The Thing That Bugs Me Most About Summer.

I’m always secretly quite happy when summer comes to an end.

My dad is a redhead and although I did not inherit this trait, somewhere deep down inside of me there is a recessive ginger gene that protests whenever I venture out into the sun.

There also tends to be quite a lot of bugs around in summer and I don’t like bugs very much.

I understand that bugs are an important part of our ecosystems and that all life is beautiful and sacred and I am happy to appreciate their integral role in the circle of life… as long as they don’t come anywhere near me.

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I am aware that bugs have a vital role in natural processes such as decomposition but when a bug is buzzing around my head the only thing breaking down my ability to tolerate its existence.

The number of bugs present is proportional to temperature.

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So it makes sense that, as summer comes to an end and the temperature begins to decrease, so does the bug population.

In the past week or so, I have noticed that there are fewer bugs outdoors.

It is as if the bugs have sensed the impending drop in temperature and have migrated in search of a warmer climate.

Unfortunately, that warmer climate just happens to be inside my house.

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The other day, my room was quite stuffy so I opened the window to allow some fresh air to enter.

Half an hour later, it was as if Pixar had decided to use my room as a filming location for the sequel to ‘A Bug’s Life’.

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Having a load of bugs in my personal space made me feel all icky inside so I began to waft the bugs towards the window in the hope that they would go back out of it.

After a while, I was left with one stubborn insect who refused to leave.

I had an empty mug on my desk so I decided that the best way to deal with the bug would be to trap it under the mug and then transport it back outdoors myself.bugs_LI (2)

Once I had managed to catch the bug, I realised that I needed to slide a piece of paper underneath the mug in order to move it.

So I left the bug buzzing around inside the mug and went downstairs to get some.

When I came back upstairs, my room was silent.

I lifted up the cup and the bug was gone.

I looked at the empty space where the bug had been and almost immediately my imagination rushed to fill it.

Because I could no longer see the bug, my mind began to create scenarios to explain its disappearance.

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I became convinced that there were only two ways in which the bug could have possibly escaped:
1) The bug had sent out an SOS signal to its bug friends who had performed a rescue mission in my absence.
2) The bug had somehow managed to teleport out of the mug.

I didn’t know what was worse:
1) Dealing with a legion of vengeful bugs seeking justice for the capture of their friend.
2) Dealing with some kind of cyborg technobug, probably sent back from the future with the sole purpose of brutally assassinating me.

Logically, I knew that a bug not have the cognitive capacity to form strategic plans to bring about my demise.

However, in my panic, the rational part of my brain ceased to function.

I ran into my brother’s room and told him of my concerns.

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My brother’s complete disregard for my panic calmed me.

Maybe I was just being silly.

Maybe there was no reason to be worried after all.

For the next couple of hours, there was no sign of the bug and by the time I went to bed, I had forgotten all about it.

However, just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard a faint buzzing arise from the darkness.

I got out of bed and turned the light on.

The buzzing stopped.

I frowned and thought that maybe I had imagined it. Maybe my mind was just playing tricks on me again.

I turned the light off and got back into bed.

Two seconds later, I heard the buzzing again.

I got out of bed and turned the light on.

Once again, the buzzing stopped.

At this point, I realised that I had evidentially misjudged the situation.

There was no army of cyborg technobugs.

There was just one bug and it was engaging me in a much more intimate form of physiological warfare.

The bug was playing mind games with me.

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I couldn’t see the bug in the dark and I couldn’t hear it in the light, meaning that I was unable to pinpoint its position with any degree of accuracy.

As a result, I wasn’t able to locate the bug until the following morning.

When I finally found it, I felt like a heroic protagonist facing up to their arch nemesis.

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Except I looked a bit more like this…

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

How Not To Pack For A Holiday.

I live in UK – a country that is notorious for having bad weather.

However, I would argue that problem with the weather in the UK is not that it is consistently bad but that it is not consistent at all.summer_LI

In summer, the idea of travelling abroad in search of more consistently nice weather becomes very appealing, especially as the internet provides us with access to thousands of websites advertising exciting holiday destinations.

