The Problem With Inspirational Quotes.

In the past, religion was a much more prominent part of society and the majority of people put their faith in an ethereal being that existed outside of themselves.

For the most part, people believed that the amount of control that they had over what happened to them was limited because their life was ultimately shaped by external forces.

Nowadays, due to scientific discoveries and technological advances, fewer people believe in a greater power or all-seeing omniscient entity.

Today, society is much more individualistic and we are encouraged to believe entirely in ourselves, a trend that is fuelled by widespread distribution of inspirational quotes on the internet.

Instead of looking outward for validation, we are more likely to look inward.

Some people find this empowering.

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However, it can also be quite overwhelming.

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Although I think that self-belief is a positive thing in many ways, I sometimes find that relying on myself to be the sole engineer of my own success can cause me to put a lot of pressure on myself.

I sometimes feel underqualified to deal with the task of leading my own life as if whoever is responsible for bestowing the gift of life forgot to include the instruction manual when they gave one to me.

I often try to be more proactive and make plans in an attempt to map out my future in a structured way.

Making plans makes me feel momentarily powerful as if I am the sort of person who can effectively navigate life and exert control over the things that happen to me.

However, what normally happens is that I end up sitting with the plan in front of me with absolutely no idea how to implement it – which is a bit like trying to use a map with faulty navigation equipment.

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I tend to make most of my life plans in January.

Like most people, every January, I decide that I am immediately going to reconstruct myself as a new healthier, happier, more productive human being.

For a brief period of time, I genuinely believe that I possess the ability to do this.

However, it soon becomes apparent that this is not the case.

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It turns out that making a change in your life requires more than temporary resolve.

It involves taking your initial motivation and transforming it into habit – it is a commitment to continue performing behaviours that may initially feel unnatural and are sometimes the complete opposite of those that you have exhibited your entire life until they become integrated into your daily routine.

It is easy to make a strong statement on January 1st, experience a setback a few weeks later and immediately assume that your entire self-improvement endeavour is doomed.

So this year, I am resolving to not to put too much pressure on myself, accept that setbacks are part of the process and to remember all that I can really do is try my best to navigate life whilst attempting to be the most functional, together version of myself that I can be.

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I Am a Very Small Fish in a Big, Massive, Confusing Ocean.

When I was in school, I used to feel quite important.

My social circle was quite small and I was confident that I was going to achieve all of my goals and everything was going to go swimmingly.

I was essentially was a big fish in a small pond.

However, as I have moved up through the educational system, I have gradually come to realise that this is not the case.

It turns out that I am a teeny tiny fish in a significantly larger body of water.

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I Think I Am Suffering From Holiday Season Withdrawal…

January is quite a confusing time of year for me.

In the UK, the majority of holidays are concentrated between the months of October and December.

Although I no longer enjoy Halloween and Christmas as much as I used to when I was younger, I still like using the holidays as an excuse to consume a copious amount of food and drink before justifying the consequent damage to my waistline/ general health using the phrase ‘it’s *insert holiday name here* – I deserve to treat myself.’

In addition, the holidays provide winter with a kind of structure, helping to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.

There is always an occasion to prepare for and, up until the end of December, it is possible to propel myself through the long dark months of cold miserable weather on a tide of festive merriment.

However, eventually January comes around and I am suddenly released into the new year with nothing on the immediate horizon.

I never know what to do with myself without the incessant stream of holidays that have kept me occupied since late October.

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How I Learned The Truth About Santa Claus.

When I was younger, my main ambition in life was to own a dog.

Unfortunately, my parents were reluctant to buy one because they both worked long hours and thought that looking after a dog would be impractical.

When I was seven, I decided to take matters into my own hands and actively wrote to Santa asking for a dog.

At the time, I thought that I was being really crafty .

I thought that I had devised a cunning plan to outwit my parents by going behind their backs in order to obtain what they had previously denied me.6 As a child, I had a very intense and vivid imagination and invested heavily in fantasies and delusions.

As a result, I had complete faith in Santa’s ability to provide, not only free 24-hour delivery of a live animal, but also a complimentary kennel construction and installation service.

I was therefore slightly disappointed when all that I received on Christmas Day was a DVD of Disney’s ‘101 Dalmatians’.

At this point, any sensible child would have learned to monitor their expectations and set their sights a bit lower.

Not me.

In fact, the following year, I decided to up the ante.1The prospect of having a magical flying unicorn excited me – not only would it be an efficient mode of transport but it could also act as a symbol of my inherent coolness which I could use to improve my social status on the playground.

Christmas day arrived and I rushed downstairs, only to find a distinctly non-unicorn sized package waiting for me under the tree.

Attached to the package was the following note:2Inside the package was a ‘My Little Pony’.

I’m not going to lie – the ‘My Little Pony’ was a MASSIVE downgrade from a magical flying unicorn.

I told my Dad that I ‘ho-ho-hoped Santa was very disappointed with himself’ but apparently this was ‘slightly out of tune with the spirit of Christmas’ so I brushed the hair of my ‘My Little Pony’ and tried very hard to look as if look like the process of doing so filled me with festive merriment.

