection

A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Lao Tzu

Boom, you’re inspired lets fucking do this.

Firstly, I’m going to start by saying: I’m a wreck this week. I’m experiencing a cold for the first time in over a year and my personal life is not in a good shape. I say this because I feel like absolute shit but I’m doing this because I said I would release regular content and I’m not letting the bad shit keep me from doing what I believe in and neither should you.

YOU CAN ALWAYS DO SOMETHING: EVEN IF THE WORLD FEELS LIKE IT’S AGAINST YOU.

You can’t control what you’ve done in the past, you can’t control what you’ll do tomorrow – All you can control is WHAT YOU DO RIGHT NOW.

But I digress, let’s press on.

The Scariest Moment is always just before you start
Stephen King

So, I have this dream of being a musician – have had it since I was a little kid. This dream barely gets realized because other stuff happens. Work, life, Mad Arab, Inspirational blog posts* you get the idea.

I’ve found when I finally sit down and try to start working on music I clam up, get distracted or something else takes my focus. We all know this monster: Procrastination.

But what is procrastination. In a nutshell it’s fear

Fear that my song will be shit. Fear that my muso friends will think it’s shit. Fear that I’ll get stuck half way through and have to abandon another half born child to the folder named ‘WIPs’ because my technical skills and limited knowledge hold me back.

This fear results in failing before I’ve even plugged in my guitar and another day is lost to stupid insecurity and groundless fears.

I’ve found the most powerful tool to combat this anxiety is to say
“even if it’s shit, at least I did it”

Before most of us start any task we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We aim to build the Eiffel tower before we’ve even built a coffee table.

I’ll let you in on a secret: no one cares what  you’re doing because they’re too busy caught up in their own shit – and if anyone shit talks you, it’s usually because they’re mad at themselves for not having done exactly what you’re trying to do. It’s better to have created something and put it out than not even getting started. Even if it’s rubbish, it doesn’t matter people will either love it or click on the next cat video. It’s important to make it and put it out. Why? Because it makes putting out the next thing EVEN EASIER and the next thing might just be the Sistine Chapel or whatever.

So what I’m trying to say is: Aim for Completion not perfection.

You can always go back and fix it later if you’re not happy with it. Or just start something else taking lessons from the last thing you created. However, you can’t do this if you never started to begin with. This idea is also good for stopping yourself before you over think and over process something to the point that it’s truly a piece of rubbish in your eyes because you’re sick of working on it.

If Aiming for Completion not perfection is still too hard for you then try my favourite technique for getting an essay written:

INTENTIONALLY CREATE THE SHITTEST THING YOU CAN!

I remember once having to write an essay on owl feeding habits for uni and I had wicked bad writers block.
So I started with this:

“Owls are birds, they have big fuck off eyes which help them be noctournal and shit(Wikipedia, 2011). They have big talons and can fly and Harry Potter owns one, it’s called Hedwig (Rowling, 1997).”

After I got the initial anxiety of getting started out of the way by purging the stupidity out of my system I got to writing a pretty sweet paper that got me an A-

Obviously I removed the initial sentence once it fulfilled its purpose but I enjoyed writing the rest of the paper BECAUSE I could approach it without the pretension, without the anxiety and without the fear of doing a shit job.

So in light of all this, I’m going to upload this tonight and proof read it tomorrow ( a major cop out for producing shitty work, but you just read an article on the importance of producing work – no matter how shitty).

Fingers crossed I’ll be feeling better next time, because the next topic is important and I want to nail it. If you like what you heard today I’ll recommend the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online storeget in touch, follow me on the social medias or comment below.

*so I guess this too could be perceived as a form of procrastination but hey, if this helps you then I’ve done a good thing.

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Why am I doing what I’m currently doing?

A useful question that we don’t ask ourselves often enough. This question is possibly one of the most powerful and important questions I have begun to ask myself when I’m not achieving as much as I’d like to be.

The steps we take today determine where we are tomorrow.

Before anything can be made manifest into the physical world it must begin as a thought- an intention- a desire. Without this: it cannot exist.

When we act without thinking we are usually drawing ourselves to situations and outcomes we do not want. However, if you know what you want and can keep yourself in line with that desire then you can manifest what you wish. Instead of succumbing to your habits and lesser desires which as we discussed previously usually draws you to the same shit in your life that you’d rather not have.

Example One
Why am I currently eating this fatty over processed garbage?
-It was easier than cooking.
-I saw an ad for it on TV.
-The packaging is colourful and drew my attention.
-It takes the loneliness away and gives me a temporary feeling of satisfaction.

Instantly by asking this question (and answering honestly) we realize that our answers are usually really poor excuses for shitty, self destructive behaviour. This is the power of questioning your actions: It really makes you pinpoint why you’re performing potentially destructive behaviour.

Example Two
Why am I staying up late binge watching a TV series I’ve already seen?
-I’m nervous about tomorrow so I’d rather not think about it
-I’m lonely
-There’s nothing better to do
-I’d rather eventually fall asleep in front of this instead of trying to drift off to sleep in silence
-I don’t want to be alone with my own thoughts
Example Three
Why am I drinking this beer?
-I’m watching a game with the lads and it’s the thing to do
-I had a shitty week at work and I’m trying to forget about it
-There’s nothing better to do after a long day at work
-Potentially I may be an alcoholic

These are just a couple of examples of seemingly innocuous behaviours that we all take for granted that we really don’t have good excuses for doing so frequently. I’m not saying stop drinking, I’m just saying ask yourself why you’re doing it.