This year, however, the number of travel destinations available to me has been somewhat limited by the amount of money in my bank account.

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I have decided to stay at home this summer which is probably for the best because I am not very good at preparing to go on holiday.

This is mainly because I have a tendency to pack significantly more than I need in order to compensate for a range of (often completely implausible) scenarios.

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My tendency to pack excessive amounts extends beyond clothing.

When packing, I am fully conscious of the fact that I’m going on holiday for a couple of weeks.

However, for some reason, I insist on taking enough toiletries to open up a beauty store.

I guess I find it comforting to set off on my travels safe in the knowledge that if I was unable to return home, I would have sufficient supplies to establish a living for myself in the local cosmetics industry.

I probably read about four books in a three month period.

However, when I go on holiday, I pack under the assumption that my reading speed will increase so drastically that I will manage to get through the same amount of books in the space of a single week.

Once I have gathered everything that I intend to take with me together, I tend to spend around half and hour glancing back and forth between the mountainous pile of clothes, books and toiletries and my suitcase, thinking that fitting everything in will require me to defy the physical laws of the universe.

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Any sensible person would approach this task in a logical way, neatly folding each individual piece of clothing before placing them one by one into their suitcase.

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In contrast, I attempt to shorten the process by adopting a more unrefined ‘shove it all in and hope for the best’ approach.

This involves throwing all of my possessions into my bag in the hope that they will miraculously adopt the physical properties of a liquid and adapt to fit the shape of their container.

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When this doesn’t work, I resort to sitting on top of the suitcase and using my entire body weight in a vain attempt to compress its contents down to a size where it is possible to close the zip.

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When this proves ineffective, I add the force of gravity to the equation.

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However, the sheer force of my possessions pressing against the confines of the suitcase is enough to create an equal and opposite reaction that overwhelms the downward motion of my body.

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Once I have realised that the force of my willpower alone is not enough to pack my bag, I tend to adopt the more tactical approach of rolling my clothes up like burritos in order to reduce their volume.

However, reducing the volume of the luggage only serves to increase its density, meaning that by the time my suitcase is fully packed, it is so heavy that it develops its own gravitational pull.

Getting to the airport becomes a struggle between my desire to move forwards towards the departure gate and the force of my bag dragging me backwards.

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

20 Cartoons About Life As A Twenty-Something.

  1. Ever since I became a grown-up, I’ve felt like a small child trapped inside an adult’s body.

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2.  I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going.

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3.  I often feel like a very small fish in a very big pond.

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4.  I constantly feel out of my comfort zone.

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5.  Being independent and having to solve my own problems can be hard.

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6.  Especially because I’m always blowing things out of proportion.

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7.  I’m absolutely terrified of committing to anything.

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8.  Especially diets and exercise regimes.

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9.  But I still get irrationally upset when people don’t want to commit to me.

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10.  Trying to date anyone feels like playing a highly strategic tactical game.

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11.  Sometimes, I think that I’m probably going to be single forever.

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12.  Even though I’m stunningly beautiful…

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13.  All of the time…

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14.  As an adult, you are expected start a career and apply for jobs.

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15.  Sometimes, the sheer number of stages in the job application process make me feel like I’m competing in a much less exciting version of the Triwizard Tournament.

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16.  I’m not very good at interviews.

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17.  I often panic and say the first thing that comes into my head.

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18.  Or just have a full-blown existential crisis.

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19.  I don’t have a massive amount of money so I’m having to get creative with my spending.

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20.  But who needs money as long as your living  your life to the fullest!

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I’m Trying to Get My Life in Gear But I Keep Releasing the Clutch Too Quickly and Stalling.

I turn 23 in a couple of weeks and, although I physically resemble an adult, I often feel much younger on the inside.

As a result, I am always looking around for things to confirm my status as an official grown-up in the hope that I will eventually be able to convince my inner self that I actually I am one.

In his iconic song ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, Bob Dylan asks the question ‘How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?’