Over the course of the following year, I discovered the Harry Potter books.

My favourite Harry Potter book was ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban’, mostly because I was borderline obsessed with Buckbeak the Hippogriff.

As a far as I was concerned, a hippogriff was a cooler, edgier version of a magical flying unicorn.

I decided that I wanted to go to Hogwarts and buy Buckbeak off Hagrid.

My dad once told me that if you want to get anywhere in life you have to learn to work your contacts so, that year, I wrote a letter to Santa asking him for a letter to Hogwarts.3At the time, I thought that relying on a fictional character to help me escape into a fictional world was a completely legitimate, logistically-sound plan.

However, on Christmas day, I was once again disappointed when I received a copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ along with a note that explained that all I needed to go to Hogwarts was my ‘imagination’.

By this point, I was getting quite frustrated with Santa.

However, despite repeated disappointments over the course of several years, I still fervently believed that he was real.

In fact, my brother, who was two years younger than me, discovered the truth about Santa before I did.
4Evidently, I thought that Santa was having some sort of confidence crisis and that my pep talk would provide him with the self-esteem boost to cement his place in concrete reality.

I was quite upset when I didn’t receive a reply.

I saw it as a personal rejection.

After all, I had made the effort to write a letter to Santa and, even if  he wasn’t real, the least he could do was write back to me to confirm his lack of existence.

I obviously couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that this lack of existence may have somewhat impaired his ability to reply to me – in fact, in order for him to reply to me he would have had to sent me a message from an alternate fictional dimension, something that would have essentially involved defying the laws of existence.

Nowadays, I have a better understanding of the boundaries between fiction and reality.

That being said, a small part of me still kind of believes Santa Claus is real.

However, I know that if he does exist, he is probably struggling to update his business model in order to remain competitive in an overly saturated, technologically-advanced modern market.

christmas-delivery.pngIf you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I Like to Pretend That I’m a Mature Adult With High-Minded Intellectual Opinions But, in Reality, I’m Just a Big Kid…

I have a degree in English Literature which essentially means that I have a £27,000 piece of paper that says I’m good at books.

One of the main skills that you learn as an English student is to think critically – to take wider intellectual concepts and apply them to whatever text you happen to be studying.

When I was at university, I often felt an obligation to live up to my image as a literature student.

I tried very hard to sound well read and informed and to provide a deep insightful commentary on whatever subject I happened to be discussing.

christmas pretty2_LII graduated from university a couple of years ago and, since then, I’ve become concerned that I haven’t been intellectually stimulating my mind as frequently as I used to.

I used to be interested in critical observations about the flawed nature of human society.

Now, simple little things BLOW MY MIND.

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How To Make The Most Out Of A Coffee Loyalty Card.

Like most people, I enjoy buying hot drinks from coffee shops.

However, recently, I have been trying to cut down on the amount of money I am spending on a daily basis.

In an average coffee shop, a medium latte costs around £2.75 which on its own doesn’t seem that expensive.

However, if you buy one latte every day for a year, then it all adds up to an amount that I can’t figure out right now because maths is hard – but it’s probably quite a lot.

Therefore, in an attempt to save a bit of money in coffee shops, I have started using loyalty cards.

Every time I go into a coffee shop and buy a drink, I get a stamp on my loyalty card and, once I have collected six stamps, I am allowed a free coffee as a reward for my unwavering dedication.

I have been using loyalty cards for a while now and have figured out a way to ensure that I am using them as effectively as possible.

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Unfortunately, I am getting slightly addicted to the feeling of satisfaction and achievement that completing a loyalty card induces.

As a result, I am probably going to coffee shops more often than I would have previously.

Sometimes, I have several loyalty cards for various different coffee shops on the go at once which I’m pretty sure completely undermines the concept of loyalty.

Therefore, although saving £3.45 on an extra large mint hot chocolate with marshmallows makes me feel like a savvy supersaver, the fact that I have previously spent just under £5 on overpriced tea in order to obtain it probably suggests otherwise.

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I Think I Might Be Scared Of My Comfort Zone.

I have a love-hate relationship with my comfort zone.

On one hand, I like my comfort zone because it makes me feel as if I am in control.

When I am inside my comfort zone, I feel confident, stable and grounded.

On the other hand, if I stay inside my comfort zone for an extended period of time, I start to feel guilty.

I get anxious that I’m not progressing or developing in any way, that I’m letting myself down and that my life isn’t going anywhere.

At this point, I start to resent my comfort zone.

I worry that my tendency to stay within my comfort zone is causing me to miss out on important life experiences and preventing me from fulfilling my potential.

My comfort zone transforms into my FOMO zone.

Eventually, the anxiety of staying inside my comfort zone becomes so huge that it overwhelms my fear of straying outside of it.

At this point, I make a concerted effort seek out activities that scare me in an attempt to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

I like to imagine that I’m an astronaut taking one small step into the unknown depths of space when, in reality, I’m probably just taking a phone call from an unknown caller ID.

astronaut_LI (3)astronaut_LI (3)If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.