When you ask yourself ‘Why’ and realise your answer is piss poor then that may lead you to ask:

Is there something better I could be doing right now?

This is important because:
YOUR TIME IS LIMITED. YOU SHOULD BE USING IT EFFECTIVELY IF YOU WANT TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE.

If you have a goal you should be honest with yourself regarding how you spend your time.

If you want to become a musician but spend your free time playing video games because it’s more fun / easier then do you deserve to ever be a guitar shredding, groupie boning musician?

The honest answer is: No

When we begin to question why we’re doing what we’re doing we begin to ask ourselves what should we be doing and this is one of the basic steps in become masters of our own destiny.

Some days you won’t win and you’ll simply answer with ‘because I want to’ and that’s ok but as long as you start to question, the excuses will become less and less effective and you’ll see yourself performing those shitty actions less and less.
The key here is honesty and holding yourself to account:
It is your ship and it is your responsibility to steer it.

We should also ask this question when we’re doing something worthwhile and begin to feel ourselves grow weary.

Why is not only there to question bad things. It’s also there to give your positive behaviours meaning.

 

Example Four
Why am I working like a dog to get this business off the ground even though I’m usually broke and always busy?
-It’s more fulfilling than a full time job
-I want to support my family
-My customers love what I do
-I don’t want to have a midlife crisis and ever ask the question ‘where did the time go?’
-It’s fun

When we ask ourselves this question in times of adversity  while doing worthwhile activities we remember our cause and it bolsters our resolve – giving us more energy and keeping us in sight of land.

Final Example
Why am I writing this entry instead of playing Undertale?
– I still have enough energy to do something worthwhile
-Ultimately this is more satisfying than playing video games
-This benefits the world better than me selfishly playing video games
– I know someone out there needed to read this

So to anyone who has made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope this has given you something to think about. Perhaps this is the day you stop self sabotaging in the name of instant gratification and begin to steer your own ship towards what you actually want in life.

If you would like to support my cause feel free to have a look at my online store, get in touch, follow me on the social medias or comment below.

Now that that’s off my chest, I can go play video games.

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A Primer on Mastering One’s Destiny

This was originally published on the first version of my website sometime in late 2015. Here it is again. It’s aged reasonably well.

Hello and welcome to another Mad Arab blog. Please note: this will not be about beards.

I see a lot of meh in the world – I also see a lot of people frustrated with the meh but not really sure how to ‘transcend the meh’. So for the longest time I’ve wanted to do something to perhaps help people rise along with me – because even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.

The purpose of this ‘blog’ is to help others get to where I’m going / where I want to be.

So without further delay I present my new segment:

The challenges of mastering ones destiny.

In short: the biggest challenge is mastering yourself before you master the world.

To that some might say ‘Slow down Tony Robbins, lest your giant nose shadow all that ye master’

So to start us off I’m going to give a basic primer on self help as well as a bit of a warning about the biggest hindrance to success.

Success – how do you do it?

It boils down to a few simple things:

1) Believing you can succeed.
2) Having a concrete definition of success.
3) Taking actions that lead to towards that vision of success.
4) Staying the course in the face of adversity.
5) Being earnestly and genuinely grateful for all that you have and all that you will have.

Interestingly the ‘thinking’ is more important than the ‘doing’ but you need to do both.

I was never very into ‘the power of positive thinking’ and all the trappings of New Age until I started this journey and now I would say I’m a firm believer in the power of conscious thought.

That is really what most self help boils down to – it’s not just about reading the books and doing the meal plan. It’s about internalizing it so thinking in a certain way becomes habit.

The barriers you face are mostly of your own creation – when you realize this, you will begin to understand your full potential.

On the subject of drifting

The way people exist in our times is rather passive. People drift through school until they find a job, they drift til they find a partner and  they drift all the while just hoping they’ll win the lottery. Being adrift in an ocean of drifters leads to collisions, capsizes and worst of all -drifting leads to one day waking up and saying “What the fuck happened to my life?”

So how do we avoid such an awful experience on our 30th, 40th, 50th or 60th birthday?
Easy, by not allowing yourself to continue plodding along with no drive and no direction.
Stop drifting and start sailing.

Enough with your punchy catchphrases mate – you’re not a self help Guru.

You’re right my cynical friend, I’m not a self help master. I’m just some guy who’s working through his bullshit so he can succeed. Just like you’ve got to if YOU want to succeed.

Drifting leads to living a reactionary life – at the mercy of the tides. While it is true we are all at the mercy of the waves some of us have the forethought to carry anchors, a compass and sails. Without these provisions a drifter is a shipwreck waiting to happen.

I will visit drifting in more detail in future but for now simply understand that drifting leads down a path of unfulfilment, poor health and general unhappiness. Yes it’s scary being your own person and actually taking charge but it’s the most rewarding thing you can do. You owe it to yourself to be all you can be. Settling for the path of least resistance or the lowest denominator because it’s easy will in the end leave you miserable.

When the opportunity to succumb to your lesser desires presents itself consider the following:

The steps we take today define our destination tomorrow.

Good night and thank you for your time,

Arab, Mad The.

If you found this helpful and would like to support me on my quest, consider buying some of my fine products here: http://madarabindustries.dreamhosters.com/