Whilst I do not know the exact answer to Bob’s question and have no ambitions of becoming a man, I imagine that the whole process of becoming an adult would be a lot quicker if you just drove there instead.

So, last year, I decided to learn how to drive.

Driving lessons are quite expensive so I decided to try and accelerate the learning process by asking my mum to help me practice in between them.

I thought that my mum would be a good candidate for the job because she had previously taught me to ride a bike as a child.

However, for some reason, she seemed reluctant to resume her role as instructor.

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(N.B. – My mum did make me wear a helmet, I just forgot to draw it. I thought I’d mention that just in case any of you were concerned for my safety – although I think my decision to ride down a steep hill with complete faith in my legs’ ability to act as an effective breaking system proves that no amount of protective gear would have prevented me from being a danger to myself…)

My mum is a very cautious driver with a high regard for motoring safety.

14 (3)_LI141As a result, the prospect of giving me complete control of a moving vehicle made her incredibly anxious.

In an attempt to ease her nerves, I decided to demonstrate my ability to control the car by driving at 10 mph around a suburban cul-de-sac.

However, by the way my mum was reacting, I may as well have been trying to set a world speed record on the salt flats of Utah.

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When I first started driving with my mum, I was initially quite calm.

I had taken nine driving lessons with a qualified instructor and was confident in my ability to control the car.

I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

However, my mum’s anxiety was so high in relation to mine that it began to diffuse along a concentration gradient until the panic was evenly spread between us and we were both infused with the same sense of impending doom.

11_LI12_LI13910In order to diffuse some of the tension, I decided to put some calming music on but its effect was limited by the sounds of my mum having a panic attack over the soundtrack at regular intervals.

In the end, it was a bit like an episode James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke except, instead of a celebrity singing their iconic hits, there was just my mum periodically shouting ‘easy on the clutch’ and ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ over the Relax and Unwind playlist on Spotify.

Driving can be a stressful experience all round.

In everyday life, the majority of people tend to be quite considerate and respectful towards other people.

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However, when driving, our tolerance for others drastically decreases.

Any sense of social convention rapidly disintegrates, something which is magnified by the fact that the car itself provides a physical barrier behind which the driver is able to conceal their identity.

This allows drivers to feel comfortable expressing what would otherwise be a socially inappropriate level of rage with the same sense of anonymity as an internet troll.

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Many people try to make the experience of driving less stressful by investing in a Sat Nav to help them navigate.

Like most technology, a Sat Nav is the best thing ever until it stops working properly, at which point it immediately becomes the worst thing in existence.

Normally, a Sat Nav will give you precise directions to help you get to your destination in the fastest time possible.

However, occasionally the GPS system will malfunction and it will start instructing you to complete manoeuvres that the physical set up of the road renders impossible.

When this happens, it is easy to become frustrated.

In contrast, the Sat Nav’s voice remains completely calm and serene, blissfully ignorant of your own increasing levels of irritation.

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

For more drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram.

How To Stop Procrastinating and Start Getting Things Done: An Unofficial Guide That REALLY DOES WORK!

Modern life can be quite complicated and, like most people, I often have a lot of things that I need to get done on a daily basis.

Sometimes, however, I find it hard to motivate myself to get things done in a productive and efficient manner.

Even completing simple everyday tasks can be a struggle.

Instead of addressing a task properly, I often come up with temporary solutions that allow me to extend the amount of time that I can remain in denial about the task’s existence.

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However, what initially began as a small manageable task eventually transforms into a monumental obstacle and the pressure of directly engaging with it can be overwhelming.

hRecently, I have been asking around for advice on how to be more consistently productive.

One of my friends told me that I should try reading a self-help book which suggested that they cared about my wellbeing but considered the challenge of transforming me into a functioning human being so huge and intimidating that they were reluctant to become directly involved.

i_LINevertheless, a few days later, I went to a bookshop and sought out the self-help section.

The first book that caught my eye looked like this.

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I hadn’t been feeling particularly worried when I had first entered the bookshop but looking at the book immediately made me worried about whether I was the sort of person who should be worried about whether I was living or not.

I picked up the book, turned it over and read the blurb.

11_LI In the back of my mind, I knew that the blurb was referring to common issues that many people experience on a regular basis.

However, because it was doing so within the guise of individuality, I felt that it was speaking directly to me.

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In addition, the prospect of overcoming anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of motivation appealed to me.

It was as if I was a protagonist from a book or movie on a mission to overcome great evil…

4Except I was fighting against the most underwhelming antagonist in existence – my own epic laziness.

44_LI (2)I reasoned that spending £8.99 on a book that felt it necessary to boldly assert the fact that it ‘really does work’ was a totally logical idea.

I thought that maybe one day I could help other people to help themselves by writing my own self-help book about how somebody else’s self-help book had helped me to help myself.

‘Stop Worrying and Start Living’ presented several strategies to help me stop procrastinating and start getting things done.

Reading about how I was going to get things done in the future made me feel very productive.

As a result, I was less bothered by the fact that I had things that I needed to get done.

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By the time I had finished the book, I was felt thoroughly prepared to start living my life to the fullest.

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However, it was getting quite late.

7_li.jpgSo I decided that it was probably best to seize the day another day.

I still wanted to be productive though and therefore decided to do some preparation so that when I did seize the day, I could seize it with as much efficiency as possible.

I sat down and started to type a ‘to-do’ list on my computer.

However, turning on my computer left my newfound focus exposed and vulnerable as it provided me with direct access to the internet.

The internet is littered with various pieces of content that are specifically designed to completely and utterly eradicate any semblance of concentration or focus that you have previously established.

This content is called clickbait.

Social media sites in particular are breeding grounds for clickbait with features such as the share button creating perfect conditions under which these articles can rapidly multiply.

Because most of the content posted on social media is relatively short, it is easy to click on an article under the illusion that you are taking a brief break from being productive.

However, each piece of content is linked within a seemingly infinite network of even more content.

By clicking on an article, you are heading straight into a trap.

bbbbb_LII took a short break from writing my to-do list by clicking on a link to a 10 second video of a cat in a box.

Before I knew it, it was 2am and the combined length of all the cat videos that I had watched was the equivalent to that of a Lord of the Rings extended edition film marathon.

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I guess what we can learn from this is that a significant part of self-improvement is learning the art of self-control.

It is important to limit the amount of time that we spend doing instantly gratifying activities and invest the more satisfying, longer-term benefits of sustained hard work.

On that note, if you enjoyed this post, here are some more posts that may provide you with fleeting sense of satisfaction:

Interview Advice – Just Be Yourself… As Long You’re Being A More Organised, Eloquent, Functioning Version Of Yourself That Is Better Than Your Actual Self In Pretty Much Every Single Way…

How To Deal With Everyday Problems – An Unofficial Guide.

Mice and Other More Legitimately Scary Animals That I Am Afraid Of.

For more drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram.

 

Interview Advice – Just Be Yourself… As Long You’re Being A More Organised, Eloquent, Functioning Version Of Yourself That Is Better Than Your Actual Self In Pretty Much Every Single Way…

Growing up and entering the real world can be a confusing and overwhelming process.

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A big part of becoming a fully-functioning adult is finding a job, which would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that finding a job can be quite hard.

Sometimes, looking for a job can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack and, when you finally locate the needle, another slightly more qualified person comes along with a big massive magnet.

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Other times, it can feel like trying to find Wally in a ‘Where’s Wally?’ book.

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But you’re up against a guy who already has contacts in the business.

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I have been looking for a graduate job for a while now and am therefore quite familiar with the application process.

A lot of job applications begin with a CV.

A CV is a summary of professional and academic achievements but it might be better described as a Verification of Awesomeness.

Sometimes, the pressure of living up to the sheer magnificence of your on-paper personality in an interview can be overwhelming.

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When I first started doing interviews, I used to get quite nervous, something that manifested itself in a somewhat debilitating tendency to panic and say the first thing that came into my head.

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Occasionally, I would find myself on the verge of an existential breakdown.

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I would practice questions for hours before an interview.

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Only to completely lose my grasp of the English language once the interview actually commenced.

dRecently, I have been actively trying to improve my interview technique, something that has enabled me to answer a wide range of questions more effectively.

However, I still encounter questions that completely throw me.

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Due to the increasingly saturated nature of the graduate job market, the hiring process is more complex than it has been in the past.

Modern technology has enabled the traditional face-to-face interview to mutate and evolve into various different subspecies.

As a candidate, you have to be highly flexible and ready to make a good first impression in any of these mediums.

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In addition, many companies now implement a multi-stage application process in order to gradually whittle down the high numbers of applications that they receive.

In order to access their suitability for the job, applicants have to face several tasks which is a bit like competing in the Triwizard Tournament but with less mortal peril and more collaborative group-based assessments.

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Due to the competitive nature of the graduate job market, it is important to remain resilient in the face of rejection.

Over the past few months, I have developed some coping mechanisms which have really helped me deal with some of the setbacks that I have encountered.

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Despite this, it is sometimes quite difficult to remain positive.

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How To Deal With Everyday Problems – An Unofficial Guide

Life is full of problems.

A few weeks ago, I was cooking dinner when I encountered a problem.

My Uncle Ben’s rice packet was too tall to fit inside the microwave.

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The problematic size of my Uncle Ben’s rice packet in relation to the size of my microwave was very upsetting for me.

This was completely irrational because the inconvenience that it caused me was relatively small.

However, small everyday problems can often be extremely frustrating and I think this is because, on some level, they reflect larger ongoing issues in our lives.

However, the immediate frustration that we experience when we encounter one of these problems means that we become so emotionally involved with the situation that we neglect to think clearly about exactly why it is frustrating us.

As a result, our approach to the problem becomes more reactive as opposed to perceptive.

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In order to prevent everyday problems from becoming irrationally overwhelming, it is important to keep them in perspective.

A good way of putting a problem into perspective is to try and visualise it within the context of the sheer magnitude of time and space.

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However, because humans are naturally introspective, it is easy for us to become immersed in our own issues as opposed to considering the wider picture.

As a result, our perspective of what is actually important can become distorted.

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Although my Uncle Ben’s rice packet was relatively large in comparison to my microwave, when related to the entire history of Planet Earth it is actually very small.

In fact, when compared to the vast expanse of the universe, my entire life is basically irrelevant.

However, this did not stop the inconvenient size of my Uncle Ben’s rice packet being a significant issue in my insignificant existence.

I am aware of the fact that the dinosaurs were around for 160 million years and modern man has only been present on Earth for 200,000 years and I have only been alive for 22 of those years but I was trying to ram my Uncle Ben’s rice packet into the microwave for 30 seconds and that bothers me.

In addition, whilst I was relating my problem to time and space, my brain began making associations between the two, meaning that the image of my Uncle Ben’s rice packet became integrated into my vision of dinosaur times.

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When solving a problem, it is important to adopt a proactive, solution-focused approach.

However, this can be quite hard to do if you do not have a lot of confidence in your ability to come up with effective solutions to problems.

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If you are unable to come up with an effective solution to a problem, it can be frustrating.

It is often tempting to complain order to release some of this tension.

Complaining is a completely illogical way to deal with a problem because it exhausts energy levels that could otherwise have been used to take productive action against it.

However, this is why complaining is so great.

Complaining allows you to engage with a problem whilst simultaneously procrastinating from actually attempting to solve it.

In addition, complaining often involves interacting with other people which enables you to make them aware of the problem’s existence in the hope that they will solve it for you.

If you are unable to solve your problem or find someone else to fix it for you, it is tempting to bury the problem under a mass of hardcore denial.

However, denying the existence of the problem all together can be a problem in itself as the problem often consequently resurfaces in an even more powerful state than when you initially buried it.

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